The Best Hotels in Las Vegas
Wynn Las Vegas & Wynn Encore – Best Overall Hotel
Mandarin Oriental – Best Hotel without a Casino
Aria – Best Modern Hotel
Four Seasons – Best Hotel Within a Hotel
Venetian & Palazzo – Best Standard Rooms
Bellagio – Best Lakeside Hotel
Vdara – Best Quiet Hotel
The Cromwell – Best Boutique Hotel
Cosmopolitan – Best Hotel Layout
Trump International Hotel Las Vegas – Best Hotel View
Red Rock Resort – Best Hotel in Summerlin
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino – Best Hotel Comeback
The M Resort – Best Desert Oasis
Mandalay Bay & Delano – Best Bang-for-your-Buck Hotel
Caesars Palace – Best Iconic Hotel
JW Marriott – Best Hotel Landscaping
MGM Grand – Best at Being the Biggest
Green Valley Ranch – Best Unexpected Surprise Hotel
Planet Hollywood – Best Hotel for Millennials
Paris Las Vegas – Best French-Inspired Hotel
W Las Vegas – Best North Strip Hotel
Golden Nugget – Best Downtown Hotel
The Mirage – Best Entertainment Hotel
Lucky Dragon Hotel & Casino – Best Hotel for Asian Travelers
Luxor Las Vegas – Best Gimmick Hotel
Wynn Las Vegas & Encore at Wynn – Best Overall Hotel
(Hotel Phone: 702.770.7000 or 702.770.7171)
The two connected sister properties have a reputation for high-end accommodations, always retaining an upscale image despite serving a wide variety of interests. The deluxe shopping, dining, and spa services are counterbalanced by three nightclubs and a rowdy summer pool party series, yet the identity remains the same: offering the best of the best, combining quality and indulgence. The hotel towers offer a variety of luxurious options, with penthouses and duplexes in addition to suites and villa. Even the standard rooms are given a glamorous touch. Designed by Steve Wynn, a major player in developing modern Las Vegas, the lobby puts a contemporary spin on a classic Sin City atmosphere, immersed in gold finishes and warm hues. The Wynn towers are within the north half of the Strip, near the Fashion Show Mall, Venetian, and Palazzo.
Wynn opened in 2005. Encore opened in 2008.
Wynn tower has 2,063 rooms, including 653 suites, “apartments” and villas. Encore tower has 1,679 rooms, including 338 suites and “apartments” as well as 16 three-bedroom duplexes and a single three-bedroom penthouse.
Three-bedroom duplexes are on two floors of the Encore tower only. They were formerly available by invitation-only, but have now been opened up for public booking. Use is geared toward families of six to nine people and discouraged for use by large groups of friends (ie. bachelor or bachelorette parties).
Fairway Villas overlook the lush Wynn golf course (although some views are more clear than others) and are on three floors in their own area of the hotel. The most exclusive ones are by invitation only. Those on the ground floor have private infinity soaking pools.
The rooms range from 640 to 745 sq ft on the smaller end to 3,224 sq ft two-room villas and 5,829 sq ft three-room duplex. Regardless of size, common features include floor-to-ceiling windows, marble bathrooms, 4K televisions, and 507-thread count linens.
Each room is fully automated with controls on a small tablet, usually at bedside. Wynn is in the process of rolling out Amazon Echo devices in all of its rooms, allowing lights, TVs, and other controls to be voice-automated.
Chairman and CEO Steve Wynn helped shape modern Las Vegas. His preferences, presence, and influence is felt throughout the property. For example, by his request, every restaurant has strong options for vegan cuisine. He’s also featured heavily on promotional materials.
Rooms with multiple bedrooms are considered to have “all master” bedrooms, a philosophy initiated by Wynn himself.
The 18 hole par-70 Wynn Golf Club is the only golf course that’s part of a Las Vegas Strip resort. With vibrant landscaping, rolling hills, lakes, and a 37-foot tall waterfall, the course is open to hotel guests as well as outside visitors. However, the course will be dramatically reduced in size to clear way for Paradise Park, a new outdoor entertainment district in development.
The dining is spectacular. SW Steakhouse and Mizumi are two of only a handful of restaurants in the country to serve true certified wagyu steak. Other highlights include Lakeside and Costa di Mare for seafood, Wing Lei for Chinese, and the Country Club steakhouse, which overlooks the golf course. La Cave is a more casual option for wine and shared plates while Sinatra offers an Italian tribute to a Vegas icon. The Wynn also has one of the very best buffets on the Strip. Lines out front get long during busy hours.
There are two casino floors. The Wynn has about 111,000 square feet of gaming space while the Encore’s gambling area is a bit smaller with a more intimate atmosphere. The exclusive “Sky Casino” on the top floor of Encore is by invitation only. There is also outdoor gaming by the pool areas.
Le Reve-The Dream is a swimming and acrobatic show performed in the round inside the Wynn Theater. Often mistaken for a Cirque du Soleil production, Le Reve-The Dream is produced in-house, featuring amazing stunts and a moving, evolving stage immersed in water.
The nightlife element is strong with three nightclubs on property. XS is the most indulgent, with elaborate gold decor, a busy dance floor, and an outdoor patio with a pool (which invites guests to hop in during the weekly “Night Swim” parties). Surrender offers the most flexibility with a tight DJ booth and VIP area that opens up to the massive Encore pool complex, allowing guests to step away from the crowd and enjoy the scenery (and breathing room) under the stars. Intrigue is the newest club and a little more intimate with a small outdoor deck and waterfall. It includes a secluded private lounge known as the Living Room. Encore Beach Club is a seasonal party that makes the most of Surrender’s pool space during the day.
The 99,000 square feet of retail space is among the most luxurious in the world, featuring upscale tenants like Cartier, Chanel, Dior, Rolex, and Prada. There’s also the only Louis Vuitton location in the country exclusively for women and an outpost of Salvatore Ferragamo, a celebrity favorite on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. A new retail complex, Wynn Plaza, is under construction on Las Vegas Boulevard.
Charges for self-parking will go into effect August 2017. Charges for valet are already in place. The resort fee is $39 per night and includes internet for up to four devices, phone calls, two daily fitness center passes, and choice of daily newspaper. Only documented service animals are allowed.
Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas – Best Hotel Without a Casino
(Hotel Phone: 702.590.8888)
Stylish with an Asian influence, the Mandarin Oriental offers indulgence, tranquility and boutique-style attention-to-detail that’s possible when there’s less than 400 hotel rooms in the building. With units split between hotel rooms and residencies, the high-rise specializes in privacy, atmosphere and luxury. Located on the edge of CityCenter, the Mandarin Oriental is incredibly convenient. Walk out the front door, take a few steps around a couple corners and on you’re on Las Vegas Boulevard, within easy walking distance to the T-Mobile Arena, The Park outdoor promenade, and other major destinations on the Strip. It’s also near fellow CityCenter neighbors like the Aria and Shops at Crystals.
Opened in 2009.
Has 392 hotel rooms and suites (up to the 22nd floor) with 225 additional units set aside for residential use (floors 24-42).
Three presidential suites (up to 3,200 sq ft) are stacked in the same position on the highest floors for hotel rooms (20-22) and may come with a Baby Grand piano, tub near the window, eight-seat dining room, media room and/or personal fitness room.
Cityscape, Dynasty, and Penthouse suites are between 1,040 and 1,700 sq ft , offering plenty of space for 2-3 people with wet bars, separate living room areas.
All rooms are positioned to have Strip or city views, allowing the basic rooms (500 sq ft) to be dubbed Strip View Rooms. A soaking tub is in view of the bedroom, but can be covered by a sliding privacy screen. Like all rooms in the hotel, the furnishings are stylish and contemporary. A Philips soundbar comes with the television.
In addition to stunning high-rise views, common elements in each room include contemporary furnishings, a digital tablet to control room features and entertainment systems, a yoga mat, and a valet locker with a small door that opens to the lobby. (This is useful for deliveries, ordering food without being disturbed, or having shoes picked up to be shined.)
Parking is valet-only and $20 per night for hotel guests. Parking services for hotel guests and residents are kept separate.
Hotel is perfect for those who want to be close to the action of the Strip, but can escape to a zen retreat at the end of the day. It’s also a popular choice for international travelers already familiar with the Mandarin Oriental brand.
Guests enter through the front doors on the ground floor, but the check-in counter is on the 23rd floor at the hotel’s famous Sky Lobby. Featuring a gorgeous mid-level view of the Strip through floor-to-ceiling windows, the Sky Lobby also features Mandarin Bar, the Tea Lounge, and Twist by Pierre Gagnaire.
Mandarin Oriental is non-smoking and free of gaming, prompting a tranquil atmosphere where the focus is on hotel services and dining. There is no nightclub and no dayclub at the pool.
The scent pumped through the hallways is called Bamboo Garden and is more subtle than scents in other resorts that are often used to cover up the smoke on a casino floor. It can be purchased in the gift shop and is similar to the smell of the bath salts that come complimentary in every guest bathroom.
At 47 stories tall, the elevators to the hotel floors are kept separate from those used for the lobby, restaurants, and other common areas. Similarly, those living in the residencies also have their own elevators.
Was the first hotel in the world to introduce a Moet & Chandon champagne vending machine in its lobby. Users actually pay at the check-in counter and are given a gold coin to use for the machine.
The hotel’s flagship dining spot, Twist by Pierre Gagnaire, is the only North American restaurant by the Michelin-starred French chef. The decorative spheres that hang from the ceiling are meant to represent champagne bubbles, while the cracked-eggshell design of the plates and walls is symbolic of Gagnaire’s talent for molecular gastronomy.
Other restaurants include MOzen Bistro (for sushi and other Asian cuisine) and a cafe by the pool. The Mandarin Bar is known for hand-crafted cocktails (try a “tea-tini”) and stunning views that wrap around the side of the building. The Tea Lounge near the check-in counter is a great date spot, with small bites, tea tastings, and the scenery of the Strip through giant windows.
The spa is among the most upscale and acclaimed on the Strip with 17 treatment rooms along with beauty and health services that cover two floors. Much like the rest of else in the hotel, stunning views are seen through large windows, whether it’s the spa, yoga room, or fitness center. A separate traditional Chinese foot spa service is a welcome relief after a day of walking down the Strip.
Pool deck on the 8th floor is shared by hotel guests and residents. Buckets of carbonated cocktails are a favorite for those relaxing on the elevated daybeds or one of 17 cabanas. There’s complimentary sunscreen, aloe, and sunglass cleaning services.
There’s about 12,000 feet of ballroom and private event space with three smaller rooms that can open together to accommodate up to 600 people. The space comes with lots of natural light and a balcony with Strip views.
One of just a few resorts in the world and the only one in Nevada to receive the Forbes Five Star award for its hotel, spa, and restaurant (Twist by Pierre Gagnaire).
Resort fee is $39 and includes WiFi, tea and coffee service 6 a.m-10 a.m (on the 3rd floor), fitness center access, daily newspaper, and complimentary shoeshine. The hotel is non-pet friendly.
Aria Resort & Casino – Best Modern Hotel
(Hotel Phone: 866.359.7111)
Mixing luxury, convenience, and contemporary style, the Aria is the opulent centerpiece of the CityCenter complex (which also includes the Mandarin Oriental, Vdara, Shops at Crystals, and residential Veer Towers). As one of the newer resorts on the Strip, the Aria feels modern, makes full use of technology and is home to some of the very best restaurants in Las Vegas. With a centralized location, it’s within easy walking distance to the T-Mobile Arena and other popular Strip attractions. It shares a monorail with the Vdara and Bellagio. With a sleek modern design, the Aria has an almost futuristic exterior and is the largest building in the world with LEED Gold status. It has more than 4,000 rooms but maintains an upscale feel throughout all of them with prices to match.
Opened in 2009.
Has 4,004 guest rooms, including 568 suites. Deluxe guestrooms range from $149 to $799 while suites can range from $425 to $7,500. Main tower includes 258 suites while the second tower is a hotel-within-a-hotel known as Sky Suites where the least expensive room is in the $700 range.
Sky Suites has a private porte cochere, check-in desk, elevators, and lounge – all much more quiet and secluded than the busy lobby of the main tower. Sky Suites offers one and two-bedroom Aria Suites (1,050-1,630 sq ft), one and two-bedroom penthouses (1,465-2,060 sq ft) and the spectacular Sky Villa, one and two-story retreats that range from 2,000 to 7,000 sq ft.
All rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows, contemporary furniture, and walk-in showers with a sit-down bench. Every room is designed to have a corner view.
Technology enhancements in every room include tablets for controlling the television, drapes, dining requests and other features. A “Good Night” button turns off lights, TV and music while closing the curtains at the same time. A WiFi connection of at least 1 megabit is guaranteed, the strongest in the industry. Rooms recognize radio frequency on key cards. No need to insert them into door. Room devices recognize when remote control batteries and lightbulbs are low, allowing them to be replaced before guest checks in. Each room has a 42 inch LCD HDTV with a smart panel that connects to laptops, game consoles, cameras, and MP3 players.
Lobby is ultra modern with warm hues, contemporary furnishings, and a fine art collection that includes an 84-foot silver cast near the check-in desk designed to resemble the Colorado River and three stainless steel sculptures in the self-park entry lobby.
Three water features were designed by WET, the same team behind the Bellagio fountains.The valet and taxi lanes are flanked by Focus, a 250 foot long curved water wall that’s 25 feet high. It complements Lumia, a fountain within the curve of the driveway that’s enhanced by colorful lights with the technology to illuminate in daylight. Latisse, a two-story water design made with stone and glass, can be found in the lobby by the casino.
The restaurant lineup is stellar. On the second floor you’ll find Herringbone (sustainable seafood and contemporary farm-to-table cuisine), Bardot Brasserie (a French bistro by Michael Mina), Carbone (supper club Italian with a modern touch), and Jean Georges Steakhouse (by French chef Jean Georges Vongerichten) along with The Buffet, featuring eight live-action stations representing global regions. Highlights on the ground floor include Sage (contemporary American by Shawn McClain), Javier’s (Mexican) Blossom (Chinese), and Jean Philippe Patisserie, a pastry shop with gelato. The Aria keeps its image upscale without any sort of food court, but has food to grab-and-go from Burger Lounge and FIVE50 Pizza Bar.
