Out of all the casino hotels you can choose from for you and your family to stay at in Las Vegas, you probably won't find any that combines classic elegance with modern convenience and comfort more seamlessly than the Bellagio. The Bellagio represents the pinnacle of luxury, so it tends to attract sophisticated, worldly clientele for whom comfort is a much more important consideration than price. In other words, this resort would be wasted on those who don't give a hoot about being pampered in a top of the line hotel and would be willing to rough it (within reason) just to have a safe and affordable place to lie down for a few hours each night. But if nothing less than first class accommodations and amenities for you and your family will do, you need look no further than this magnificent AAA 5 Diamond rated Center Strip resort for an unforgettable Vegas vacation.
The downside is that all of this luxury comes at a very high price. You will need very deep pockets to cover the cost of your stay. Unless you play for very high stakes and your casino action is host-worthy, do not expect this casino to be offering any complimentaries. Of course, it doesn't hurt to try, especially since the Bellagio is one of multiple MGM casino properties in Las Vegas, all of which use the same player's reward card system. All of your rated play with the M Life casino player's card at any of these properties counts, and at the very least you should get on the casino's mailing list for future special offers.
The Bellagio is situated between two other mammoth properties, Caesars Palace to the North and the Aria Resort and Casino to the South, and you can conveniently walk to either one without even venturing outside (which is nice to know on a scorching summer day). Or you can take the walkway bridge to Bally's or the Paris Hotel and Casino on the other side of the Strip.
Though the Bellagio stands between two properties that are bigger, it hardly dwarfs in comparison. On the contrary, the unique Italian style architecture and dazzling fountain display over a man-made lake give the Bellagio a commanding presence even from the outside. Even a casual passer-by will want to stop and admire the view. Then once you step inside the magnificent hotel, the sense of amazement continues. The Bellagio was created by casino hotel entrepreneur Steve Wynn in 1998 on the site of the old Dunes Hotel at a reported cost of 1.6 billion dollars. Many of its 3,933 guest rooms and suites provide a beautiful view of the Bellagio dancing fountains. All feature many other amenities, including a 40 inch flat screen HDTV and complete entertainment center, individually controlled lighting and climate control, marble floor bathrooms with a large soaking tub, and complimentary robes.
Child Friendly Activities
Even though the Bellagio does not have a reputation as being one of the more child friendly casino hotels on the Las Vegas Strip, in recent years the number of families with children choosing to stay there has increased. Clearly, from the standpoint of a youngster, as comfortable and attractive as the room may be, without tasty meals and snacks and lots of enjoyable activities, a vacation in Vegas is not going to be fun at all. Fortunately, the Bellagio obliges with these family friendly options.
The Fountains of Bellagio
High up on the list of beautiful and spectacular sights that are a must-see for every Las Vegas visitor of any age are the Fountains of Bellagio. As an added treat, this is one of the few shows in Vegas that is not only G rated from start to finish, but absolutely free!
The Bellagio Conservatory
Las Vegas may have been built in the middle of a desert, but that doesn't mean that every type of vegetation imaginable, including colorful flowers and plants from all over the world, can't grow there. If your kids don't think that is possible, all you have to do to prove to them otherwise is take them to the Bellagio Conservatory. But be sure to have your best camera with you so you and your kids will have a permanent memento of all of you in this magical natural paradise.
Masatoshi Izumi Sculpture
Even if your kids can't pronounce the famous Japanese sculptor's name, they can still appreciate the Bellagio's newest example of its commitment to fine art. Four unusual stone sculptures represent each of the earth's four elements: wind, fire, water, and land.
The sculptures are hard to miss because they are on display right outside the main entrance of the hotel. They were constructed from basalt, a form of cooled lava obtained from a volcano's surface. Each piece weighs between 17,000 and 21,000 pounds.
Fiori di Como
The Bellagio lobby provides yet another art appreciation opportunity for your kids. Tell them to fix their eyes on the ceiling where they will be mesmerized by the magnificent chandelier called Fiori di Como created by glass sculptor Dale Chihuly.
Bellagio Pool and Courtyards
The heated pool and picturesque courtyards surrounding it are open for guests from 8 a.m. to 8 pm. year-round. Children must be 14 years or older or accompanied by a parent or guardian.
From spring through early fall, the Pool Café is open for breakfast and lunch, making it a nice alternative to eating indoors, when combined with an early swim. The breakfast menu consists of traditional breakfast fare, while the lunch menu is also very kid-friendly with options like hot dogs, cheeseburgers, tuna sandwiches, and pizza.
