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Southern Nevada Hotel Reviews


This is not a professional hotel review; just an informal comment on what Jay has experienced at hotels in Las Vegas, Laughlin and elsewhere.  For an indepth and exhaustive review on hotels, restaurants and great deals in Vegas, visit our friends 


Excalibur (South Strip)  

 Owned by MGM Resorts (formerly MGM-Mirage), Excalibur was the first hotel experience I had in Las Vegas in May, 2006.   My room was in Tower 1 on the Strip, however, it faced inward towards the turrets--actually, I didn't have a view of anything but a white wall.  At $47.00 a night, I didn't complain.  The room itself wasn't spectacular--there were a few small embellishments to signify a medieval theme--but not as many as I would have expected; the room was adequate in size.  Not used to the size of the casinos, I found the walk between the parking lot to my room to be quite an exercise.  The casino smelled like cigarette smoke.  The buffet was okay; we got a two-for-one with our room.  In October, 2010, I stayed at Excalibur again--the prices were ridiculously low at $29.00 a night (due to the Recession); because I was a return guest, the desk clerk gave me a Strip-view room on the 24th Floor.  There were a couple of problems--the hotel room door would not lock and the Internet wouldn't work.  A maintenance man was sent to the room promptly to fix the lock (which needed a new battery); when contacted about the Internet, the desk clerk moved us to another room two-doors down.  These glitches didn't impact my three-day stay at the hotel due to how quickly they were addressed.  Otherwise, I enjoyed my stay at Excalibur and will stay there again.


 Sam's Town (Boulder Highway)



Owned by Boyd's Gaming, Sam's Town was the second hotel I experienced in Vegas--in May, 2007.   My room was on the 7th floor and faced Sunrise Mountain (opposite from Boulder Highway).  The room was quite large; for a Sunday, I paid $79.00.  Sam's Town is a destination unto itself, with a bowling alley, movie theaters, an RV park, restaurants, etc.  In the atrium is an animatronics and laser show set in a rock waterfall scene; I only saw the animatronics show during the day and not the laser show; kids should like the show.  The atrium was quite nice and I enjoyed sitting on benches, taking it all in.  We didn't eat at the buffet.  


Stratosphere (North Strip)


Owned by Whitehall Street Real Estate Funds (a division of Goldman, Sachs) and a sister property to Arizona Charlie's Decatur, Arizona Charlie's Boulder, and the Aquarius in Laughlin, I stayed in the Regency Tower (the oldest and smallest--located along the Strip); these rooms were the cheapest--and the smallest; very small.  The bathtub, however, was very deep--the bathroom, as a whole, was very small.  We were on the fourth floor and had no view--looking out onto one of the legs of the Stratosphere Tower itself.   Our four night stay (late May, 2007) was incredibly inexpensive:  $29.00 a night for the first three nights; $35.00 for the last; to get these rooms, I had to make reservations almost six months in advance.  Staying at the Stratosphere got us a free ride up the Tower from 10:00 A.M. to Noon each day.  We ate at the Courtyard Buffet several times; a pleasant experience--I particularly liked breakfast.  The parking structure has very steep inclines, but is very easy to navigate. 


Palace Station (Off Strip)



One of the Station casinos (a locals venue), we have stayed in two different courtyard rooms (January 2, 2008 and October 22 and 23, 2009)--both were nice--the shower in the bathroom is very nice--with rock tile and a European-style showerhead.  Access to the car was very convenient--since the parking area in each instance was virtually outside our room.  On the second stay, it was intimated that WiFi Internet was included in the price of the room, but it's actually part of a fee that is tacked on to the room price.   The rooms are inexpensive--each time only 35.00 a night (though, the time we used the Internet tacked on another $25.00); the first time we stayed, we checked in without a reservation.  The Feast Buffet was inexpensive--dinner ran about $8.00.  The only thing bad about Palace Station was the inconvenience of where its located (about a half-mile from the Strip on the other side of I-15).  A shuttle is provided to Fashion Show Mall, however. 