Jewel is the newest nightclub on the Strip, opening in early 2016. The dual-level venue features LED lights, video screens, and themed private rooms that overlook the dancefloor. Bars are scattered through the resort, including the stylish Alibi Cocktail Lounge in the middle of the casino floor.
The pool deck stretches across 215,000 sq ft with three primary pools, including the Sky Pool and Liquid, which is adults-only and features a day club atmosphere.
The Spa & Salon covers 80,000 sq ft over two levels. Beauty and health treatments include a salt room, fire lounge, the first Japanese Ganbanyoku stone beds in the United States (heated mineral slabs installed into the floor), and a co-ed balcony with an infinity-edge pool that overlooks the resort’s pool complex.
There’s 500,000 sq ft of technologically-advanced meeting and convention space for up to 5,000 people. The Aria recently closed down the theater that hosted Cirque du Soleil’s Zarkana to make room for even more convention space set to open in 2018.
The wedding chapel is on the first floor of the convention center and can broadcast ceremonies for guests who can’t attend in person.
Aria has won numerous awards for sustainability and is the largest structure in the world to be LEED Gold certified. The resort has a design that includes extensive use of natural light, a limo fleet that runs on compressed natural gas, smart technology to efficiently use energy in rooms, and an in-house recycling system. Recycled water is used for its water features.
Smoking is prohibited in all rooms, but is allowed on the casino floor and in some bars.
Resort fee is $39, among the highest in Las Vegas. It includes use of gym, property-wide WiFi, phone calls, and digital newspaper access. Aria charges for self-parking and valet. Self-parking is free for MGM Resorts International’s M Life rewards club members with a level of “Pearl” or higher, achieved through dollars spent or signing up for an affiliated Mastercard. Pets are not allowed.
Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas – Best Hotel Within a Hotel
(Hotel Phone: 702.632.5000)
The Four Seasons mixes luxury and upscale accommodations with a tranquil atmosphere that feels like a true escape from the chaos of Las Vegas, despite being on the southern tail end of the Strip. Understated from the outside, with a winding circular driveway and fountain to signal the entrance, it shares space with the Mandalay Bay campus, uniquely positioned to serve as a private quiet retreat – free of gambling – while being just a few doors away from the hustle, entertainment, attractions, convention space and casino off property.
Opened in 1999.
Has 424 rooms, including 81 suites.
Standard rooms run from 500 sq ft to studios at 810 sq ft. Suites range from 810 to 2,225 sq ft with views that can include the valley, mountains, desert, and Strip. Common features include marble bathrooms, iPod docks, contemporary furnishings, office desks with ergonomic chairs, and 47-55 inch LED flatscreen TVs. Larger suites have a residential feel with large walk-in closets, crown molding, spacious bathrooms with large tubs, and distinct separation of rooms, especially the bedroom.
The crown jewel accommodations are the lavish 2,225 Presidential Suites. There are only five total – one in the exact same spot on each floor. They include wrap-around floor-to-ceiling windows with a 180-degree view of Las Vegas, living room, dining room table for eight, luxe master bathroom with soaking tub, powder room, and options to connect with one or two additional rooms. Views are spectacular, with the Strip and airport seen through floor-to-ceiling windows.
Lobby is decorated in an elegant art deco style. The hotel rooms are on the 35-39 floors of the Mandalay Bay tower, with their own exclusive elevators that also allow guests to directly navigate to the pool or the casino floor of Mandalay Bay.
Four Seasons prides itself on personalized, customized service. For example, if a guest reports a food allergy at one restaurant, the rest of the hotel will know about it. People are also recognized frequently by name. The hotel reports that some guests have visited “hundreds” of times.
The only drawback is the lack of automated tech features (shade controls, tablet functions, etc.) found in other top resorts like the Mandarin Oriental, Wynn, and Aria.
While most Strip hotels have their spas tucked away on higher floors away from busy areas, the Four Seasons has its spa immediately off an already peaceful lobby hallway. Awarded the rare and elite Forbes Five Star designation, popular treatments at the spa (which recently underwent a million-dollar renovation and feels brand new) include facials, stone massages, and eucalyptus steam rooms. There is also a new nail spa across the hallway. The fitness center has a combination of weights and machines with floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the outdoor gardens and waterfall.
Dining options include Charlie Palmer Steak, featuring upscale food from the famous chef (and a notable off-menu tasting menu that changes daily), Veranda for breakfast, lunch, and Italian dinners (as well as a reputation for being a meeting spot for power brokers), and Press, an outdoor lounge with fire pits near the pool.
A private swimming pool area (with eight cabanas) is within the Four Seasons’ borders, but guests are also granted access to the Mandalay Bay pool complex, which includes a wave pool, lazy river, and the adults-only (tops optional) Moorea Beach Club.
In addition to Mandalay Bay’s massive trade show and expo center, the Four Seasons has its own 28,300 square feet of meeting space and ballrooms geared toward smaller groups. The hotel was also the first on the Strip to provide a separate kitchen for kosher events.
The Fountain Terrace is a private outdoor area with a picturesque waterfall. It has room for about 300 people and is used for private events, weddings, and as an overflow lounge area when the pool gets busy.
As part of its “Perfect Room” program, two guest rooms are taken out of service each day, and given a top-to-bottom evaluation to make sure everything from the wallpaper to the furniture is in top condition. Over the course of a year, every single room gets evaluated at least once.
Popular for businessmen who may be attending trade shows at Mandalay Bay but are seeking a more exclusive retreat at the end of the day. The hotel also draws golfers who enjoy playing at the Bali Hai Golf Club next door.
Unlike most hotels, you will never see a housekeeping cart in a hallway. The housekeeping staff retrieves equipment, supplies, and linens from stations on each floor, always working behind closed doors.
The Four Seasons is the hotel closest to the southern end of the Strip. It’s across the street from McCarran International Airport and an easy walk to the Delano and Luxor in addition to Mandalay Bay. A free tram runs between the Mandalay Bay and Excalibur resorts, making it easy to reach the MGM Grand, Tropicana, the Park Theater, T-Mobile Arena and other attractions near the central part of the Strip.
The resort fee is $39 per night and includes internet, phone, spa facilities and pool access. No pets are allowed (aside from service animals). Parking is paid-valet only, although paid self-parking is available at Mandalay Bay (and free for certain levels of the MGM Resorts M Life program).
Venetian & Palazzo – Best Standard Rooms
(Hotel Phone: 702.414.1000 or 702.607.7777)
Operated by the Sands Corporation as one hotel, the joint-properties of the Venetian and Palazzo share an elegant Italian Renaissance theme that’s seen in the architecture as well as tourist-friendly touches like the famous gondola rides. Operating on a large footprint in the heart of the Strip, it’s sometimes hard to know when one resort ends and the other begins. The rooms follow an all-suites approach with even the most basic rooms nearly double the size of the Strip average. All the bases are covered, including an exceptional reputation for dining, shopping, entertainment, nightlife, fitness and spa amenities, and convention space.
The Venetian opened in 1999. The Palazzo opened in 2007. Together, they form the largest hotel complex on the Strip.
The Venetian has 4,028 rooms. The Palazzo has 3,066 rooms. All are considered suite-level.
Luxury Suites (650 sq ft) are the smallest options at the Venetian, yet still large with a separate sunken living area and oversized marble bathrooms. Bella Suites (700 sq ft) have two Queen beds. The Rialto (1,100 sq ft), Prima (1,400 sq ft), and Piazza (1,500 sq ft) Suites are bigger and more adventurous in design. For lavish high-end suites, the Renaissance Suite (1,980 sq ft) comes with a choice of theater room or gym, the Penthouse Suite (2,900 sq ft) has two master bedrooms, and Presidential Suite (5,200 sq ft) comes with a piano and palatial-style furnishings. The Chairman Suite (7,900 sq ft) is more contemporary and has up to four bedrooms.
The quiet and secluded Venezia Tower, which opened at the Venetian in 2003 and has more than a thousand rooms, has its own check-in desk that’s open when the resort is busy.
Room choices are similar at the Palazzo: Luxury Suites, Bella Suites (both 720 sq ft) are the most price friendly while the modern Fortuna (940 sq ft) and Siena Suites (1,280 sq ft) take things up a notch. The elite-level suites include the Lago (1,943 sq ft), Penthouse (3,204 sq ft), Presidential (6,633-6,651 sq ft), and Chairman Suites (6,367-7,828 sq ft) with pianos, pool tables, separate dining rooms and expanded marble bathrooms among the furnishings.
The Prestige club at the Palazzo includes its own check-in desk on the 23rd floor with a bottle of Prosecco on standby to welcome guests. It’s a small luxury “hotel within a hotel” with a private lounge and resort agents serving in a concierge capacity. An open bar and passed appetizers are offered daily between 5-8 p.m.
The Canyon Ranch Spa runs between both resorts. It has anything and everything, including a 40-foot tall rock climbing wall and a full-size fitness center, nutrition classes, and acupuncture. Relax to the sounds of trickling water in the co-ed conservatory, a wave room where water reflects on the ceiling, or a Himalayan Salt Grotto. It has the most extensive fitness class selection on the Strip.
Both hotels have their own expansive pool areas, connected by a deck that wraps around the property – totaling up to ten pools and four hot tubs over five acres. The Palazzo recently added the Aquatic Club, which offers an intimate party atmosphere for adults. The Venetian has Tao Beach, a popular dayclub in which topless sunbathing is allowed on a limited basis during the week.
The restaurants are stellar and showcase world-famous celebrity chefs. Mario Batali has four restaurants represented, including the magnificent Carnevino, where steaks are dry-aged for up to 120 (and a few select cuts up to eight months!) at an off-site facility. Emeril Lagasse, Wolfgang Puck, and “Cake Boss” Buddy Valastro also have multiple dining spots. Other top choice include Thomas Keller’s Bouchon, Yardbird (for the best fried chicken in Vegas), Sugarcane (global cuisine) and the new Chica with latin fare by Lorena Garcia.
Tao is an Asian restaurant with a large nightclub on the upper level. In similar style, Lavo is an Italian restaurant with a sleek lounge upstairs.
The Grand Canal Shoppes has more than 80 boutique stores, waterways with gondola rides, and live entertainment in St. Mark’s Square. It’s also home to Madame Tussauds and an 85,000 square-foot Barneys New York. The Atrium Shops provides a luxury spin on the department store concept, with numerous brands and counters (not to mention a bar) under one roof.
The Waterfall Atrium has seasonal floral displays, rotating art installations and a two-story waterfall under 55-foot tall atrium ceilings.
Entertainment includes BAZ (featuring music and scenes from movies by Baz Luhrmann) and vocal group Human Nature. National touring acts often play the Venetian Theater.
Both the Venetian and Palazzo have their own casino space, adding up to about 225,000 sq ft of slot machines, poker, and other games. The ultra-exclusive Paiza Club offers private gaming (on a limited basis) as well as food, drinks, and a lounge area for high rollers.
Between the Congress Center, ballrooms, and the Sands Convention Center, there is more than 2.3 million square feet of meeting and convention space.
On the corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and where Spring Mountain Road turns into Sands Avenue, the Venetian and Palazzo are near the Mirage, Treasure Island, Fashion Show Mall, and Wynn resorts.
Resort fee is $39 and includes internet for unlimited devices, phone calls and two gym passes. A $40 upgrade includes half-off cocktails at casino bars and higher tiered Wi-Fi., and two lattes or specialty coffee drinks a day. Parking and valet is currently free. Pets are generally not allowed.
The Bellagio – Best Lakeside Hotel
(Hotel Phone: 888.987.6667)
With its elegant design and famous fountain shows, the Bellagio is synonymous with iconic Las Vegas imagery. Add in the luxury accommodations, dining and attractions and you have one of the most in-demand hotels on the Strip. It’s also one that manages to stay both understated and indulgent at thame time. The Bellagio follows a classic Italian theme that disregards traditional Vegas neon in favor of soft tones and European-inspired architecture. The upscale shops and Conservatory keep the lobby crowded but the rooms, spa, and pool area are a welcome retreat for hotel guests looking to escape the tourist rush while still being in a prime location in the heart of the Strip.
Opened in 1998.
Has 3,933 rooms, including 512 suites.
Second tower (Spa Tower) opened in 2004. Fountain views there are from an angle.
Standard rooms (510-626 sq ft) have upscale designs with double vanities and marble finishes in the bathrooms and rotating color schemes in the bedrooms with phone/mp3 docking stations and 40-inch high-definition televisions that allow smartphone integration.
Salone Suites (853 sq ft) are a nice upgrade with the bed in a corner, flanked by large windows on both sides and a spa tub in the bathroom. Other suites (1,020-3,001 sq ft) are designed with plenty of space in mind with artwork on the walls, contemporary furniture, indulgent Italian marble bathrooms, and separate dining areas. The Chairman’s Suite and the Presidential Suite (each 4,075 sq ft) are especially lavish with a conference room, large wet bar and extra bedroom added. Views are spectacular – even to the west where mountain scenery replaces the Strip and fountain shows. Some suites include private check-in at the Chairman’s Lounge (with complimentary drinks and snacks).
Ground floor villas (6,500 sq ft) have two bedrooms, five bathrooms, massage room, workout room, dry sauna, two fireplaces, formal dining room, and private patio with plunge pool.
Rooms are eco-friendly with tech features to detect when people enter and leave, adjusting lights and temperature for efficiency.
Lobby is magnificent, featuring more than 100,000 sq ft of gaming space (including 2,400 slot machines), luxury retailers like Omega and Valentino, and the Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. The mammoth display of plants, flowers, and trees usually follows a seasonal theme and changes five times a year. It’s free and open round the clock, making it one of the most visited and photographed attractions in Las Vegas.
The Fountains of Bellagio offer spectacular water shows on the nearly nine acre lake that sits in front of the resort. More than 1,200 dancing fountains shoot as high as 460 feet in the air, synchronized to a wide range of music ranging from Luciano Pavarotti to Bruno Mars. Shows, easily visible from Las Vegas Boulevard sidewalks and surrounding hotels, are every 30 minutes in the afternoon and early evening. They’re every 15 minutes between 7 p.m. and midnight.
Five outdoor pools are nestled among lush Mediterranean-inspired landscaping. The Cypress Pool is the most exclusive and secluded. Without a DJ or dayclub, the pools tends to be more quiet and serene than those of similar size at other Strip hotels.
