Artisan offers the bizarre, no betting

As if Las Vegas weren’t surreal enough, the Artisan hotel plunges you into a shadowy world of weirdness that makes the rest of Sin City seem downright virtuous.

The receptionist likened it to the Haunted Mansion at Disney World. I was convinced the eerie paintings covering every inch of every wall might come to life at any moment, like at Hogwarts.

The Artisan, a boutique nongaming hotel a few blocks from the north end of the Vegas strip, drew me in because it seemed like a unique, charming alternative to the mega-casino hotels.

Unique? You betcha. Charming? Certainly at first, with its dark, moody lobby, dramatic chandeliers, ornate statues, seductive trance music, and framed paintings and mirrors plastering the walls from floor to ceiling, as well as the ceiling itself.

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