Discover the days of yore on your Vegas vacation. The Excalibur endeavors to re-create the Middle Ages, a time filled with adventure and enchantment. Centrally located amid all the action at the southern end of the Strip, the storybook-like fortress boasts a drawbridge and moat. Other medieval touches can be spotted throughout the architecture and décor, such as turreted towers, stone columns, wood paneling and candle chandeliers.
The Excalibur is perfect for families because they can let their young ones act like knights and fair ladies. The Fun Dungeon is among the themed activities. It's packed with carnival-style games. The expansive pool area has a thrilling waterslide -- as well as 17 decked-out cabanas for parents. After dark, everyone can attend the "Tournament of Kings," where they'll experience the gallantry and equestrian feats from one of the tales about King Arthur. The arena is spectacular, and in addition to cheering on your knight, there is a three-course dinner to be eaten with your fingers.
Opened in 1990, the castle has undergone extensive "modernization" to appeal to singles and mature travelers without kids. Additional entertainment offerings are definitely geared toward grown-ups. Women will go crazy for the hot Thunder from Down Under troupe (the men strip off nearly everything onstage!). Plus, disco aficionados will revel in the rich vocal harmonies at "The Australian Bee Gees Show."
Only a fabled resort can bring you dining beyond the ordinary. For gourmet fare, the Excalibur features The Steakhouse at Camelot. A Zagat Award winner, this steakhouse prepares fine cuts of beef, fresh seafood and decadent desserts. Enjoy Old World hospitality and family-style service at the beloved Italian restaurant chain Buca di Beppo. Johnny Rockets serves favorites for breakfast, lunch, dinner including hamburgers, fries and premium ice cream shakes. Or grab quick, casual meals in the Castle Walk Food Court. Extremely large at 25,000 square feet, it's home to Schlotzsky's, Cinnabon, Hot Dog on a Stick, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Pick Up Stix, Tropical Smoothie Café, Auntie Anne's Soft Rolled Pretzels, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts and Popcornopolis. (Note: The bountiful Excalibur Buffet is closed for remodeling but will reopen in January 2015.)
The over-21 crowd will have a blast at Dick's Last Resort. It's perfect for nightlife-loving visitors. The bar and stage in there are always rocking, and when guests get hungry they can turn to a menu of pub grub complete with Macho Nachos, Mumbo Jumbo Chicky Wings and the Big Ass Burger. Or spend a high-energy night in the Octane Lounge, a classic rock bar with a display of custom-designed motorcycles. Among the signature drinks are the Blood, Sweat & Gears Cosmo and the High Octane Kiss, served by bartenders dressed in black leather.
The resort's casino floor has also assumed a party-like vibe. On the weekends an area dubbed "The Party Pit" features table games set near a stage topped with scantily clad dancing girls. And the 12-table poker room hosts a sexy "Strip Poker Tournament" on Saturday nights, where guests can watch a lovely lady remove items of her clothing on losing hands. The Lounge, also located on the casino floor, features Miami all-girl band Dollface who perform a variety of music styles from pop to punk.
Staying at the Excalibur is not about roughing it. Most of the rooms have been renovated and offer a contemporary take on castle-themed accommodations. The widescreen rooms come with granite countertops, 42-inch plasma TVs, pillow-top mattresses and iPod-compatible clock radios. Even the standard rooms are very comfortable with wood furnishings, cable TVs and hair dryers.
Need a bit of pampering? Everyone can be a king or queen for the day at The Spa at Excalibur. Overlooking the pool area, it provides a selection of massages, facials, scrubs and wraps and uses Aveda products exclusively in its treatments.
And romance never goes out-of-date at the Excalibur. The Canterbury Wedding Chapel is cherished by couples who wish to celebrate their big day traditionally or in medieval attire.
If your family or friends are looking to get away from it all, the Excalibur promises endless activity for all ages -- while still being a child-friendly haven. With an ideal location on the Strip as well as a tram that connects it to the Luxor and Mandalay Bay, the Excalibur is a good-quality, value-oriented resort. In fact, if a trip to the real castles of England is out of your price range, then a visit here will more than suffice.
-- By Renée LiButti