Spa Bellagio takes up the entire first floor of the Spa Tower. It has 56 treatment rooms with services and therapies based on the balanced themes of earth, water, fire, and wind.
Fitness Center overlooks the pool complex and includes a studio with bamboo flooring for yoga, pilates, and boxing classes.
There is enough meeting and convention space (more than 200,000 sq ft) to accommodate gatherings of up to nearly 6,000 people, including 50 meeting rooms and three large ballrooms. Tuscany Kitchen provides food for demos and private events.
O by Cirque du Soleil features a cast of 85 acrobats, dancers, divers, and swimmers performing in, around, and above water. It’s one of the most thrilling and acclaimed Cirque productions on the Strip.
Two busy nightclubs can be found on property. Although the dancefloor is tight, Hyde Bellagio has a gorgeous from-the-inside open-air view of the Bellagio fountains and is also a comfortable lounge during early evening hours. The Bank is a more straightforward club with stylish decor and a centralized dancefloor surrounded by elevated tables.
Two French restaurants, Le Cirque and Picasso (decorated with authentic paintings by the legendary artist), were honored with the AAA Five Diamond award and the Forbes Five-Star award in 2016. It’s the first time a single hotel could claim those designation for two restaurants at the same time. Other dining highlights: Harvest offers a contemporary spin on farm-to-table dining, Lago provides Italian-inspired tapas with sweeping views of the Bellagio fountains, and Michael Mina serves seafood and other modern American fare by the celebrity chef.
The Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art features a rotating gallery of museum-caliber exhibits. Two other galleries respectively showcase the photographs of Jeff Mitchum and the sculpted figures of Richard MacDonald.
Sitting in a perfect location near the Flamingo intersection, the Bellagio is next door to the Cosmopolitan, across the street from Caesars Palace and in easy walking distance to Planet Hollywood, Paris, and CityCenter. A moving walkway helps bring guest from the lobby, past the lake, and down to the Strip sidewalk. The Bellagio is the easiest Strip hotel to access from the Flamingo ramp off Interstate 15.
The Bellagio is the first Las Vegas resort to receive the AAA Five Diamond Award for 16 years in a row.
Resort fee is $39 and covers internet, phone calls, and use of fitness center. There is a charge for valet and self-parking, although self-parking is free for certain levels of the M Life rewards club. The Bellagio is pet-friendly and welcomes dogs up to 40 lbs. or two dogs with a combined weight up to 40 lbs. with a $125 charge added per night for each dog.
Vdara Hotel & Spa – Best Quiet Hotel
(Hotel Phone: 866.745.7767)
The perfect antidote to the noise and chaos of casino floors, the Vdara is modern, stylish, quiet, and free of both gambling and smoking. It’s also tucked away a bit from the bustle of Las Vegas Boulevard. The Vdara is considered a sister resort to the Aria and part of the CityCenter complex, although it sits across Harmon Avenue and is closer in distance to the Cosmopolitan and Bellagio. The lack of restaurants and entertainment is by design – to keep crowds to a minimum.
Opened in 2009.
The Vdara considers itself an “all suites” hotel with a single tower consisting of 1,495 rooms (ranging from 500 to 1,650 sq ft) with prices anywhere from $149 to $2,000 per night. The hotel specializes in panels of floor-to-ceiling windows, including 250 corner units with stunning wrap-around panoramic views.
Rooms are almost like mini-apartments with two hot plates, kitchenette, and wet bar in the studio suites, while larger deluxe rooms have full gourmet kitchens with stainless steel refrigerators, dishwasher, and four hot plates. Size of dinner tables and business work space will depend on the room.
Automated shades have wall controls, although bedside tablets are provided for convenience (and additional functions like ordering room service). Rooms have stylish furnishings, multiple flatscreen televisions and modern furniture. Bathrooms have clean finishes and include both bathtubs and walk-in showers. Deluxe suites may have a stand-alone tub with a window view.
Rooftop pool can be found on the second level. It’s for hotel guests only and is surrounded by 19 cabanas, some of which have their own semi-secluded dipping pools.
Fitness center is modern but on the smaller side, matching the profile of the hotel. There’s a smoothie bar and free fruit-infused water stations. There’s also a salon and ESPA, a two-level wellness spa with 11 treatment rooms, three relaxation lounges and co-ed meditation room. Only naturally-sourced and ethically harvested ingredients are used in the products.
There are no major restaurants, which is by design to reinforce the quiet and reclusive nature of the property. However, there is Vice Versa, a stylish lobby bar with an outdoor fire pit area that specializes in craft cocktails and small plates as well as Market Cafe for on-the-go gourmet bites and of course, Starbucks. There’s also food service by the pool and in-room dining. If that’s not enough, nearby neighbors like the Bellagio, Cosmopolitan, and Aria are loaded with world-famous restaurants worthy of your attention.
There is no self-parking at the Vdara, but valet service is provided for a fee.
Vdara is connected by pedestrian walkway to the Bellagio and shares a free monorail shuttle with the Shops at Crystals and Aria.
Vdara is one of the most pet-friendly hotels on the Strip. For an additional $75 per night, guests can bring up to two dogs with a combined weight of less than 75 pounds in the “VDog Suite.”
Much like the rooms, the lobby is based on contemporary furnishings and limited edition artwork. Just outside is the “Big Edge,” a sculpture created from more than 200 boats, canoes, and kayaks.
There’s more than 16,500 sq ft of conference space, which is on the small side compared to other bigger resorts, but it’s modern, tech-oriented, and has a ballroom (and breakout areas) for hosting around 300 people.
Much like Aria, the Vdara was designed with sustainability in mind and has been awarded the rare 5 Keys designation by the Green Key Eco-Ratings program. It shares a fleet of limos fueled by compressed natural gas with the Aria. The building is also designed to minimize water waste and is designed with windows to reflect light and reduce heat absorption.
An additional resort fee of $35 is charged each night and includes in-room internet service, use of fitness facility and unlimited phone calls.
The Cromwell – Best Boutique Hotel
(Hotel Phone: 702.777.3777)
The Cromwell is not only the best boutique hotel in Las Vegas, but it also has the absolute best location on the Strip. Sitting on the corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Flamingo, the resort is in the heart of the action. Unlike its neighbors who share the same intersection (Caesars Palace, the Bellagio, and Bally’s), the Cromwell has a lobby that opens directly to the sidewalk. As one of the newest resorts on the Strip, the rooms are new, contemporary, and stylish. The hotel is small, with less than 200 rooms, but it has two big attractions: Drai’s rooftop nightclub and the only restaurant in the world by celebrity chef Giada de Laurentiis.
Opened in 2014.
Has 188 rooms, including 19 suites. Rooms are on four levels. (Floors 5-8).
Most rooms are stylish with a contemporary French influence and warm dark colors. Common furnishings include edison light bulbs, industrial-style fixtures, plush furniture, dark hardwood floors, leather-quilted headboards, and a “vanity bar” in the bathroom, offering items like shampoo and lotion. Use them and you’ll be charged appropriately.
Deluxe and Luxury (Strip view) rooms are 360 sq ft. Parlor Suites (723 sq ft) have steam showers, upgraded minibars, hair straightener, and full refrigerator. Boulevard Suites (1,061 sq ft) are found on the four corners of the hotel and come with a working vintage pinball machine. Gallery Suites (1,411 sq ft) have a large living room with sectional seating and wet bar. There’s a single Cromwell Suite (1,730 sq ft) on the 8th floor with pool table, loaded bookshelves, and two additional connecting rooms that add up to a single wing (2,550 sq ft). It’s often reserved for celebrities and performers at Drai’s.
Rooms with king beds have games of Checkers or Backgammon set up on the coffee tables. Game pieces are free to take as a souvenir.
The Cromwell tends to draw savvy leisure travelers who have already been to Vegas before, and recognize the advantages that sometimes come with avoiding larger mega-resorts. Without desks or workspaces, the rooms aren’t geared toward business travelers.
Bound is an upscale craft cocktail bar near the check-in lobby and truly one of the best places to get a drink anywhere in Vegas. The menu is curated by master mixologist Salvatore Calabrese. A “Mixology Hour” offers free samples of signature cocktails between 5-6pm on Fridays and Saturdays. Additional bars can be found in the casino area.
Giada is the first (and so far, only) restaurant by celebrity chef and television personality Giada de Laurentiis. Serving a Californian take on Italian cuisine, it’s a big draw for out-of-towners and has an amazing view of the Bellagio fountains across the street through open windows. Giada also supplies small bites to Bound and a separate menu for in-room dining (with common fare like wings and burgers).
Drai’s Nightclub and Beachclub sits on the 11th floor rooftop. The pool is surrounded by two levels of cabanas that come with shared dipping pools. The view of the Strip is easily the best for a pool anywhere in Vegas. Drai’s Cafe offers a strong menu of small bites for poolside dining and has the only kitchen in the hotel aside from the Giada restaurant.
The rooftop swimming pool is 21 and over. Families with kids have free access to the general pools at the Flamingo next door and Caesars Palace across the street.
The Cromwell was the first hotel on the Strip to introduce e-key technology of simply waving your card in front of the lock to open the door.
Coffee stations are by the elevators on floors 5 and 7, offering free coffee all day for guests.
Was formerly known as the Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall & Saloon (and before that, the Barbary Coast) as a convenient spot that catered to locals despite the prime location. It was renovated completely into the Cromwell with an additional part of the building added to support the rooftop pool at Drai’s.
Like the hotel itself, the casino is on the small side but avoids overcrowding the floor with excessive slot machines. It has more table games than expected for a casino of its size.
Drai’s Afterhours is downstairs from the lobby and the only holdover from the hotel’s previous incarnation. The late night party spot is favored by the industry crowd with two DJ rooms.
There is no spa and no retail shops. A fitness center is surprisingly charming, with basic equipment, brick walls, and ground floor window views of the street outside.
As part of Caesars Entertainment, paid valet and self-parking were recently introduced, although self-parking is free with Nevada state ID.
The resort fee is $35 and includes internet, calls, and access to the fitness center. There is a charge for valet parking and self-parking.
The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas – Best Hotel Layout
(Hotel Phone: 702.698.7000)
Sleek, contemporary and full of energy, the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas is a favorite of millennials and anyone who prefers luxury with a busy atmosphere and modern furnishings. By covering a relatively small footprint of less than nine acres, amenities, accommodations and attractions are spread out vertically on multiple floors – which works to everyone’s advantage with two street level entrances on the Strip directly off the casino floor and a convenient self-parking garage directly underground. Marquee Nightclub & Dayclub, the Chelsea Theater, and a lineup of modern restaurants – along with a prime mid-Strip location – bring in plenty of foot traffic.
Opened in 2010.
Has 3,026 rooms and suites.
Built on 8.7 acres, the resort is vertical in design, with restaurants, bars, and attractions on multiple floors – as opposed to being lumped together on a sprawling ground floor lobby traditionally found in most Strip casino resorts.
With the exception of the Palazzo, the Cosmopolitan has the only underground parking garage on the Strip – directly beneath the hotel and easily accessible by elevator instead of a long walk.
Rooms generally share modern designs, contemporary furnishings, and spectacular views. The Cosmopolitan is the only hotel or residential building on the Strip to have open-air balconies. They’re spacious enough to be decorated with patio furniture. The units on the north side are especially stunning, looking down on the neighboring Bellagio fountains.
Standard rooms (610 sq ft) have a kitchenette and a Japanese soaking tub in the bathroom that’s visible from the bedroom (but can be covered with shades for privacy). The Wraparound Suites (1,200) have nearly double the space with an expanded living room, kitchen (with stovetop and full-size oven), crystal chandelier and an outdoor 480 square-foot terrace that wraps around the corner of the building.
Two-story Lanai Suites (800 sq ft) overlook the Chelsea pool and have a tropical theme with one bedroom dining room, and two bathrooms.
Bungalow Suites (1,695 sq ft) are three-level townhouse-style units that overlook the pool area of Marquee Nightclub & Dayclub. They each have private patios and plunge pools on the top floor and optional cabanas attached on the ground floor. Perfect for large parties. Custom furniture is designed to fit every inch of space.
Boulevard Penthouses (2,000-5,000 sq ft) cover the top four floors of the Boulevard Tower and are individually designed based on themes of New York (straight lines, dark wood, and abstract decor) or Beverly Hills (curved shapes, limestone accents, and maximum use of space).
West End Penthouses (2,400-3,700 sq ft) are among the most exclusive in the resort, sitting on the 60th and 61st floors of the west Chelsea Tower. Designed with light and dark elements, the units tend to show off eclectic artwork and unique touches like crystal-encrusted wall textures. The four most indulgent suites are on the 70th floor, with a private hallway featuring light effects that simulate the sensation of floating and the natural movement of the sun.
Rose is a virtual concierge, available to guests by text, and able to respond in real time. The answers tend to be fun with plenty of wit and personality.
In a break from common practice, the casino is in sight of large windows showcasing the Strip. The Race & Sports Book was recently expanded and given a high-tech upgrade with bright LED video walls and high-def TV screens. The Talon Club is a speakeasy-style parlor for high-stakes players with 20 table games. The Reserve is an ultra-exclusive private gaming area nestled among the Boulevard Tower Penthouses.
The dining lineup is especially strong, led by a trio of restaurants by Chef Jose Andres: Jaleo (Spanish with a impressive paella grill as the centerpiece), China Poblano (with Chinese and Mexican cuisine sharing the same menu), and E by Jose Andres (an intimate private dining room with an ever-evolving menu of 20 courses served only twice a night). Other highlights include Zuma (sophisticated Japanese), STK (a steakhouse with a nightclub atmosphere), Scarpetta (Italian), Estiatorio Milos (the best Greek in Vegas), Blue Ribbon (eclectic American and famous fried chicken), Momofuku (Noodle bar and Asian street food), and Beauty & Essex (with a stylish lounge vibe and a hipster-friendly pawn shop that’s more of a gimmick than an active business).
There are several bars scattered throughout the resort. Three of them – Chandelier, Clique, and Vesper – are highly regarded for their craft cocktail programs. Chandelier is also a visual spectacle, with its dazzling decor spread over three floors (with different drink menus on each).
Wicked Spoon is one of the top buffets on the Strip and a leader in the trend of emphasizing small bites individually prepared to encourage a more deeper and diverse selection.
