The Strip (Las Vegas Boulevard South)

Bally’s    Bellagio   Caesar’s Palace   Circus Circus   Cosmopolitan   Excalibur    Flamingo    Four Seasons    Harrah’s     Linq    Luxor     Mandalay Bay    Mirage    Monte Carlo    New York New York     Planet Hollywood    Paris    Treasure Island    Stratosphere     Trump    Venetian    Westgate    Wynn

Off Strip

Hard Rock     Palms     South Point    Sam’s Town

Downtown

California    Golden Gate    Main Street Station     Plaza

Henderson/Boulder City

Lake Mead Lodge    Railroad Pass


First, Some Good Advice

Before trying to book a hotel room in Las Vegas check the convention schedule and special events schedule. You can find it at lasvegas24hrs.com This will direct you to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority web site. It is virtually impossible to get a booking during major events such as COMDEX and the NATIONAL FINALS RODEO. Unless you want to pay $400 for a room, that is.

The cheapest hotel rooms can be had after the Rodeo and before Christmas, the two slowest weeks of the year. Remember, a lot of shows and lounge acts will be in hiatus during that time.

If calls to hotel reservations are fruitless try the following: call one of the private booking companies. They reserve blocks of rooms in various hotels to which the hotels themselves have no access. So, even if the hotel tells you rooms are not available they might in fact be sitting on vacant rooms.


Las Vegas Hotels (some more advice)

Read this, you might learn something!

When I started this project I did not want it to be like any other Las Vegas website, which are merely lists. I want to give you a short commentary about Las Vegas hotels. After having lived in Las Vegas for almost thirty years I thought I knew it all. Until I started research for this project. Then everything changed. The reality is: there are only a few hotels/casinos in Las Vegas that deserve my green check mark as measured against my bench marks. Quite a few are built only as overnight warehouses for gambling patrons. I guess they weren’t expected to spend any time in their rooms, but most of their time in the casino. Click on the link where provided for more on facilities and amenities, and to make online reservations.

Some friendly advice (for free):

  • Avoid using your room telephone. Some hotels charge a dollar for local calls, even for 800 numbers.
  • Should your room get burglarized, call the police. In-house security will not do anything but take a report. No telling where those are filed. Publicity, you see.
  • Do not change foreign currency at the hotel cashier cash. Use a currency exchange instead. You will get better rates. Some hotels do not know the difference between the Euro and the Euro-Dollar. So, watch your step.
  • The Wynn beats them all. In room faxes $8, last time I checked. They want to nickel and dime you.

IF YOU THINK YOU HAVE OR ARE DEVELOPING A GAMBLING ADDICTION YOU CAN GET HELP. CALL 702 369 9740 OR 702 363 3633


Bally’s

3645 S. Las Vegas Bl., Tel: 702-739-4111
Huge is the watchword here. Is connected by private monorail to the MGM Grand and has a walkway to the Paris which is next door. Features one of the first in-hotel shopping malls in Las Vegas. I was a chef in this hotel from 1975-1980 when it burned down. Not that I set the creme brulee on fire. I was at home at the time. At that time food, working conditions and pay were absolutely fabulous. Food is still very good. I can’t say anything about the other stuff.


Linq

The High Roller. The tallest observation wheel in the world (550′) is the anchor of a new venue called “LINQ”. It is located in the small street between the Flamingo hotel and the Quad hotel (formerly the Imperial Palace). This street used to be populated by several vending carts and assorted hawkers. It is now a very attractive entertainment and shopping venue. We put the emphasis on the word “attractive.” This writer (the webmaster) likes it a lot. There are bars, restaurants, shops and a Brooklyn Bowl, a really amazing place.

 

 


Bellagio

3600 S. Las Vegas Bl., Tel: 702-693-7111
Steve Wynn allegedly spent almost a billion and a half dollars to put this place up. Fantastic water works, fountains and gardens. Everything here is upscale, including the pricing. Don’t miss the million dollar chandelier in the lobby. For my taste this place is overdecorated but to each his own. It also has a nice art gallery and a conservatory loaded with flowers. I would rate this a must see even if I don’t agree with the interior desecrators. If you want to get rid of your shopping dollars fast this could be the place for you.I would not miss this place for any money. It is fabulous.


