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The glitz of the Vegas Strip


...and the beauty of Lake Tahoe

Shows meets snow and neon meets nature on a two-centre break to Las Vegas and Lake Tahoe. STEVE ADAMS is your guide to a trip of contrasts.


he phrase ‘what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas’ might be

a memorable one, but in many ways it does this incredible destination something of an injustice. The expression was adopted — as

well as trademarked — as the city’s catchphrase by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority a few years ago. While it has been hugely successful as an advertising campaign, it has an obvious fl aw — if you’ve just visited one of the liveliest, most colourful and exciting places on earth, the fi rst thing you’ll want to do is tell everyone all about it! The only diffi culty could be fi nding the

right superlatives to describe the glitter, glitz and amazing vistas of a city that is like no other on earth. After all, where else can you fi nd a volcano, Egyptian sphinx, medieval castle, Italian gondolas, the Eiff el Tower and Statue of Liberty all on the same street?


Hitting the Strip That street is of course the world-

famous Strip, a 3.7 mile stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard that is home to a fabulous array of hotels and casinos, each a fabulous theatre of glamour. The excitement starts literally the moment you arrive, as the southern end of the Strip, which is marked by the pyramid-shaped Luxor Hotel Casino and its magnifi cent Sphinx — larger than the Egyptian original — is visible from the window of the plane when you’re on the tarmac at McCarran International Airport. The wow factor is instant and Vegas

keeps you wide-eyed and slack-jawed from here on, with one mind-blowing sight — such as an Italian canal complete with gondoliers or a 49-foot waterfall at Aladdin’s cave — after another. The spectacle goes on and on, making a walk along the Strip the

ultimate Vegas experience. Unusually for a holiday destination, much of the entertainment is free, as you can wander in and out of hotel-casinos and enjoy free live action pirate shows at Treasure Island, Big Top-style clowns and acrobats at Circus Circus, a lion enclosure at the MGM Grand, an erupting volcano at Mirage and the world-famous fountain show at Bellagio. The latter is an absolute must-see,

as more than 1,000 fountains move in time to music in a fabulous water ballet. The display is a splash hit during the day but even better when lit up by night. The same can be said for all of

Vegas, which really comes alive once the sun goes down and the neon comes out, whether along the Strip or in Downtown, the city’s original hub, an area that starts just north of the 900-foot tall Stratosphere Tower.


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