Another option to consider, but only if you don't mind splurging for the ultimate in comfort and your family expects to spend a lot of time by the pool, is to rent a cabana. The indulgence will set you back from $300 to $500 depending on the day of the week, for which you receive all of the following:
- Private patio
- Phone, iHome, and Wireless Internet
- Fresh fruit plate
- Amenities basket
- Fully stocked refrigerator
- Pool rafts
- Mister System
- Personal host to cater to all of your needs
"O" by Cirque du Soleil
There are always multiple Cirque du Soleil productions going on in Las Vegas, but "O" is unique because it is the only one where much of the activity takes place under water. "O" has been running at the Bellagio seemingly forever (this reviewer saw it more than a decade ago), yet it continues to be performed twice nightly every night but Monday and Tuesday before capacity crowds. This may be one show that will never close.
The international cast consists of world-class acrobats, synchronized swimmers, and divers. Ticket prices are a steep, but worth every penny, $155, $130, or $109. The hotel concierge can make the arrangements for your family which, if you wish, can also include dinner. However, the dinner-show packages limit you to a few specific choices only at one of the hotel's more expensive restaurants. If you have young kids, you might be better off choosing another restaurant at the hotel that is not quite as expensive and where the food is more child-friendly.
Child-Friendly Activities Nearby
As you can see, there are plenty of activities to keep your children happily occupied without even leaving the Bellagio. However, with its convenient Center Strip location and close proximity to so many other fun activities for kids, it would be a shame not to have your kids enjoy at least some of those as well.
For example, the Forum Shops at Caesars, right next door, one of the finest shopping malls in the country, has 160+ shops and restaurants, many of which are family oriented. Your children can get a whole back-to-school wardrobe there. But that's not all. The mall also houses an aquarium and the free animatronic show "Fall of Atlantis," where they can watch ancient Roman statues come to life!
The Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat at the Mirage hotel is another must-see attraction within walking distance of the Bellagio that is perfect for kids of all ages. The Mirage is adjacent to Caesars Palace, walking north.
The hotel concierge will be happy to suggest and help you plan other activities for your children. One possibility he or she might arrange for you is "3 for $57." The $57 (per person) price tag covers your choice of any three of the following:
- BODIES: the Exhibition at the Luxor
- Titanic: the Artifact Exhibition at the Luxor
- SCORE! Interactive Sports Exhibit at the Luxor
- Adventuredome Theme Park at Circus Circus
- CSI: the Experience at MGM Grand
- Big Apple Roller Coaster at NYNY
- Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay
When you need some alone time for yourself, the concierge can arrange for a babysitter to come to the hotel to watch and entertain your children. The Bellagio does not have its own childcare facility, but with all of these other options available to you, there is no reason why your kids should be bored at the Bellagio.
You may be pleasantly surprised to discover that the Bellagio actually offers quite a few places to eat that your children should like. While none of them are cheap, they are not outrageously priced either.
Café Bellagio is a 24/7 eatery serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily. The restaurant, which is conveniently located right off the Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, offers its own stunning view of the Bellagio pool and garden area.
The café serves up a wide range of dishes, including new twists on old favorites. The breakfast menu includes standard breakfast fare like omelets, pancakes, waffles, and French toast. The daily specials on the lunch and dinner menu are not particularly child friendly except for the Southern Fried Chicken with gravy and biscuits served on Thursday. Other items on the menu that might appeal to children include meatloaf with mushroom gravy, mashed potatoes, and broccoli ($23), or roast turkey with giblet gravy, mashed potatoes, and carrots ($26). Sandwiches or burgers with fries are other options. Your kids will also want to save room to share one of the spectacular signature desserts like chocolate fudge cake, sticky toffee pudding, or the Café Bellagio Banana Split.
The Buffet is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The hours and prices are as follows:
- Breakfast: Mon.-Fri from 7 a.m.-11 a.m. Price: $19.99
- Lunch: Mon.-Fri from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Price: $23.99
- Dinner: Mon.-Thu from 3 p.m.-10 p.m. Price: $34.99
- Dinner: Fri.-Sun from 3 p.m.-10 p.m. Price: $39.99
- Brunch: Sat and Sun from 7 a.m.- 3 p.m. Price: $29.99
All prices are slightly higher on special weekends (Mother's Day, Super Bowl Sunday, etc.) and holidays. There are no discounts for children.
