Pick a Vegas Hotel
December 18, 2011 1:34 PM   Subscribe

Please put your Vegas expertise to work and help me pick a mid-range hotel on the Strip.

So genghis and I are going to Vegas for our first vacation together since we got married seven years ago. Yay! We are staying for 7 nights in May. I have narrowed down hotel choices to the following because I am a total hotel whore and a nicer room at a less posh hotel is vastly preferable to me than a broom closet in the Bellagio, which is out of our budget anyway:

NY NY Spa Suite (€962.34); Flamingo GO View Room (€762.98); Monte Carlo Monaco Suite (€888.44)

We've reached the point on hotel review sites where 70% of the reviews are terrifying and the other 30% sound like shills, so I turn to you, MetaFilter. My questions are:

1) Do any of these hotels have a much better location than the others?
2) Is there anything you know about these hotels that makes NY NY actually worth €200 more than the nicest room at the Flamingo?
3) Which one would you pick, or is there another hotel in this price range I should put on my list?

And for the bonus round:

4) If you are not staying at the Stratosphere, do you need to pay $16 each to get up to the 107 Lounge for cocktails, and if so, is it worth it?

Possibly relevant: We are not huge gamblers but will flush money down $5 Blackjack machines. We will not be renting a car. We understand the places that charge a resort fee include WiFi, and the places with no resort fees charge an equivalent amount for WiFi (so that's a wash.)

Thank you!
posted by DarlingBri to Travel & Transportation around Las Vegas, NV (21 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Friends stayed at the Cosmopolitan Hotel earlier this year and raved about it.

Gratuitous youtube link.
posted by gingerbeer at 1:40 PM on December 18, 2011

Be sure to check out VRBO.com, there's a ton of inexpensive condo rentals in some of the nicer hotels like the MGM Grand Signature.
posted by mikeand1 at 1:42 PM on December 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

The Flamingo is much more central on the strip then NY NY or the Monte Carlo, which was particularly important to us as we like to walk around, see other casinos, and go up to Freemont Street for cheap tables. We stayed in a Go Suite at the Flamingo this August and it was very nice (we were also on the top floor with a great view of the fountains at the Bellagio- not sure if you can get a view that nice when it isn't August and 110 degrees out)- very cozy beds, funky decor, TV in the mirror in the bathroom. No free Wifi, though. I haven't seen the rooms at NY NY, but I've walked through the casino and I have a hard time imagining the rooms are €200 nicer then the Flamingo.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:48 PM on December 18, 2011

Seconding the Flamingo as having a better location that the other hotels you mentioned, and it seems generally reasonably priced as well.

The only drawback I had with the Flamingo (and I didn't stay there, but I did gamble) is that in the casino at least, everything is pink. Like excruciatingly pink. But if you can handle that, and it's possible the hotel part isn't so pink, the Flamingo is probably a solid choice.
posted by Fister Roboto at 2:03 PM on December 18, 2011

For location, absolutely the Flamingo (as TPS said). It's kitty-corner from the Bellagio and walking distance from anywhere you'd want to go on the strip. The rooms are decent, if a little "bright." The lobby is a nightmare. But take a look at Bill's Gambling Hall, right next door. It's more "old Vegas," decorated in dark colors. The rooms are recently remodeled and quite nice. The rates tend to be even lower than the Flamingo. The location is essentially identical. And because the htoel is so small (only 4 stories) it's much easier to get in and out (more easily navigable lobby, *much* quicker check-in/out). Oh, and about half the time I've stayed there I've ended up with a room with a view of the Bellagio fountains.
posted by zanni at 2:09 PM on December 18, 2011

Since you're flying from Europe, can you get a hotel+flight deal from Orbitz (or a similar site)? Often hotels go for a small fraction of the sticker price when bundled with an international flight.
posted by miyabo at 2:20 PM on December 18, 2011

I stayed at a crappy room at the Flamingo awhile back, so I don't know about the rooms, but the location can't be beat. It's a much, much older hotel, but NY NY isn't that new and is fairly tacky, in my opinion. NY NY is also slightly out of the way, whereas Flamingo is at the very center of the Strip.

