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Bellagio : Ten Years Later

By Chuckmonster on Tuesday, 2nd September 2008 4:55am
  » filed under Las Vegas  comments: 8


Bellagio at Ten

It's hard to believe that we're coming up on the ten year anniversary of the grand opening of the resort that ushered in the luxury era of Las Vegas -Bellagio.

I remember the advance hype of Bellagio's opening as if it were yesterday. TV's and radios in Southern California were atwitter with talk of a multi-billion dollar megaresort that featured real live Picasso paintings, classical music, truly astonishing luxury accommodations, the finest food, a massive fountain display and enough high priced shopping to make even Bill Gates' accountant blush. When I heard about this "Bellagio" thing, my gut reaction was of astonished bewilderment. I just couldn't comprehend the price tag and laughed it off dismissively, thinking to myself... that's gonna be a bust.

In 1998, I was a destitute musician living on peanut butter, crackers and party favors. Even though I was flat broke, I still managed to make periodic trips out to Sin City to partake in whatever degree of freaking out I could afford. Two weeks after Bellagio's grand opening on October 15, 1998, I went to Vegas, but not the latest razzmatazz resort. I drove through the desert in my trusty old 71 VW Bus straight from a Phish show, high as a kite on LSD and looking forward to two more nights with 10,000 of my closest friends - including Vermont's finest - at Thomas & Mack.

There's nothing in the world quite like watching dawn as it creeps over the horizon, shadows of a million cacti noodle dancing on the sand while wispy clouds bubble and seep over the top of every mountain peak. Vegas tripping indeed. My travel companion and I arrived in the parking garage of Circus Circus at 7am, pulled out the bed and crashed hard. Shortly after noon, he left to go check into the rooms that would play host to at least 420 stinky hippies over the next few days. I, on the other hand, still managed to display good taste... no, I didn't stay at the two week old Bellagio, or inside of C2. Instead, I opted for two luxurious nights (comped) in the back of my trusty old VW Van surrounded by RVs in the Circus Circus parking lot, cooking burritos on a camp stove. Lean times, but hella hella fun.

Since then, a lot has changed. I've still got the bus, but it's been off the road for a while, laying in wait until I have the time and space to pimp the thing out. Phish has broken up twice, I cut my hair, got a job, got married and sorta grew up.

Bellagio, too, has changed. It's sprouted a ton more hotel rooms, was taken over by a competitor, had some new neighbors move in, replaced it's restaurants, installed nightclubs and a got a new casino floor.

So, the question is... after nearly ten years of operation, how do you think Bellagio has stood the test of time? What do you miss about it's earlier incarnations? How does it stack up in 2008, and where do you see it in 2018?



Comments & Discussion:

Well I wasn't old enough to be in Vegas in 1998...I was only 13 years old! LoL.
But everytime I walk through that place I just feel like I'm not "fancy" enough to be in there. Especially over by the tables on weekend nights when the minimum bets are $25-$50 and all the stuck ups in suits and ties playing.

Bellagio was the first, and being first does not often make you the best - but in this case it does. And as the years tick by Bellagio manages to keep up with the demads of today rather than resting on the laurels of yesterday. And so, no matter what else I do on a Vegas trip, I always - ALWAYS - visit Bellagio. She is still the grand lady of the strip with more character and style than anything that has cropped up since - and by the looks of things she doesn't have much to worry about from future resorts. Built in an age when the theme was the thing her theme was elegance, and she has stood the test of time. 10 years could have made Bellagio tired and boring, but it hasn't - and so she is still as valid and vital today as then!

I musta seen the Big B right after it opened and all i remember is being glared at by some security guard standing beside a sign that said "dress code in effect" and we just strolled in wearin shorts and sandals, not caring about anything

Yeah Spyder but when you come in wearing the Canadian tuxedo (for those of you that don't know what that is, denim shirt, jeans, and a denim jacket) and sandals with socks people tend to stare.

I've been in the Bellagio twice and both times I just felt out of place. I will admit it is beautiful and the free fountain show is still among my favorite part of Vegas trips, but sometimes the Bellagio feels as though it's set up to keep regular folks out of there.

I'd actually like to play blackjack in there but I've never seen a seat for less than $15 a hand and it was the crappy kind that paid 6:5.

My first trip to Bellagio was on the evening of April 16th, 1999. I was amazed inside and out. I remember table limits being way high for me. I think the lowest 21 table minimum was $50.

I feel this place held up it's luxurious charm which made it famous the world around and the additions helped compliment the property to keep up with the trends of vegas casinos. I'll have to stop by again on my next trip to say Happy Birthday !

10 years!? Isn't it time to tear that dump down yet??

To echo/belabor the sentiment of others, I too feel out-of-place going into the Bellagio in my shorts and tenny-runners. But I do like the fact that there are places like the Bellagio for the upscale crowd to enjoy, the IP and the Strat for the other end of the spectrum, Circus Circus for the masochists, etc. Las Vegas should be a place that everyone can find a place that's comfortable for their price range and tastes.

Except the LA club-scene douchebags. They need to die a slow, painful death.

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