Travelling to Las Vegas, USA: Is it worth visiting?

Brash, glitzy, trite, trivial: everything I've heard about Las Vegas sounds warning bells in my head. Surely, it's nothing more than a soulless, air-conditioned, environmental disaster - its high-rise hotels sweltering in the US desert sun as dead-eyed gamblers dream in vain of riches they will never win?

Oh, retort its cheerleaders, you are being too harsh. It is just an innocent pleasuredome where you can disconnect from the real world and let yourself go. But I have always avoided going and I am pretty sure I would hate every moment if I did.

Yet doubt still nags at my mind. Is it so different, in important ways, from the city I love most: Venice?

There are parallels.

Like Vegas, Venice was founded in inhospitable terrain. The population built their marble palaces on a malaria-infested swamp where their ancestors had taken refuge from the Lombards.

The original wealth of Venice stemmed from trade, but by the 18th century its fortunes were ebbing fast and it metamorphosed into what was essentially the world's first tourist resort - a party town of gambling dens, balls and courtesans, which enticed pleasure-seeking tourists.

Las Vegas has taken the resort concept to the headiest of heights. I'm sure it will not age as gracefully as Venice. Its legacy will be different. But maybe, if I went, I would get another perspective on Venice three centuries ago. And who knows, I might even have fun.

Four ways to enjoy Las Vegas, when all this is over

Our expert on the ground Bridget Gleeson shares her tips.

1 You can see many of the city's famous signs up close at the Neon Museum. Highlights include a giant glittering Martini glass, the colourful Hacienda Horse and Rider, and various retro motel signs. neonmuseum.org

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2 Many of the casino-resorts have jaw-dropping atrium flower displays. But at the Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Garden, the floral display is next-level. bellagio.com

3 Rising three levels through the centre of The Cosmopolitan, the Chandelier is the perfect place for a cocktail before a show. Each of the three levels has a theme: the first offers live music, the middle one is for private parties, and the uppermost is a cocktail lounge. cosmopolitanlasvegas.com

4 Downtown Las Vegas is the go-to neighbourhood for farm-to-table cuisine, vintage shopping, and craft cocktails. Highlights include the Downtown Cocktail Room. downtowncocktailroom.com.

The Telegraph, London

See also: Nineteen things that will shock first-time visitors to Vegas

See also: Ten things I never knew about Vegas until I ran a high-roller suite

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