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Sights & Sounds

Bellagio gardens dazzle in summer finery

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

A visit to the Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Garden is always near the top of our list of best free things to do in Las Vegas and last week’s stop didn’t disappoint.  This summer’s display is filled with whimsical creatures, psychedelic mushrooms, over-sized garden tools and a collection of bonsai-styled olive trees — a setting that would make Johnny Depp’s Mad Hatter feel right at home.

If you are heading to Las Vegas this summer be sure to check out this fabulous free display.  If possible, be there once the sun goes down as the gardens become even more beautiful when decked out in a custom lighting display that off-sets the night sky above.

Tip:  No stop at the Bellagio is complete without a visit to Jean-Philippe Patisserie for a perfect Napoleon, raspberry tart or fondant-adorned mini-carrot cake.

Enjoy these photos from this summer’s display at the Bellagio gardens.

Bellagio gardens summer display

Crazy mushrooms at Bellagio garden display VegasFloral display at Bellagio gardens

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Nighttime is the right time to see the Bellagio’s divine garden display

Friday, August 7th, 2009
Simply magical.  The Bellagio gardens shine after the sun goes down.  (Photo & all content property of www.royallyflushed.com)

Simply magical. The Bellagio gardens shine after the sun goes down. (Photos & all content property of www.royallyflushed.com)

No matter how busy we are during our trips to Las Vegas, we still never miss the chance to see what gorgeous seasonal display the Bellagio has in store for visitors to their remarkable Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. We definitely consider it to be one of the top free things to do on the Las Vegas Strip.

For some reason, we always seem to be at the Bellagio during the day but because we spent two fabulous nights there this trip, we were able to visit the famed Bellagio garden at night and see it in all its evening finery. If you have never seen the garden at night, you really should make a point of going because it truly is a different experience once the sun goes down.  You can see from the photos how the ambiance changes day to night.

This summer the display features some popular design elements used in the past including colorful hot air balloons floating overhead and a pair of father and son bears made entirely from greenery. New this year: a brilliantly-lit Ferris wheel with cars brimming with sunflowers; a glass “green house” with aviaries featuring flocks of rainbow-colored birds like lorikeets and parakeets; and whimsical over-sized tin cans pouring forth glowing cascades of water.

The current display will be on view until September 14 when the theme changes to one featuring autumn leaves and harvest time colors.

Daytime reveals colorful balloons and a green house filled with exotic birds.

Daytime reveals colorful balloons and a green house filled with exotic birds.

Dancing waters accented with LED lights put on a show at night at the Bellagio gardens.

Dancing waters accented with LED lights put on a show at night at the Bellagio gardens.

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Top 15 Cool Things To Do On A Hot Vegas Day

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009
The adults-only GO pool at Flamingo Las Vegas is a tropical oasis in the summer.

The adults-only GO pool at Flamingo Las Vegas is a tropical oasis in the summer.

It may be hot outside but Las Vegas offers lots of great attractions all summer long and you don’t have to break a sweat to enjoy them.

1.  Tour Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay Resort And Casino.  Cruising through the more than 1 million gallons of seawater can’t help but make you feel a whole lot cooler.

2.  Order TWO scoops of super-rich, intensely-flavored ice cream at Sugar & Ice at Wynn Las Vegas.

3.  Enjoy a frozen, fruity concoction while lying poolside at any of the city’s fabulous “ultra-pools.” We enjoy the surprisingly hidden tropical gardens and pool complex at Flamingo Las Vegas — complete with real pink flamingos.

4.  Sip a cold beer inside the Fontana Lounge at the Bellagio while watching the fabulous fountain show taking place just outside.

5.  Wander the wide halls of the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood then stop for lunch at the beach-themed Hawaiian Tropic Zone restaurant (complete with bikini-clad servers!) (more…)

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A Big Win at Harrah’s Ak-Chin

Sunday, May 3rd, 2009
Poker Buddy scores with a double Royal Flush for a cool two grand.