The Plaza (Downtown)


(Note:  The Plaza has undergone a major renovation and NeonParadise.Com has not stayed at the hotel since the improvements).  Not the elegance it may have once been, I still felt lucky to get to stay here during July, 2008.  Our room was on the 10th Floor in the south tower and provided a wonderful view of the north Strip at night!  The room was fairly roomy--with a nice big window--but the furnishings were a little worn--and there were a few stains on the carpet (the room was very much like those of the Vegas Club (see review below).  The room was about $35.00 a night.  The Lucky 777 Buffet was an inexpensive place (featuring, at the time, American and Chinese selections).  The buffet was reduced in size, however, during our trip in June, 2009 (to make room for another restaurant) and wasn't an enjoyable place to eat--very crowded and unfulfilling.  The Plaza Hotel is owned by the Tamares Group and operated by Navegante.  (The Plaza  closed the hotel portion of the property in early November, 2010 for a year-long renovation and will re-open--once again--as the Union Plaza). 


Treasure Island (Mid Strip)


TI was my favorite hotel in Vegas long before I stayed there; owned by Phil Ruffin--it was an MGM-Mirage property in July, 2008 when I stayed on the 25th floor.  The people at Treasure Island were all very nice; from the desk clerk who accomodated my wish to have a room overlooking Siren's Cove--to the Security Officer who made us feel at home.  The beds were very soft (maybe too soft!); I loved the smell of the Wet shampoo and conditioner that was provided; the first Vegas room I stayed in that had a wide-screen HD television!  The buffet was very nice and the food was excellent (lunch ran about $18.00 a piece); one of the benefits of staying at the hotel was getting choice viewing areas for the Siren's of TI show--we saw it a bunch of times--and up real close.   We stayed three nights--the cost of the room per night was about $135.00.   Treasure Island was an excellent location for accessing the middle of the Strip. 


The Las Vegas Club (Downtown)


Both hotel towers of the Las Vegas Club are closing.  Reservations are being taken up to April 28, 2013.


$5.00 for parking if you're not a hotel guest--the money would be refunded at the cashier's cage if one took the time to do so--but it was a hassle. The sister property to the Plaza Hotel, the only thing that I can say about this hotel is that it is dirt cheap!  $27.00 a night (on a Friday and a Saturday!); we stayed in the newer North Tower--and the rooms were huge--one even had a refrigerator!--however, the hallways were very dingy--carpet was stained.  One roll of toilet paper in the bathroom.  Upon check-in, we were at first given a room that hadn't been cleaned--a half-eaten pizza was on the disheveled bed; towels strewn about; the place felt nasty--this was a mistake that shouldn't have happened (but, I did get some insight into how messy some people leave their hotel rooms!!!).  Despite the mistake, there was no effort on the desk clerk's part to give us any kind of comp to make up for it (a free drink from the bar or $5.00 free play on a slot machine would have been nice!).  Still, the room was dirt cheap--and I didn't complain; and it was nice being right on the Fremont Street Experience.  One drawback was that during out visit in June, 2009, both the Las Vegas Club and the Plaza were charging ay another $5.00; it was a bother.  On our visit in October 2010, the $5.00 fee for self-parking was non-refundable.  /  Our third visit to the Las Vegas Club (March 27 - 30, 2011) was a pleasant surprise!  The Plaza isn't the only Tamares Group property getting someattention.  We were pleased to see that new carpeting has been put in the rooms and hallways of both towers!  The new carpeting makes quite a difference.  Upon checking out, we asked the desk clerk to please leave a message with management that the new carpeting is much appreciated.  In the bathrooms:  nice smelling bar soap and shampoo.  The most pleasing surprise was to find that as hotel guests, we didn't have to pay the $5.00 fee to self-park!  Things still needing attention:  One of the rooms we rented didn't have a working air conditioner.  And, most of the electric plugs in the walls were worn out--so that cords wouldn't fit snuggly in them (or at all).  The most unnerving thing was that only one of two South Tower elevators was working--and not very well at that!  Several times we had very shaky elevator rides--none of the floor numbers would light up; nor most of the floor selection buttons; sometimes the wait for an elevator was very long.  Once we tried using the stairs rather than face the elevator and found that at the 3rd floor, they were blocked off by a gate.   And, the maid service never showed up to tidy up the room on one of the three days of our stay.  Over-all, we would stay at the Las Vegas Club again--the rooms were only $20.00 a night! and the location on the Fremont Street Experience is nice.