There are three distinct pool areas. The Boulevard Pool has magnificent Strip views and a stage for national music acts. The Chelsea Pool is more private and feels like a park with secluded areas for privacy. Marquee Dayclub is a wild daytime pool party and nighttime lounge extension of Marquee nightclub – which features DJs in three rooms with seven bars covering 60,000 sq ft.
Sahra Spa and Hammam has 30 treatment rooms, a salon, and two fitness areas. Beauty treatments are globally-inspired and include Turkish hammam baths and Arabian beauty rituals. Additional fitness centers can be found on the 14th floor of the Chelsea Tower and the 15th floor of the Boulevard Tower.
The Cosmopolitan has a unique art program that includes art installations, digital art displays, and Art-o-Mat machines that dispense original artwork. The 65 foot-tall digital marquee out front also displays artwork.
The shopping options are both eclectic and luxurious. Highlights include Jason of Beverly Hills for contemporary high-end jewelry, Stitched for menswear, and Rent the Runway offering designer dresses often seen on Hollywood stars for a fraction of the price.
The Cosmopolitan has 190,000 sq ft of conference space that spans the first three floors of the resort with seven ballrooms and 46 meeting rooms.
The Cosmopolitan recently introduced paid parking and valet. Resort fee is $35 and includes internet and calls as well as fitness center and tennis court access. Dogs up to 25 lbs. are allowed with an added nightly charge of $50 per dog – and must be kept in a kennel when unattended in rooms.
Trump International Hotel Las Vegas – Best Hotel View
(Hotel Phone: 702.982.0000
Although having the name of the current U.S. president on its towering marquee is an instantly noteworthy and surreal image, the Trump International Hotel has long been known for elite luxury on the Las Vegas Strip. Free of both smoking and gambling, the resort attracts guests who are more interested in elite accommodations than slot machines. Located at a bend in Las Vegas Boulevard, the hotel has an amazing view – appearing to be in the middle of the Strip instead of alongside it. Connection to President Trump is now in name only with no other official affiliation otherwise.
Opened in 2008.
Has 1,282 rooms, including 402 suites.
Options include Superior or Deluxe (with a Strip view) studios (515-533 sq ft) or one-bedroom units (900 sq ft). Penthouse Suites are one-bedroom (1,400 sq ft), two-bedrooms (1,600 sq ft) or three bedrooms (around 3,000 sq ft. with 3.5 bathrooms).
Common elements in the rooms include floor-to-ceiling windows, large bathrooms with marble furnishings, double vanities, walk-in showers, and spa tubs that sit underneath large windows. Italian marble floors can be found in the bathrooms and foyers. Kitchens are equipped with appliances by Sub-Zero, Wolf, Bosch, and Dacor. Television screens within the bathroom mirrors are being phased out due to maintenance issues with the manufacturer.
Gold decor and furnishings are a theme, although the yellowish hues in the guest rooms have been given a more contemporary upgrade over the years. The exterior of the tower itself, reaching more than 600 feet into the Las Vegas sky, is encased in 24-karat gold-infused glass.
The property is free from gaming and entirely smoke-free. Without a busy casino floor, the lobby is more quiet and elegant than most others on the Strip. Fresh flower decorations are changed frequently.
The building sits slightly west of Las Vegas Boulevard, allowing it to enjoy its own space away from the tourist crowds. Views are spectacular, especially to the south where it faces a bend in Las Vegas Boulevard, making the hotel appear to be in the middle of the Strip rather than alongside it.
Rooms are divided between hotel, timeshare and residential units. At 64 stories, the Trump International is the tallest residential building in Las Vegas.
The Fashion Show Mall is directly across the street – convenient for international guests eager to shop in popular high-end American stores. Other attractions within an easy walking distance are the Wynn, Encore, Venetian, Palazzo, and Treasure Island resorts. Shuttle service is available to these and other Strip locations.
DJT Restaurant is the main dining spot, with private dining rooms as well as an open area just off the lobby that serves a breakfast buffet. The menu for lunch and dinner is big on steaks, craft cocktails, and other familiar American fare. In-room dining offers organic, vegan, and gluten-free dishes. There’s also a convenient grab-and-go coffee and snack counter in the lobby.
Pool area is on the 7th floor and features a sunning deck, cabanas, and casual food bites served by H2(EAU). The pool is open to hotel guests only and includes complimentary sunscreen and fruit-infused water.
Fitness Center overlooks the pool and offers yoga classes. Spa has nine treatment rooms. Options include a “flight” experience of multiple 30 minute experiences, some of which are exclusive to Las Vegas.
The hotel features intimate office and meeting room space near the North Deck – an outdoor patio area that offers a sense of privacy and is also a popular spot for weddings. Penthouse meeting space has spectacular views from 60 floors above the Strip.
Hotel is very pet friendly (with a limit of up to 25 pounds). Gourmet treats, a plush dog bed, and a food bowl are even provided. Dog walking services can be arranged through the concierge.
Trump Kids program offers special activities and services for children, including kiddie cocktails and coloring books.
Hotel is popular for international travelers from the China, United Kingdom, and Australia. It also has an affiliation with Hainan (an airline that provides direct flights from China to Las Vegas), with Chinese-language food menus for crew and staff.
Donald Trump campaign merchandise was sold in the lobby gift shop during the 2016 election. That’s no longer the case as Trump resigned from the Trump Organization before taking office.
Parking is valet only with no charge. Resort fee is $29 and includes internet service, phone calls, in-room coffee and bottled water, shuttles to the Strip, shoeshine service, and $25 spa credit.
Red Rock Casino Resort Spa – Best Hotel in Summerlin
As the most luxurious hotel and casino in the affluent Summerlin community 10 miles west of the Strip, the Red Rock Resort features contemporary desert architecture and caters to both tourists and locals with its wide array of amenities. Sitting on 70 acres, the resort is close to the majestic Red Rock National Conservation Area, but also features clear unobstructed views of the Strip. The casino, restaurants and entertainment options are kept separate from the hotel tower, avoiding the confusing sprawl sometimes found in Vegas resort lobbies. The Red Rock is the first billion-dollar luxury resort to be built off the Strip and is the crown jewel of the Station Casinos corporation.
Opened in 2006.
Has 796 rooms and suites, from 500 sq ft for a standard room to up to 7,500 sq ft for a penthouse-level suite. They include 81 suites in five distinct styles: Signature Suites (1,000-1,500 sq ft), Luxury Suites (1,545-2,060 sq ft), Presidential Suites (2,060-2,575 sq ft) and Villa or Grand Villa Suites (2,575-3,090 sq ft). Seven penthouse-level suites sit on the top floor of the hotel tower and range from 2,400 to 7,500 sq ft.
The penthouse level suites each have their own distinct style with specific names. For example, “180” features a 180-degree view that includes both the Strip and Red Rock Canyon while “Twist” has four distinct circular rooms, including a large bar.
The standard rooms are more stylish than most of the basic-level rooms you’ll find at other (more expensive) Vegas hotels and feature voice-over internet protocol phone, 42″ plasma television, iHome clock, guest robes and 15″ LCD television in the bathroom.
The villas on the ground floor are extravagant and include a pool table, large wet bar, and private patio with lounge furniture and a small pool.
The property is laid out in a convenient horseshoe-style design with the swimming pool in the center. Hotel guests will have either Strip views or mountain views overlooking the pool.
The resort features a warm palette of red, gold, and brown to complement the natural surroundings, with red sandstone columns being a prime example. Venetian plaster walls and gold-leaf ceilings show off the lavish nature of the property while more than three million crystals were used for chandeliers and other ceiling decorations to give the casino a little “Old Vegas” flair.
The casino is rare in that it features lots of natural light and a convenient circular layout with the Lucky Bar in the center and the main restaurants along the edges. There are more than 3,000 slot and video poker machines, 60 tables games and a sportsbook that seats more than 200 people and was recently renovated to include a 96-foot 4K Ultra HD video wall.
The dining spots are designed to offer something for all tastes. Top restaurants include T-bones Chophouse for steak, 8 Noodle Bar for Asian, Salute Trattoria for Italian, Libre for Mexican and Hearthstone for fans of rustic creative cuisine with sustainable ingredients. Some restaurants feature outdoor patios. A food court near the casino is busy with familiar options like Starbucks, Ben & Jerry’s, and Fatburger.
Guests tend to be repeat Vegas visitors looking for an alternative to the Strip or a good value for luxury accommodations, trade show or conference attendees, locals enjoying a staycation or people visiting friends or relatives in the Summerlin area.
Free shuttles run regularly to the Strip and McCarran International Airport. The resort is also in walking distance from the new practice facility and offices for the Vegas Golden Knights NHL expansion franchise and Downtown Summerlin, an outdoor retail, dining, and entertainment complex.
Resort is family-friendly with 72-lane bowling alley and movie theater on property. Kids Quest is an indoor recreation area for children up to 12 years old, providing fun and interesting activities in addition to day care services.
Swimming pool sits as the centerpiece of the property, sitting on three acres with a main swimming area surrounded by smaller dipping pools. The pool area isn’t open to locals, which allows hotel guests to enjoy a leisurely atmosphere without having to fight over lounge furniture. Cabana rentals are available. The poolside deck is sometimes used for food and wine festivals as well as summertime concerts by national touring acts.
Spa was recently renovated and features 23 treatment rooms, including a VIP suite. The 25,000 sq. ft. facility is very contemporary and in addition to the familiar pampering, offers customized medical and wellness services. It’s also the first non-medical facility in the country to offer Lancer facial and body treatments. Locals can sign up for yoga and other classes for as low as $10.
Resort fee is $31.99 and includes phone calls, in-room internet, fitness center, shuttles, concierge services, shoe shine, and daily newspaper. Parking is free.
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino – Best Hotel Comeback
(Hotel Phone: 702.693.5000)
Once known as a party hotel that had been passed by in recent years, the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino has made a remarkable comeback with renovations, additions, and improvements across the board. More than a great value, the Hard Rock is a great hotel – period – with a rock star attitude and atmosphere that lives up to its name. Guest rooms at all price points have a new feel with a modern style and contemporary furnishings. Just east of the Strip, the resort offers convenience to both tourist attractions as well as the airport. A top spot for dining, shows, and pool parties.
Opened in 1995.
Has 1,504 rooms, including 448 suites.
The lobby areas extensively feature music memorabilia and exhibits devoted to rock and pop stars – including full drum sets.
The HRH Tower was added in 2010, offering an all-suites philosophy where everything is designed with luxury in mind. The tower has its own porte-cochere and check-in lobby. Every room has its own separate living room. Tech features include soundbars for the TVs and an AMX Touch Panel music system preloaded with 2,000 songs and playlists. The rooms have at least two flat screen TVs, floor-to-ceiling windows, and mix dark leather with cream-colored furnishings. Rooms begin at 700 sq ft. with a number of individually-themed and uniquely furnished suites ranging from 1,257 to 4,276 sq ft. Some on the top floor have their own outdoor dipping pool.
The Paradise Tower was added in 2009 and is close to the meeting space area, making it popular for convention guests. Leather, wood, and silver-studded velvet give these rooms an especially strong rock star vibe. Standard rooms and deluxe rooms range from 476 to 604 sq ft. A Penthouse Suite (3,436 sq ft) has three king beds and a spa tub in the living room. The Pool Villa Suites (1,080-1,861 sq ft) have tons of wow-factor. Each one has an outdoor patio with TV and is uniquely decorated with a theme. (Ask for the one with a mural of a gorilla on the wall.)
The original Casino Tower has seen some dramatic upgrades, especially with decor, artwork, and bathroom remodels that include new vanities, tile, and lighting. Most rooms have French doors that open to reveal great views. Standard rooms are around 460 sq ft with mid-level suites 540-900 sq ft. Extravagant over-the-top suites include Lucky Eight Suite (with three sleeping areas, a round bed, and a dining room spread over 2,600 sq ft) and the Penthouse Real World Suite (4,950 sq ft), which has a pool table, built-in aquarium, and single-lane bowling alley. It was featured on MTV’s The Real World and has counted Axl Rose among its celebrity guests.
Rock n’ roll artwork and photos can be seen throughout the hallways. Even the elevators feature black-and-white images of Van Halen, The Who, Queen, and other rock icons.
There are a handful of bars scattered throughout the property, but the Circle Bar in the center of the lobby is a legendary hookup spot. It’s more refined these days – recently renovated and surrounded by performers on swings.
Five pools are spread out over nearly five acres. Paradise Beach features swim-up blackjack and is home to Rehab, the pool party that’s credited with kicking off the dayclub trend back in the 90s.
Restaurants include MB Steak (a new social concept by the family behind Morton’s Steakhouse), Nobu (for Japanese fusion), Culinary Dropout (a casual gastropub), Oyster Bar, Pink Taco, Goose Island Pub (featuring craft beer by the Chicago brewery), and Pizza Forte.
The 60,000 square feet of casino space includes Dragon Salon, which offers pai-gow and other Asian favorites in the HRH Tower.
The Joint packs the power and high-tech amenities of a modern arena into a 4,000 seat venue. It’s seen concerts by plenty of big names over the years, including short-term residencies by the likes of Guns n’ Roses, Kiss, Journey, and Def Leppard.
Vinyl is a much smaller venue for club-level acts and the regular home for Raiding the Rock Vault – a residency featuring a supergroup made up of players who were successful in the 80s.
The Joint and Vinyl can also be incorporated into 110,000 sq ft of conference and expo space, which already includes 40 meeting rooms.
Magic Mike Live! is an erotically-charged all-male dance revue based on the hit movie series.
Even the shops have a rock n’ roll vibe with a clothing store by Affliction, a John Varvatos boutique, and Hart & Huntington Tattoo Company.
Reliquary Water Sanctuary & Spa has a co-ed Roman bath, sauna areas, and treatments that include the Drumsticks Massage – where the body feels the drumming and tapping of bamboo reeds.
Sitting on the corner of Harmon and Paradise, the Hard Rock is an easy drive (or a long walk) to the Strip. It’s also close to the airport and across the street from a number of convenient shops and restaurants. (Try Ferraro’s for Italian, Gangnam Asian BBQ, Origin India, and Hofbrauhaus – a brick for brick recreation of the famous German beer hall.) The Hard Rock is also the closest major hotel to UNLV (University of Nevada, Las Vegas).
