Opinions vary, but the consensus suggests that less than a third of the America population holds an international passport. Arguably it’s because America is so vast that the population feels little need to venture beyond its own country, and besides which international travel is both expensive and time consuming. Naturally, America has a solution to satisfy the wanderlust of anyone who wants to experience the canals of Venice, the romance of Paris or the mysteries of Egypt without circumnavigating the globe: Las Vegas.
Only in larger-than-life Las Vegas could you expect to see some of the world’s most instantly recogniseable landmarks authentically recreated – albeit with a glamorous twist – within the space of a few square miles. What’s the point in spending valuable time and money trekking around the world when, as we’ll see, the fabulous choice of themed Las Vegas hotels and resorts can take you around the world in 80 hours?
Okay, so it’s not quite the stuff of Arthurian legend thanks to its multi-coloured turrets, but for a Vegas-style interpretation of medieval England, look no further than the Excalibur Hotel. Historically accurate? Not likely, but with jousting, dancing maidens, invading armies and a nightly medieval feast eaten the traditional way – i.e. fingers only – the Excalibur is nothing if not fun.
Pic: O Palsson, Flickr
Perhaps a little French chic is more to your liking? Paris Las Vegas is instantly recogniseable thanks it’s the half-scale model of the Eiffel Tower, constructed from the plans of the original. And like the original you can travel to the top of the tower for a romantic and panoramic view over the city. The evocations of France don’t end there though: Paris Las Vegas recreates a 1920s Parisian boulevard complete with cobblestones and period streetlamps for a boutique shopping experience featuring the best French fashions and gourmet foods.
Las Vegas doesn’t neglect Italy either. In fact Italian splendour is taken to extremes in the Venetian Resort Hotel, where décor that wouldn’t look out of place in the Sistine Chapel in Rome is surpassed only by the hotel’s perfect recreations of the Rialto Bridge, St Mark’s Campanile and St Mark’s Square. You can even take a gondola ride along the canal that runs beside a lovingly recreated Venetian street that, naturally, doubles as the hotel’s shopping mall.
Ancient Egypt is brought to life once more in the shape of the Luxor hotel Las Vegas; the third largest hotel in the world and completely unmistakable since it’s an enormous pyramid fronted by a 43 metre high Egyptian obelisk and a replica of the Great Sphinx of Gaza. Who needs the real thing when the replica’s got air conditioning and slot machines!
Pic: Julialat32, Flickr
Las Vegas must be one of the most spectacular destinations on the planet, but why not add a little more spectacle on top by introducing some South American vibrancy and recreating the carnaval of Brazil at the Rio hotel. Colourful costumes, swaying palms and samba rhythms will convince you you’re taking part in a Mardi-gras celebration even though you’re in the Nevada Desert.
The desire of Las Vegas to bring the wonders of the world within its city limits doesn’t end there though. Look a little further and you’ll find a tiny corner of the paradise islands of the Indian Ocean in a Tahiti-themed resort, a hint of Asian flair at the Imperial Oriental Hotel, see pirate ships and gamble for gold at Treasure Island, and more than a little of Morocco’s influence in the current redevelopment of the legendary Sahara Hotel.
Pic: Mike_fleming, Flickr
But wait; there’s one more world-famous landmark to be seen in downtown Las Vegas. Which exotic global location could possibly be left to recreate in all its glory here in the Nevada Desert? No, you’re not mistaken; that really is a scale reproduction of the Statue of Liberty. The New York, New York hotel and casino incorporates highlights of the New York skyline including the Empire State Building and the Brooklyn Bridge and even recreates New York streets down to the manhole covers. You want to experience one famous American destination in another famous American destination? Only in Las Vegas…!
John is a guest writer from Las Vegas holidays guide – www.las-vegas.travel in-depth guide to Sin City including reviews of the best Las Vegas hotels and attractions. More travelmag articles about Las Vegas here and here.
Copyright © 2011 John McElborough