Another drink, or another spin of the roulette wheel? Because losing a million dollars in the space of a minute tends to leave one rather thirsty, we’ve chosen seven hotels where no amount of self-control can stop you indulging in a bit of excess.
Las Vegas, Nevada — When it opened at the end of 2010, after five Pharaonic years of construction, this gigantic hospitality complex, with its 3,000 rooms spread across two fifty-story towers, couldn’t help but elevate the tone of Sin City a bit. Paradise for players, with a casino spanning 100,000 square feet, the “Cosmo” offers no fewer than 13 restaurants, precisely 1,478 slot machines, the vast Marquee Nightclub & Dayclub, and six high-end bars, including the Vesper, considered by the pros to be one of the most serious cocktail bars in Las Vegas.
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Macau, China — Students of dynastic art and lovers of Sichuan ceramics will want to head this way. For this imposing hotel-casino, shaped like a golden ingot, finds itself in Macau, a city whose economic indicators are spinning faster than slot-machine drums. This Wynn has no cause to envy its cousin in Vegas; it’s got acre upon acre of casino floor, eight restaurants, a 24-carat gold tree, an aquarium filled with fluorescent jellyfish, and for just the right note of seriousness, a piano bar carved from the purest crystal.
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Sun City, South Africa — Like some strange combination of Vegas, Disney World and the temples of Angkor, the Palace of the Lost City was reconstructed along the plans of a city destroyed centuries ago by a great earthquake. An architectural folly built in the heart of Sun City, South Africa’s vast resort complex, it offers guests no end of glitz, glamour and baraka: private gaming rooms, smoking and non-smoking casinos, and numerous bars in which to pass the time between spins of the wheel.
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Panama City, Panama — This tower of sixty-six floors, resembling at turns a vast sail or the prow of a mighty ship, is inflated with all the blustery confidence you’d expect from the inimitable Trump group. Inside, the splendor of a golden age, the crème of the jet-set, shopping, mojitos, a Japanese-style spa, four high-end fusion restaurants, and a casino equipped with 34 tables of blackjack, poker, roulette and baccarat, as well as six hundred gleaming machines. At the center of the game, three elegant sports bars — a seeming contradiction — vibrate with the rhythm of the tropics.
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Mendoza, Argentina — Mendoza, the capital of Argentina’s wine-producing region, is no vast metropolis. This doesn’t stop the Park Hyatt, or its Regency Casino, from going strong till six in the morning. To hold your interest all through the night there are games, plenty of games, but also endless mirrors and lighting effects, orchestras playing jazz and bossa nova, a private salon for the hardcore gamers and other Very Important Players, and finally, fatally, one of the best wine lists in the country.
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Monte-Carlo, Monaco — Monte Carlo is one of the first destinations that comes to mind when you’re in the mood to shovel some chips. The Hôtel de Paris is just a flight of steps away from the Casino de Monte-Carlo, the Belle Époque gem that served as the backdrop for several Bond films, including Never Say Never Again and GoldenEye. These halls are also the setting for the first pages of Casino Royale, Ian Fleming’s first novel. No need to spell it out: you already know how to order your vodka martini in the hotel’s Bar Américain.
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Paradise Island, Bahamas — James Bond again; it’s at the One&Only Ocean Club that Daniel Craig shares champagne, caviar and a few auspicious moments with Solange, the villain’s wife, in the film of Casino Royale. And it’s on the same island, five minutes’ drive away, that you’ll find the Atlantis Casino and its 850 slot machines, set amid waterslides, reproduction Mayan temples, and other architectural marvels in this miniature Las Vegas on the west coast of Paradise Island. One island, two worlds.
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