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From Mirage to Bellagio
by Andrei Rublev  Tuesday, the last day of August.

And I thought the Mirage was cool. Summer 1991, just after the SIGGRAPH convention in LV, we stayed almost a week at the Mirage. It was not my first trip to Vegas but it was the first time I really enjoyed it. I still regret the day I left that hotel.

Vegas has tremendously evolved in the past eight years and the Bellagio is slowly replacing the Mirage as my favorite LV hotel. This place is big and bad. Its sixteen restaurants offer an uncompromising range of tastes and ambiences, the main registration desk is backed by a patio where technology, hotel organization and sense of effort serving the guests has totally disappeared. The army of desk attendants appear in front of you like holograms in an Italian villa. The worst comment I have about the place so far is that the Prada boutique doesn't carry clothing for men.

The pool is a kind of water garden from the Roman Empire (without the statues). It sports at least half a dozen fountain-like pools that you can enjoy from private cabanas that guests can book for the day.

The casino part, most of the main floor of course, is cleverly divided into many gazebo-like areas surrounded by (stores). Dividing the space in many intimate areas reminiscent of Frank LLoyd Wright's concept of the room within the room. Sitting at the Black Jack table is like hopping on a safety boat from the roaring ocean of people.

The entire thing is post-Disney. Volutes, columns and flowers are over-sized, the colors have barely been mixed after they came out from the tubes and the sitting is too comfortable not to come from Minnie's appartment.

The lake between the hotel and the strip have a water show that bursts every 15 minutes. If you tune your room's TV to channel 31 you get to hear the tune to which the water dances.

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