The fountains are famous. The hotel is luxurious. The rooms are spacious. If you’re heading to Las Vegas, stay at the beautiful Bellagio. Of course you’ll find the casino, restaurants, and shops like the other hotels on the Strip, but as I just found out during a 3-night stay, the Bellagio is different.
Think massive Italian villa. With it’s Tuscan-inspired architecture, it’s elegant and romantic. It’s airy and light. The Mediterranean courtyard has five outdoor pools and 51 private cabanas. There are two wedding chapels – the Fountain Courtyard and Terrazza di Sogno (Terrace of Dreams). There are more than 1,200 fountains in the 8.5 acre lake. It’s the only hotel in the United States with two AAA Five Diamond and Forbes Five-Star restaurants – Picasso and Le Cirque.
There are 3,933 rooms, including 512 suites, tastefully decorated. Each room has a seating area, desk area, and huge bathroom complete with a soaking tub. As you open the door to a marble foyer, you know you are staying in the lap of luxury. They’ve thought of everything – automatic shears and drapes, lighted makeup mirror, automatic closet lights, media hubs for your electronics, and 40″ television for watching a late-night movie or catching up on the morning news while staying in bed just a little longer than normal. The color scheme of greens, purples and white are soothing as you leave the hustle and bustle of Vegas behind as you retreat to your room.
From my room, I had a great view of alpenglow on the red rocks to the west at sunrise.
My favorite space in the hotel is the Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. As soon as you walk into the lobby, you’ll likely be drawn to the space too. The 14,000-square foot space is floral extravaganza. The display changes every couple of months for Chinese New Year, spring, summer, fall, and winter. Here’s an interesting tidbit – when the displays rotate out, 90 percent of the trees, flowers, and plants are recycled. But the floral designs are just on the ground. Make sure to look up in the conservatory. The glass ceiling rises up to 50 feet high. Notice the framework and beams are a greenish color and incorporate floral patterns. That’s sculpted green metal of oxidized copper called verdigris.
While I was there, Proud as a Peacock was the theme to showcase an array of autumnal hues. There are flowers ranging from Yellow Durangos to Fire Islands accented with shrubs like Hibiscus, Purple Fountain Grass, and Zebra Grass. There’s an 18-foot tree with 300 hanging silk weeping willow branches with 100 Trumpet flowers. Watch the eyes move in the trees or the peacocks shimmy in the branches. You’ll probably laugh, or at least smile, at the two whimsical scarecrows playfully striking poses on the fresh cut flower filled pumpkins.
My favorite in the display was two giant peacocks. From the teal of their necks to the oranges, yellows, and blues on their tail features, all made from flowers. In myths, legends and folklore, the peacock has symbolized royalty, guidance, protection, awakening and integrity. In Greek mythology, the peacock is identified with Hera (Juno). Argus was her trusted watchman. When he was killed she took the “eyes of Argus” and placed them on her favorite bird, the peacock. who created the peacock from Argus and his hundred eyes. The peacock features are said to symbolize the eyes of the stars and the vault of heaven. The peacocks on display at the Bellagio are gorgeous. The Proud as a Peacock display is up through November 25th, then the holiday display goes up on December 2nd.
You have to catch a water show on the 8-acre lake in front of the hotel. Best part – it’s a free show! Watching the water dance across the lake as the fountains go off like a choreographed dance as the music plays is a magical experience in Vegas. The Fountains at Bellagio are beautiful during the day, but spectacular at night as more than a thousand lighted fountains dance in front of the hotel to the beat of classical and operatic pieces, popular songs, and Broadway hits. The aquatic display is over 1,000 feet and the water soars as high as 460 feet high. Shows are every 30 minutes in the afternoons and every 15 minutes in the evenings.
For a different view of the fountains and when you’re ready for a cocktail and music, head up to Hyde. The indoor-outdoor nightclub has a terrace overlooking the Fountains of Bellagio. If Benny Black is DJ-ing, you’re in for a treat as he spins classics with what’s hot on the charts right now. Plus, you can’t miss his awesome mohawk!
The club’s designer Philippe Starck supposedly modeled it after an opulent Italian villa of a famed Renaissance artist, but which one is still a mystery. With the enormous windows, black and white furniture, and Italian marble, you just might feel like you’ve been transported to a villa but instead of looking out across a garden, you get to overlook the fountains.
Of course I can’t forget to talk about the food! For breakfast, enjoy casual dining in Cafe Bellagio. Try the Spa Style, which is an egg whites omelet with grilled asparagus. If you’re an Eggs Benedict fan, this is the place in Vegas to get one. A couple of friends and I tried Harvest by Roy Ellamar for a farm-to-table dinner. I had the Farro Piccolo Porridge with farro, wild mushrooms, and black truffle. The savory combination is a flavor explosion on your palate. It’s so good, you’ll forget you’re eating healthy!
For a light savory bite, sweet treat, or just want to get whisk away to Europe in a bit, stop in the ultra stylist Jean Philippe Pâtisserie near Spa Bellagio. It’s the first truly European-style pastry shop in Las Vegas. You can’t miss the one-of-a-kind, 27-foot chocolate fountain! From the almond croissants to petite quiches, the pastries look divine. I tried a delicious made-to-order light omelet and had one of the best almond lattes I’d ever had!
It’s the architecture, elegance, service, food, florals, fountains, and art that make the Bellagio so special. Next time you’re in Vegas, enjoy the beauty of the Bellagio.