Hotel in Las Vegas

Las Vigas Hotels

If there's one thing Vegas has, it's hotels. Big hotels. And lots of them. You'll find 9 of the 10 largest hotels in the United States -- 8 of the top 10 in the world -- right here. And you'll find a whole lot of rooms: 140,000 rooms, give or take, as of this writing. Every 5 minutes, or so it seems, someone is putting up a new giant hotel or adding another 1,000 rooms to an existing one. So finding a place to stay in Vegas should be the least of your worries.
Or should it?
When a convention, a fight, or some other big event is happening -- and these things are always happening -- darn near all of those 140,000 rooms are going to be sold out. Over the course of a regular year, the occupancy rate for hotel rooms in Las Vegas is significantly higher than the nationwide average, with sold-out weekends not uncommon. A last-minute Vegas vacation can turn into a housing nightmare. If possible, plan in advance so that you can have your choice: Ancient Egypt (kinda) or Ancient Rome (kinda)? New York or New Orleans? Strip or Downtown? Luxury or economy? Vegas has all that and way too much more.
The bottom line is that with a few, mostly subtle differences, a hotel room is a hotel room is a hotel room. After you factor in location and price, there isn't that much difference between rooms, except for perhaps size and the quality of their surprisingly similar furnishings.
Hotel prices in Vegas are anything but fixed, so you will notice wild price ranges. The same room can routinely go for anywhere from $60 to $250, depending on demand. So use our price categories with a grain of salt, and don't rule out a hotel just because it's listed as "Very Expensive" -- on any given day, you might get a great deal on a room in a pricey hotel. On the negative side, some hotels start with their most typical lowest rate, adding "and up." Don't be surprised if "up" turns out to be way up. Just look online or call and ask.
Yes, if you pay more, you'll probably (but not certainly) get a "nicer" establishment and clientele to match (perhaps not so many loud drunks in the elevators). On the other hand, if a convention is in town, the drunks will be there no matter how upscale the hotel -- they'll just be wearing business suits and/or funny hats. And frankly, the big hotels, no matter how fine, have mass-produced rooms; at 3,000 rooms or more, they are the equivalent of '60s tract housing. Consequently, even in the nicest hotels, you can (and probably will) encounter plumbing noises, notice scratch marks on the walls or furniture, overhear conversations from other rooms, or be woken by the maids as they knock on the doors next to yours that don't have the DO NOT DISTURB sign up.
Coming Attractions
Part of the reason that we patiently tell people they haven't really been to Vegas, even if they have, is because if they haven't been by in the last, oh, week -- okay, let's say 2 or 3 years -- they might find several surprises awaiting them on the Strip. And if it's been more than a decade, well, forget it. All the classic old hotels are either gone (Sands, Hacienda; indeed, 2007 saw the end of the 1942 Frontier and the 1958 Stardust) or renovated virtually beyond recognition (Caesars, the Flamingo). In their place rise bigger and better and trendier resort hotels, changing the landscape and altering the welcome that Vegas visitors receive.
The new era of Vegas hotels was ushered in by The Mirage, and since then, everyone has been trying to up the ante. The year 1997 began with the opening of New York-New York, which set yet another level of stupendous excess that remained unmatched for at least 18 months.
The fall of 1998 saw the official beginning of the new era of Vegas luxury resorts (many with themes), with the opening of the opulent Bellagio, followed by Mandalay Bay and Four Seasons. And then these took a backseat (sort of) to The Venetian, which combines the jaw-dropping detail and extravagance of New York-New York (complete with canals and gondolas) with the luxury of Bellagio. Could anything top it? Possibly -- hot on its heels was Paris, themed as you can imagine, and just a few months later, the new and improved Aladdin, with its desert-fantasy decor.
The first half of this decade was less about new stuff and more about old stuff getting bigger and/or better. Sure, Caesars opened its Roman Coliseum replica, built just to house CĂ©line Dion's new show, but other than that, no grand new hotels or major expansions arrived. One old hotel, The Maxim, was reborn as a business-swank Westin, complete with its trademark "Heavenly Beds." The rest of the action was all about expansions: The Venetian added 1,000 rooms, a new pool, a fancy restaurant, and more, in the new Venezia Tower; Mandalay Bay added more than 1,000 rooms and other goodies, in a facility they call THEhotel; Bellagio joined the fray with more than 900 new rooms and a swank new spa in a new tower; and Caesars Palace added a new 700-room tower to its empire.
