Destination best of lists tally landmarks,
restaurants and attractions. But Las Vegas occupies its own quirky
niche, with many unique categories that include numerous competing
luxury hotel value on the Strip: Ballys Las Vegas. Though
often overshadowed by bigger and glitzier properties on the Strip,
Ballys is noteworthy for its spacious accommodations, efficient
service, prime location and reasonable rates.
rooms, at 450 square feet, are furnished attractively and
comfortably and are easily reached via a short walk from the lobby.
Visitors seeking extra service and amenities stay in club rooms on
the 22nd floor, home of Ballys 22nd Club, where a concierge lounge
and other amenities await.
valet parking staff delivers cars in five minutes or less, rare in
Vegas. And in a town full of themed hotels, its refreshing to find
a property where the theme is the hotel itself, and the
professional service staff knows it. Midweek nightly rates start at $69.
99-cent food item: Shrimp cocktail at the Golden Gate
Hotel and Casino downtown. Despite the proliferation of 99-cent
shrimp cocktails in Vegas, this granddaddy of them all, still
served in a classic tulip glass, remains king. The shrimp are piled
high and topped with cocktail sauce thats got the perfect zing. Two
packs of crackers are included. Dont dare ask for more.
realm of under-$1 food items is ever-expanding, buyers are advised
to beware of certain cardio-nightmare options, such as the
deep-fried Twinkies across the street at Mermaids.
new-concept buffet: Dishes, at TI. Taking buffet dining to
new heights is the latest rage in Las Vegas, where the gap between
quantity and quality is narrowing rapidly. The latest, and most
innovative to date, is Dishes at TI, where diners in the intimate,
well-designed room feast on made-to-order pastas, custom-plated
sushi and freshly prepared meats and side dishes.
preparation keeps the food fresh and tasty, while rolling carts
deliver chili tableside. The dessert station features atypical
buffet items, including creme brulee, fresh cotton candy and mini
chocolate souffles. Another Las Vegas buffet first: A
doughnut-making machine pops out irresistibly warm, calorie-dense
diet-busters. Dinner, priced at $20 on
weekdays and $26 weekends, is a relative bargain.
quickie-wedding chapel: Little White Wedding Chapel.
Lovebirds plying the Strip between Sahara Boulevard and downtown
may be confused by the bewildering, and seemingly endless, array of
wedding chapels, each offering its own perfect package. The Little
White Wedding Chapel, however, has been the preferred place to tie
the knot for celebrities and regular folks alike since 1946.
The array of
wedding packages includes the simple ceremony ($40), the Bikers
Special ($100) and the Tribute to Elvis Pink Cadillac Package
($275). In an especially big hurry? The drive-through Tunnel of
Vows is the perfect solution.
And, while the
sign out front boasts that Michael Jordan and Joan Collins were
married here, it wasnt to one another.
bargain shopping: Bijoux Terner Luxury at $10. This
retailer offers trendy fashion at low prices. While the jewelry,
scarves, belts and shawls offer good value, its the handbags and
watches that distinguish Bijoux Terner. Designer-imposter styles
range from casual to dressy and will impress even a discerning
Locations are at
TI, New York New York, MGM Grand, Monte Carlo, Excalibur, Luxor,
Rio, Ballys, Flamingo and McCarran Airport.
shopping mall with fake sky: Caesars Forum Shops. Nowhere
else but Las Vegas could this category even exist -- with multiple
contenders, too. Maybe its the extra humidity introduced by all the
fountains and water features. But somehow, at dusk in this 21st
century version of the Roman Forum, the outdoor feel is
The shops and
restaurants that line the marble way, led by a massive FAO Schwarz
toy store and Wolfgang Pucks Chinois Las Vegas, seem to buzz with a
vibrancy befitting Caesars empire.
free show: The Sirens of TI. Despite the demise of the
family marketing craze that swept this town in the mid-1990s, some
still held out slight hope for its survival. The last vestige of
that failed hope, Treasure Island, finally succumbed in 2003, when
it became simply TI, taking on a new, sexy allure.
And the pirate
battle out front, long among the top-rated Vegas free shows, has
turned into sirens (replacing steely British sailors) vs. pirates.
Scantily clad babes spouting double-entendres dominate the action,
but the fire and explosions still burn hot.
Bugsy Seigel memorial: An unobtrusive plaque in the garden
of the Flamingo Hotel. This simple memorial, seldom mentioned in
tour books and set inconspicuously in the garden, may be the only
instance of understatement in all of Las Vegas.
Its also the only
entry in this category.
the reporter who wrote this article, send e-mail to [email protected].