Where to Stay in Vegas
With so many options for places to stay in Vegas, first time visitors might find their head spinning after perusing hotel sites. Well, spin no more, as this is a list of my top places to stay in Las Vegas.
Oh, Vegas. There's just so much to say about Vegas. I can't necessarily say I'm proud of it, but I'm a pretty regular attendee of the Sin City. I have at least one conference there a year and manage to make it back either with my girlfriends for girls trips, with my mom for a concert or with my husband for a weekend away. Vegas--although it can be a bit much for some--really has a lot to offer because it's got phenomenal hotels, incredible restaurants and there's always something to do.
Where to Stay
The Cosmopolitan (or "the Cosmo" as most people say) is my favorite place to stay in Vegas. It offers a nice balance of fun, refinement, and excitement while still being clean and not smelling like your typical nasty casino. The decor is modern and playful, the casino floor is always immaculate, and their restaurant, bar and entertainment options are some of the best. Plus, being an Autograph Collection hotel, it’s a Marriott Rewards property, which allows me to not only use or gain points when I stay, but also more often than not gets me a room upgrade. On about four or five occasions now I have been upgraded to their stunning wraparound terrace suite, which features a large master suite, three bathrooms (two full baths with showers and one powder room), a full size kitchen, dining room, living room, wraparound balcony with loungers, and even your own washer and dryer.
The Cosmopolitan also features some great restaurants—STK, Momofuku, Egg Slut, Blue Ribbon, and my favorite restaurant in all of Vegas, the über exclusive é by José Andrés.
The Sahra Spa makes you feel as if you have just entered a traditional Hammam in Morocco or the UAE. The impressive entryway features a corridor of 30 foot ceilings, surrounded by brown stone walls with water cascading down them. The quality of the treatments are top-notch and the facilities to use before and after (the sauna, jacuzzi, cold plunge and aromatherapy showers) are arguably the best part. If you’re a hotel guest, you can have access to the facilities for something like $30 for the whole day.
Though I typically feel the Wynn is best for a much older crowd, there are still some very good things to be said about this hotel. The rooms are nicely appointed and spacious, the casino floor is always immaculate, and like the Cosmo they manage to somehow keep the smoke smell at bay. There are wonderful high-end restaurants right in the hotel, even better high-end shopping (but let’s be honest, what decent hotel in Vegas doesn’t have high-end shopping?) and the clubs are surprisingly good too. XS is fun for their night swim party and Encore Beach Club is one of the best day clubs in Vegas. Though my preference is always the Cosmo, I certainly won’t turn down an opportunity to stay at the Wynn. Typically rates run around $300 a night, unless it’s a fight weekend, holiday weekend, or if there’s a major event in town. Then you’d an expect to see costs (at all of the hotels really) into the thousands.
My opinion of the Bellagio is a bit like the Wynn—it’s a very nice place to stay, but a little stuffy and definitely caters to the older crowd as well. It lacks anything fun or playful—which I find to be an important part of Vegas—but still offers nice rooms, a clean casino floor, good restaurants, and again, high-end shopping. Rates are usually slightly cheaper than the Wynn but not by much. Their infamous fountain show is pretty impressive though, so if you do stay at the Bellagio, make sure to pay a little extra for a strip-facing room so you can watch the fountain show. It's stunning at night.
You really can’t go wrong if you stay at one of these two sister properties. They’re both all-suite hotels, so even the base room is a beautiful, spacious suite with a sunken living room and giant bathroom. You can find both high and low end shopping—the Palazzo shops includes stores like Barney’s, Burberry, Louis Vuitton, Ferragamo, and Montblanc (sadly, the Christian Louboutin store has moved to the Wynn) and the Grand Canal shops have good mid-level stores and eateries. You can even take a ride on a gondola in the faux Venice canals (though I don’t recommend it—go do the real thing). There are also a number of great restaurants—Bouchon, CUT, Delmonico, Yardbird and Lavo. And Tao nightclub also has pretty decent food. The rates are typically pretty reasonable: about $250-$300 on a regular weekend that’s not a fight weekend or holiday.
Vegas hotel rooms are known for being pretty affordable, so I don't really do Vegas on the cheap. I'm not trying to sound snotty, but the truth is that I just don't stay at any of the budget options, so you won't find any recommendations for those here. If, however, you are looking for something a bit more reasonable than the higher end hotels that I listed above, but still want to reap the benefits of the Strip, I would recommend either Mandalay Bay, MGM, Vdara or Park MGM Las Vegas (formerly MGM Signature)--which are all very reasonably priced options. Mandalay Bay has a nice assortment of dining and entertainment options, plus they have the lazy river (which is pretty fun in the summer) and they're also known for hosting some pretty cool "beachside" concerts as well. MGM is a classic and of course is where all the major fights take place, so if you're in town for a fight it's pretty fun.
I've added Vdara and Park MGM because they are both smoke-free properties (including in the casinos) and sometimes it's nice to not have to deal with all the smoke if you're a non-smoker. They're also both known for having really affordable suites, which can accommodate larger groups.
If you're not into the hustle and bustle of the Strip, consider renting a house through VRBO. There are TONS of great options for homes to rent in the Las Vegas area, and most of them are rather spacious with pools, AC, and all the amenities you would want in the desert.
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