You can't miss the Luxor in Las Vegas. The giant pyramid-shaped resort named for an ancient Egyptian city shines the world's strongest light beam into the sky each night.
As happens in history, things change. Since opening in 1993, the 30-story architectural wonder has evolved. The Luxor now has a more contemporary, less ancient Egyptian feel.
Although you'll still see replicas of Cleopatra's Needle and the giant sphinx outside as well as enjoy the stunning rendition of the Great Temple of Ramesses II upon entering the world's largest atrium, everywhere else you'll encounter a hipper, more high-energy vibe.
Overall, the Luxor is an excellent, affordably priced resort sandwiched between Mandalay Bay and Excalibur on the southern end of the Strip. (Note: A free tram provides easy access to both those properties.) Here, guests can do it all. There are numerous entertainment options, good restaurants and fascinating exhibits, along with convenient access to a world-class retail complex -- The Shoppes at Mandalay Place -- situated on the sky bridge connecting the Luxor to Mandalay Bay.
This hotel is ideal for leisure, business and family travelers. There are 4,400 rooms and suites housed among the pyramid and two 22-story towers. In the pyramid, guests revel in riding the four "inclinators," which zip up the structure at a 39-degree angle. Slanted glass windows also add to the distinctive décor. The twin towers, on the other hand, offer more traditional accommodations. In both settings, the rooms are air-conditioned, well-appointed, come with 27-inch televisions and have high-speed internet access -- so your stay is guaranteed to be comfortable.
In terms of entertainment, the Luxor caters to a wide range of interests. Laugh it up while watching the antics of prop comedian Carrot Top, or be mystified by "Criss Angel Believe." Cirque du Soleil joined forces with the "Mindfreak" magician to create this haunting show filled with spectacular illusions. Sexy dancers prance around nightly in "Fantasy," while "Menopause the Musical" gives mature women who are either facing or have lived through "The Change" something to chuckle about. And the hot urban dance crew Jabbawockeez perform in the show "PRiSM." The production features a state-of-the-art set, cutting-edge technology, inventive costumes and the latest music combined with a specially designed, custom-built theater.
Although not a dining powerhouse, there are several standout restaurants in the Luxor. T&T (Tacos & Tequila) features a combination of traditional and modern Mexican cuisine from celebrated chef Richard Sandoval. Decorative metallic art pieces that hang from the ceiling add to the rock 'n' roll atmosphere, as do an array of tequila-based drinks. Rice and Company is another innovative eatery serving healthy twists on traditional Chinese and Japanese cuisines. It also offers tropically influenced variations of sushi, sashimi, hibachi and teriyaki.
The Luxor's dining options are rounded out by the gourmet steak and seafood restaurant Tender and the kosher-style Backstage Deli. More the Buffet is located in its own special area just an escalator ride down from the main casino floor. A trendy food court is helmed by McDonald's along with L.A. Subs and Salads, Benanno's New York Pizzeria and The Original Chicken Tender Co. Plus, Public House, a sophisticated bar and pub with American-style cuisine and East Coast roots, opened recently.
Liquidity is the central hot spot for nightlife at the Luxor, and as such it lies at the center of the resort. You'll be mesmerized by all the eye-catching water and lighting effects. Posh LAX is another featured nightclub. Behind gothic-like gates, it sprawls out over two floors and attracts a young, stylish crowd. A more intimate nightlife experience is available next door at Savile Row, which alludes to the infamous London Street of the same name. Alternatively, Flight and Aurora provide more laid-back bar experiences.
Guests of all ages will want to investigate Luxor's two museum-quality exhibits. "BODIES...The Exhibition" illustrates the inner workings of the human body by showcasing real bodies and organs, while "Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition" tells the story of the doomed ship through a display of authentic artifacts and re-creations of the Grand Staircase, the Promenade Deck and a first-class cabin.
Although small in comparison to other spas on the Strip, Nurture Spa and Salon has a cheerful, rejuvenating outlook combined with an extensive menu of massages, facials and body treatments. Four large pools, a whirlpool and 12 private cabanas make up the Luxor's five-acre pool area. And more than 120,000 square feet of gaming awaits on the casino floor, including a vibrant race and sports book and the Bruce Buffer Poker Room.
Friendly and accommodating, the Luxor offers a unique setting that makes a great base from which to venture anywhere in Las Vegas. And when the day is done, you'll have a comfortable bed in the pyramid or the adjoining towers to come home to.
-- By Renée LiButti