As for the Stratosphere, if you're going to the restaurant or lounge, you don't have to pay an admission fee. The lounge is pretty cool and the happy hour specials were actually pretty good, considering it's LV. The view is very good, but not as good as the restaurant. If I recall correctly, the 107 lounge seating is not up against the window, it's on an inner ring overlook the restaurant below. Still definitely worthwhile, I think the observation deck is great too.
posted by skewed at 2:23 PM on December 18, 2011

I can't speak to the room quality in the Flamingo, but when I stay on the strip I like staying in that general (fairly central) area - it's fairly walkable compared to staying out at either end of the strip. Other hotels to look at are Harrah's and Bill's (which used to be called the Barbary Coast until they joined the Harrah's monolith), which are on either side of the Flamingo. I would avoid Caesar's if you're not renting a car. Harrah's has a monorail station next door, between it and the Imperial Palace (where I have heard nothing good about the rooms).

Also, if you're not renting a car, you may want to make use of "The Deuce", which is a city bus that runs up and down the strip fairly frequently (pdf link)
posted by rmd1023 at 2:57 PM on December 18, 2011 [2 favorites]

We, too, are big fans of the Deuce bus! Great way to get around and see the Strip in comfort.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 3:08 PM on December 18, 2011

I stayed at Bill's last month and liked it. The room was very basic and lacked a safe, a door lock from inside the room, and climate control was a challenge. But the location on the strip was great. Flamingo is very close to Bill's. Either way, my preference would be to stay near the center of the strip.

Next time I go to Las Vegas, though, I want something a bit nicer, and I hope to stay at Paris, where a relative of mine stayed. An ex-coworker recently told me he had an enjoyable stay at Vdara, which is very new, smoke-free, and casino-free.
posted by germdisco at 3:59 PM on December 18, 2011

Of your list, I really like the Flamingo. Great location and the upper-end rooms are quite nice. The thing that makes the Flamingo sweet is the casino dumps right out onto the strip. It's not at half mile walk from the casino to the strip because the hotel is set far back from Las Vegas Blvd. (Yes Caesar's Palace, I'm looking at you.)

I also like the Monte Carlo because it's a much quieter hotel. Location isn't as good, but it's got the quiet. I haven't stayed there in a few years, but rooms at the Monte Carlo were nice also.

NY, NY I would skip. The rooms, even the expensive ones, have a low end feel.

Not on your list, but I really like it - Paris. Those rooms are lovely and it's a good location. It's not Wynn/Bellagio level, but still quite nice.
posted by 26.2 at 4:05 PM on December 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

I was in Vegas in October. We stayed at Paris and Monte Carlo. I would not personally stay at the Monte Carlo again, as I felt it wasn't worth the money. The location of the Flamingo is far superior to NY NY and Monte Carlo, although I can't tell you anything about the rooms there.
One additional thing to consider is the resort fee, which can add a bit onto your bill.
posted by smalls at 4:13 PM on December 18, 2011

Regarding the Cosmopolitan as mentioned above, I stayed there earlier this year. The rooms were modern and pretty nice, our midrange room had a jacuzzi tub and a nice sitting area. I don't know about other places but i think it skews young...it felt like we were the oldest people in the whole place and I am not even 40. The casino is small, which is a bonus for getting out of the hotel. If I had it to do over I would choose something more classic Vegas for my first time, honestly.
posted by cabingirl at 4:34 PM on December 18, 2011

I'll second Bill Gambling.We had enough people for four rooms, and everyone was happy with them.
posted by francesca too at 4:47 PM on December 18, 2011

Be careful with booking Las Vegas hotels through package sites like Orbitz...you have to read the fine print, as many of the hotels are charging daily "use" or "resort" fees (mine was $25/day) that get billed when you check in. Also, expect hidden fees in general at most every step of your American journey, especially in Las Vegas.