Caesars new towerCaesars Palace

3570 S. Las Vegas Bl., Tel: 702-731-7333
This hotel/casino has been massively renovated over the years.  Remember the green area and pool and fountains leading up to the main entrance that you used to see on TV specials with Frank Sinatra and his ilk?  Now there’s a large plaza with outdoor dining, escalators, and statuary.  The interior is a large jumble of casino areas, shopping, bars, restaurants, hotel towers etc.  I remember in the old days their parking lot was so large they staged automobile races on it. And the Flamingo wash ran right through it and periodically swept cars towards Lake Mead. This wash then runs underneath the Imperial Palace and down the center of the small street behind that hotel. It drops down a grating just before Koval Lane and comes out on the other side of it. Boy I have seen some good sized floods going down that wash. One time a lot of cars got swept down from the Caesars parking lot and wound up at the Imperial Palace. Cadillacs, Lincolns and what have you. They have flood control now. Those days are long gone. It still is extremely popular and pretends to be the class of the strip. Watch out for parking, it is in the rear. From the Strip use the tunnel that runs underneath the hotel. An easier way would be to use valet parking in the tunnel. You will be right at the entrance to the Forum shops. If you want to self-park you would be better off to use Industrial Rd. That is the one behind Circus-Circus. That way you do not have to fight strip traffic.


Circus CircusCircus Circus

2880 S. Las Vegas Bl., Tel: 702-100%-0410
Thousands of rooms, shopping, midway, RV park, wedding chapel, reasonable prices. You have to be able to put up with all the kids. If you do travel with your kids you really should consider staying here, if you can get a room. The prices are right and there is lots to do for them. Stuff that won’t cost an arm and a leg. They also have lots of shopping with interesting items. Check out their clown display at the gift shop next to the entrance (Exclusively Circus). I always find this hotel to be a very nice, exciting experience.

 


{short description of image}Cosmopolitan

3708 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109 (702) 698-7000.
One of the newest places on the Strip. Good location, right in the center of everything.

 

 

 

 


ExcaliburExcalibur

3850 S. Las Vegas Bl., Tel: 702-597-7777
The “castle” is truly a fun building and a fun theme for this resort.They have a large entertainment area for kids downstairs, shopping and more shows on the second floor. Plenty of restaurant choices in the middle range.This is one place to stay if you bring your kids, it is more family oriented than many other hotels.


Flamingo.

3555 S. Las Vegas Bl., Tel: 702-733-3111
Invented by Bugsy Siegel. He got his’n in California by a shotgun. Now the place is run by the Hilton people. Pretty good food. Check out the park outback. Real live penguins! I have one objection: every square inch of that property has been put to use. Looks pretty bleak. They call it profit enhancement I guess. There is a sizable shopping mall and a nice pool.Otherwise mostly slot machines.


Font{short description of image}ainebleau

Here it sits, the planned “Fountain Blue” as it is known, another victim of the recession that still isn’t back on line. The exterior is dried in, the interior unfinished. I hope it can get finished, you are talking $1.5 billion sitting here.

 

 

 

 


Four Seasons at Mandalay Bay

3960 S. Las Vegas Bl., Tel: 702-632-5000
A five star hotel, very elegant and quiet. It has a separate entrance from the Mandalay Bay itself. It is farther south. There is a golf course adjoining. And a beauty it is. Check my golf pages!!


