Viva Las Vegas! Part III: Bellissima Bellagio


Bellagio Gardens
Bellagio Gardens (Photo credit: Ben Adamson)

Bellagio Gardens
Bellagio Gardens (Photo credit: Ben Adamson)
Hall Bellagio - Las Vegas
Hall Bellagio – Las Vegas (Photo credit: Eduardo Mateos)

It seemed that I was the last person with whom I was acquainted who had never set foot in Las Vegas, or even in the State of Nevada for that matter.  Over the years, various aunts, uncles, cousins, even my own mother had traveled multiple times to Las Vegas.  For me, it had held little appeal.

When it came time to give serious consideration to where and how to celebrate Anjelica’s 21st birthday, we each had several ideas:  Dublin, Ireland; London, England; San Francisco, California; and Las Vegas.  Since Anjelica had been in London a little over a year ago, and with the Summer Olympics looming, and Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations just over, we nixed London.  Tony Bennett might have left his heart in San Francisco, but the the Golden Gate Bridge would have to wait another year or so for us to converge.  Since we might journey to Copenhagen, Denmark over Thanksgiving this November, we ruled out Dublin and overseas travel this summer.  Finally, we gravitated toward Las Vegas.

After well-placed phone calls with our friend, Mary the Italian Travel Agent Extraordinaire, we landed at The Bellagio.  Unlike Tony Bennett [another Italian whose given name is Antonio Benedetto], I lost my heart to The Bellagio.  The first stunner is the ceiling of the enormous foyer:  The ceiling is covered with Dale Chihuly’s colorful glass artwork.  In case one is interested in purchasing a piece or two or three of Chihuly’s art glass, there is a Chihuly shop conveniently located in the Botanical Gardens of The Bellagio.  My daughter, the journalism and classical studies major, snapped photo after photo of Chihuly’s glass.

In fact, both of our iPhones had workouts because Bellagio’s floors mesmerized me.  Various inlaid marble designs were lavished throughout the hotel, primarily on the first floor, which is vast.  We cared little about how much we ate because we walked miles throughout The Bellagio each day, my eyes riveted to the intricate mosaic tile designs.  I had not seen anything so beautiful since I lived for several months in Vietri Sul Mare, Italy, home of multiple ceramic fabbricas.

My idea of Las Vegas wedding chapels had been formed by movies and television shows.  Ergo, I figured them to be sleazy and low-life.  How wrong I was:  The Bellagio had several wedding chapels that exuded sophistication.  We even glimpsed a bride in a lovely long white gown.

The primary swimming pool reminded us a bit of the Borghese Gardens in Rome, Italy, although I gather that The Bellagio’s pool emulates the one at San Simeon in California.   The mosaic design on the floor of the pool brought on waves of nostalgia for swimming in Amalfi, Italy, as I used to do.  Attractive cabanas around the pool reminded me of those along the beach of Sorrento, Italy.

All was palatial at The Bellagio, yet tastefully so, from the foyer to the swimming pool to the art museum to the restaurants to Cirque Du Soleil’s O show, and even to the casino.  Bellissima Bellagio!

Ciao for now.

Viva Las Vegas! Part I

The Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas.
The Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Fountains of Bellagio as seen from the Par...
The Fountains of Bellagio as seen from the Paris Las Vegas hotel, across the Strip from the Bellagio. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now that the jet lag has subsided, the suitcases have been unpacked, and the groceries replenished, we turn our attention to bringing our voyage into a coherent perspective.

We celebrated my daughter’s 21st birthday in Las Vegas, Nevada, which is three hours behind our Heartland time zone; hence, the jet lag.  Her Fourth of July birthday this year was celebrated in grand style during our stay at The Bellagio Hotel.  For years I assiduously had avoided Las Vegas:  It seemed too glitzy and too cheesy for my elevated taste.  Furthermore, I am not a gambling woman, at least not with the color of my own money.  Initially, ringing in her 21st birthday in Dublin, Ireland seemed feasible.  The only problem with that idea was that the Irish do not celebrate our Fourth of July.  In the end, a particular performer proved to be the main draw for my daughter; consequently, to the Land of Las Vegas we schlepped.

Once we settled on Las Vegas as a Fourth of July birthday venue, the decision of where to stay reared its head.  Having already been to Venice, Italy five times, the idea of a reduced replica of the Grand Canal held little appeal.  Having shopped on the Veneto in the aforementioned real Venice, the Venetian shops in Las Vegas’ Venetian were not our cup of cappuccino.  Having been to Paris, France and its Eiffel Tower, Las Vegas’ Paris with its reduced sized Eiffel Tower replica was less than appealing, although our 16th floor Lake View room at The Bellagio was situated directly across from The Paris and its Eiffel Tower whose night lights provided a lovely backdrop to The Bellagio’s gorgeous Fountains and accompanying music.

Like a guilty pleasure, my ardor swelled:  I fell for Las Vegas, or, more to the point, I fell for The Bellagio.  Its Art Museum had an exhibit of Monet paintings on loan from the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.  Bellagio’s Art Museum was a jewel of a place tucked off the beaten path of the casino, away from the exotic swimming pool, and never ending foot traffic.  The Monet paintings were stunning, as only Monet’s artwork can be.  After consulting with my favorite travel agent, an Italian friend named Mary, we decided upon The Bellagio over The Venetian.  The deal breaker for me was The Bellagio’s art.  Where else could we dine exquisitely in Las Vegas surrounded by Picasso’s artwork, other than at Bellagio’s Picasso restaurant?   Reluctantly, we finally had to leave the Bellagio, its fine dining, magnificent fountains, and hospitable staff.  We will someday return to partake of its delights again.

Ciao for now.