 Mandalay Bay (South Strip) 

The nicest hotel I've stayed at on the Strip to date!!!  And having said that, I still claim Treasure Island as my favorite.  The room was gorgeous; the bathroom (and bathtub) were gorgeous--the place was awesome; the bathtub was like a jacuzzi!   Being there in June, 2009, it was also very busy.  The elevator was almost always crowded--crammed full of people.  I hated having to go to and from the room because I dreaded the elevator!!!   The desk clerk was fairly nice--I asked for a Strip-view room--and we got one--though, I was hoping for one that looked northward towards the MGM Grand--we got a partial view.  Mandalay Bay is owned by MGM Resorts (formerly MGM-Mirage).  Our rooms were dirt cheap because of the Recession--only $85.00 a night; check-in was on a Sunday.  The Bayside Buffet was expensive--but a fun place to eat; Sunday brunch was about $25.00 a piece; I gorged on fried shrimp.


 MGM Grand (South Strip)


Staying at the MGM Grand was an experience I was greatly anticipating--and sadly, was disappointed in.  After staying at Mandalay Bay the night before, the MGM Grand didn't seem so grand.  The room was about the same size, but everything was less spectacular.  The bathtub did have a swimming suit clothes line, though.  The distance from the room to the parking structure was about a 1/4 mile walk; distance from the room to the swimming pool was a 1/4 mile walk; distance from the room to the monorail station seemed like a 1/4 mile walk.  And distance from the elevator to our room seemed like a 1/4 mile walk (the hallway went on forever!).  I liked the green glow from the lights shining on the building at night, though.  The desk clerk, however, started our stay out in an unpleasant manner--charging me deposits for "fine dining" and the health spa, etc--I didn't want any of that--and when I asked for a room looking at the Strip, I got the exact opposite--looking to the east instead.  I didn't particularly like the woman who was helping us; I should have gone to another clerk--I think my MGM Grand experience might have been better if I did.  The room price, because of the Recession, was great--only $75.00 a night.  The MGM Grand is a great place to access the South Strip--or the rest of the Strip (for that matter), since it has a monorail station.  The MGM Grand is owned by MGM Resorts (formerly MGM-Mirage).  The Grand Buffet was a big place; we had breakfast for about $12.00 each.  We stayed at the MGM in June, 2009.


 The Sahara (North Strip) Closed as of May 16, 2011



I stayed at the Sahara on April 22 & 23 after hearing that the hotel and casino were closing on May 16, 2011; I didn't want to miss out on experiencing a little bit of history!  Our room was on the 19th floor (room # 1969); we had the choice of a renovated room for $22 a night more, but I wanted to see to what condition the Sahara had fallen before any renovations--I must say, it wasn't that bad!  Things were a step-up from what one finds at the Las Vegas Club in downtown (even with the latter's recent improvements); the room was nice and the hallyway fine--no stains on the carpet.  There were stains on the carpet in the lobby, though.  The elevators were reminiscent of the Las Vegsa Club--they were sometimes slow and once in a while shakey--but, at least there were four of them and they all appeared to be working.  We stayed in the Tangiers Tower because that was the only one left open--the Tunis and Alexandria towers had been closed due to lack of demand since late 2009.   The Tangiers Tower had been open since 1952 and has 1750 rooms.  The buffet had been closed since 2009; we had eaten there in July, 2008--we had breakfast--it wasn't very good--but, I've had worse!  The desk clerks were nice; I felt badly for everyone who was going to be losing their job soon.  One particular woman who worked at the Players Club desk was very nice.  I rode Speed the Ride with my daughter Robyn, for the first and only time--it was intense!  I'm sorry that I hadn't ridden the rollercoaster sooner.  Having a monorail station (the northern terminus of the system) makes the Sahara a good choice to stay since one has access to the rest of the Strip via the monorail.  I personally feel that if some money was put into the Sahara, it could be a jewel of the Strip--especially considering its history!  I would hate to see it imploded--but at the time this is written, the future of the Sahara is undecided.  I've heard and read three different possibilities:  A bartender indicated that the Sahara was to be imploded--it was a "done deal"; a bell clerk said the Sahara would re-open in 2014 with six new restaurants and two nightclubs; someone else said that all they knew was that the property was not financially viable to keep open and would remain in mothball until economic conditions changed.  So, we will all have to wait and see what happens to the venerable Sahara!  If the Sahara doesn't get imploded and does re-open, I would certainly stay there again.  Roomrates for a Friday and Saturday night averaged about $75 a night--Friday was $68 and Saturday was $83.    


