Second only to New York New York in terms of the absurdity of its exterior, the Luxor impresses on scale long before you've set foot inside it. While some casinos limit theming to the interiors, leaving the buildings as smart but not altogether memorable towers, the 30-storey glass pyramid housing much of the Luxor makes one hell of a first impression. At night, a high-intensity light shoots skywards from the top; visible in space, it's also a beacon to a swarm of insects and bats during warmer months.
The homage to ancient Egypt continues inside, but to a far lesser extent than it did when the casino opened in 1993. The campiest elements of the theming evaporated a number of years ago, but even more Egyptiana was mummified during a still-ongoing renovation that began in 2006, lending credence to rumours that the casino may rebrand itself as the Pyramid.
Altogether, the Luxor is something of a casino in flux. Even so, it's still a likeable place to spend a few days, not least because its Games of the Gods arcade is as appealing to kids as the bustling casino floor is to adults.
Only around half of the hotel's 4,407 guestrooms are actually located in the pyramid. These Strip-fronted rooms offer great views and are accessed by special elevators called 'inclinators', which rise, like enclosed ski lifts, at an angle of 39º. However, there are compensations if you don't get hooked up with a pyramid room: the guestrooms in the towers, just behind the pyramid, are larger, and were refurbished in 2006.
Eating & drinking
The eating options here are best described as reliable. Tender and the More buffet both have good reputations and are probably the best bets in the casino. Elsewhere, the Backstage Deli apes New York Jewish food as only an Egyptian-themed casino in Nevada can, while Fusia offers upmarket Asian dishes. Burgers, pizzas and expensive coffees are available at the food court. However, a slew of new bar and restaurant openings are promised for 2007; among them are Company American Bistro, a steakhouse backed by micro-celebs Nicky Hilton and Nick Lachey, and a couple of putatively stylish lounges.
After the Blue Man Group moved to the Venetian in 2005, the Luxor struggled to fill the gap. Hairspray came and went in the blink of an eye, leaving supremely dislikeable prop comic Carrot Top as the main act. However, in 2008, misspelt TV magician Criss Angel will launch a new show, compiled with the inevitable assistance of Cirque du Soleil. Late-night entertainment is provided by the underdressed dancers of the Fantasy revue. In late 2007, überhip Los Angeles club LAX set up its first outpost inside the casino.
The massive casino, decorated with hieroglyphics and ancient artefacts, is filled with the latest high-tech slot and video poker machines. Expect $10 minimums at blackjack and craps, higher on weekends. For poker players, the card room offers weekend action so lively that Cleopatra herself would have been impressed. Take a few minutes to walk the perimeter of the circular casino and get your bearings; if you can't identify landmarks, you'll wind up going in circles.