Las Vegas can be a very polarising city. Either you love it or you hate it. Personally, I love it. I’ve been there three times, and each time has been an adventure. The first time I went we stayed in a little motel off the Strip. Second time I stayed in the MGM Grand, which is a bit normal as Vegas goes. But the third time I stayed in Caesar’s Palace, which was great, and I got a bit more of a first-hand experience of the crazier side of Las Vegas hotels.

Vegas is famous for many things including shopping, food, fight nights, hotels, but the main thing historically, and part of the reason that it’s ‘hidden’ out in the desert, is gambling. It goes hand in hand with Vegas. Obviously people with a penchant for gambling can satisfy their itch in a number of ways these days, including online casinos, but there’s nothing like walking into a Vegas casino and sitting down with a dealer and trying your hand at Blackjack. And on the Vegas Strip there is no shortage of options, particularly when all the main hotels have casinos right on the ground floor that you can walk straight into. And perhaps that competition is what made the owners try to make their hotels stand out the most. The craziness of some of the hotels is, well, crazy. I love the absurdity of this collection of cool, bizarre buildings in the middle of the desert. Here are my personal favourites.

Firstly a couple of honourable mentions. The Bellagio, with its incredible water show, and Caesar’s Palace with its very cool roman vibe are both classy joints with a lot of history, but they’re just not quite crazy enough to make my top five list.

Circus Circus
Circus Circus feels like a proper old school Vegas hotel and casino. At times in the past you properly felt like you might be on drugs or be in the movie Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, with all the crazy clown decorations etc but I think it has been refurbished now and has more of a Cirque de Soleil vibe. The Adventuredome contains its own theme park and the Midway in the hotel has proper circus acts which were pretty breathtaking when we were there. A classic, and slightly crazy, Vegas hotel to start off with.

Next up on my list is Excalibur. Many people call Vegas a ‘Disney park for adults’. Obviously Disney is for everyone, but this building certainly does feel the most Disneyfied of all the Vegas hotels. It is pretty crazy, as it kind of looks like a giant castle on the Strip. Inside I found it to look slightly dated compared to some of the other hotels but I was still very positively surprised at what a cool vibe it had. It also gets quite a bit of extra footfall due to the walkway link it has with the Luxor. Definitely well worth a visit.

Paris Las Vegas
Now we start to get to the really crazy ones, because they bring proper world landmarks to the desert. The Paris hotel is very cool and very French but obviously the craziest part is the giant (or actually mini) Eiffel Tower they have out front! Only in Vegas. I’ve eaten in the restaurant at the top of the tower and had a great meal there. We had the perfect window table with a view of the Bellagio fountains. I highly recommend it.

New York, New York
Just across the street from Paris you can step into New York, New York! Not happy with Paris having one landmark, New York, New York had to recreate the whole Manhattan skyline! The actual hotel inside really does make you feel you are outdoors in the streets of New York (or perhaps on set in a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle movie). And they have a great duelling piano bar in the middle of hotel too which I would highly recommend going to. Oh and for extra craziness they have a rollercoaster that is half in and half out of the hotel. I love it.

But for sheer craziness I have to go with Luxor as the no.1. I mean, a massive pyramid in the middle of the desert with a light that shines up into the sky akin to the ThunderCats logo? It’s just perfect. I don’t really know too much about what is inside this hotel as I’ve only walked through it once, but it doesn’t need anything else. Its shape and general existence is enough to make it top my list of Las Vegas craziness. Well done, Luxor. Well done, you crazy hotel you.