Resort fee is $31 and includes internet, phone calls, fitness center access, and shuttles to-and- from the Strip. Parking and valet is free. Pets are generally not allowed.
The M Resort – Best Desert Oasis
(Hotel Phone: 702.797.1000)
The M Resort is the first major hotel drivers from Southern California see when approaching Las Vegas on Interstate 15. Located on the southern edge of Henderson, the hotel has a striking modern design that matches the luxurious amenities and accommodations on the inside. While most Vegas Strip hotels tout location as their best asset, the M Resort offers fine touches instead. With less than 400 rooms, the hotel is able to focus on boutique-level service while offering the elements you’d find at a spacious ultra-contemporary resort. It almost feels like a mini-version of the Aria. A smart choice to get more for your dollar if proximity to the Strip isn’t important.
Opened in 2009.
Has 390 rooms, including 39 suites.
Each room has floor-to-ceiling windows, clean modern furnishings, Bose sound system, flat screen television, TV screen within the bathroom mirror, and automated controls of lights, shades, and entertainment systems. The bathrooms have marble countertops with double-vanities, tubs, and walk-in showers.
Choices include the M Resort Room (550 sq ft), Executive Resort Room (590-625 sq ft), Classic One-Bedroom Suite (1,095 sq ft with separate living area and sofa), Flat Suite (1,440 sq ft with panoramic windows, a glass sliding door, and bar table), and the spectacular two-story Loft Suite (2,400 sq ft with an upstairs bedroom that looks over the first floor and is surrounded by tall windows).
The building is uniquely designed so that 70 percent of the rooms have Strip views, made easier with a higher elevation of 400 feet looking over the Las Vegas Valley. The remaining 30 percent have mountain views.
The pool area features two large infinity-edge pools with an expansive deck large enough for more than 6,000 people. It has cabanas, daybeds, and penthouse patios, which are elevated VIP areas for up to 30 people with a lounge and private lawn. DayDream is an adults-only pool party that’s a nice alternative to the crowded and hectic dayclubs on the Strip.
With 92,000 sq ft of casino space, highlights include a high-tech sports book and high-limit poker.
Entertainment includes concert from national acts by the pool and at the 2,300-seat M Pavilion.
The dining options fly under the radar compared to some of the more overhyped restaurants on the Strip. Anthony’s is an underrated steakhouse with a creative menu, Jayde Fuzion serves sushi and other Asian cuisine, and Burgers & Brews mixes casual bites with craft beer. Studio B is considered one of the better buffets in Southern Nevada and includes all-you-can-drink beer and wine in the price.
The Hostile Grape is a stylish wine bar near the pool. It has a deep selection with one of the largest ergomatic systems in the United States serving hundreds of wines in one, three, or five-ounce pours.
Spa Mio offers spa and salon treatments with 16 private rooms, sauna, steam rooms, and whirlpool baths. A nice touch is the Moroccan oil products in the showers.
Hotel is very popular with visitors from Southern California or frequent travelers to Las Vegas who are seeking more bang for their buck.
A rooftop lounge is reserved for weddings and other private events. Marriage ceremonies can also be conducted near the pool.
There is 92,000 sq ft of conference and meeting space, much of it with bright natural lighting and views of the pool and the Vegas skyline.
The M Resort offers deals and discounts for locals, including happy hours and access to the pool.
Sitting on St. Rose Parkway and Las Vegas Boulevard, the M Resort is about 10 miles away from the Strip. It’s near local attractions like the SPEEDVEGAS race track and the Lion Habitat Ranch. It’s also close to the Southern Highlands and Henderson communities like Silverado Ranch, Seven Hills, and Anthem.
Resort fee is on the low end ($20) and covers internet, phone calls, fitness center, daily newspapers, and shuttles to both the Strip and airport. Pets are generally not allowed. Parking and valet is free.
Mandalay Bay & Delano – Best Bang-For-Your-Buck Hotel
(Hotel Phone: 702-632-7777 or 702.632.7888)
With a golden tropical island theme, Mandalay Bay is one of the busiest resorts on the Strip, yet complemented nicely by the quiet and stylish Delano tower. Together, the hotels cover a large footprint, offering the kind of attractions and sprawl found in giants like Caesars Palace and the MGM Grand, but with a cleaner and more contemporary layout. The property features a mammoth selection of quality restaurants, the Shoppes at Mandalay Place, an indulgent beach and pool complex, two spas, and the Mandalay Bay Events Center (consisting of an indoor arena and some of the largest trade show space in the world.) The Delano is a welcome retreat, with a sophisticated lobby that’s free of gambling. A third hotel, the Four Seasons, shares space on the campus. They sit together on the far south end of the Strip and are the closest major resorts to the iconic “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign. Mandalay Bay shares a free shuttle train with the Luxor and Excalibur and is across the street from McCarran International Airport.
Opened in 1999.
Mandalay Bay has 3,211 rooms, including 436 suites. Delano has 1,117 rooms (all considered suites).
The less expensive rooms at Mandalay Bay are colorful with blue and gold tones, which matches the hotel’s tropical theme. Standard rooms (550 sq ft) and basic suites (610-786 sq ft) have floor-to-ceiling windows, lighted closets, seating for three people, and entertainment docks for connecting phones/devices to the 42-inch TV. When you walk in, the television is already on, playing relaxing music to artistic images – a welcome touch. Stylish work areas are good for business travelers attending events at the convention center.
Larger suites are designed in less vibrant modern tones. Sky View Suites (1.050 sq ft), Panoramic Suites (1,450 sq ft with two bedrooms), and Vista Suites (1,705 sq ft) have premium/extended sweeping views. Conference Suite (2,170 sq ft) has 65-inch LED TV, wet bar, and conference table for 10. Media Suite (2,170 sq ft) has two large plasma televisions (65 and 46 inch), surround sound audio, and an entertaining parlor.
The Delano features light tones and furnishings. Following an all-suites approach, the rooms begin at 725 sq ft and include separate living room and large bathrooms. The Two-Bedroom Suite (1,142 sq ft) and Penthouse Superior Suite (1,642 sq ft) have corner views that wrap around the building. The furniture and beds are incredibly comfortable with a restrained but modern style. Other perks include floor-to-ceiling windows, large high-def televisions, and media hubs for charging and connecting personal devices.
Mandalay Bay has 135,000 square feet of casino space while the Delano is free of gaming.
The property is loaded with restaurants. Just a few of them include Fleur (small plates by Hubert Keller), Aureole (modern fine dining by Charlie Palmer that saw a recent dramatic revamp), Stripsteak (Michael Mina’s only Las Vegas steakhouse), Lupo (Italian by Wolfgang Puck), Kumi (Japanese and Korean fusion), Border Grill (south-of-the-border cuisine by Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken), and Red Square (Russian-themed casual dining with a vodka vault and private vodka lockers).
Delano’s dining options are more reserved: Rivea (contemporary Italian and French with sweeping views from the 64th floor), Della’s Kitchen (farm-to-table fare for breakfast and lunch), and 3940 Coffee + Tea.
Notable bars and lounges include the Foundation Room (formerly a private club that sits on the top floor of Mandalay Bay with spectacular views), Eyecandy (energetic lobby bar with a dance floor), the Franklin (Delano lobby bar with a great whiskey selection), and Skyfall (top floor craft cocktail lounge with fantastic views next to Rivea).
Mandalay Bay Beach is a massive 11-acre pool oasis. The centerpiece is a large wave pool (creating waves up to six feet high) that washes up on more than 2,700 tons of sand. You’ll also come across four swimming pools, a lazy river, cabanas, gazebos, bungalows, and Moorea Beach Club for adults-only topless sunbathing on an upper deck. The beach also hosts a nighttime concert series featuring national acts during the summer.
There are two spas on property. (Three if you count the one at the Four Seasons.) Spa Mandalay is 30,000 square feet with 23 treatment rooms and a fitness center that overlooks the tropical lagoon. The Bathhouse covers 14,000 square feet over two levels at the Delano.
The Shoppes at Mandalay Place offers 100,000 square feet worth of retail space that also serves as a walkway between Mandalay Bay and the Luxor. It includes restaurants and bars – most notably RiRa Irish Pub (imported brick by brick from Ireland) and Minus5 Ice Bar (where everything, from the shot glasses to the seats are made from ice in a frigid environment – so take advantage of the complimentary fur coat).
Lots of entertainment on property. Michael Jackson ONE by Cirque du Soleil features acrobatic recreations of the pop singer’s most iconic moments and videos, the Mandalay Bay Events Center draws national headline acts and sports events with a 12,000-seat arena, and House of Blues is home to national touring acts and residencies by Carlos Santana and Billy Idol.
Light Nightclub welcomes big-name DJs who perform against a massive video wall. Daylight Beach Club is a daytime pool party that’s separate from the rest of the pool complex and has its own parking and entrance. It also hosts monthly night-swim parties dubbed Eclipse.
The Shark Reef Aquarium has 14 major exhibits showing off more than 2,000 water-based animals. There are a few land based creatures, like the rare Komodo Dragon. Certified divers over 18 have an opportunity to swim among 30 shark species.
Plenty of options for weddings, including three chapels and ceremonies available at the Shark Reef aquarium, on the beach, and in the tropical surroundings of the Valley of the Falls in front of a waterfall.
The Mandalay Bay Convention Center has more than 2 million square feet of meeting and convention space, making it the fifth largest expo center in North America.
35$ resort fee covers internet, phone, and fitness center access. There is a charge for parking and valet (including a second valet port for the Delano). Pets generally aren’t allowed at Mandalay Bay, but the Delano is very pet-friendly. Up to two dog are allowed, with a maximum combined weight of 100 lbs., for a $75 additional nightly fee per dog.
Caesars Palace – Best Iconic Hotel
(Hotel Phone: 866.227.5938)
This iconic Strip property recently celebrated its 50th anniversary and despite its Roman theme, is more closely identified with classic images of Las Vegas than any Italian culture that inspired it. Located in the heart of the Strip, Caesars Palace is a massive property that puts its sprawl to good use, offering a little something for everybody while retaining high standards of quality and extravagance buried among the kitsch. Despite its long history, the hotel and casino has stayed up to date, and often ahead of the curve, with frequent updates, renovations, and evolving attractions. It’s rare that a Vegas resort lasts this long, especially while remaining in high demand.
Opened in 1966.
Sitting on 85 acres, the property boasts 3,960 rooms and suites spread among six hotel towers.
The original Roman Tower was renamed the Julius Tower with 587 rooms renovated in 2009. The Octavius Tower (opened in 2012) is the newest tower as well as the most luxurious and quiet. It’s also the most tech-friendly with interactive automation. The Palace Tower is close to the conference space while the Forum Tower will get you to the casino the quickest. The Augustus Tower is the second newest and at the south end of the resort.
Nobu Tower serves as its own resort-within-a-resort as the Nobu Hotel. Rooms feature Japanese-inspired decor and artwork, including 18 suites. The Nobu Villa sits on the roof.
Truly a hotel that offers something for everyone, rooms can range from basic to beyond luxurious with a wide variety of suites, penthouses and nine villas (which often include multiple rooms, marble floors, private dipping pools and furnishings that could include an aquarium or baby grand piano – as well as perks that include direct access to the hotel pool).
Lobby represents classic Vegas casino sprawl in which hallways, outside doors, and even bathrooms can often be tough to find. The floors are well worn but surrounded by statues and furnishings that live up to the Roman theme, as well as up-to-date restaurants and attractions that are among the most popular on the Strip.
Top dining spots include Restaurant Guy Savoy (the only North American restaurant by the French culinary master and possibly the best French restaurant on the Strip), Nobu for Japanese fusion and casual spots by celebrity chefs Gordon Ramsay and Bobby Flay. Two fantastic New York imports include Old Homestead Steakhouse and Rao’s, an Italian restaurant that’s a welcome relief to those who’ve dealt with the original’s notoriously long reservation list. The food court is unconventional in featuring a few regional favorites that you’re unlikely to find elsewhere in Vegas.
Bacchanal Buffet helped redefine the Vegas buffet experience by focusing on small bites instead of large portions, offering more variety and up to 500 dishes a day. Lines are long outside the entrance, so expect a wait to get inside.
There are at least nine bars on property. Highlights include the MonteCristo Cigar Bar, Fizz for champagne, Vista for craft cocktails, and Cleopatra’s Barge, in which tables and a small stage sit inside a large wooden boat.
The Garden of the Gods is a massive five-acre pool complex with eight pools surrounded by sculptures, fountains, and landscaping on three levels. Venus is an adults-only dayclub where topless sunbathing is allowed.
Caesars Palace has a long history of top-flight and well-paid entertainment, hosting big names from Frank Sinatra to Shania Twain over the years. The largest stage on the property is The Colosseum, an elegant 4,300-seat venue that hosts national touring acts as well as a rotating lineup of resident headliners that currently include Celine Dion, Rod Stewart, Elton John, Reba with Brooks & Dunn, Mariah Carey and Jerry Seinfeld.
Absinthe is a raunchy circus show that’s definitely not for kids. It takes place in a big-top tent outside the hotel on a patio. It’s one of the most acclaimed and popular shows in Vegas.
Qua Baths & Spa is among the very best spas on the Strip. At 50,000 sq ft, it’s full of dipping pools and relaxation areas that are worth a visit – even if you don’t book a reservation in one of 51 treatment rooms. A fun option is the Arctic Ice Room, where temperatures drop to rejuvenate your body while light snow falls from the ceiling.
The Forum Shops at Caesars, although independently operated, shares the classic Roman theme of the hotel and and connects directly to the casino. The nearly 700,000 sq ft mall is loaded with upscale shopping, galleries, and its own impressive lineup of restaurants, including the Border Grill, Joe’s, and Sushi Roku.
Long escalators lead to 300,000 sq ft of meeting space, convention areas, and ballroom facilities.
In a town loaded with expensive nightclubs, Omnia may be the most impressive one of all. Operated by the Hakkasan Group, the 75,000 sq ft hot spot has several rooms, including a sweeping outdoor terrace that overlooks the neon glow of the Strip. The main room features headliners like Calvin Harris and Zedd, but the main attraction may be a 22,000 pound high-tech chandelier that changes shape, moves to the music, and lights up in different colors while traveling at four feet per second over the dance floor. The long lines outside the venue are hard to avoid, even if someone promised to put you “on the list.” Rule of thumb: the more you spend, the better you’ll be treated.
