TRAVEL: Coolest Casinos Around the World

buildings near body of water
Photo by David Vives on

Casinos these days are about more than just gambling. Many serve as one-stop-entertainment shops, offering visitors access to extravagant waterparks, world-class golf courses, packed video games arcades, and much more besides. This can make them an ideal vacation spot for the whole family.

If you’re itching for a casino break this year but your partner insists that they’re not spending their entire time off work in a dark gaming room, check out these cool casinos from around the world. Perhaps the temptation of a South African safari might convince the family to come along too!

Marina Sands Bay Casino, Singapore

Opened in 2010, Marina Sands Bay Casino was claimed to be the single most expensive casino ever at US$6 billion. It has quickly become one of Singapore’s premiere entertainment destinations.

The 24-hour gaming floor itself is sizeable at 15,000 square meters and it features everything you’d expect to find from a modern casino – slots, tables, and private salons – yet it only takes up 3 percent of the entire resort.

The building itself is breath-taking in its grandeur. A 200-metre-high, glass walkway connects three enormous towers, within which you’ll find dining options, museums, late-night discos, and even tropical gardens. Oh, and there is also what is claimed to be the world’s largest infinity pool on site too.

Sun City Resort, Rustenburg, South Africa

South Africa might not be top of everyone’s list of casino destinations worldwide but hear us out. The Sun City Resort complex is simply not to be missed!

First off, let’s talk about the gambling. Sun City offers guests a choice of casinos to try their luck at. The main draw, however, is certainly the majestic Palace of the Lost City – a lavishly decadent space inspired by a local myth detailing an ancient kingdom. The building and its insides really must be seen to be believed.

However, the Sun City Resort is about more than just gambling. Concerts, cabaret shows, golf, an enormous maze, and the epic Valley of the Waves waterpark are all additional reasons to make it your next holiday destination.

Just a two-hour drive from the city of Johannesburg, Sun City Resort really is a spectacular resort offering fun for couples, families, and individuals. The complex runs along the border of the spectacular Pilanesberg National Park too, meaning that guests can easily head out on safari and a whole host of other fantastic excursions during their stay. These include shooting (clay pigeons – not lions!), horse riding, ziplining, and many others. The resort’s reception staff will help you to reserve a spot at any of these exciting offsite activities.

Opened in 1979, the Sun City Resort is celebrating its fortieth year this time around. Surely now is the perfect time to check it out.

Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas

It’s hard to stand out from the crowd in Sin City, but Mandalay Bay by MGM certainly does. The iconic tripoint star and L-shaped buildings are instantly recognizable even on the eccentric Vegas skyline.

Guests are invited to stay at the lavish Four Seasons Hotel whilst they game in one of Las Vegas’s premiere gambling haunts. But again, it’s not strictly gambling at Mandalay Bay. The resort has all the typical hallmarks of a classic Vegas complex. Highlights on the entertainment program certainly include the vast events center on site, at the time of writing featuring the “epic” performance of Michael Jackson’s ONE by Cirque du Soleil.

All you rockers out there will be pleased to learn that Psycho festival will be back this year featuring performances from the mighty Electric Wizard, and Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Many of these world class concerts are performed right on the resort’s beach too making for some real seaside summer holiday vibes!

However, the highlight of the Mandalay Bay experience is surely the aquarium – a decidedly understated way of describing this shark-infested section of artificial coral reef! Guests are even invited to dive with the beasts – if they dare!

Casino de Monte Carlo, Monaco

If you really want to somewhere that simply oozes cool, there are few places quite like Casino de Monte Carlo. The venue manages to balance the classic with the modern for great impact, creating an atmosphere of pure opulence in the already decadent Monte Carlo.

Opened in 1863, the Casino de Monte Carlo is certainly not the youngest venue on our list. However, don’t count the old dog out just yet. The draw here is, of course, the sheer elegance of the venue itself and the luxury guests are treated to when visiting.

Dining is taken care of by numerous inhouse restaurants – highlight of which must be the Michelin-starred Blue Bay. However, that’s not the only eatery worthy of the much-coveted award at the Casino de Monte Carlo. The resort features the planet’s first totally organic restaurant to receive such an accolade. Also, for those seeking something a little more relaxed, the Buddha-Bar serves up mouth-watering East Asian cuisine in simply stunning surroundings.

When you’re not filling up on flavors from around the world or gaming alongside the rich and famous on the many table games offered both inside and out across a variety of themed suites, guests are invited to check out a packed entertainment program hosted in the Grand Théâtre de Monte Carlo.

The Venetian, Macau

There is no shortage of Venice-themed resorts that could have made this list of the coolest gambling venues on planet Earth – the oldest casino on the planet, the Casino di Venezia, in Venice, for example, and The Venetian in Las Vegas too. However, to give our selections a more international flavor, we’re opting for Macau’s take on the theme. Oh, and it is currently the largest casino floor on the planet!

The vast gambling and entertainment venue first opened its doors in 2007. Guests are immediately greeted by the expansive shopping area and casino floor that dominate much of the ground floor and concerts are held regularly in the Cotai area, with both local and international acts taking to the stage. Throughout the complex, the Venetian experience is made all the more authentic thanks to the numerous reproductions of works from the historic city-state’s most famous painters and sculptors.

Of course, no homage to Venice would be complete without a gondola ride and The Venetian in Macau has you covered here too. Tours take guests down the narrow canals of the real floating city of Venice in Italy. You’ll be serenaded as you take in the sights of the San Luca, Marco Polo, and Grand Canals!

If lavish recreations of renaissance artwork and romantic gondola rides aren’t really your thing, you’ll also find a mini golf course, numerous pools (themselves a standout of the Venetian in Macau), and modern gym facilities, all onsite.

Finally, when it comes to dining, there is, of course, a strong bias towards Asian cuisine at The Venetian given its location. However, you’ll be thankful to learn that there is a top-notch Italian restaurant at the resort – the ideal way to top off that gondola ride!

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