Over the last few years, Bellagio has been walking a bit of a tightrope, attempting to retain the elegant features and ambience that established it as the most luxurious hotel in Las Vegas, while trying to update and modernize it to compete with the more contemporary resorts that have come along to challenge its dominance in the high-end market. That they have navigated the tightrope with ease is worthy of applause.
Most of the changes have been subtle—a new nightclub here; a new restaurant there—but the biggest update has been to the rooms in both towers, which were completely revamped in 2013. These previously staid accommodations are now gorgeously rendered, modern masterpieces with funky retro-mod furnishings; bold purple, green, and golden design schemes; high-tech touches including a connectivity station for computers and devices of all kinds; and marble-lined bathrooms that are big enough to share and luxurious enough that you’ll never want to leave.
The things that drew crowds and appreciative goggling are still there: the 8-acre lake in front with a dazzling choreographed water-ballet extravaganza; an eye-popping Dale Chihuly blown-glass flower sculpture on the lobby ceiling (the largest of its kind in the world); an art gallery; and a downright lovely conservatory, complete with brightly colored flowers and plants, changed every few months to go with the season (the holiday and Chinese New Year exhibits are favorites).
Most of the upscale restaurants that were part of the opening team are still here, including Picasso, Fix, and Le Cirque, with a few newcomers that reflect Las Vegas’ changing appetites, like Yellowtail and Lago. Vodka and tea drinkers alike flock to Petrossian, while nightlife beats on at lounges such as Hyde Bellagio and Lily. Resident Cirque du Soleil show O is still an aquatic and acrobatic masterpiece.
On the downside, you still can’t avoid a walk through the casino to get just about anywhere and there are extra charges galore, such as a pricey resort fee and another one for poolside cabanas. If you wish to splurge for the latter, you’ll find them next to no fewer than six swimming pools set in a neoclassical Roman garden with flowered, trellised archways, and a fitness center and 40,000-square-foot spa, all designed to pamper you into submission.
- Rick Garman