Wedding venues include three indoor chapels and two outdoor gardens.
Resort fee is $35 and includes WiFi for two devices, phone calls, and access to the gym. There are some pet-friendly rooms with a limit of 10 lbs. There is a charge for valet and self-parking, although self-parking is free for 24 hours with a Nevada ID. The two valet parking services at the Forum Shops are free but only operate until about 10:30 p.m.
JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort & Spa – Best Hotel Landscaping
(Hotel Phone: 702.869.7777)
A quiet escape from the madness of the Strip, the JW Marriott sits on the edge of Summerlin, a west valley community that’s composed of upscale homes, shopping, and golf courses. The immaculate grounds of the hotel feature lush green grass, trees, waterfalls, and ponds. The Rampart Casino – popular with locals – is operated as part of the property but considered a separate brand. Rooms include deluxe furnishings, open balconies, smart technology, and marble bathrooms with large spa tubs. The resort is also close to the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, making it a great retreat for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.
Opened in 1999.
Has 548 rooms, including 79 suites.
Just barely on the eastern edge of Summerlin, the JW Marriott is a top choice for west valley visitors who prefer a more intimate boutique hotel experience over the larger Red Rock Resort.
Rooms inside the two six-story towers (the Spa Tower and Palms Tower) offer mountain or Strip views.
Standard rooms (560 sq ft), Junior Suites (845 sq ft), One-Bedroom Suites (1,050-1,100 sq ft) and Two-Bedroom Penthouse Suites (1,950+ sq ft) all feature similar luxury features – just with varying degrees of size, space, and furniture. Suites wrap around the corner of the building. Those on the ground have large patios, but the ones on higher floors offer an opportunity for Strip, mountain, or golf course views.
Nice touches include reading lights built into headboards and bedside phone charging stations. Bathrooms feature contemporary vanities, walk-in showers with rainfall faucets and corner jetted tubs. Coffee machines and refrigerators are included in all rooms.
Smart tech features control temperature, fans, lights, and TV – which are all automatically returned to original settings when guests leave the room.
The grounds are stunning and are a popular spot for weddings. More than 3,500 trees can be found among the grass, walkways, gardens, and water features. Hundreds of palm trees were imported from Iraq.
The 11,000 square foot pool has a tall waterfall and four 25-yard swimming lanes. It sits alongside two smaller spa pools, private cabanas, a cafe, sand volleyball courts, and bocce ball courts.
The hotel is close to the Summerlin Parkway and about a 20 minute drive from the Strip or downtown. It’s also close to Red Rock Canyon, Tivoli Village, and the Downtown Summerlin outdoor retail district.
The hotel says its customers are about 25% international and draws heavily from Americans in Southern California and the Midwest. It’s also popular with golfers eager to play on at least eight courses within just a few minutes of the resort. They include TPC Las Vegas, Angel Park Golf Club, and Bear’s Best Las Vegas.
The resort is actually two brands on a single property, with the JW Marriott sharing space with the 50,000 square foot Rampart Casino. It’s a popular spot for locals as well as hotel guests and has 1,400 slot, video poker, and keno machines.
Food options include the new Hawthorn Grill steakhouse, Spiedini Ristorante for Italian, and Shizen for Japanese. Outdoor seating is recommended.
Nestled among the lush landscaping is an herb garden, growing everything from cilantro to celery, that’s used by the culinary team.
There’s a fair share of wildlife with ducks, rabbits, and even roadrunners on property.
Spa Aquae includes the spa, salon and fitness center within a 40,000-square-foot facility. In-room services are available. The yoga studio and outdoor hydrotherapy circuit pool are especially popular.
More than 100,000 square feet of space is dedicated to corporate gatherings and special events, including 35 meeting rooms with spacious reception foyers.
Resort fee is $19.99 and includes WiFi, phone, spa and fitness center access, and two free bottles of water per day in the room. Parking is free. There are three valet ports which are free as well. No pets allowed outside of service animals.
MGM Grand Las Vegas Hotel & Casino – Best at Being the Biggest
(Hotel Phone: 877.880.0880)
A titan on the Strip, the MGM Grand is heavy on amenities and attractions, while bringing a certain degree of chaos that comes with being one of the most popular mega-resorts in Vegas. The emerald exterior of this sprawling monster, originally inspired by a Wizard of Oz theme, makes the hotel one of the easiest to spot in the Vegas skyline. It sits in a prime location on the corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Tropicana, within walking distance of neighboring resorts like the Luxor, Mandalay Bay, and Tropicana. It’s also arguably the closest Strip hotel to the airport. The six-acre pool complex includes the Wet Republic dayclub and the restaurants (led by a small army of celebrity chefs) are among the best in Las Vegas. The attached MGM Grand Garden Arena is popular for concerts, UFC and boxing.
Opened in 1993.
Has 5,044 guest rooms, including 751 suites, spread out over four towers.
A $160 million renovation project was done in 2012, including upgrades to every room in the main tower, a massive structure with centrally located elevators and corridors that reach out in four directions. The top two floors feature the Skyloft – 51 two-story loft-style luxury suites that range from one bedroom (1,400 sq ft) to three-bedrooms (6,000 sq ft with room for up to nine people).
The Mansion is an ultra-exclusive secluded collection of 29 private villas that isn’t generally available to the public. They can’t be reserved online and are set aside for “qualified guests only.” They’re secluded from the rest of the property and nestled among a quiet Tuscany-style courtyard with sizes ranging from 2,400-12,000 sq ft.
Clearly, the hotel is large enough to have something for everybody. While the elite accommodations are among the very best on the Strip, the regular rooms and basic suites (anywhere from 350 to 950 sq ft) have a routine feel despite some recent upgrades in furnishings, fair prices, and often with stunning views. Bathroom products and towel supplies tend to feel understocked. No coffee makers.
The upper-level suites over deliver, including the Skyline Terrace Suite (two levels of 1,300 sq ft with an 800 sq ft outdoor terrace), Penthouse City View Suite (1,250 sq ft) and Marquee Suite (1,500 sq ft with two master bedrooms and 180-degree Strip views).
Three luxury condo towers, the Signature at MGM Grand, sit on the edge of the property. They come with their own amenities, including swimming pools and fitness centers, but the residents are given access to the hotel’s pool complex, spa and other features. The rooms are fully furnished and can be offered to guests as luxury suites through the hotel rental program when not in use by private owners.
Staywell rooms have health-focused features, including vitamin-C infused showers, air purification system, and aromatherapy devices – offering a nice scent when first entering the room, but your nose gets used to it quickly.
The MGM Grand sits in a prime location on the corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Tropicana, sharing the intersection with the Excalibur, New York-New York, and Tropicana casinos. The entire south and middle of the Strip is within walking distance, including CityCenter, The Park, and the T-Mobile Arena.
The resort is instantly recognizable due to its glowing emerald exterior and 45 foot-tall statue of a lion, which is the largest bronze sculpture in the United States. The elements are a nod to the hotel’s former Wizard of Oz theme.
Expect lots of walking. The self-parking garage is a bit of a hike and requires a detour through The District shopping area before reaching the lobby. The 170,000 sq ft casino floor defines classic Las Vegas sprawl, spreading out in all sorts of directions to reach entertainment and dining attractions. Always busy and always full of energy, the MGM Grand is perfect for those thriving on the energy and excitement of Las Vegas, but not a top choice for those seeking a peaceful retreat.
Pool complex is massive. Sitting on nearly seven acres, it has five pools, a lazy river, and the Wet Republic dayclub, which is one of the largest pool parties in Vegas with top-name DJs (like Steve Aoki and Calvin Harris), cabanas, champagne showers, and models hired as servers.
The restaurants are led by an army of celebrity chefs: Joel Robuchon (famously dubbed “Chef of the Century” in France), Michael Mina, Wolfgang Puck, Emeril Lagasse, Masaharu Morimoto and Tom Colicchio. Hakkasan restaurant (for Cantonese and craft cocktails) sits alongside the multi-level flagship Hakkasan nightclub, one of the largest and busiest party spots on the Strip.
Stage entertainment is diverse and includes illusionist David Copperfield, Ka by Cirque du Soleil (with an Asian theme and an impressive floating stage), dance troupe Jabbawockeez, and Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club. The MGM Grand Garden Arena (the largest indoor arena in Las Vegas until the opening of the T-Mobile Arena in 2016) has seen plenty of concerts, awards shows, and boxing events over the years.
Shopping includes a mall area with a food court on the ground level and The District, an underground plaza that also includes CSI: The Experience, an attraction based on the TV show.
The MGM Grand Conference Center is a stand-alone building with views of the pool complex. At 380,000 sq ft, it has enough ballrooms and meetings space for up to 10,000 people.
The original MGM Grand, down the street at the site that’s currently home to Bally’s, is where the deadliest fire in Nevada history took place in 1980.
Resort fee is $35 a night and covers internet, calls, and access to the fitness center. There is a charge for valet and self-parking (with free self-parking for certain levels of the M Life rewards program). The hotel is not pet-friendly.
Green Valley Ranch – Best Unexpected Surprise Hotel
(Hotel Phone: 702.617.7777)
The best hotel in Henderson if you prefer a Mediterranean-style escape to the M Resort’s modern spin on luxury. Located next to Interstate 215, Green Valley Ranch is about a 10 mile drive to the Strip and even closer to the airport. The grounds feature lush landscaping and a beautiful pool area that’s far more convenient, scenic, and relaxing than the typical pools on the Strip which are often chaotic and crowded. The spa is uniquely charming and attractive as well. A perfect escape for people who love the Las Vegas Valley and want to be close to the Strip – but don’t want to be on it. It’s also an ideal choice for those visiting relatives in the East Valley/Henderson area. The resort sits next to The District, an outdoor shopping and dining promenade and plaza, and is one of three luxury properties (along with Red Rock Resort and the Palms) under the umbrella of Station Casinos.
Opened in 2001.
495 rooms, including 80 suites.
Standard rooms are 500 sq ft. Suites come in 10 styles, ranging from 700 to 4,000 sq ft. The Executive Suite (715 sq ft) is a great deal with pool views (with optional balcony) and a small seating room. The Grand Suite (950 sq ft) has a sunken bathtub and jacuzzi, wet bar, and dining room for eight people. The Mediterranean Suite (2,000 sq ft) has two master bedrooms, a dining area for 10 and an optional patio with outdoor fireplace. The Villa Suite (2,500 sq ft) has a private courtyard with pool, jacuzzi, wet bar, and gas grill. Penthouse Suite (4,000 sq ft) has two bedrooms, dining room for 10, double-sided fireplace, baby grand piano, full kitchen, and bar.
Pool area is spectacular and covers eight acres with stylish cabanas and lush landscaping that includes immaculate hedges and a grape vineyard. The main pool pool features a sand bottom that extends to create a small beach. The Pond is a small pool geared for adults with a DJ, though not nearly as rowdy as dayclubs on the Strip.
The spa and salon is in a category of its own and a big draw for locals as well as hotel guests. The separate structure overlooks the pool, with the salon surrounded by tall glass walls to let in lots of natural light. The spa has 22 treatment rooms and a co-ed steam room, jacuzzis, and relaxation areas. It also has its own pool and parking area.
The outdoor area that includes the pool is known as The Backyard. It has a number of different areas that can be used for weddings and other private functions to augment the 69,000 sq ft of meeting space (featuring four ballrooms and 39 meeting rooms) indoors.
Entertainment includes the 2,000-seat Grand Events Center, which draws national touring acts and a 10-screen movie theater by Regal Cinemas, which serves beer and wine.
Just like hotels on the Strip, the restaurants are designed to cover a lot of ground. Borracha serves Mexican while Bottiglia specializes in Italian and has a great weekend brunch with an outdoor patio. Hank’s is probably the top steakhouse in Henderson, although the menu is almost identical to T-bones (a sister restaurant at the Red Rock Resort). Definitely try Pizza Rock at least once for the legit best pizza in Vegas, courtesy of chef Tony Gemignani. Tides has a bit of an identity problem, combining sushi with New Orleans-inspired seafood on the menu.
The District at Green Valley Ranch is an outdoor shopping and dining plaza with a “Main Street” atmosphere. It includes lofts and apartments in the upper floors above the shops. An extended section across the street from Green Valley Parkway has Whole Foods as an anchor tenant.
As with all Stations Casinos properties, Green Valley Ranch caters heavily to locals who are drawn to the expansive gaming space, which includes 2,300 slot machines, 50 table games, 400-seat bingo room and a recently renovated sports book with large 4K video screens. Discounts are also offered to locals for staycations, the spa, and pool access.
The resort is a big draw for regional tourists (from California and Arizona) who travel to Vegas frequently. Shuttles will take guests to and from the airport as well as the Strip.
Despite its Henderson location, the hotel claims to be more convenient than its busier counterparts, saying the time it takes to leave the airport, check-in, and arrive in your room is less than it would take to do the same in a crowded Strip lobby.
Kids’ Quest is an indoor recreation area for those as young as six weeks and up to 12 years old.
Green Valley Ranch was the filming location for the Discovery Channel reality show “American Casino” for three years.
Resort fee is $31.99 per day and includes internet, phone calls, access to fitness center and spa, airport and Strip shuttle, daily local newspaper delivery and shoeshine, No charge for self-parking or valet parking. Not pet-friendly.
Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino – Best Hotel for Millennials
(Hotel Phone: 866.919.7472)
Thanks to ongoing renovations, Planet Hollywood has shifted from a classic movie theme to a more stylish contemporary image. The changes are seen in the modern decor in the rooms and the installation of the 7,000-seat Axis Theater that’s hosted long-term residencies by Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez, Pitbull, and others. The makeover extends to a lineup of unconventional suites that may include a bathtub in the living room or a couch that hangs from a swing. Nestled in the heart of the Vegas Strip, Planet Hollywood is in a prime location near the Bellagio, Cosmopolitan, Caesars Palace, and the CityCenter complex. It’s also a busy shopping destination with the integrated Miracle Mile Shops. Large and full of energy, Planet Hollywood is possibly the most stylish and glossy property under the Caesars Entertainment umbrella.
Opened in 2007.
Has 2,567 rooms, including 295 suites.