Poker Buddy scores with a double Royal Flush for a cool two grand.

P.B.:  “Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino is announcing their Alaskan cruise contest winners tonight.  Do you want to go out for it?”

Me:  “Not really…I’m kinda’ tired today.”

Three hours later —

Me:  “Okay, I got my second wind.  Let’s go out and see if we won a cruise.”

P.B.:  “Yeah, let’s go but I don’t want to play too much.”

Me:  “Nah, me neither.”

Two hours later —

See above photo!  Poker Buddy hits for $2000 on a quarter Triple Play DDB video poker game.  Dealt four to the Royal Flush, he pulls the queen twice for TWO Royals.  Cha-Ching!

Hmm, maybe we should not “want to play too much” more often?  (No cruise by the way.)

Got any stories you wanna’ share?  We’d love to hear them so tell us about your big wins in the comments section of this post.

Want to practice your video poker strategy for free online?  Just go to videopoker.com to play your favorite games on the ‘net’s largest non-wagering video poker site.


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Truly, Madly, Cheaply — A Valentine’s Day Celebration for Less

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009
Better than a box of chocolates -- a stop at Payard Patisserie at Caesars Palace on Valentine's Day.

Better than a box of chocolates? A stop at Payard Patisserie at Caesars Palace on Valentine's Day.

In honor of Valentine’s Day, we were going to run a list of our favorite romantic (read expensive) restaurants in Las Vegas.  However, with all the talk about how Las Vegas has become such a great “frugal” destination for travelers (it is!) plus considering the state of the economy — not to mention our wallets — we’ve decided that in lieu of that list, we’ve come up with this list: Seven inexpensive yet fun and romantic things you and your sweetie can do this coming weekend.  (Lots of these ideas can be used in places other than Las Vegas so take a look even if you won’t be traveling for V-Day.)

1.  One of our favorite stores is Bijoux Terner, otherwise known as the “$10 boutique.”  Everything (and we really mean everything) from purses to watches to bold and brassy necklaces and earrings is just $10.  Why not treat your sweetie to a week’s worth of colorful watches or five new handbags in spring’s brightest shades.  No, not “designer” pieces but who wants to spend a ton on a bright orange watch or a psychedelic pink purse anyways?

2.  Try a “celebrity chef” for less.  Case in point; Tom Colicchio, famous head judge on Bravo TV’s smash-hit “Top Chef” is the brains (and toque) behind ‘wichcraft at MGM Grand.  His fabulous meatloaf sandwich is just $10 and almost as good as the beefy entrees at his high-priced Craftsteak restaurant just down the corridor.  Oh, and make sure you save room for the decadent “Whoopie Pie” — chocolate cake layers filled with vanilla pudding. (more…)

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Breakfast and a Stroll Through the Gardens at The Bellagio Las Vegas

Saturday, January 24th, 2009

Sliced apples atop perfect puff pastry from Jean-Philippe at The Bellagio.

As much as I love the hustle and bustle of the Strip in Las Vegas, it’s kinda’ nice to also find a quiet spot and just kick back, relax and soak in the atmosphere.  If you’ve been reading this blog, you know of my fondness for all things sweet — be it a five-star dessert, a humble cookie or a morning pastry — so it will come as no surprise that this little respite from the action included a visit to Jean-Philippe Patisserie at The Bellagio.

While P.B. was enjoying breakfast and the newspaper back at our hotel’s all-day café, I took a walk over to Bellagio to see the latest transformation of the Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, pick up a light breakfast and simply enjoy the morning. (more…)

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Christmas in Las Vegas – The Sequel

Wednesday, December 24th, 2008

Wishing you all a very happy holiday season. We’re off for a few days to enjoy time with family and friends — and, no doubt, a little spiked eggnog — but we’ll be back this weekend.

"Harrk the Harrald Angels Sing...."

"Harrk the Harrald Angels Sing"...(and play instruments, too!)

"I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus...."

"I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" -- who looks an awful lot like the next-door neighbor.