Lake Mead Lodge

in Boulder City, about 2 miles from down town on Highway 93.Tel: 702 293 5000
The first thing one has to say about this hotel is its remarkable location. It is actually inside the Lake Mead National Recreation Area. It is about 3 miles from Hoover Dam itself and about two miles from Lake Mead. In fact it overlooks Lake Mead. Some people may not know this but this lake is the largest man made lake in the Western Hemisphere. Very popular with the fishing and boating crowd. You simply cannot get any closer to this lake and stay in a modern,comfortable, affordable hotel at the same time. I recently had the opportunity to have dinner (and lunch also) at the newly remodeled buffet. And what great food it was too! A large salad bar, plenty of hot dishes and a great selection of desserts. All at a very popular price. I am a beer fanatic and was pleasantly surprised about the quality and selection of brews at the bar. Exotics on tap. You don’t see that every day. All in all an outstanding and pleasant experience. I can heartily recommend this hotel/casino. Here is a little inside info for you. They have an ad in the yellow pages. All you have to do is to mention it and you will get a 10% discount on your room rate.


Hard Ro.ck

4455 Paradise, Tel: 702-693-5000
Gamble amidst rock paraphernalia. Mostly populated by younger people. The parking lot is very confusing. There must be a better way. Try the entrance off Harmon. Paradise Road is so busy these days. They issue collectible casino chips every once in a while, depending on which band is playing. You might try to get some back issues. I like the Black Crowes and the Halloween chip. Very collectible. Lots of Japanese visitors who are picking up souvenirs from the gift shop.

The picture is of the Hard Rock Cafe.


.Harrah’s Las Vegas

3475 S. Las Vegas Bl., Tel: 702-369-5000
I knew Bill Harrah in Reno when he was a small operator.  What have you wrought Bill?

 

 


.Westgate

3000 Paradise Rd., Tel: 702-732-5111
Elvis’s old hangout when it was the Hilton.  They have an old Elvis jumpsuit in a glass case on display.

 


LuxorLuxor

3900 S. Las Vegas Bl., Tel: 702-262-4000
The only pyramid shape hotel in the US, so far as I know. Because of its shape you take inclinators rather than elevators. And if you are at the wrong entrance you cannot get to the right inclinator to your floor. So, watch it. Very interesting inside and lots of stuff to see. Arcades and rides for the youngsters. I like to visit from time to time and look at things. Don’t forget the shops downstairs.


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Mandalay Bay

3950 S. Las Vegas Bl., Tel: 702-632-7777
I have to admit it. Of all the hotels in Las Vegas I like this one the best.The pool area is out of this world. A brand new golf course is adjoining. There is another one up the road a short distance. And check out the bars and restaurants. Wolfgang Puck has a place in here. There is a Russian place (Red Square) with a statue of Lenin out front and about 50 kinds of Vodka. Another restaurant has a wine tower so large it takes a person in a wire harness to retrieve bottles of wine, all visible from the outside, cool!


Mirag.e

3400 S. Las Vegas Bl., Tel: 702-791-7111
Home of the white tigers, Siegfried and Roy, the Dolphin Encounter, and a mini-rain forest, the Secret Garden, the superlative aquarium behind the front desk Siegfried and Roy’s hidden garden, and more. A real nice buffet and lots of nice restaurants. A MUST see for Las Vegas visitors.

 

 

 


.Monte Carlo

3770 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109 (888) 529-4828.
Aside from the gaming, the micro brewery is the best feature. The beer and the atmosphere are wonderful. Noisy but fun. One of the first hotels to provide a fast food court.


NewNew York New York York New York

3790 S. Las Vegas Bl., Tel: 702-740-6050
A must see for all visitors to Las Vegas. It’s all here, the statue of Liberty, the stock exchange, old New York etc. Everything but the muggers. Check out the giant roller coaster all around the building. I recommend this place highly and I am not on their payroll.


Palms Resort

West Flamingo Rd., a few blocks west of the Strip across the street from the Gold Coast.
This is the place that has a suite with an in-suite basketball court.  The Ghost Bar at the top of the building has fantastic views of the city and rocks at night.   I like the architecture of the building. Quite unlike any of the other hotels in Las Vegas. It sort of looks like Art Deco but somehow modified. Very pleasant indeed. The interior is also quite detailed, from the bamboo canopies above the bars, the outrageously rich decorated oriental restaurant and the Brendan movie theaters.


