Famous since its 1998 opening as the place with the dancing fountains (further immortalized in the final scene of the 2001 film Ocean’s Eleven), the 3,933-room Italian-themed Bellagio is a Las Vegas icon. There is a fantasy feel about it, with its five courtyard pools, its indoor botanical garden and conservatory that change with the seasons, its lobby-dominating Dale Chihuly blown-glass flower sculpture, and its eight-acre lake, out of which rise the fountains. Yet following a 2011 upgrade, it also feels as modern as any hotel on the Strip. The Bellagio still does a few things the old-fashioned way: Along with the expected celebrity restaurants, there is a buffet (a long-cherished Las Vegas tradition) brought up to modern standards with an all-you-can-drink alcohol option. Throughout the hotel, service is tops, shopping is high-end, the Cirque du Soleil production O draws ’em in, and—another Las Vegas tradition—a casino with nearly the area of two football fields makes it all go 'round, which is no doubt why everybody has to be out of the pools by 6 p.m.
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For visitors to Las Vegas, it would be hard to imagine a better location than that of the Bellagio, at the center of the Las Vegas Strip but separated from it by the fountains and their lake. The Bellagio has its own high-end shopping, but since there can never be too much shopping, The Shops at Crystals is on one side and The Forum Shops at Caesars is on the other. No nightclub on the Strip has a better view of the fountains than the Hyde Bellagio, but for partiers and celebrity spotters, Haze at the Aria makes a fine alternative.
Need to Know
Rooms: 3,933 rooms, including 512 suites. From $159. Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: Bellagio’s collection of 13 restaurants is top-heavy with a half-dozen fine-dining options, including the legendary (and always hard to get into) Le Cirque, the eponymous Michael Mina, with dishes out of Mina’s cookbook, Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Prime Steakhouse, and Julian Serrano’s Picasso, whose decor includes original Picasso works. (Serrano is also helming a new Italian restaurant, Lago, opening March 2015 in the space of Circo, which closed in September 2014.) Celebrity chefs can be found, too, even among the resort’s more casual offerings, such as at Todd English’s Olives, which is second to none in its tableside views of the fountains. Spa and gym details: Most pleasing about the Spa and Salon Bellagio is how well it fits into the Italian-village ambience of the resort. Facilities include 56 treatment rooms, a sauna, steam room, whirlpools, and a fitness center. All the usual couples' and girlfriends' packages are among the services, as well as a mother/daughter manicure-pedicure package, during which tea and scones are served.
Who’s it for: Grown-ups and families with large budgets who don’t care so much about a hip stay as a happy one. Our favorite rooms: If it's all about the view, then the Premier Fountain View Rooms, on the top floors of the Bellagio Tower’s North and South wings. No worries: As at many hotels on the Strip, valet parking is complimentary, although for guests who had such a bad night at the tables that even coming up with a tip for the parking attendants could be problematic, self-parking is complimentary, too.