Colorado Belle (Laughlin)


The Colorado Belle is the most unique hotel on Casino Drive due to the fact that it looks like a paddle wheel riverboat from the Mississippi (being right along the Colorado River, it fits--unlike the now demolished Nevada Landing in Jean, NV., which featured two riverboats passing each other with no body of water around for miles!).  Our room on the 5th floor of the New Olreans Tower was large and simple; we did find a large basket of fruit, cheese and other goodies waiting for us upon arrival; it appeared to be a mistake--we called the check-in desk and they told us to keep it.  Our room had a nice view of the pool.  The Bourbon and New Orleans Towers are located a little distance from the main casino--connected by an enclosed walkway.  Guests can also stay in rooms in the Riverboat "Proper" but those are more expensive.  I found the check-in clerk to be less than friendly--just all business.  The interior of the casino is very nice--keeping with the riverboat motif--and we gambled there for several hours--the waitress was to be seen only about once an hour--she appeared to be the only one covering the entire floor--and to make matters worse, gamblers weren't tipping (my observation).  The few times I've been to Laughlin I've found the visitors and guests to be somewhat rude and unfriendly; not very considerate at all--to employees or to other guests!  Though Laughlin is attracting more younger people now-a-days, the older folk do seem to need reminding that it doesn't hurt to be a little friendly.  But, I've also witnessed 20-somethings to be very inconsiderate as well.   A smile and some courtesy can go a long way!  For three nights, the Colorado Belle charged about $85.  The restaurants are great!  We had an "all you can eat" experience at Mark Twain's of ribs and barbecue chicken; for another "all you can eat", we had breakfast for $5.00 each at the Captain's Buffet.   


River Palms (Laughlin)



When it opened, it was called Sam's Town Gold River.  The River Palms is the second to last casino along Casino Dr and the last that the River Walk reaches.  It's 25 stories tall; the rooms are spacious and in the high rooms, a nice view is enjoyed regardless which direction one is facing.  The desk clerk was very accomodating when I asked if we could have a "higher" floor and she replied, "Is the top floor high enough?"  The River Palms has an affordable buffet, affordable gaming, and is very large inside--having two floors for gaming and another floor below these two where a Denny's is located--the restaurant has a beautiful view of the river!  Our room was $20 a night.  The casino is nothing fancy, but I played roulette seriously for the first time in my life here (on one occasion, for an hour; and the other, for two hours); though I didn't bankrupt the casino, I at least came out a winner each time and had some extra cash in my pocket!  The dealers and waitresses were all nice; the waitress came around fairly often to take drink orders.  My experience at the River Palms was a pleasant one and I wouldn't hesitate to go back.     


The Golden Gate (Downtown)


 The Golden Gate was the first hotel in Las Vegas.  With renovations, the rooms are very nice and the visitor has a taste of history along with modern comfort.  Just off the elevator on the ground floor was the lobby and Dupar's Deli, which was very convenient; having a late night snack of the deli's famous shrimp cocktail was a very easy thing to do (however, new additions to the hotel may change this--the lobby and deli are being moved as new suites are being added to the structure on the south-end of building).  The Golden Gate provided easy access to the Fremont Street Experience (especially at Oktober Fright Fest!--with the Main Street Stage located directly in front of the hotel)--for several nights, we just stepped out of the front door and enjoyed live music and frozen daquiris at the outdoor bar.  Who needed to go anywhere else for a good time?  Need we add that the Golden Gate also has beautiful dancing dealers and bartenders?  The Golden Gate doesn't have a parking structure and parking is limited in two lots--one for valet and the other for employees and self-parking; at the time we left (November 2, 2011), the parking arrangment was being changed due to the imminent start of construction for the hotel additions.  Most guests used the valet; however, self-parking was free for hotel guests.  Staying at the Golden Gate is staying in history--and it was inexpensive!  For six nights, the bill was $300.  Making reservations on-line with the hotel's website also provided a guaranteed room (with only 106 rooms, the Golden Gate is the smallest hotel).  We will stay at the Golden Gate again sometime in the future; we are curious as to how many changes will occur with the new additions.  It is sad to think the old lobby and deli will be torn down--but, that's Vegas!


Little Ale'inn (Rachel)


Do not expect luxury at the Little A'le'inn.  The rooms are located in mobile homes (in our experience, two rooms to a trailer that shared one bathroom).  The bed was very comfortable (especially after traveling 650 miles during the day and then spending a couple of hours out in the desert watching for UFOs near Area 51).   The main complaint was the heating in the rooms--we stayed there on October 26, 2011 and it was very cold that night--and the heater wasn't working.  When the heater came on, it blew out cold air--which made things worse!  Fortunately, the heavy comforters kept us warm.  It was a very exhilerating morning when taking a shower with no heat!   Regardless, it was much better than sleeping in the car (like we did in 2006--our last visit to Area 51).  The room was $47.25 for the night.  The food at the restaurant was good; we ate there three times--dinner, breakfast and lunch.  All the locals (both employees and customers) were friendly--however, the guest definitely feels like an "outsider"--that's due to the remoteness of the place--everybody in Rachel knows everybody.  Though our trips aren't very frequent to Area 51, we plan to stay at the Little A'le'inn again the next time we go.  Having a bed to sleep in after such a long drive (even from Las Vegas--150 miles away) is a PLUS! 



