Though they are most often associated with the gambling crowd, casinos offer so much more than table games and discounted cocktails. These idyllic establishments offer fine dining, luxurious amenities and attractions for guests of all ages.
Before you disagree, let’s acknowledge the fact that everyone has a preferred Vegas destination that depends on many factors (including room rates, attractions and proximity to the Strip). That said, Bellagio is one of Sin City’s quintessential establishments with something to appeal to each guest. Art aficionadoes can drool over the Fiori di Como, a colorful chandelier that looms over the lobby; pint-sized travelers will marvel at the ingenuity of Cirque de Soleil; and those seeking a little peace and quiet are rewarded by the Conservatory & Botanical Gardens. And who among us can say they weren’t impressed by the world-famous fountain display?
What the experts say: “If you could wrap Bellagio up in a jersey, we’d have to retire the number. The upscale Lake Como of the desert won this category so many years in a row that we stopped counting — more time to watch the fountain show again, you know” — 31st Annual Best of Las Vegas
Hotel de Paris Monte-Carlo
The sovereign state of Monaco is one of the wealthiest places on Earth, and Hotel de Paris Monte-Carlo is the centerpiece of its opulent capital city. The decor is definitively European; the lobby is populated with marble sculptures and crystal chandeliers, while the rooms feature extravagant tapestries and rich mahogany furnishings. The hotel also offers world-class gambling; James Bond himself has played baccarat there on two separate occasions.
What the experts say: “This Belle Époque landmark on the Place du Casino is one of Europe’s top hotels” — Travel + Leisure
Ibiza Gran Hotel
From the eye-catching art installations to stunning views, this premier establishment exemplifies everything there is to love about Ibiza, a Mediterranean island that is one of the top destinations for European travelers. The dining options are also first-rate; The Jackpot Restaurant has been serving traditional Ibizian dishes for more than 30 years, while the La Gaia lounge cafe often features live music and/or gallery presentations for patrons to enjoy as they eat. And as for the gambling, Ibiza Gran Hotel offers some of the best Texas Hold ‘Em tables in Europe.
What the experts say: “Ibiza Gran Hotel has 157 suites that offer different experiences and conveniences. With a studied loft style and a large bathroom open to the room with an interior Jacuzzi, the suite becomes a large diaphanous space in which to feel comfortable, relaxed and cared for with all the privacy and exclusiveness that you are looking for” — Ibiza Style
Park Hyatt Mendoza
Park Hyatt Mendoza is one of South America’s top gambling destinations, but that only begins to describe the appeal of this elegant Argentinian hotel. In-house amenities include a full-treatment spa, several fine dining options and a nightclub that stays open until the wee hours of the morning. The resort is also 15 minutes from some of Mendoza’s world renowned wineries, and 90 minutes from phenomenal ski slopes. But if you came to play, the intimate casino — designed with distinctluy European flair — offers some of the best punto y banca this side of the Atlantic.
What the experts say: “Guest rooms, in general, are spacious and contemporary, and the huge white-marble bathrooms are the real stars. Sweeping columns of granite and stone showcase the lobby, and an impressive collection of Mendocino art pays tribute to local culture” — Frommer’s
Trump Taj Mahal
You don’t have to like Donald Trump to appreciate this lavish, 51-story Atlantic City establishment, which Gayot ranked first on a recent list of the world’s best casinos. The exquisite casino includes more than 200 table games, as well as a high-stakes salon and smoke-free poker room. But the hotel offers plenty of amenities to non-gamblers, as well. Dining options range from high-end fare like Il Mulino New York and Robert’s Steakhouse to casual options like Sbarro and Plate American Cafe. Other popular destinations include clothing boutiques and a full health spa.
What the experts say: “Grandeur is the defining design element, from the Austrian crystal chandelier in the center of the lobby to the Atlantic Ocean views from many of the 2,010 guest rooms. One of the largest casino hotels in the world, it offers every opportunity to double your money and your fun” — Gayot
Venetian Macao Resort
This massive hotel in the heart of Macau earns points on spectacle alone; at 10.5 million square feet, Venetian Macao is the largest casino in the world, with a gambling area that features 3,400 slot machines and more than 800 table games. There are also roughly 3,000 suites to accommodate guests, and a sporting event arena that seats more than 15,000 spectators. And like its Vegas counterpart, Venetian Macao features eye-popping indoor canals, complete with gondolas and waterfront shops. Macau has become a major destination for globe-trotting gamblers in recent years, and much of the credit/blame falls on this gargantuan resort.
What the experts say: “Unless you’ve been living under a rock you already know about the famous canals of Venice recreated indoors at the Venetian. But then there’s the exclusive shows like Zaia (held inside the 1,800 seat Zaia theater), a mini-golf course, and top-notch dining” — CNN Travel
By Brad Nehring