Starling Travel

January 12, 2006

Small Pleasures Week: The Luxor Atrium

Filed under: Nevada,Tourist Attractions,Travel — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

The Luxor Hotel has one of the world’s largest atriums. The camels near the Cairo Bazaar are happy to tell you that nine Boeing 747s could be stacked within the Luxor’s atrium. I’ve never seen that demonstration, but when I am standing underneath the inside of the pyramid, it’s impressive. They say it has 29 million cubic feet. That means nothing to me, but standing within it, I am awed.

The atrium is so large that I can’t take a picture of it. I have tried several times. The pictures from the balcony of my hotel room, look like they were taken from a rooftop and the pictures taken from below can’t encompass the enormity of it. I have to just remember it, since I can’t document it with my camera.

The first time Mike and I noticed birds in the atrium, we were looking at the attractions level from our balcony. What looked like a pigeon was flying between the buildings in the “present time” section of the attractions level. It seemed to be enjoying itself down there and we were happy to watch its graceful flight. That pigeon disappeared after the construction that changed so much of the attractions level. I don’t know if it was captured and released or if it died in an industrial accident, but for the last few years, we missed having a beautiful bird swoop across the atrium.

Just this last visit to Las Vegas, however, graced us with joy. We were walking through the attractions level to go to La Salsa, the Mexican restaurant in the Luxor. We could hear a bird tweeting above the noises of the attractions. At first, I thought it must be a recording of a bird. It was too loud and the Luxor has other spots at their resort where bird noises are activated by motion. We followed the sound, expecting to find a speaker. Instead, we found a sparrow. He was tweeting loudly, trying to compete with the cacophony of the rides and video games. Later, we found a different sparrow, looking for crumbs on the floor in the food court area. His friend was still across the way tweeting his head off, so we had two confirmed sightings of birds.

I was really reluctant to write this entry for fear that the management of the Luxor hotel would hunt down these little birds and remove them. I just realized that if Mike and I were able to find two birds in the two hours that we were on the attractions level, then the staff of the hotel are well aware of them. They live there eight hours a day. I’m sure the management must know about them, but I hope they leave them alone.

The birds make a mess, I’m sure, but what they bring to the Luxor is a feeling of being outdoors, even when we are indoors. It makes the hotel feel even more like the tropical wonderland that they are trying to recreate. Speakers and fake palm trees can’t replace the beauty of one tweeting bird.

There is no cost involved in this activity. You can enter the attractions level without paying a fee. You can buy a meal and soda at the food court and look for the birds eagerly. They might even clean up after you if you leave too many crumbs.

Along with birds, you’ll find various fast-food restaurants, a large arcade with great games, an IMAX theatre, and the King Tut Museum, which lets you view surprisingly good reproductions of the relics found in Tutankhamen’s tomb and hear audio commentary about them for a small fee.

The Luxor Hotel is located at the South end of the Las Vegas strip, between Mandalay Bay and Excalibur.

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