Lobby features dark colorful hues, large chandeliers, and second-level mezzanine that can look down on the casino floor.
Room designs include the Hollywood Hip Room (450 sq ft) with oversized bathrooms and pieces of Hollywood memorabilia on the walls, Ultra-Hip Room (430 sq ft) with refrigerators and coffee makers included, Resort Room (560 sq ft) with double-vanities in the bathroom and a work desk, Resort Vista (570 sq ft) with marble bathroom floors, two 42-inch televisions and five Strip-view windows.
The suites are on the adventurous side. The Strip Suite (850 sq ft) has a spacious open floor plan, large circular tub, and tall window views of the Strip from behind the bathroom vanity. The Panorama Suite (1,255 sq ft) lives up to its name with floor-to-ceiling windows wrapping around a curved wall – offering sightlines of the Strip from the bedroom and living room. An optional 500 sq ft room can be added on. The Boulevard Suite (1,400 sq ft) is designed for entertaining with a wet bar, conversation pit with wraparound furniture and options to add pool, ping pong, or foosball tables. One or two-bedroom options are available. The Apex Suite (1,900 sq ft) is an expanded version of the Boulevard Suite with more vibrant panoramic views.
For the true high roller, the Mega Suite spans two-stories on the 50th and 51st floors with 180-degree views of the Strip. It includes a spa, fitness room, full bar, dining room with butler pantry, and two refrigerators that can be fully stocked upon request.
None of the restaurants are ultra-fine dining. Even the three best spots are on the casual side: Strip House is fantastic with perfectly charred prime steaks, a 24-layer chocolate cake for dessert and black-and-white nude photos on the wall. Koi blends Asian and Californian cuisine in a stylish setting. Gordon Ramsay Burger offers gourmet burgers from the celebrity chef and has a tasty house-made ketchup for the fries. Quicker options include Pink’s Hot Dogs (based on the legendary L.A. location), Pin Up Pizza (with giant slices measuring 15 inches long) and Yolo’s Mexican Grill (with 60 choices of tequila).
A big draw at the property for both millennials and high rollers is The AXIS, a state-of-the-art theater that seats about 7,000 people and specializes in long-term residencies by chart-topping acts. Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez, Pitbull, Lionel Richie, and the Backstreet Boys have all done big business on its stage. The theater is in a half-circle formation with pristine sound, video effects, and cocktail tables offering bottle service.
Gallery Nightclub closed in 2013, although the space is occasionally used for private events. For those who love the nightlife, a few clubs are in easy walking distance, including Chateau at Paris, Marquee at Cosmopolitan, and Bank or Hyde at the Bellagio.
The casino space spans nearly three acres and includes the Pleasure Pit, featuring go-go dancers and games of blackjack and roulette in which the dealers are beautiful women dressed in skimpy lingerie.
Even the wedding chapel incorporates a Hollywood theme, offering the bride and groom a red carpet entrance complete with paparazzi and a celebrity interview.
The pool complex overlooks the Strip and is loaded with cabanas for rent. The North Pool is all-ages while the South Pool is 21-and-over only (and includes a bikini contest every Saturday between Memorial Day and Labor Day with a $500 prize at stake). FlowRider is a small enclosed wave area that allows users to surf or bodyboard in one single spot.
The spa features 25 treatment rooms, including services based on the traditions in Europe and Bali. Make a point to visit the sinus-clearing eucalyptus steam room.
The Miracle Mile Shops sit conveniently (or inconveniently, depending on your perspective) between the hotel and the self-parking garage. Stretching a little more than a mile, the retail complex sits in a semicircle design with more than 170 stores, 15 restaurants (among them, the Cabo Wabo Cantina featuring the tequila made famous by Sammy Hagar) and a few intimate theaters offering small-scale productions designed for tourists.
The resort sits on the corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Harmon (which unfortunately, doesn’t have a direct exit from Interstate 15). However, the location is incredibly convenient and in the middle of all the action on the Strip – next door to Paris and across the street from CityCenter, the Cosmopolitan, and the Bellagio.
Formerly known as the Aladdin – famously remembered as the spot where Elvis and Priscilla Presley were married. It found a brief second life following an implosion and reconstruction before being rebranded Planet Hollywood. At this point, the resort has little to do with the chain of movie-themed restaurants of the same name, although one can be found down the Strip inside the Forum Shops at Caesars.
Resort fee is $35 and covers internet, local phone calls, and access to the fitness center. Planet Hollywood charges for valet and self-parking. Dogs are allowed at no extra charge.
Paris Las Vegas – Best French-Inspired Hotel
(Hotel Phone: 877-796.2096)
As one of the most easily identifiable resorts on the Strip, Paris Las Vegas makes the most of its French theme, especially with an impressive half-size replica of the Eiffel Tower, which includes its own restaurant and a 46-story-tall skydeck. The hotel tower itself is modeled after the famous Hotel de Ville in Paris and includes subtle touches like hallway and elevator signs with additional French lettering. A large and busy resort with dining, entertainment and nightlife, Paris Las Vegas has benefited greatly from recent renovations – and sits in a prime location in the central part of the Strip (with gorgeous views of the Bellagio fountains directly across the street). It’s also home to Gordon Ramsay Steak, the first and best Las Vegas restaurant from the celebrity chef.
Opened in 1999.
Has 2,916 rooms, including 295 suites.
Classic Rooms (390 sq ft) have traditional French-influenced furnishings. Similar size Burgundy Rooms and Red Rooms have been renovated with modern furniture, art, and deeper hues. Remodeled Classic and Elegant Suites (860-1,000 sq ft) have additional living rooms. Some have whirlpool tubs. Stay away from Deluxe Suites that have yet to see remodeling. The Charlemagne Suite (1,000 sq ft) is the best example of the recent makeovers with vibrant purple colors, contemporary furniture, a separate dining area, marble bathrooms and Eiffel Tower views.
The famous Napoleon Suite (3,400+ sq ft) recreates the era of the French Revolution with a Versailles theme that includes classic red and gold furnishings, long dramatic curtains, a baby grand piano and three bedrooms. The price starts at $4,000 per night.
The property stretches across 24 acres with true-to-life replicas of Paris landmarks, including a 50-story version of the Eiffel Tower (exactly half the size of the original) and the Arc de Triomphe. A facade of the Louvre features statues of French historical figures while a Paris Opera House facade faces the casino. The hotel tower itself is modeled after the famous Hotel de Ville.
The casino is more colorful and vibrant than most in Las Vegas. The 85,000 square feet of gaming space sits underneath 40-foot-ceilings painted to resemble a bright blue sky and is surrounded by images to mimic the street life of Paris – along with a few go-go dancers. A cobblestone path lined with ornate street signs winds through Le Boulevard District – a shopping and dining area that includes Le Village Buffet, which is notable for its must-try crepe station.
Current entertainment options include raunchy comedy hypnotist Anthony Cools and 53X, a provocative dance revue that features both men and women at Chateau nightclub.
Chateau has a scenic 10,000 square foot outdoor patio that overlooks the Strip and sits underneath the Eiffel Tower. There’s also an indoor area better suited for club-goers more interested in dancing.
Gordon Ramsay Steak is the first of what would eventually become five restaurants in Vegas for the British celebrity chef. The entrance behind the host stand is a covered walkway called the “Chunnel” to represent traveling between France and England. Further dining highlights include Mon Ami Gabi (for classic French), Martorano’s (Italian by Steve Martorano) Burger Brasserie (a French take on an American burger joint), Hexx (American fare with top-notch desserts made with its own in-house single origin chocolate factory), Beer Park with second-level outdoor views of the Strip, and the Eiffel Tower restaurant (a romantic spot 100 feet above the Strip).
The meeting and convention space is modeled after the Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles with mirrored arches and crystal chandeliers. It includes one of the largest ballrooms on the Strip and offers 140,000 square feet of total space.
Wedding options include Chapelle du Paradis for up to 100 guests with a cherub and hummingbird theme. Chapelle du Jardin is for smaller garden ceremonies.
The spa is not quite as large or indulgent or adventures as some of the others found on the Strip.
Paris Las Vegas was heavily marketed toward the gay community during the Great Recession as a way to counteract a drop in tourism.
Resort fee is $35 and covers internet, local phone calls, fitness center. The hotel charges for both self-parking and valet. The parking garage is shared with the Bally’s sister-resort next door, although it never seems to be particularly more or less congested than the average garage on the Strip. Two dogs up to 50 lbs. each are welcome with an additional charge of $85 per night plus $100 refundable deposit.
W Las Vegas – Best North Strip Hotel
(Hotel Phone: 702.761.8700)
Possibly the most chic and contemporary hotel-within-a-hotel on the Strip, the W Las Vegas occupies what was formerly the Lux Tower at the SLS Las Vegas. Located on the north end of the Strip at the Sahara intersection, the hotel is an easy walk to the Stratosphere, Circus Circus, and Lucky Dragon resorts. The W is very stylish with artwork seen throughout the building, much of it based on classic Las Vegas imagery. With less than 300 rooms, the hotel is based on fine touches, convenience, and attention-to-detail. It’s incredibly convenient with a valet that leads immediately to the check-in desk and an energetic lobby and lounge known as the Living Room.
Opened in 2016.
Has 289 rooms, all considered suites.
A hotel-within-a-hotel, the W took over the 26-floor Lux Tower of the SLS Las Vegas in late 2016. Both brands are operated by Starwood Resorts.
Most rooms are large studios (322-490 sq ft) or one-bedroom suites (632-955 sq ft), with double shower heads, new carpets, and white colors. The layouts are designed to encourage social interaction with comfortable couches, drinks, and snacks. Nespresso machines are refreshed with new coffee pods daily. Mirrors on the ceiling have a playing card design that’s perfect for taking selfies when lounging in bed. Bluetooth speakers are in both bedrooms and living rooms.
Wow Suites (1,267-2,382 sq ft) come with large couches in the expanded living room, a workout room, oversized bathroom, and sweeping views of the Stratosphere and Downtown. The two-bedroom penthouse Extreme Wow Suite (2,382 sq ft) on the top floor has a grand piano, red velvet decor, walk-out balcony and private balcony from the master bedroom. It was designed by musician Lenny Kravitz.
The W is known for the comfortable bedding and mattresses that are used across all of its properties. They can be purchased online.
A convenient private valet enters from Paradise Road, avoiding the congestion on Las Vegas Boulevard.
The check-in desk is seen immediately after the front door, designed to be accessible and easy for arriving guests. The rest of the lobby is called the Living Room and features a lounge atmosphere with a bar, white neon desert garden, and a sitting area that can be partially closed off for parties and private events. A DJ plays music during evenings.
Food for the bars and in-room dining is provided by the SLS kitchens with unique dishes made for the W.
A convenient hotel for convention and trade show attendees. The Las Vegas Monorail has a stop near the front entrance and is only a two-stop journey to the Las Vegas Convention Center. Hotel is also popular for those who want to be close to Downtown while still staying on the Strip.
The W and SLS are on the corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Sahara, within easy walking distance to the 1,149 foot-tall Stratosphere, Circus Circus, and Lucky Dragon. Lotus of Siam and the Golden Steer Steakhouse are also nearby – two restaurants that are longtime favorites for locals.
Artistic touches based on vintage Las Vegas images can be seen throughout the resort. The walls are lined with casino dice, cards, and chips. An archway in the lobby is modeled after a vintage Las Vegas wedding chapel.
The WET deck on the 4th floor features a rooftop-style pool, surrounded by cabanas, two bars, and bright colorful murals. The pool area is for guests at The W only. Guests from the SLS aren’t allowed. (Although W guests have access to the pool facilities at the SLS.)
The fitness center, known as FIT, is open 24 hours to help accommodate business travelers. It has a chic design based on music and fashion.
The Spa, known as AWAY, can be used by SLS guests (since that hotel doesn’t have its own spa). Steam showers in the locker room are a nice touch, along with the candles and scented oils by the entrance. The image is lively, energetic and vibrant compared to most other spas on the Strip. It shares the 3rd floor with a salon.
There’s 15,000 square feet of meeting space on three floors. Companies and events can buy out the entire hotel.
The W is free of gaming and smoking, although the casino floor of the SLS is a quick walk away. The best restaurants at the SLS include Bazaar Meat (an eclectic steakhouse by Jose Andres), Katsuya (Japanese), Cleo (Mediterranean), Umami Burger (with an outdoor beer garden and sports book.)
Resort fee is $35 and includes WiFi, phone calls and access to the spa and fitness center. The W makes a point to be very pet friendly and offers welcome toys and treats for dogs at check-in. Up to two dogs are allowed up to 40 lbs. with an additional charge of $125 per stay. Valet and self-parking (at the SLS garage) are free.
Golden Nugget – Best Downtown Hotel
(Hotel Phone: 702.385.7111)
The largest and most luxurious resort in the historic downtown area of Las Vegas, the Golden Nugget sits alongside the tourist-driven Fremont Street Experience and is within easy walking distance to bars, restaurants, shops, and attractions. Noted for a variety of room options between four different towers and a popular pool area, which includes a shark tank with a water slide that passes through it. Most of the dining options fall under the umbrella of Golden Nugget owner Landry’s. A historic hotel and casino that’s been associated with the neon marquees of downtown for more than 70 years – with famous “Vegas Vic” just outside. Winner of the AAA Four Diamond Award each year since 1977.
Opened in 1946.
Has 2,419 rooms, including 175 luxury suites and nine penthouses spread across four hotel towers.
The Carson Tower is the most economical and popular for families with kids. Rooms are very basic. Gold Tower tower rooms are a step up and have a more contemporary style, including granite counters in the bathrooms. The Rush Tower is the newest tower with larger rooms and views that can include Strip, mountain, or pool views. The Spa Tower is the most secluded (and where the spa is found, hence the name). It features spacious elegant two-level 1,200 sq ft suites with elegant staircases and whirlpool tubs that overlook the lowel level.
Has seen several ownership changes over its seven decades, including notable Vegas figures like Jackie Gaughan, Kirk Kerkorian, and Steve Wynn who opened its first tower in 1977 and expanded its identity as an upscale resort. Property was bought by current owner, the Houston-based Landry’s corporation, in 2005.
Landry’s has invested more than $300 million in ongoing renovations since the purchase. Much of the gold imagery favored by Steve Wynn has been toned down, replaced by silver tones in some of the room and lobby furnishings.