Don Laughlin's Riverside Resort (Laughlin)



We've stayed at the Riverside Resort Hotal & Casino twice now, and it's very possible that the Riverside is where we will stay on the next trip to Laughlin.  The Riverside has so much under one roof, that it makes it desirable to stay there.  We reserve rooms in the north tower because we want to have easy access to the movie theaters on the 2nd floor (where they have a full bar and you can sip an alocholic beverage while watching a movie).  This is the first hotel we've stayed that offers a balcony and a sliding glass door.  I've had the most fun playing roulette at the Riverside too--totaling about 10-hours worth over three days.  With museums, the Riverview Restaurant (one of my favorites--order the fried chicken dinner!--or take the dare and try to eat the giant hamburger all in one sitting--if you do, it's free!), with the Loser's Lounge wet T-shirt contest on Thursday nights, I can't think of a more fun place to stay.  The rooms are fine (when I go to Vegas or Laughlin, I just sleep in them anyway--so they are more than adequate).  Of course, I will try other hotels in Laughlin on future trips, but it's hard to stay away from the Riverside!





We stayed at the Flamingo for New Years, 2013 (Dec. 30, 2012 through Jan. 3, 2013).  It was the first time I stayed at one of the Caesars resorts.  My first complaint is that I reserved the room almost one year in advance (in late January, 2012)--to my chagrin, we were given a room on the 15th floor the farthest one could expect from the lobby (and the parking structure).  The walk seemed actually longer than what we endured at the MGM Grand in 2009!   I anticipated that reserving so early, I would have gotten a much more conveniently-located room!   2nd complaint: Reserving a year in advance, I also expected a better room rate; the price was about $1500--just two days before we left for Vegas, we discovered our same room was going for $300 less for the 5-night stay!  When I called about this, we did get the lower rate.  3rd and 4th Complaint:  One of the parking structures had been torn down for the Linq Project, leaving only one structure and a shortage of parking spaces.  We didn't use the car until Jan. 2nd, but when we came back, the structure was full.  The valets didn't want to park us because we were not Seven Stars cardholders--but, eventually they relented.  The same night we had trouble parking, we found we had been locked out of our room by a malfunctioning door lock; we called (and I also walked down to the lobby) to report the problem--it was 1:00 AM and we were very tired.  Security didn't show up for over an hour while we stood in the hallway.  Security was very nice and promptly got the door open for us (after they got there), but the wait was excruciating. . The room was fine (the first one I experienced in Vegas without carpeting).  I don't see myself going back to the Flamingo any time soon. 



The Wynn


Our three night stay at The Wynn was totally "on the house" in late May, 2014.  The first impression with our room on the 25th floor was "large"--plenty of room everywhere--the bathroom was huge--the bathtub was huge (and deep).  The is the first room we stayed in that had a door bell; and instead of hanging out a "Do Not Disturb" card on the hallway door knob, there is an electronic switch box next to the door with several selections to push, that lit-up a sign on the wall in the hall to communicate whether the room required servicing.  Anyone who enjoyed the 2013 movie "Last Vegas" in which the main characters tried to open the drapes to their room, would experience the same scene here.  The drapes open electronically; and there are a number of light settings that can be used to enhance one's enjoyment of the room.  A complete mini-bar with a fully-stocked refrigerator--everything is on a pressure sensor--if an item is picked up for more than 60 seconds, that is a purchase.  The employees are very friendly; the desk clerk at the lobby was super courteous and friendly upon check-out, clasping my hand with both of his and welcoming us back soon.  Parking was amazing--despite the second level being somewhat full, I was always able to find a spot within three spaces of the entrance (near the Ferrari dealership).  Our view was of the Encore next door, and the golf course.   The rooms can very in price depending on the season; at the time we stayed, the room rate was $165 a night (I was expecting it to be higher) with a $150-per-night incidental deposit.  The resort fee was waived during our stay.  I look forward to staying at the Wynn again.


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