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Insiders Guide to Las Vegas

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Insiders Guide to Las Vegas

story by: Anna Sarjeant

1. Gamble.
Obvious, yes? Moving on!

2. Scream if you want to drop faster… What, drop!?!
Scare yourself silly on the Insanity ride at Stratosphere. A spider-like ride that rotates its passengers at a velocity of 3Gs, it doesn’t do much else but spin and tilt. You might be thinking - 'pah too tame', but that's before we reveal that Stratosphere is the tower that pokes way above the Las Vegas skyline. With un-matched views of the strip and a revolving restaurant, the iconic building is a casual 1,149 feet high - and while you spin and tilt on Insanity, you're dangling from its very peak. In no simpler words, there’s nothing between you and the concrete ground but fresh air and a lengthy scream.

HOT tip: This is just one of many, MANY Las Vegas rides. From roller coasters that weave in and out of hotels, to carriages designed like New York taxicabs, you’re in for one helluva thrill.

3. Even the fountains dance!
Have your Ocean’s Eleven moment by standing outside the Bellagio hotel-casino for the famed fountain display. Not a simple spray of water, this impeccable feat of choreography will send a tingle down your spine. Performing every day from 3pm (midday on a Saturday and 11am on Sunday), the spectacle is free, looks best at night and runs every 30 minutes until midnight.    

HOT tip: The fountains are tuned to more than 30 different songs so it’s worth your while to watch more than once. For two very different experiences, soak up the show at night as well as day.

4. Not 21? No problem.
If you’re visiting with children (hello M&M world!) or you’re under 21 years of age (doh), Excalibur Hotel & Casino is THE place for families. Jousting in the basement tickle your fancy? Trust us, the kids will love this one. Designed like a medieval arena, the Tournament of Kings is a jousting competition set within the hotel’s 900-seat theatre. It’s loud, rowdy and highly entertaining, with a three course meal you can only eat with your hands and areas assigned to knights that you’re encouraged to scream for.  

HOT tip: This one gets messy. No cutlery is provided so prepare to slurp your dragon’s blood – also known as tomato soup – from a bowl and to devour half a chicken with just your fingers.

5. Shop til you have to pawn your wristwatch
Welcome to Las Vegas, where the shopping scene comes with an extra dose of theatrics. The Venetian and its Grand Canal Shops not only boasts an 85,000-square-foot Barneys, it’s also home to gondola rides (jndoors and out), a replica St. Mark’s Square and over 30 daily street performances. Continuing with the garish (oh come on, it’s Vegas) Miracle Mile at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino features its very own indoor rainstorm, complete with fog, thunder, lightning and pouring rain. So beguiling is the experience, you might forget what you came shopping for.

HOT tip: The Bellagio was the first hotel mall to boast high-end designer brands. Pop here for your Gucci bags, Chanel couture and the only Tiffany's store in the whole of Las Vegas. For wallet-friendly prices, head to Premium Outlets North and Premium Outlets South. Bargains abound. 

6. Rooftops bars to make you go ahhh
It’s not on the strip but that means you’ll get epic views of the strip. VooDoo Rooftop Nightclub at Rio Las Vegas is 51 stories high and a magnet for those looking for the quintessential Las Vegas night out. Famed for its lethal Witch Doctor cocktail, enjoy watching the bartenders flip their shakers and strainers from the outdoor patio. With a breeze in your hair, the height makes it nippy, but the rum in that cocktail will soon warm your insides.

HOT tip: Take the zip line from one Rio tower to the next. That’s right, The Voodoo Zipline travels 800 feet from the Rio Hotel to the Ipanema tower high above the bright lights of Las Vegas. No need to get off at Ipanema, the tandem seat returns to the VooDoo rooftop – backwards!

7. We say Vegas, you shout Soleil!
That’d be Cirque du Soleil. And the production’s permanently fixed stage show that’s synonymous with Las Vegas’ theatre scene. With no fewer than nine different acts, the Soleil cast have taken up full-time residency in the city of sin. Then there’s Celine Dion, who pelts out her tunes on the regular at Caesar’s Palace and the faint murmurs that Madonna is also destined to put on an annual Vegas extravaganza. From resident superstars to glitzy one-off variety shows, here’s a city that will put on (several) nightly performances for as long as the lights shine.

HOT tip: Ask your HOT consultant about upcoming shows and show-stopping deals while you’re there. You might be pleasantly surprised who else is in town.   

8. Make like Lewis Hamilton
Break the speed limit without getting pulled over (or ruining your best pants) at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Home to a number of companies offering real-life racing experiences, choose to burn the rubber in a yellow Lamborghini, or jump in a 2013 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 and try your hand at American muscle car racing. On a real race track and with a coach to ensure you grace the corners better than Jenson Button (hmm not hard) your adrenaline levels will peak as high as your heart rate.  

HOT tip: Pick your driving package wisely. Many race experiences provide a personal VIP hostess, but do you really want that kind of distraction? Eyes on the road, fella. 

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