Restaurants include Landry’s-owned concepts like Vic & Anthony’s Steakhouse, Chart House (with 75,000-gallon aquarium), Grotto for Italian, Red Sushi, Cadillac Mexican & Tequila Bar, and Claim Jumper (which handles in-room dining as well.) Starbucks has an outdoor patio on Fremont Street.
Bars include Gold Diggers (nightclub with dance floor and balcony overlooking Fremont Street), Rush Lounge in the center of the casino, and H2O, an outdoor poolside lounge.
The pool area is popular with both guests and locals. At the center is The Tank, a 200,000-gallon water tank filled with sharks and other exotic fish with an enclosed waterslide that passes through the middle. There’s also two levels of cabanas, the adults-only Hideaway pool (that’s designed as a quiet retreat and not a place where going topless is allowed) and the H20 poolside lounge.
Spa has a $20 fee and has seen recent upgrades and renovations, featuring herbal steam rooms, saunas, and body treatments. There is also a full-service hair and nail salon.
Casino features more than 1,400 slot machines, tables games, and sports book. Poker was gone for nearly 18 years before returning in 2004. Since then, the poker room was given an upgrade with 13 smoke-free tables in a plush semi-enclosed room. There are also high-limit gaming areas.
Meeting space includes conference rooms and ballrooms. The Tank by the pool can be rented for private parties or events. Wedding packages are available and take place at the chapel, outdoor balcony at Gold Diggers, or poolside.
Ballrooms are also used for concerts by national touring acts (especially classic rock bands) and for annual whiskey, wine, and beer festivals.
Retail shops include d’Ono jewelry and watches, high-end apparel by Nineteen Forty-Six boutique, and sweet treats by Chocolate Box.
The Golden Nugget paid more than a million dollars for the largest gold nugget currently in existence. The 61-pound “Hand of Faith” is on display in the hotel lobby.
Casino doors open directly to the Fremont Street Experience, a five-block long pedestrian mall that’s closed to traffic. It sits underneath a canopy equipped with 12 million LED lights and expansive sound-system that plays themed shows on the Viva Vision overhead video screens – usually once an hour during evenings. The area is famous for its parade of neon marquees, costumed street performers, souvenir shops, bars, and restaurants like the notoriously shame-free Heart Attack Grill. Historic casinos nearby include the Plaza, California, El Cortez, Fremont, Binions, Downtown Grand (formerly Lady Luck) and The D (formerly Fitzgeralds and Sundance.)
The famous smoking neon cowboy known as “Vegas Vic” can be seen just outside the hotel on Fremont Street. It was restored in 1998, although its hat was trimmed down to fit under the Fremont Street canopy.
Dogs are allowed for $60 upcharge (and $100 deposit) per night. Resort fee is $27.50 and covers fitness center access, in-room internet, bottled water, complimentary parking, newspaper and coupons. Validated parking and valet service is available for guests.
The Mirage – Best Entertainment Hotel
(Hotel Phone: 702.791.7111)
Known as the property that kicked off the “megaresort” era on the Strip, the Mirage has plenty of style and attractions, along with a bit of kitsch due to its tropical theme. The erupting volcano in front of the resort is an iconic Las Vegas image. Designed by Steve Wynn and eventually falling under the ownership of MGM Resorts, the Mirage has a prime spot towards the north end of the Strip, across from Venetian and Palazzo and in between Treasure Island and the Forum Shops at Caesars. It’s also the longtime home to The Beatles LOVE, a Cirque du Soleil production featuring music and imagery from the groundbreaking pop group.
Opened in 1989.
Has 3,044 guest rooms, including 281 suites.
Hotel is a single tower with “arms” of hallways that extend from the center. Basic rooms are 394 sq ft and include iHome dock for iPods, blackout shades, desk, mini bar, and large flat screen HDTV. Bathrooms are on the small side. Suites are 1,251 sq ft to 1,628 sq ft with magnificent views and a separate living room. Ground floor villas range from one-bedroom (1,650 sq ft) to three bedrooms (8,554 sq ft) with a private backyard and dipping pool.
Lobby includes a towering dome atrium that’s 80 feet high with palm trees, about 700 bromeliads, and other plants. An 53-by-8 foot aquarium with 20,000 gallons of saltwater near the front desk features vibrant artificial coral and nearly 1,000 forms of sea life, including sharks, stingrays, and porcupine fish.
Extravagant show known simply as the Volcano is free to those gathered on the Strip in front of the resort (8 p.m. and 9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday with an additional show at 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday). The spectacle features flames and fireballs set to music, climaxing with an eruption 60 feet into the air.
Entertainment is a big draw with residencies by Terry Fator (singer and ventriloquist who won America’s Got Talent in 2007), multi-platinum R&B group Boyz II Men, and the Beatles LOVE, one of the most popular and acclaimed productions in the history of Cirque du Soleil. It features the music of the iconic group (remixed by longtime producer George Martin) backing up dancers and stunt performers in a custom 2,000 seat theater. It’s also the reason the Mirage has the only retail shop in the world devoted exclusively to merchandise officially licensed by the Beatles. The Aces of Comedy series features big names like Jay Leno, Ray Romano, and David Spade performing in the Terry Fator Theater.
IOAK is a 16,000 sq ft nightclub, based on the original in Los Angeles and sharing its affection for celebrity guest appearances.
Swimming pool are all saltwater and surrounded by tropical-style foliage and waterfalls. Bare Lounge consists of two adults-only dipping pools where topless sunbathing is allowed.
The restaurants tend to be on the surrounding outskirts of the 100,000 sq ft casino floor. Dining highlights include Tom Colicchio’s Heritage Steak, the adventurous LVB Burgers & Bar, The Still sports bar, and Portofino which is easily one of the very best Italian restaurants on the Strip. Cravings buffet has 11 carving stations.
Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat includes white tiger and lion cubs as well as a pool of bottlenose dolphins.
The Spa & Salon features a wide variety of rejuvenation treatments, including yoga classes poolside and and “among the dolphins” in an underwater viewing area.
Along with Circus Circus, the Mirage is the only property owned and operated by MGM Resorts in the north half of the Strip.
The Mirage shares a free shuttle train with the Treasure Island resort next door.
Resort fee is $35 and includes internet, calls, and fitness center access. A fee is charged for parking and valet. Self-parking is free for certain members of the M Life rewards program through MGM Resorts.
Lucky Dragon Hotel & Casino – Best Hotel for Asian Travelers
(Hotel Phone: 702.889.8018)
An intimate boutique-style hotel, the Lucky Dragon was built by Asian investors specifically for Asian tourists in Las Vegas. Authenticity is key, with the Chinese language given equal billing or priority over English on signs, menus, other reading materials. The televisions in each room also have more authentic Asian programming than any other Vegas hotel. A big part of the draw is gaming, especially baccarat and pai gow, which are huge in Macau and other overseas gambling markets. The hotel tower is kept separate from the casino tower, with an elevated pedestrian walkway between them. Located slightly west of the Strip’s north end, the Lucky Dragon is the newest resort in tourist corridor built from the ground-up and is close to the SLS, Stratosphere, Convention Center and other attractions.
Opened in 2016.
Has 203 rooms, including 22 suites.
Standard rooms (400 sq ft) offer modern yet basic accommodations while standard suites (625 sq ft) have larger bathrooms and sitting areas with (mostly) Strip views. An additional luxury suite (1,300 sq ft) covers the entire top floor of the hotel tower with panoramic views, a foyer entranceway, full living room, and dining room, making it a good choice for corporate parties and catered events.
Common features in rooms include murals painted on the walls, tea brewing equipment with complimentary in-house tea selections, and 55″ flatscreen televisions with the most Chinese language programming for any hotel on or near the Strip.
While the hotel and casino appeal primarily to foreign tourists, a diverse crowd of locals are drawn to the culinary options, which are well-prepared, authentically Asian, and complimented by a strong drink program with intricate cocktails and rare imported beers and whisky.
The restaurants include Phoenix for rare delicacies and unique cuts of meat in a fine dining atmosphere, Pearl Ocean for live seafood and dim sum, Jewel Kitchen for street food from an open kitchen just off the casino floor, Dragon’s Alley noodle bar, and Bao Now for grab-and-go bites.
A spectacular 1.25 ton sculpture of a golden dragon hangs over the center of the casino floor.
The gaming space is heavier on Asian favorites like baccarat and pai gow than more familiar American games like blackjack and poker. Slot machines are Asian themed with only a few devoted to American pop culture licensing. Within just a few months of the hotel’s opening, VIP gaming space was expanded on the second level, moving Pearl Ocean to the ground floor alongside a remodeled Dragon’s Alley.
In addition to the restaurants, the biggest attraction for English-speaking guests (and locals stopping by out of curiosity) will likely be Cha Garden, a lounge area that offers ceremonial tea tastings. The selections are harvested organically, without pesticides, from remote areas of China or Taiwan. The menu, overseen by a “tea sommelier,” lists the location and elevation of where the leaves were harvested, along with the name of the farmer. Cha Garden also serves a unique assortment of snacks (like spicy duck wings and Korean-style anchovies) and has windows that look out to the pool area. It’s the only dining spot in the hotel tower.
At 4,500 square feet, the spa is small and tame compared to Vegas hotel standards. Four rooms offers facial scrubs, massages and other treatments. They’re designed more for relaxation after a busy day of shopping or gambling than an upscale luxury indulgence.
Sunbathing and swimming traditionally aren’t a big draw for Asian hotel guests. So the pool at Lucky Dragon is on the small and shallow side without any sort of diving board. It’s designed more for relaxation and dipping than practicing your laps. The deck is decorated with oak trees, a few lounge chairs, and cabanas that double as tea huts at night, serving food and drink from Cha Garden next door.
Shuttles run regularly from the hotel to Chinatown and destinations on the Strip.
The resort fee is $28 and includes foreign language newspapers, phone calls, and internet for up to two devices. Parking and valet are free.
Luxor Las Vegas – Best Gimmick Hotel
(Hotel Phone: 702.262.4000)
A spectacle of architecture and design, the Luxor goes all-in with its elaborate Egyptian theme. A holdover from an era where properties were defined by gimmicks, the hotel’s main tower is a massive black pyramid, shooting a powerful beam of light from the top that can be seen for miles at night. It’s possibly the most unique and distinct part of the Las Vegas skyline. The pyramid has an open layout inside, with rooms kept to the edges and hallways that look down on the center floor. Egyptian features are everywhere, including outdoors where a replica of the Sphinx sits facing Las Vegas Boulevard. Nestled between Mandalay Bay and Excalibur (all operated by MGM Resorts), the Luxor is in a strong location but towards the south end of the Strip. All three resorts share a free monorail, adding convenience when trying to reach the T-Mobile Arena and other centrally-located attractions.
Opened in 1993.
Has 4,400 rooms, including 487 suites. The main tower of the jet black resort is a massive pyramid (where the elevators travel at a barely-noticeable sloping angle) and two additional 22-story conventional towers, which some guests prefer due to the newer rooms and straight up-and-down elevators.
Pyramid and Cleo Deluxe Rooms (420 sq ft) are the most basic with Cleo rooms having desks, full-length mirrors and upgraded bathrooms. Tower Deluxe Rooms (449 sq ft) also have an expanded armoire. Pyramid Suites (up to 770 sq ft) and Tower Luxury Suites (up to 780 sq ft) have an extra room and soaking tub. In addition to a living room, Premiere Suites (up to 1,050 sq ft) also have a breakfast nook and nicer bathrooms.
Most rooms serve their purpose with the prime Strip location and Egyptian theme being the main draw. Rooms along the exterior of the main tower have angled windows that line up with the pyramid shape, offering great views with unique paneled curtains. The furniture is routine but a few interesting surprises show up here and there, like a bathtub with a window view in some of the bedrooms. Beds are comfortable and by far the best part of the furnishings. The non-pyramid Tower Luxury Suites have floor-to-ceiling windows and a more contemporary feel.
The hotel designs are elegantly crafted and include statues, obelisks, and a recreation of the Great Sphinx of Giza that sits near the front entrance by Las Vegas Boulevard. It’s a glossy replica with the nose intact (unlike the original).
The strongest beam of light in the world shoots from the top of the pyramid tower nightly, although it now shuts off during early morning hours as an energy-saving measure. The distinctive light is usually the first element of Vegas someone would notice while driving in from Southern California at night.
The restaurants lack the buzz found with those in some other Strip resorts, but Tender steakhouse is an underrated gem, featuring unconventional cuts of meat (like boar and elk) and an amazing burger topped with shrimp. Rice & Company offers sushi and other Asian cuisine, Public House is a beer-oriented sports bar, and T&T (Tacos & Tequila) has exactly what its name implies. Starbucks has everyone covered for coffee with three locations on property.
The casino features more than 120,000 square feet of gaming, with more than a thousand slot machines and video poker/keno machines. In addition to blackjack, craps, and poker, there’s also mini-baccarat and pai gow. Complimentary blackjack, craps and roulette lesson are offered at noon every day.
The five-acre pool area has four pools, a few whirlpools and more than 20 private cabanas. “Temptation Sundays” is a longtime weekly pool party geared towards the gay market with $10 entry for hotel guests and $20 for everyone else.
Two French-themed wedding chapels are on property; one for up to 60 guests and another for up to 100 guests. There’s also a spa for massage and beauty treatments and a fitness center.
The entertainment lineup is loaded with Criss Angel’s Mindfreak Live!, Blue Man Group, Carrot Top, and Fantasy (one of the better adult cabaret shows on the Strip with live singing.) “Bodies… The Exhibition” features displays dedicated to the human body (and can be graphic for those not informed about it in advance) while “Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition” exceeds all expectations with a dedicated staff, compelling designs, and the largest piece of the doomed ocean liner’s hull ever recovered.
Luxor is an easy walk to the Camelot-themed Excalibur resort on one side, and Mandalay Bay on the other side (with the Shoppes at Mandalay Place in between). All three resorts are connected by a free shuttle train, making it easier to get to the MGM Grand, T-Mobile Arena, and other prime destinations in the center of the Strip.
The resort charges for both self-parking and valet services (although free self-parking is available for certain levels of the MGM Resorts M Life rewards program). No pets allowed aside from assistance animals. All rooms are non-smoking. The nightly resort fee is $30 per night and includes internet, phone calls, and fitness center access.