Despite its Carnaval theme, the all-suites Rio casino hotel is often overshadowed by the action at the Palms casino resort across the street. Occupying most of its corny two-story 'Masquerade Village' is a 100,000 square foot casino decked out with a colorful motif and more than 1200 slot machines, 80 table games, a full-service race and sports book with 100 TVs and a cut-throat poker room that's home to the World Series of Poker finals.

An innovative new bar system guarantees you won't go thirsty: iPad-wielding 'Beverage Ambassadors' take your order, then 'BevErtainers' bring your drinks in between doing 90-second song-and-dance numbers back on the main floor. Ringed around the casino are run-of-the-mill retail shops and a pair of overhyped buffets. The crowd-pleasing comedy and magic duo Penn & Teller draw in fans from far and wide, as do the flirty Chippendales dancers.

Fifty floors above the village, atop one of Rio's towers and reached by a glass elevator, is VooDoo Rooftop Nightclub, a past-its-prime dance floor where revelers bop around to '80s music while drinking in the views – and some seriously gigantic cocktails. More thrilling is the new VooDoo ZipLine, which slingshots tandem riders at speeds of over 30mph.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

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