Las Vegas isn’t San Francisco. With over 150,000 rooms available, you’re sure to find a hotel to accommodate you. But making the right choice for your first trip to Las Vegas isn’t easy.
Here’s a selection of 18 criteria that I think are relevant when choosing your Las Vegas hotel. I’ve listed them in order of preference. Of course, some criteria that count a lot for me may be anecdotal for you, and the reverse is true.
This is THE main selection criterion when booking a hotel room in Las Vegas. If you don’t yet know what activities you’re going to do in Las Vegas, I recommend one thing: get a room in a good location on the Strip.
9 out of 10 activities in Las Vegas take place on the Strip. It’s also where you discover the finest hotels, mythical views and feel the rhythm of life as a Las Vegas tourist.
But not all the Strip is the same. For example, the liveliest part of the Strip is the hotels such as the Bellagio, the Venetian, the Ceasars Palace, the Paris Las Vegas, the Flamingo…
When you’re south of the Strip (Mandalay Bay, Luxor…) or north (Sahara Las Vegas, Strat Hotel…), you’re far from the center of the Strip. You’ll need to take public transport, a cab or an Uber for every trip. On foot, the heat, traffic lights, footbridges and crowds make walking the Strip long and difficult, while at night, some corners are unsafe due to the large number of panhandlers, drug addicts, lunatics or all three!
Does this mean you should never book a hotel off the Strip? I’d venture to answer “yes” if your Las Vegas vacation is all about partying, seeing the most popular attractions and gambling at the casino.
On the other hand, if you’re on a mini-budget, staying for several weeks or want to do a lot of the activities located in the rest of the city, you may want to consider another hotel. Downtown Las Vegas is particularly popular with younger guests and those on a limited budget.
This criterion doesn’t count for everyone, but for me it’s still important. In Las Vegas, I love hotels with distinctive styles. The Luxor pyramid, the Venetian’s canals, the Paris’s Eiffel Tower, the Bellagio’s fountains, the Mirage’s Volcano, the Caesars Palace’s Roman architecture all contribute to the charm of Las Vegas.
I’m saddened to see that most of the new hotels are large, charmless towers. Give me back some uniqueness, beauty and style!
It’s up to you to choose the design that most appeals to you. For example, The Venetian makes me dream and I enjoyed my stay in the hotel. But the Circus Circus or the Excalibur doesn’t make me want to book a room at all.
The exterior style is comparable, as is the interior. You’ll enjoy walking to your room at the Paris on fake Parisian cobblestones, or wandering through the Bellagio’s majestic lobby.
It’s not just your hotel that needs to have style: the room counts just as much. Let me make it clear from the outset that I don’t want a “Disneyland” room, with fake decor and multiple additions to match the universe.
However, I want tasteful decor, quality furniture, a large comfortable bed and a spacious bathtub. Check online booking sites for room styles before you book.
I’ve tried 6 hotels in Las Vegas and so far, the rooms at the Venetian are the nicest and most comfortable I’ve seen, and those at the Hilton Grand Vacations are the most convenient.
The existence of sequences
Let’s finish with Las Vegas hotel rooms and the appeal of suites. Of course, if you’re on a budget, I suggest you treat yourself to a suite that will leave you with a memory for life. This is typically the case with the suite at Caesars Palace seen in the first “Hangover” movie.
More modest suites are also available in Las Vegas. In fact, I tend to think that hotels are too generous in their use of the word. As soon as a room is a little out of the ordinary, the name “suite” is slapped on it.
Modest suites offer additional living space and meters. The extra cost is not always substantial. Take a look at the suites available when booking your hotel. During our last stay at the Paris hotel, we had a 60-square-meter suite for a very low supplement compared to the basic room.
Price is regularly the second most important criterion for tourists to Las Vegas, and I can well understand that. If you’re on a tight budget, decide where you want to stay and look around for the hotel with the best rates. Even right in the middle of the Strip, good deals are possible, such as the Hilton hotels or the Best Western located just before The Venetian.
The bad news is that prices have risen sharply in recent years. Getting a nice, well-placed room in Las Vegas for $50 is becoming impossible, even in the less popular winter months.
