Paris, Venetian, Caesars Palace, all hotels in Las Vegas that one doesn’t have to see the signage to know their name. There’s a full sized Eiffel Tower, then canals and their gondolas and another with huge Roman style statues, respectively.
But Bellagio Hotel, has it’s own distinctive and awesome signature, the unique dancing fountains. And it has the music that are synchronized with the waters that mesmerizes and makes this hotel a stand out for the most savvy sophisticates.
Certainly, just get over the threshold and the scene stealer is the lobby registration’s colorful, hand blown, floral glass ceiling by the famed glass sculptor, Dale Chihuly. Few hotels are so striking from the minute you walk in and capture the imagination enough to make you wonder what the rooms and amenities must be. There’s surely a tie between the amazing and gigantic floral arrangements that are changed every few days at the cost of $3 million a year and the entrancing ambience.
It’s been about 8 years since I last visited Bellagio, this being the fourth time and some of the rooms and hallways are looking their age…a bit tired and dreary and in need of some updating. But the good news is that the adjacent SpaTowers have been renovated to perfection and there are plans to redecorate.
So it shouldn’t be a surprise to find the shopping arcade with free standing boutiques by Prada, Chanel, Armani, Vuitton, Cartier, Hermes and more to spend your winnings from the casino or just because you feel like it. That’s what Las Vegas is all about. Doing what you want when you want to. For instance, take the spa’s extraordinary venue, which is not over rated and gives what they promise on the menu from the latest in massages with quality lotions and potions.
Perhaps what stands out for me, is that no other hotel has an on-site, world famous art gallery which this hotel was made famous for by its former owner, Steve Wynn (He hasn’t done badly with his two stunning hotels further down the Strip, Wynn’s and Wynn Encore).
Depending on what your late evening activities were, there are few eye openers like the cafe overlooking the always changing seasonal decor (Easter when I was there) of the huge glass top inside garden. Just having the available healthy options on the menu is pretty enticing, but to get to see the planting of tulips and all the Dutch ornaments like a huge wooden clog, placed so strategically is, in itself, a great activity with no energy needed except for the jaw chewing nourishment.
And what other hotels can boast of a dining room filled with gigantic, well thought out flowers set in special vases and tables that overlook a renowned man- made fountain in the desert and most importantly, walls filled with original art, be it a painting, drawing or ceramics, by the famous artist, Pablo Picasso -hence the name of this very up market restaurant. But the art doesn’t stop there. It continues with each serving of a specialty served on Picasso-esque designed plates and ladened with culinary masterpieces by Chef Julian Serrano.
I’ve had the amazing good fortune of eating at some of the world’s best. For example, a most extraordinary lunch at the late but great Fat Duck just outside of London, the also late and also great 3 star Michelin rated, Fredy Girardet’s renowned restaurant in Crissier, about a twenty minute cab drive from Lausanne. Giradet was and is still considered one of the 20th’s best chefs where there was always a 5 month waiting list. Then there is Napa Valley’s, The French Laundry.
But who would have expected a meal of 7 exquisitely tasting courses made with the finest products and food that only top notch chefs are expected to present? I’ve even thought of getting a list together since Chef Serrano should be rated by Michelin. The impeccable service, the ambience plus one of the best meals I’ve ever eaten, made this a talking point for all my social events.
What’s a classy restaurant without an Amuse Bouche? Ours was a triple header served on an oval white platter containing a small cup of unforgettable leek soup, fine caviar on a small fried potato, a speared quail egg with smoked salmon.
That wasn’t even starters. The first course was fresh lobster with champagne vinaigrette, cherry tomatoes, avocado and the smallest balls of the sweetest cantaloupe. Next course was scallops with potato mousseline in a Pinot Noir sauce.
By then my guest and I were begging for time-out between dishes. After a reprieve, there were exquisite, perfectly done, tender, ruby red shrimps with fresh herbs and spices and fresh vegetable. White truffles were generously shaved on the risotto made with a Pinot Noir sauce that didn’t distract from the perfectly done risotto.
I still salivate and dream about the main course. Kobe Beef that was so tender, I never want to taste another steak or beef again if it isn’t Kobe. This was served with a truffle red wine sauce.
Happily the dessert, beautifully presented, was not over-the-top. Mine was a sorbet and chocolate cake. My friend had chocolate mousse.
Our wines, though not paired for the meal, were our own choice. My guest had 2010 Chardonnay, Cakebread Cellars, from Napa,Californian that was a demi bottle but I preferred the taste of 2009 Chardonnay, Ramey wine Cellars, Sonoma coast California only available in a full bottle. Since I wanted only a glass, I opted for 2005 Merlot, Corte Riva Vineyards, Napa Valley,California, a full bodied wine which I was very pleased with. We were both delighted with our choices.
Overwhelmed by the meal, we’re still raving about this, superlative opportunity to stay at this fine establishment and dine at the famed Picasso. The master, himself, would have enjoyed this occasion, too.
Price.$$$$$ Expect expensive. Approximately $300/person. And if I were to rate this fine eatery, it would be a forker.
The Fountains of Bellagio Photo Courtesy of MGM MIRAGE