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Christmas in Las Vegas

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008
Hanging stockings at Caesars Palace.

Hanging stockings at Caesars Palace.

I think I see Santa!  (Are those dolphins or a Mirage?)

I think I see Santa! No, wait...it's just that big picture of Donny Osmond.

More photo fun all this week!

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Look Up — Caesars Palace Lobby Features Intricate Lighting

Friday, December 19th, 2008
Details and more details surround this intricate light fixture at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

A lot of thought went into this intricate light fixture at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

Things may not be looking up in Las Vegas — yet — but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.  Look up, I mean.  Here’s another entry in our “Las Vegas Look Up” series of posts and photos showing some of the striking design elements we’ve found in Las Vegas casinos.

Today’s entry comes from Caesars Palace — the registration lobby at Caesars to be exact.  For some reason, this light fixture really caught my eye.  From a distance, it reminded me of some sort of giant cell colony.  Don’t ask me why but when I looked up it instantly reminded me of something you’d see under a microscope.  Upon closer inspection — click on the photo to enlarge — those cells are actually etchings of classic Roman figures and symbols.

Check out, too, the intricate flourishes painted onto the ceiling surrounding the base of the fixture.   And, yes, that is accent lighting surrounding each of these accent lights!  I LOVE this lavish attention to detail that you always find in casinos throughout Las Vegas.


Las Vegas Hotel Sale

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Click Your Way through a History of Las Vegas

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008

By far, one of the coolest interactive maps I have ever seen is at the Las Vegas Sun website.  You have got to go check this out to see a graphic history of the rise and fall of casino development throughout the Las Vegas area. 

There are actually three maps to explore — The Strip, Downtown and the Valley — and on each one, you click on what era you want to see and the map shows you what casinos were in place at that point in time.  For instance, head to “The Strip” map and click on the tab “1960” for an idea of the places Frank, Sammy and Dean were hanging out at during the Rat Pack years.  As you click on each casino, a pop-up appears and you can read a short history of the property and see some photos.  I thought it really interesting to see the original Caesars Palace pics to get an idea of the multiple expansions that property has gone through in order to morph into what we now see on The Strip. 

The entire History section, aptly called “A Gamble in the Sand,” is a goldmine of facts and photos and a truly fascinating look at a remarkable American city.  Spend some time there and you’ll know Vegas as never before.

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Design Surprises Delight Those Who “Look Up” in Las Vegas

Tuesday, November 11th, 2008
A colorful garden of blooms await at The Bellagio if you just look up.

Beautifully-rendered bunches of colorful spring flowers await at The Bellagio... if you just look up.

What do the Sistine Chapel and Las Vegas have in common?  Well, if you want to see the good stuff at either place, you’re going to have to stop walking (recommended if you don’t want to crash into other people,) throw your head back and look up.

While much is made of the crazy colorful carpeting found in casinos all around the country — and rightfully so – you also need to look UP as well as down to see some of the more remarkable design elements scattered throughout favorite casinos.  Nowhere is this truer than in Las Vegas where over-the-top design is simply commonplace and excess is the norm rather than the exception.  But hey, this is why we love the place! (more…)

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A Perfect Moment in Las Vegas

Thursday, November 6th, 2008
Mix lounge at THEhotel, Mandalay Bay, offers a splendid sunset view.

Watch the Las Vegas sunset at Mix lounge atop THEhotel at Mandalay Bay.

Whether it is your first trip to LasVegas or your 20th, one spot you do not want to miss is Mix lounge at THEhotel in the Mandalay Bay resort.  Be sure to time your visit so you’re there when the sun is setting and you will be treated to an absolutely magical view of Las Vegas.

When you arrive at Mandalay Bay, head for the back of the casino, near the theater, where you’ll find the reception area for THEhotel and the Mix elevator bank.  While the glassed-in lift slowly ascends to the 64th floor, you get your first view of the Las Vegas landscape laid out before you and a preview of what’s to come. (more…)

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