P.aris Las Vegas

3655 S. Las Vegas Bl., Tel: 702-946-7000
A bit of France in Las Vegas. Complete with a 3/4 scale Eiffel Tower. Next to Bally’s with which it is connected via a walkway. Had one disappointing meal experience when they first opened, but since then the food has been very good. And the restaurants are pricey. The tower is open for (paying) visitors. It’s worth a walk through. I rode up to the top of the tower. It starts out harmless enough but gets scary real fast. Try it anyway, you’ll like it.


.Planet Hollywood

3667 S. Las Vegas Bl., NV 89109, (877) 333-9474

This is the former Aladdin which went under (poor management and poor design). The modern theme is new for Las Vegas, and worth a walk thru.  It has a large shopping mall as advertised, which isn’t earth-shaking, but interesting , with some nice decor (it is an imitation middle eastern outdoor market) and some nice restaurants.


.Railroad Pass Hotel/Casino

2800 S. Boulder Highway, Tel: 702-294-5000
This is a good spot for truckers coming in off Route 95/93, right where the new interchange for I-11 is going in. There is a huge parking lot and everything is dirt cheap.  It has friendly long-term staff and is very popular with Boulder City residents. The food is amazingly good for the price (it is not haute cuisine).  Kind of smoky though.


{short description of image}Sam’s Town

5111 Boulder Highway Tel: 702-456-7777
Western themed, complete with a western facade. Has recently undergone major restoration. Bowling, good buffet, western dance hall and movie theaters. You should see the indoor atrium! It has an animated western themed light and sound show complete with howling wolves and a waterfall. Very impressive. In between shows this atrium has trees, running water, a waterfall, singing birds in trees, etc. Free to the public and very nice. Also a 50’s diner with low prices, bad food and huge portions. Part of the Boyd group of casinos.


South Point Hotel Casino

Originally opened at the southernmost end of the Strip as a Coast casino,pretty much a clone of the other Coast casinos.
This place is a giant when it comes to special events. They even have an indoor events center capable of hosting rodeos, motocross, giant truck competitions etc. Truly remarkable. Not only that, they have events going practically every weekend of the year. So, if you like that kind of thing, South Point would be the place to be.


StratosphereStratosphere

2000 S. Las Vegas Bl., Tel: 702-380-7777
Tallest building in Las Vegas, maybe in the west. Has two extraordinary rides on top. One is a roller coaster, the other one a kind of a rocket that blasts you up to the very top of the tower and then rockets up and down a couple of times. Real, real scary. Check out the dining room at the top. Pretty good food, pretty pricey. I also hear from other people they like the food up there.  Bring plenty of cash or a good plastic card. There are quite a few vending kiosks leading up to the entrance of the tower. Also has a viewing area.

 

 


TI (Treasure Island)

3300 S. Las Vegas Bl., Tel: 702-894-7111
An adjunct to the Mirage which sits on the same piece of land. The sea battle and pirates are gone.  Nice and semi-upscale. Gilley’s Western Dance Hall and BBQ now occupies a huge part of the front.

 


Trump

Yes, the Trumpster is represented in Las Vegas. It is a hotel/condo only. No gambling.

 

 


.Venetian/Palazzo

3355 S. Las Vegas Bl., Tel: 702-414-1000
They bill themselves as the world’s largest. Maybe I am missing something here. I thought the MGM Grand was. Some nice architectural features. There is a canal inside with boats and singing gondoliers. Kind of laughable though, 1500 ft. of canal hardly a boat ride makes. But the atmosphere in the restaurants along the canal is enjoyable, though pricey. I enjoy the imitation Plaza San Marcos inside. I think this is the ONLY major hotel in town that does not have a buffet. Very strange! Or is this a new trend? It has a fast food court instead. Overall well worth a visit. Lots of shopping and restaurants.
A WORD OF CAUTION:
Do not go near the Venetian, do not enter their parking garage during one of their periodic conventions at their adjoining convention center. In contrast to other hotels on the strip they are short on parking. The situation is especially bad during the twice yearly ASD show. They also charge for parking at the adjoining lot. Last time I checked it was $10 with no in and out privileges.