Todd English's Olives
What child doesn't love pizza? So if your children have yet to taste the Olives version, they are in for a treat. These are flatbread pizzas that creatively combine different ingredients, some of which you might have never thought of putting in a pizza. You can eat on the patio, if you wish, for a close-up view of the Bellagio fountains.
All of the pizzas are $20 or less. Most of the varieties are available on both the lunch and dinner menus, but the most traditional choice, Caprese, with mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, basil, and a balsamic drizzle, is only served at lunchtime. More adventurous palates might appreciate one of the other offerings like Fig and Proscuitto or Tuscan Farmhouse (with ham, provolone cheese, asparagus, and caramelized onions). Or, if you go for lunch, your child can have the Olives Burger ($19) with cheddar cheese, caramelized onions, and Parmesan fries. Or, if your child likes Mac and Cheese, consider ordering the Bacon Mac ‘Cheese for $15. Though listed as an Extra, it should be sufficient to serve as a child's main course, perhaps with a vegetable (zucchini or Brussels sprouts).
Otherwise, the regular entrees at this restaurant are not only very expensive, but too sophisticated for children. However, the management is very accommodating about individual orders. If your child has any food allergies or would prefer that a certain ingredient be omitted, simply let the waiter know.
This restaurant, which serves dinner only, is another place where kids can get their flatbread pizza or burger fix. The pizza choices include Margherita Flatbread and Proscuitto Flatbread. The Bobby Baldwin Burgers ($26) are Kobe beef sliders with cheddar cheese, grilled onions, and spiced fries. Another child-friendly item on the menu is the Roasted Tomato Soup with a Grilled Goat Cheese and Bacon Sandwich (only $12). A nice accompaniment to any of the aforementioned entrees might be one of the vegetable side dishes (i.e., creamed spinach or creamed corn, but ask the waiter to hold the jalapeno).
But wait, surely your children will want a dessert fix, like ice cream, sorbet, or warm banana bread pudding. However, the one dessert item on the menu that we think any child would find irresistible is Chocolate S'mores! The mouthwatering description of chocolate cake, graham cracker crunch, milk chocolate pudding, and burnt marshmallow fluff should make any child respond without hesitation "I want Smores!"
This casual Asian style restaurant located next to the Baccarat bar is open daily from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Noodles not only serves a wide variety of noodle soups and dishes, but other traditional dishes from China, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam. Some of the more child-friendly sounding dishes are shrimp or chicken in sweet and sour sauce and beef or chicken with broccoli, mushrooms, and carrots. If you go on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday between 11 a.m. and 3 pm., you and your family can sample and share a variety of dim sum specials.
Note that many of the dishes are prepared with peanuts. If your child is allergic to peanuts, be sure to let the waiter know.
The dessert options at Noodles are limited, but vanilla, strawberry, or green tea ice cream or mango sticky rice would be a good choice for kids.
Café Gelato offers delicious Italian ice cream along with smoothies, juices, and pastries.
Palio Pronto serves gelato, juice, and pastries as well.
Palio is a small café where you and your kids can get juice, soup, sandwiches, and pastries between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Snack at the Race & Sports Book, like the name says, serves sandwiches and snacks.
Except for Palio, all of these eateries are open all day from morning until late at night.
Summing Up: Is the Bellagio Child-Friendly?
Most of the luxury hotels in Las Vegas are not particularly child-friendly, but the Bellagio may be the rare exception. Therefore, the primary consideration in deciding whether or not the Bellagio is a good choice for you and your kids is not so much whether they can enjoy their stay there, but whether you can afford it.
These are some of the negatives that should be considered, which will rule out the Bellagio for some families.
- Everything at the hotel—rooms, meals, entertainment—is expensive. There is also a $32.48 per day resort fee.
- This is a very elegant and sophisticated casino hotel so if you and your kids are not comfortable in this type of environment, you may feel out of your element.
- Even if luxury style accommodations are not a priority for you and your kids, you are still paying for them.
- Long lines for restaurants and taxis.
On the other hand, if you can afford the Bellagio and the cost of your Las Vegas vacation is not a major concern, you and your family won't be disappointed. The Center Strip location is ideal, and the services and amenities within the hotel are outstanding, including all of the following:
- Large, beautifully appointed rooms and suites with luxurious bedding and customizable lighting and temperature, many with a fountain view.
- Luxurious bathrooms with marble floor, large soaking tub, and complimentary plush robes.
- Large flat screen HDTVs, free Wi-Fi, media hubs with easy connectivity plugs, and bedside iHome docking station.
- Concierge at your beck and call to make suggestions and arrangements to help make everyone's stay more enjoyable.