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Have a city staycation: experience Las Vegas in Leicester Square

Posted at 2:00 pm, July 25, 2013 in Arts & Entertainment, Fun London, Hotels & Travel

Sonya Barber in Vegas © Rob Greig

These days, going on an actual holiday requires a second mortgage, a third job or a fourth credit card. Luckily, you can find nearly every kind of great getaway right here in London. Let us take you on a trip without leaving the city. 

Okay: cards on the table. I’ve never been to Las Vegas. In reality it sounds like a giant version of that indoor promenade at the O2, but I’m sure you can recreate the iconic fantasy without leaving our fair city – perhaps even Zone 1.

Glad rags on and burdened with bling, I’m ready for an early start and my ride, a Dodge Charger ‘Demon’ Limo. The champagne bar is stocked and there are disco lights. This is a lot cooler than the 38 bus.

First stop is the Hippodrome Casino. This 24-hour gambling haunt has all the right trimmings: plush carpets, shiny surfaces and no daylight. It’s only 9am but it’s already hard to find a table. Easier to find a cocktail, though.

Two bracingly strong Rat Pack Manhattans later and so the money loss begins. Blackjack, roulette, craps, slot machines –my budget is doomed, but hell, I’m feeling pretty Vegas-y. Time for lunch at Planet Hollywood, where I stare vacantly at Forrest Gump’s original ‘Army’ sweatshirt. A classic all-theextras burger revives me. Then a Malibu-and banana- liqueur cocktail pushes me over the edge and into M&M World, where I finish the afternoon grabbing as many rainbow-coloured sweets as I can afford (at their tourist prices, that’s not many).

Night falls and I head to the red velvet enclave of Café de Paris to see Black Cat Cabaret, where I get an eyeful of tap dancers, feather, fire and burlesque. That’s about as close to strippers as I want my Vegas experience to get.

As the sun rises, I stumble bleary-eyed to the W Hotel’s Wyld Club to dance under Europe’s largest mirrorball. A leather-panelled lift takes me to their penthouse suite where I gaze at the bright lights of Leicester Square, which I have slurringly now renamed ‘Las Vaig-ester Square’ and try not be sick on the rotating sofa. Suddenly my reflection in the bedroom’s mirrored ceiling doesn’t seem so glam… Sonya Barber

Vegas In London : The Cost

Travel £260 for a 45-minute bright-light limo tour of central London and pick-up afterwards.
Lunch at Planet Hollywood
Gambling and cocktails Aaaargh! 

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