When I go there, I now expect to pay between $200 and $300 a night. Rest assured, this rate applies to my choice of comfort and location.
Decrease the quality of the room, get off the Strip and the bill comes down. To go to extremes, book a motel if it really hurts to take a bill out of your pocket!
The price you see on your Las Vegas hotel reservation website isn’t always the price you pay!
The most common supplement is the “resort fee.” The best-known hotels all have them, and the rates are simply mind-boggling. Some resort fees are around $50 a night. They include basic things like wifi, swimming pool… They have to be paid on the spot, so the total written on Booking or Hotels.com doesn’t always equal the amount you’ll spend!
Some hotels are also very good at adding extra charges. For example, you may be limited to two wifi-connected devices per day, or you may be charged an extra fee that’s too big to be honest.
So be sure of the total cost of each night before you book.
Security around the hotel
Yes, I know: if I think I’m vigilant, I can understand why some people close to me say I’m paranoid. I never book in a place without making sure it’s safe from crime, and I’m always very careful when I travel.
Unfortunately, this advice from Dad is also true in Las Vegas. Many places are dangerous. Here again, this point is an argument in favor of a well-located hotel on the Strip. It’s the safest place to be, thanks to casino security guards, a strong police presence and an influx of tourists.
Some places have a terrible reputation, like the back of the Stratosphere or the area after the Mob Museum. But even in the streets parallel to the Strip, the level of security can quickly drop within a few hundred steps.
Choose your hotel according to the wildlife in the area, especially if you want to walk at night.
The length of your stay
Length of stay has a major impact. For a short stay (1 to 4 nights), you can’t beat the most beautiful, busy, festive, majestic and, admittedly, expensive hotels.
The longer you stay, the more your criteria evolve. For a 7-night stay, I’d rather have a kitchen in the room than the Eiffel Tower in the middle of the casino.
As for very long stays of over 15 days, living constantly on the Strip even becomes mind-numbing. Las Vegas locals hardly ever come to Main Street, preferring a quieter life away from the center. The poker players I know do the same. When they come for a month to play at the World Championships, they never book a noisy hotel, but rather a house or condo.
When your stay gets longer, a good tip is to change hotels. Loving novelty, Amélie and I did 3 and 2 hotels during our two stays together in Las Vegas. On arrival, we like eccentricity, and by the end of our stay, a cozier and more practical accommodation will suffice.
What’s more, you don’t have to worry about having your suitcases in hand all day when you change hotels. Most hotels offer free or paid “early check-in” (it’s becoming more and more the norm to charge), and if your room isn’t ready yet, you can leave your belongings in the luggage room to wander around while you wait.
Entertainment in the hotel
In Las Vegas, I’m a rare bird. I play little or no casino games. I’d rather pay $200 a night for a suite than burn my money on a slot machine. So we look for other activities when we go to Las Vegas.
Concerts, shows, sports matches, museums… The choice of entertainment is considerable, and not all Las Vegas hotels are in the same league.
Also check out the entertainment at hotels close to yours. For example, I’m interested in being close to Planet Hollywood or MGM, which is generous with shows.
Entertainment in the hotel can also be much simpler: a cozy corner for watching sports matches, a DVD rental service, the swimming pool….
The view from the room
For one or two nights, this criterion rises much higher in this ranking. The most beautiful view we’ve had in a hotel is undeniably the Bellagio. We had booked accommodation with a view of the fountains. It was simply magical. No need to be romantic, the view does it all. Even a gravelly man turns into Casanova when his wife looks out over the fountains, while the TV plays Italian music.
The vast majority of rooms have insipid views. But when you pay extra for it, the view becomes a real asset.
The hotel’s level of tranquility
Once again, how quiet you want to depend in part on the length of your stay. For two nights, party hard, relax in the afternoon in your room’s bathtub and sleep on the plane home.
But, if you’re staying in Las Vegas for a week or traveling for business, quiet becomes necessary.
To cut a long story short, if your hotel doesn’t have a casino, you’re much more likely to be in a quieter establishment, right from the hotel lobby.