I don't mean to discourage you. If you go in knowing/expecting this, you'll be much happier by the end of things.
posted by iamkimiam at 5:09 PM on December 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

Well, the general consensus seems to be "Flamingo" so we're going to book a GO room there. (Paris has the world's worst website - I believe y'all that the rooms are nice but it looks like HoJo's; Bill Gambling is too Victorian and I'd rather something contemporary; Cosmopolitan is too spendy because if I stayed there, I'd REALLY want a balcony room; Vdara and MGM Grand Signature are no smoking, which is a no-no for us.) I'm really happy with the Flamingo as a choice after everything you guys have said; it sounds like locations and orientation is perfect for walking the strip, and we will definitely make use of the Deuce.

This is my husband's first trip to Vegas but not mine; I have previously stayed at the Luxor and so have already had the Vegas Grunge Experience, complete with a hotel room on the ground floor, literally 10 feet from the slot machines. While we live in Europe, we will actually be shouldering this vacation with two weeks in New York to see my folks (I'm American), so the package Euro deals are not going to work for us this trip. Booking on Expedia, they do at least tell you the additional daily resort fee which will be charged on-property, which seems to be around $15 per day most places. The Flamingo isn't charging a resort fee, but we'll be giving them $14 a day for WiFi* so it works out as the same thing, grr.

*This locked down WiFi thing Vegas loves is really annoying. When I stayed at the Luxor, it annoyed me so much that I installed Firestarter and opened up a public access WiFi node called TheLuxorSucks, which ran for the whole week I was there.
posted by DarlingBri at 5:40 PM on December 18, 2011 [2 favorites]

We liked the tropicana. It has very very good smoke filters in its casino and is not very busy.
posted by majortom1981 at 4:05 AM on December 19, 2011

Just chiming in for future answer-seekers: the Mirage is very, very nice (recently remodeled) for the price. A decent step up from the Flamingo, but still not quite as swanky as Bellagio.
posted by halseyaa at 8:06 AM on December 19, 2011

I live in Vegas, and would definitely choose the Monte Carlo over the other 2 hotels. The Flamingo is a better location (the east side of the Strip is easier to move away from than the west side), but the Monte Carlo rooms are nicer.

If you were going for cheap places, I'd recommend Harrah's. Very low prices, nicer rooms than the Flamingo (nearly on par with Monte Carlo) and a better location (more central) than any of the places you mentioned.

You can go up to Level 107 and not pay by bypassing the line for rides. If you're standing in front of the entrance to the ride line (facing the pay window), just walk to your right around that small circle until you come to a metal detector and security guard. This is the entrance to the Level 107 and Top of the World restaurant elevators. Just ask security if you can't find it -- you NEVER have to pay to go up there.

On preview: "I'm really happy with the Flamingo as a choice after everything you guys have said; it sounds like locations and orientation is perfect for walking the strip"
This is only true if every you want is at the south end of the Strip (the opposite end from the Stratosphere). I'd go someplace more central.
posted by coolguymichael at 10:27 AM on December 19, 2011

Flamingo is the most centrally located. My dad and stepmom have stayed there several times and liked it.
posted by Jacqueline at 12:47 PM on December 19, 2011

I have stayed at a bunch of different hotels in Vegas. Bellagio, MGM, Monte Carlo, Planet Hollywood and the Flamingo. My favorite hands down is the Bellagio -- however, that's out of your price range.

My second favorite, was the Flamingo - GO room. Make sure you get the GO room, however, as a lot of their older rooms are... well.. old, and seedy. The GO room was so much nicer, renovated, on a higher floor...etc.

Enjoy your stay!
posted by thatgirld at 1:44 PM on December 19, 2011

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