The year 2005 kicked off what is an unprecedented wave of development, with the arrival of Wynn Las Vegas, the latest hotel concept from Steve Wynn, the man behind Mirage Corp., at a mere cost of $2.7 billion. (As you will see, that formerly record-breaking total is peanuts compared with what's coming up.) In 2006, we saw the addition of Red Rock Resort, designed to lure tourists away from the busy Strip, and two top-to-bottom overhauls, with the creaky old San Remo going pneumatic as the Hooters Casino Hotel (no, really) and the relatively new Aladdin got an extreme makeover to become Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino (no, really, again).
But that won't be the end of it, not hardly. The year 2007 saw the debut of yet another expansion to The Venetian, a 3,000-room resort and casino called The Palazzo, seeking to continue the parent hotel's Italian aesthetic. And 2008 brought an inaugural foray for The Donald in Vegas, with Trump International. Things really ratcheted up with the late-2008 birth of Wynn's second baby, Encore, a more than $1.7-billion, 2,000-room hotel and casino aimed at the ultraluxury market. Before the housing market imploded like an old Sin City hotel, condos seemed to be the property development trend, so if you haven't been to Vegas in a while, and you wonder what that, and that over there, and also that really big tall tower is, it's more than likely a condo building. Whether or not anyone lives there is a completely different question.
But the biggest of the big new developments, most of which will be open by the time you read this, is CityCenter, a $9-billion (yes, you read that right) complex of hotels, condos, casinos, shopping, and entertainment spread across 66 acres just north of Monte Carlo.
The next decade should see the opening of Echelon, a multibillion dollar development that is replacing the Stardust. Other plans are in various stages of development: the Elad Group, best known for their current transformation of New York's venerable Plaza Hotel into condos, bought the nearly as venerable, and notably aging, New Frontier for $1.2 billion. Of course, the plan is to promptly tear it down and spend another $3.8 billion to build a Plaza Las Vegas. The latter will have 3,500 hotel rooms plus residences, shopping, and all the rest. It's unclear whether the name Plaza will carry over into replicating the New York landmark's style and form, but that seems unlikely. Then there's Fontainebleau, based on the famous Miami hotel and belonging to a company run by former Mandalay Resorts executives. It's a 4,000-room complex going up on the old El Rancho site, across from Circus Circus. The economy has "temporarily" halted construction on all of these projects, so if you see empty twisty metal structures, that's what's going on. Anybody got a billion dollars to loan a poor hotelier?
The big story for Vegas recently has been the same as the big story for the rest of the globe, as the city was hit hard by the recession. The number of visitors to the city plunged as people found better things to do with their discretionary income, resulting in lower occupancy rates, lower room rates, and more than one major casino company declaring bankruptcy, with several others on the verge.
As with everything about the recession, it's hard to predict Vegas' future; but it is possible that when you read this, there will be all kinds of massive deals available. It's also possible that Vegas will have another run of luck, and high prices will once again rule the day. But put a very large asterisk next to anything that isn't open yet and, in fact, next to some things that already are.
Locals' Hotels
No, not hotels where locals stay -- they have that already, after all -- but so-called because it's here that locals themselves often come to eat and gamble. Give up that Strip location, and suddenly, you have a host of budget-minded options, completely satisfying casino-hotels that may not have the luxury appointments of the big Strip palaces but also don't come with the luxury price tags.
All of the following hotels are admittedly located away from the main tourist areas, but if you have a car at your disposal, you can save yourself a great deal of money by being flexible with your location. Only one of them is more than 20 minutes from the Strip, and several offer free shuttles to other sister properties.
On the southeast side of town, there are three Station Casinos properties. Sunset Station, 1301 W. Sunset Rd., Henderson (tel. 888/786-7389;, is probably the nicest. Rooms are simple but have high-speed Internet access (for a fee), pay-per-view movies, room service, and so on. On-site you'll find more than a dozen restaurants, including a Hooters, a bowling alley, movie theaters, bars, lounges, a nightclub, an outdoor amphitheater with regular concerts by retro (read: has-been) performers, a brewpub, and a huge casino with much lower gaming limits than the Strip ($5 blackjack tables abound!). Prices at Sunset Station are usually well below $100 a night during the week (we've seen them as low as $60), and usually not too much above $100 on the weekends.
