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Las Vegas hosts many big conventions. Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg News
Las Vegas hosts many big conventions. Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg News

Las Vegas, Dubai's brash cousin in the American desert

The Life: Las Vegas has many similarities with Dubai. It's a long haul from the UAE, but a fascinating place to visit.

One can draw many similarities between Las Vegas and Dubai. From the Bellagio fountain, bright lights and top-notch hotels, Vegas is a top destination for not only pleasure, but business as well, playing host to some of the biggest conferences and conventions in the world.

As well as having thematic parallels, the cities overlap economically.

The Nevada city's economy was hit hard by the recession and it lost out to cheaper gambling destinations such as Macau.

But it has been making steady progress over the past few years, helped by Dubai World's investment in the city - it purchased a 9.5 per cent stake in MGM resorts for US$2.4 billion back in 2007.

Eating out: It would probably take a lifetime to work your way through all the restaurants in Las Vegas.

The city has attracted some of the world's top chefs, including Gordon Ramsay, to create a vibrant and diverse culinary scene.

For something slightly different, try Hot N Juicy Crawfish off the strip. The restaurant has proven so popular with locals it has opened another branch in Vegas and expanded outside the state to Florida and California.

Where to stay: For a little taste of home, try the Bellagio with the original dancing fountain.

The hotel boasts 4,000 rooms and Dale Chihuly's Fiori di Como display in the lobby ceiling comprising more than 2,000 hand-blown glass flowers.

The hotel also offers wedding services in front of the fountain.

Off hours: Catch one of the many shows across town, including Cirque du Soleil, of which there are about four manifestations running at a time, or Celine Dion at Caesars Palace, the biggest hotel in the city.

How to get there: Getting to Vegas from the UAE can be an arduous journey and takes about 24 hours. Your best bet is to fly into New York or Washington from Dubai or Abu Dhabi then catch a domestic flight, which takes about five hours.

 

thamid@thenational.ae

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