Be careful, however, of your immediate surroundings. For example, when we stayed at the Hilton opposite the Flamingo, our room was opposite the Flamingo pool. So we could hear the DJ’s music for hours on end…
With your pockets emptied by booking the suite in Las Vegas, and exhausted by the fatigue of the journey, you’ll feel helpless when hunger strikes. Perhaps that’s when you’ll realize that looking at the food and beverage outlets before putting your bags in the room is more important than you think.
The good news is that there’s no shortage of restaurants in Las Vegas. Every major hotel on the Strip has one. The bad news is that in some luxury hotels, you pay $60 for a bad rump steak with fries.
For this reason, I like to have cheaper options close by, such as Food Courts, Taco Bell, Denny’s or a CVC store.
The casino and poker room
Like to gamble? A magnificent casino downstairs from your room is a real plus. I have an unconditional love of the Bellagio casino, but maybe that’s because I played my first games there when I was just 21. Other casinos, like the Flamingo or Harrah’s, give me no desire to play.
I know a lot of older people love the authenticity of the Golden Nuggets located in Downtown Las Vegas. We went there and hated it. So, tastes vary a lot from player to player.
As a poker lover, I’ve only been to Las Vegas once to play solo. If you’re going to do that, a hotel with a nice poker room is a major plus. Some establishments have an option that I love. When the tables are full, you can join the waiting list. Then, in your room, a TV channel continuously broadcasts the waiting list. So you rest comfortably until you’re the next player called to the table.
The swimming pool
I don’t like hanging around a swimming pool. Sunbathing, sitting still on a deckchair or listening to deafening music are not among my favorite activities. When I go to a pool, it’s to swim, dive or play. Three activities made impossible by the ridiculous water depth of Las Vegas pools and safety regulations.
But I also know that for a good proportion of tourists, having fun at night and relaxing around the pool during the day is their Las Vegas vacation rhythm. For singles, the famous “Pool Parties” are also excellent places not to return to your hotel room alone.
Not all pools in Las Vegas are created equal. If you’re interested, compare them before you book your hotel. Don’t forget to check beforehand whether the pool is open, under construction or limited. For example, due to a lack of lifeguards, the Paris pool had half of its pool closed during our last stay.
SPA and fitness center
Would you like to relax in the hotel with treatments and massages? Or are you an athlete who can’t go a week without lifting weights? Choose a hotel with the right facilities.
Other hotel guests
It’s a criterion that makes little sense to me, but I know that some people are concerned about the hotel’s other guests.
Would you like to be among the wealthy at the Bellagio, family-friendly at the Hilton or middle-class at Circus Circus? If it matters, book your hotel with this in mind. However, price and location will very often dictate the style of your hallway neighbors...
The loyalty program
Do you go to Las Vegas often, or do you gamble a lot at the casino? If you answer “yes,” the loyalty program becomes interesting. By accumulating points when you book a room, eat in a hotel restaurant or play at the casino, you earn rewards.
Loyalty programs are not necessarily restricted to a single hotel. For example, a program like Caesars Rewards is valid at all the group’s hotels, whether in Las Vegas (Caesars Palace, The Cromwell, The Linq, Flamingo, Paris Las Vegas…) or in the rest of the world.
Period of stay
Many of the criteria I’ve listed can become unfounded depending on the period of your stay. The best example is the swimming pool. In January, all outdoor pools are logically closed.
Events also have an impact. For example, if you go to the Paris Las Vegas or Horseshoe Las Vegas (formerly known as Bally’s) during the World Poker Championships, you’ll see an influx of people and rising reservation prices.
Similarly, in NFL game days at Allegiant Stadium, nearby hotels like the Mandalay Bay have higher prices.
You’ve found the hotel of your dreams in Las Vegas, you pull out your credit card and get a nasty surprise: it’s fully booked. No, you’re not dreaming. Even if the biggest hotels have several thousand rooms, that doesn’t prevent some dates from being fully booked.
Events and certain days, such as February 14, are particularly busy.
I hope I’ve been more than a thorough in helping you choose your future Las Vegas hotel room. If there’s an establishment you’ve been dreaming of, make your reservation in advance. Popular rooms like those at the Bellagio overlooking the fountains rarely go unused!