Just down the street a bit is the Mexican pueblo-themed Fiesta Henderson, 777 W. Lake Mead Dr., Henderson (tel. 800/388-8334 or 702/558-7000;, where they are slowly stripping away the Mexican jungle theme to go Santa Fe (it underwent a massive expansion in 2006). It has equally basic yet comfortable lodgings, plus plenty of gaming options, a decent and dirt-cheap buffet, other restaurants, bars, movie theaters, and more. Things are even cheaper here, with rooms going for as low as $30 a night during the week. You'll also find Boulder Station, 4111 Boulder Hwy. (tel. 800/683-7777 or 702/432-7777;, a little closer to the Strip, with more than 300 guest rooms, a 75,000-square-foot casino, movie theaters, a day-care facility, a big video-game arcade, restaurants and bars, and a concert venue called The Railhead. Rates at Boulder Station usually run from $75 to $125 a night, but rooms can be had for as little as $49 per night.
Sam's Town Hotel & Gambling Hall is listed separately in this guide, and nearby is Arizona Charlie's Boulder, 4575 Boulder Hwy. (tel. 800/632-4040 or 702/951-5900;, a sister hotel to the Stratosphere, with 300 minisuites, a 37,000-square-foot casino, several restaurants, and a casino lounge. It's only a step or two above budget accommodations but still very well maintained. It has very low limits in the casino, a cheap and reliable coffee shop, and a buffet priced like buffets used to be. This place is also very inexpensive, with weekday rooms as low as $30 and weekends often as low as $50.
New to this area (as of 2008) is the Eastside Cannery, 5255 Boulder Hwy. (tel. 866/999-4899;, just a stone's throw from Sam's Town but a world away in terms of amenities and style. A 16-story tower looms large with relatively upscale accommodations (sleek furnishings, flatscreens, nice bathrooms) without the upscale costs (we've seen them as low as $49 a night). A full array of restaurants, nightclubs, recreation, and gaming options complete the package.
On the north and west sides of town are four more Station properties. Texas Station, 2101 Texas Star Lane (tel. 800/654-8888 or 702/631-1000;, has a 91,000-square-foot casino, 200 rooms, movie theaters, a bowling alley, concert venues, bars, and a number of very fine restaurants, including the recommended and justly popular Austin's Steakhouse. You can often get rooms for as low as $40 a night here. Right across the street is Fiesta Rancho, 2400 N. Rancho Rd. (tel. 888/899-7770 or 702/631-7000;, another Station hotel, similar in concept and execution to its sister property mentioned above, only with more adobe and less jungle. In addition to the 100 rooms, they have a big casino and a regulation-size ice-skating rink, complete with equipment rentals and lessons. Prices go as low as $40 a night. Continue north on Rancho Road, and you'll run into Santa Fe Station [SS], 4949 N. Rancho Rd. (tel. 866/767-7771;, a place that used to be a really dingy affair until Station Casinos got hold of it. They redid the place from top to bottom, including an unexpectedly spiffy casino, upgraded rooms with stylish furnishings and all the amenities you could reasonably want or need, lots of restaurants and bars, a revamped bowling alley, movie theaters, a showroom, a video-game arcade, a kids' day-care center, and more. They've recently added some new restaurants, including a highly recommended buffet. All this for rates as low as $35 a night and rarely over $100, even during the busiest times. And if you continue north -- about as far north as you can go without running into a mountain -- you'll find the new (as of 2008) Aliante Station, 7300 Aliante Parkway, North Las Vegas (tel. 877/477-7627;, a beautifully done 200-room resort evoking an Arizona desert retreat. The rooms, while smallish, are gorgeously decorated with all of the latest amenities, and the facility boasts several restaurants, bars and lounges, a Strip-worthy pool, and a big casino all wrapped up in the warm design elements that have become the hallmark of this company's recent hotels. It's a solid 25-minute drive from the Strip without traffic, but with prices as low as $49 a night for rooms this nice, it might just be worth it.
Also on the north side of town is The Cannery, 2121 E. Craig Rd. (tel. 866/999-4899;, a '40s patriotic World War II-themed hotel and casino, with a couple hundred fine and very inexpensive rooms (usually under $100 a night), a fun casino, a terrific buffet and a few other restaurants, a cool indoor/outdoor events center that hosts regular concerts and festivals, movie theaters, and more.
Finally, on the far south side of town is the new (as of 2009) M Resort, 12300 Las Vegas Blvd., Henderson (tel. 877/673-7678;, a beacon for those driving in from Los Angeles, as it is the first major hotel-casino they see as they come into town. With 400 rooms, all done in a sleekly modern design scheme and a host of high-tech amenities, a 92,000-square-foot casino, a dozen restaurants, a pool and spa, and much more, the M could compete with Strip hotels in terms of the level of comfortable surroundings.