Where to stay in Las Vegas

Vegas doesn't do understated. This week we have a choice of OTT extravagance or a huge fake Italian villa on the banks of a fake Lake Como.

The Palazzo

This enormous hotel has 7,000 suites, 50 restaurants, cafes, bars and banqueting halls, which can cater for 10,000 people a night.

How they rate it

"The Palazzo is more than Vegas with extra sequins. It's a hotel on crack," says John Flanders in The Times. The suites are enormous and "decorated in the kind of 'no embellishment is an embarrassment' style that would make Elton John blush".

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But the hotel's main appeal "lies in the scale and ambition of the shops and restaurants". It's the first hotel in the world to have its own department store. Barneys New York is stretched over three floors and houses the best designer collections in Las Vegas in fact, probably in the whole of Nevada.

The restaurants

Your dining options at the Palazzo are certainly not limited. The hotel has two of America's best chefs at its service. For East Coast fare, Mario Batali's Carnevino "offers the best of New York", with excellent new-style Italian sashimi raw fish with pesto and olive oil. Meanwhile, Wolfgang Puck's CUT, which specialises in Californian cuisine, serves a fine steak.

The cost

Rooms cost from $249 per night. Contact: 00 1 702 607 7777; www.palazzolasvegas.com.

The Bellagio Resort


The Bellagio opened in 1998 and was the centre of the action in George Clooney's remake of Ocean's Eleven. The hotel is a replica of a huge Italian villa situated on the banks of a fake Lake Como, whose fountains dance to anything from opera to Elvis.

The hotel's penthouse suites are popular with Las Vegas's high rollers, says The Sunday Times Magazine. The rooms come with his and hers bathrooms his has a steam shower; hers a whirlpool bath. There is also a wet bar complete with fridge, so you don't have to get out of the bath if you fancy another glass of champagne.

How they rate it

"It's a wild and wacky place, but it provides a refuge of comfort and sanity in an otherwise nutty town," says the former British Ambassador to the US, Sir Christopher Meyer, who describes it as his favourite hotel in The Sunday Telegraph.

The restaurants

Julian Serrano's Picasso restaurant at the Bellagio has two stars, thanks to dishes that include lamb with truffle crust and medallions of fallow deer.

The cost

Rooms at the Bellagio cost from $199 per night (00 1 888 987 6667; www.bellagio.com).

But for a cheaper trip to Las Vegas go to www.visitlasvegas.com, which is offering great deals, as the recession has put a serious dent in Sin City's tourist trade.

What the travel writers are saying

If you're looking for clear blue water, white sands and beautiful marine life, you can't beat the Indian Ocean. The Independent has picked its favourite hotels on its shores.

Le Domaine de l'Orangeraie in the Seychelles (00 248 234 444; Orangeraie.sc) fills the gap between the ultra-luxurious hotels and simpler holiday rentals on the islands. Based on the island of La Digue, these villas balance "Creole style and contemporary opulence". Weekly rentals starts at $1,505, with the villas sleeping a maximum of three.

Karang Kembar in Indonesia (00 65 9018 1742; www.bali-karangkembarestate.com) is a "stunning Balinese villa" offering panoramic views of the ocean. The design is "refreshingly contemporary, with vernacular touches such as Buddhist statues and outdoor bathrooms". Kids will love their nautical-themed room, while parents can relax in the spa treatment room. A week-long rental costs from $7,425. The villa sleeps ten.

The Ilot Malais in Mauritius (020 7801 4010; Sjvillas.co.uk) is "ideal for guests who don't want to share the sand" it's on a private island. It has a 25-metre beachside pool and is great for snorkelling. Weekly rental costs from €1,750; the villa sleeps 11.

My dream holiday: Darren Gough

For exclusivity, visit Canouan Island in the Grenadines, says Darren Gough in The Times. You land in Barbados and fly on by private jet. "It's a beautiful resort with restaurants, a casino and a great golf course." The last time Gough was there, "the turtles had just hatched and had lost their way, so people were rescuing all these little turtles... it was fantastic". Rooms from $375 a night; Canouan.com.