Las Vegas – some love it and some loathe it but this city holds a unique place in modern legend. Sung about by Elvis, chronicled by Hunter S. Thompson, inhabited for 43 years by Frank Sinatra and hosting long-term residencies by Cher and Elton John and glorified by films such as Ocean’s Eleven and The Hangover, the lure of the ultimate adult’s playground is undeniable.
Constantly reviving itself the self-styled Entertainment Capital of the World has 19 of the world’s 25 largest hotels. A huge multi-billion dollar new hotel and leisure complex has just been built on Las Vegas Boulevard to keep visitors coming to this neon oasis in the arid Nevada landscape. Yet despite its renewal the city is still known by its reputation as Sin City, catering to every vice and whim in a way which has inspired an attitude of simultaneous attraction and repulsion which makes it utterly fascinating.
Anyone with an inkling towards thrift or who harbours suspicions about consumerism beware, Las Vegas is the ultimate violation of both. That said, Vegas tourism is no different from in any other city, it is just super-sized with gargantuan hotels that have their own rollercoasters and multi-storey M&Ms merchandise stores. The ethics of tourism can always seem questionable but here, at least, the Strip (which is only one street) is built to cater to tourists alone. Coming to Las Vegas with an open mind can therefore be a cultural experience because of the unique way that this postmodern city caters for the vices of the world.
Seven Deadly Sins of Vegas:
Lust – Strip shows and hookers abound here but for something exciting and original Cirque du Soleil’s burlesque Zumanity at New York New York is unique. http://www.zumanity.com
Greed – If you’re over 21 try your hand at the tables or one of the 197,000-plus slot machines in the city. By all means accept a ‘free’ drink but expect to have your ID checked an obscene number of times!
Gluttony – Literally gorge yourself upon one of the many unlimited hotel buffets. The choice is unbelievable and the food standard is good and if you think you can keep going forever the Excalibur hotel has an all-day pass to theirs for $24.99. Indigestion is out there!
Pride – For those with mega-bucks and mega-egos the appropriately-named Provocateur Penthouse at Hard Rock has a mirrored ceiling so that guests can watch themselves in very compromising positions.
Wrath – Host to a huge variety of convention of varying ridiculousness including an Angry Birds tournament last year. Prizes included a twelve-pack of soda!
Envy – Las Vegas knows how to treat its high rollers and celebrity guests with sumptuous penthouses and exclusive lounges. Therefore the best way to catch a famous face is to pay to party with them at one of the many clubs on the Strip or to try and catch a red-carpet opening of a new venue.
Sloth – Sleep in and then spend all night on the Strip which literally lights up the night sky, so much so that it can be seen from space!