 Wynn/Encore

3131 Las Vegas Blvd. S., 702 770-7000

The $2.7 billion hotel/casino on the strip where the Desert Inn once stood,that you have to see because everyone will ask you about it when you get home. Feels like the Bellagio except with lots of skylights letting in soft, natural light (a nice touch). I predict skylights will become the new trend for every casino built in the next thirty years. Tons of architectural detail inside. The inferior desecrators (interior decorators) went hog-wild in here, hardly a flat surface anywhere. The corridor to the meeting rooms reminds me of the Palace of Versailles. But I thought for $2.7 billion it could have been a little different.  I spotted a $5000 slot machine and several $100 slot machines. And fifty feet farther are the nickel and penny machines.That is quite a contrast.
Very upscale — that’s how Steve Wynn does things.  The restaurants charge a small fortune, but they all do on the Strip.  There is no bowling, roller skating or ice skating, but there is golf.


Las Vegas Downtown

When us locals talk about downtown Las Vegas, what we are trying to say is a few blocks of Fremont Street, parts of Ogden, Las Vegas Blvd, a bit of Main,and that should be about it. Make no mistake, downtown Las Vegas has undergone a tremendous change in the last few years. A great deal of the credit should go to Tony Hsieh, the founder of Zappos, the online shoe retailer. If a few years ago downtown was a sorry and bedraggled looking place, quite the opposite is true now.  Oh, did I mention Oscar Goodman, our cocktail swilling (at least that is what he likes us to believe) ex mayor. He apparently is a great guy, I’ve never met him in person, but I have followed his career from the mid-seventies when he was a so called “Mob Lawyer”. Oh, those were the days of the “Hole in the Wall” Gang,Tony Spilotro, Frank (Lefty) Rosenthal, Sheriff Lamb and others. I actually enjoyed it. Never a dull moment. Hookers on the corner of Flamingo and the Strip. Flamingo dead-ended a couple of blocks West, at the I-15. I lived a block away on Koval Lane. That too is long gone.


{short description of image}California Hotel

12 Ogden, Tel: 702-385-1222
Part of the Boyd Group. They own a bunch of places. Here we are back in downtown Las Vegas. I can say without hesitation that most hotels downtown are sub-par, with the exception of the Golden Nugget. Strangely enough the California has a lot of business from Hawaii, so get your lomi-lomi, pipikaula, cracked seed and haupia right here. A skywalk connects it with the Main Street Station across the street, part of the same gaming group. I would not rate this hotel very highly as far as convenience, food or shopping goes. I noticed too that most of those hotels do not have a decent gift shop. Just the basic stuff, booze, papers and cigarettes. Quite a difference from the strip.


{short description of image}Golden Gate Hotel

1 Fremont St.Tel: 702-385-1906
Sits on the corner of Main and Fremont, downtown Las Vegas. One of the original downtown hotels.

 

 

 

 


 

{short description of image}Main Street Station

200 N. Main, Tel: 702-387-1896.
Developed by the same entrepreneur who developed the one in Orlando, FL. Beautiful antiques throughout and a real good buffet. I mean REAL GOOD. Somehow they manage to keep the vagrants and panhandlers outside. We are talking downtown Las Vegas here.
This property is now owned and managed by the Boyd gaming group (Sam’s Town, Stardust etc.)

 


{short description of image}Plaza

1 Main Street downtown Las Vegas., Tel: 702-386-2110

Our esteemed ex-mayor, a certain Mr. Goodman operates a steakhouse inside of this hotel. Pretty popular too. I like Oscar Goodman. I used to get a lot of laughs out of him when he had to defend the likes of Spilotro and other made men. I don’t know off hand if he also defended Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal. Oh man, those were the days.