Las Vegas is one of America’s most popular casino travel destinations and remains a strong favourite even in the face of the ongoing recession. Nearly everything in this city revolves around tourism and customer service, so visitors don’t need to work hard to arrange all the details of a fun getaway to Sin City.
With more than 130,000 rooms in Las Vegas, it’s rare to have trouble booking a room in the hotel of your choice. The Strip certainly fills up during big holidays like Memorial Day and New Year’s Eve or whenever a major prize fight or business convention comes to town. But the rest of the time, it’s a buyer’s market, especially as overall visitor numbers continue to slump.
The recent trend in the Vegas lodging sector over the past couple of years is low rate package deals and freebies. To try and keep their thousands of rooms occupied, the major hotel resorts go out of their way to woo tourists with complimentary show tickets, meal coupons and credit in their casinos. There are good savings available on multiple-night stays as well, so be sure to ask what special offers are available when making a booking.
Las Vegas accommodation is one of the biggest components of any visit to Sin City. The terms resort and hotel are used interchangeably among the big names on the Strip, but all of them boast some entertaining attractions and plenty of fun. As a general rule, a resort is a luxury, all-inclusive environment while a hotel primarily offers rooms along with basic amenities like restaurants, shows and gambling.
Choosing the right place to stay is something to carefully consider when planning a trip here. Location, budget, amenities and proximity to specific entertainment venues should dictate your choice. The majority of the world’s top 10 largest hotels are located on the Strip, which is undeniably the most entertaining and convenient part of Las Vegas to stay at. First-time Vegas visitors should not consider staying any place else.
At the top end of the budget scale are resorts like Luxor hotel, Wynn Las Vegas, Wynn Encore, Aria at City Center and the Bellagio. Even standard rooms at these immaculate properties go for hundreds of dollars a night. But they’re well worth it considering the level of luxury, attention to service and world-class amenities. You will find incredible spa facilities, fitness centres, restaurants and nightclubs in these resorts, all of which thankfully are open to anyone willing to pay for the privilege.
Few people can realistically afford five nights at the Wynn Las Vegas, but it’s definitely worth setting some extra cash aside for a meal or a couple of drinks in one of the restaurants or bars of one of the posh resorts. The casinos in the top-end resorts are light years ahead of the gambling dens of the cheaper hotel, but the tables have pretty high minimum bets. If nothing else, plan to spend some time exploring the luxury resorts on the Strip to admire the beauty and style.
Most of the leading hotels and resorts on the Strip are clustered towards the southern end of the four-mile street. Every one has a theme, from the urban setting of New York New York to the Roman chic at Caesar’s Palace. The majority of mid-range accommodation on the Strip is upwards of US$100 a night. It’s good value considering the central location, which offers easy walking access to most of the attractions. Budget rooms are best found at hotels like Circus Circus, but you’ll have to settle for a location at the very end of the Strip, far from the action.
If staying right on the Strip isn’t a priority, there are plenty of off-Strip hotels just a block or two back that offer excellent value. Massive casino hotels such as the Hard Rock, the Rio and the Palms are great properties that offer a full range of amenities with slightly less crowds and at slightly lower prices. Many repeat visitors to Vegas choose to stay off the Strip.
Downtown Las Vegas offers another cluster of accommodation with a completely different atmosphere. This is the original gambling centre of Vegas, so its hotels are noticeably older and far less flashy. That’s not to say they are bad, dirty or dangerous. In fact, a lot of frequent visitors to Vegas prefer the Downtown district because it has a more authentic local feel and not nearly as much fluffy overt tourism as the Strip. Room rates here are significantly lower than on the Strip, yet it’s still a breeze to get back to the Strip in minutes using the public buses or taxis.
Adventurous travellers or culture junkies may be interested in the last bastion of small motels that hides away between the behemoth resorts along side streets between the Strip and Downtown. Cheap and usually a bit shabby around the edges, these old-school motels are where the real characters hang out. These neighbourhoods are a bit seedy and even potentially dangerous after dark, so caution is advised.