Craps carpets

A member of the johnson banks team has not long returned from a trip to Las Vegas. Whilst most other visitors to the Strip had their eyes on the craps tables, Julia had her eyes on the carpets…

Nowadays on the Vegas Strip, you can see rescued white lions and tigers, ride a rollercoaster or a gondola, climb the Eiffel tower, or watch fountains perform to music (yes, you read, correctly). However when you enter each hotel casino and look down at the carpet you are presented with swirling retro patterns, which I like to think hints at the unique personality of each hotel:

The Flamingo Themed architecturally as Art Deco Miami, this hotel has actual flamingoes living in its garden. It’s the oldest remaining resort on the Strip, having been built by the infamous mobster Bugsy Siegel in the 1940s. Flamingo pink is definitely the accent colour throughout and the carpet didn’t miss out.

Aria One of the newer hotels, and one of the tallest on the Strip, it is extremely energy efficient due to the advanced technology used in its design. Maybe the tree trunk pattern on their carpets is an environmental reference?

Ceasars Palace As you can guess from the name, this hotel takes its theme from the Roman Empire, complete with its own Colosseum (originally built for a Celine Dion show... er, rather random). This carpet features a Roman laurel leaf motif.

The Venetian The hotel where you can sail on a gondola and sit in ‘St Mark’s Square’, their casino carpets seem to mimic the gothic Venetian architecture.

Bellagio Named after the Lake Como town, this hotel likes to think it’s the most elegant of the Strip. This is where you can see the incredible dancing water fountains in their own 8-acre lake. Well, by the look of the chintz carpets it’s maybe more trad than elegant, but it does have its own Gallery of Fine Art.

The Linq Another of the newer hotels, it has the world’s tallest ferris wheel on its site (aptly named the High Roller). Is that what’s repeated on the carpet?

MGM The third largest hotel in the world, it has five outdoor pools, plus rivers and waterfalls. Maybe all the aquatics is why the carpet is reminiscent of water plants?

Cosmopolitan Rated as the best hotel in the world a couple of years ago, I like to think their carpets are a clever combination of card suits and cocktail glasses from above.

Monte Carlo Themed around the luxury of Monaco’s famous quarter, the hotel sees itself as unpretentious. I suppose this could be one of the more understated patterns seen.

Excalibur This hotel was named after the mythical sword of King Arthur, and its exterior resembles a cartoon castle. In keeping with this the carpet takes on a bold and stylised design.

Luxor Possibly the most lavish hotel on the Strip, its central building is a pyramid (of a similar size to the Red Pyramid in Egypt). That evidently wasn’t statement enough, so the world’s strongest beam of light is projected high into the night sky from its apex. Are those patterns Egyptian, anyone?

Mandalay Bay With its own shark reef aquarium, beach and tropical theme, the hotel is coloured gold. Maybe that’s why the drinks were so shockingly expensive.

The Mirage All palm trees and rainforest flora this hotel has a Polynesian theme, complete with erupting ‘volcano’ (three times a night). This is also where you can see dolphins and those rare white big cats, rescued by magicians Sigfried & Roy. The carpets are like wading through tropical undergrowth.

Planet Hollywood Another newish hotel to the Strip, its theme is apparently ‘Hollywood hip’, whatever that means. Judging by the carpet it must mean 80s geometry.

New York, New York The best hotel (in my opinion), the Big Apple themed building has a roller-coaster weaving through its New York skyline as well as a replica Statue of Liberty in its ‘harbour’. Perhaps the carpet doesn’t quite live up to the detail everywhere else, but they can be forgiven, as they have created their own special deck of cards where the heart suit is replaced with apples. Ace!

Paris This hotel boasts a two-thirds size Arc de Triomphe and a half size Eiffel Tower. The latter would have been to full scale if the airport hadn’t been so close by. I see Art Nouveau swirls here, don’t you?

Unfortunately I didn’t get chance to document all the Vegas Strip carpets – only as many as I could get to in a few days (whilst actually having a holiday too).

I wondered why casinos have such ‘busy’ carpets – a quick Google reveals a few theories, from forcing people to gamble more by keeping them awake, to concealing actual poker chips. But probably the most likely reason is the mundane – to hide spilled drinks and dirty footprints.

Whether you think these carpets are kitsch or crap, they are definitely intriguing. Some more of the Strips’ colourful carpets can be seen here, photographed by Chris Maluszynski.

I’d also love to know who has the fantastic job of designing them – if anyone knows please do get in touch.

Reporting by Julia Woollams

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