on December 22, 2008
The Bellagio is one of my favourite hotels - from the outside anyway. Don't get me wrong, it's very nice inside too, but whoever designed the exterior really knew what they were doing. The Strip has always felt a little unreal, but recently, with all the construction works going on, it's lost that a little bit. Some of the Old Style Vegas has gone and it's all being replaced by shiny new shops and hotels that don't have that old character that the Frontier style places used to have. Thankfully though, the Bellagio offers something of an oasis in the middle of all this. The Hotel stands in relatively simple splendour above a sparkling, tree lined driveway and its own rather impressive lake. You can stroll along the edge, with a broad walkway for pedestrians and recessed alcoves to gather away from the milling foot traffic that is a constant presence on the Strip. The hotel pumps music all along this frontage and most of the time it just drifts past you, but every so often it will cut away to a different song and an array of fountains will emerge from beneath the dark waters of the lake. If this happens then do take the time to stop and enjoy the show. It is well worth it. This is something that is definitely best appreciated after dark. The fountains are accompanied by a light show and the backdrop of the Strip and the hotel itself all lit up - which is when Vegas is at its best anyway - all adds an extra dimension to the show that you just don't get during the day. It truly is a breathtaking thing to watch, as Singing in the Rain plays from unseen speakers and this array of fountain jets swing and sway in time, shooting jets of glowing water 100 feet in the air. The free shows in Vegas are unfortunately dwindling, along with a lot of the cheap accommodation and the cheap food, but this one should be here to stay. It plays every 15-30 minutes after dark and more infrequently during the day. Take the time to get there and wait for a song that you like to come on - some songs definitely work better than others, so if you're unimpressed by the first show you see hang around for the next one. Bring your camera, wrap up warm and enjoy the spectacle.
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