In my last post about Las Vegas I talked about how answering the question: How do you want your trip to go?, will help you better plan for a trip to Las Vegas. The next best thing to help make an awesome Vegas vacation is choosing the right hotel for you. But where along the 4.2 mile stretch of blinking neon lights of The Strip should you stay?
The Strip can be broken into three, arguably overlapping, sections: The North, the Central and the South. Each section’s border is defined by hotels. The North Strip starts at the Stratosphere and ends at the Wynn. The Central Strip starts around the Venetian and spans to Aria and the South Strip starts at the Monte Carlo and goes to Mandalay Bay.
The North Strip is dominated by the Wynn and Encore, two hotels that appear to rise from the desert like two massive onyx pieces carved from the earth. One step in either property transports you to a fantastical world full of flowers, oversized decorations and luxurious materials. These properties are home to trendy night clubs Tryst and XS and offer high-end shopping. The other hotels, Circus Circus and Stratosphere, sit even further north on the strip surrounded by not much else other than construction projects and desert. Fashion Show Mall, which is a standard outdoor mall, is located across from the Wynn/Encore.
This section beckons visitors with a high concentration of hotels and casinos that compete for your attention and dollars. Big name hotels take up residence here: Palazzo, Venetian, Treasure Island, Mirage, Harrah’s, Flamingo, Caesars Palace, Bellagio, Bally’s, Cosmopolitan, Vdara, Paris, Planet Hollywood and Aria. You can find respite from the blazing summer heat with numerous connecting hotels and casinos, such as The Venetian and Palazzo. The Central Strip boasts the quintessential Las Vegas experience from gambling in high roller environs, taking in the glitz and the glam at famous night clubs, such as Marquee, shopping at what seems to be an endless amount of stores and eating the finest cuisine offered. Opulence is never in short supply. Of the central hotels I would say that the Bellagio, Bally’s, Caesars Palace and Flamingo are the most central.
Being the most family friendly portion of the strip the South end offers thematic experiences such as a whimsical medieval fortress at Excalibur, the glass Egyptian pyramid at the Luxor or replica of the Brooklyn Bridge of the New York, New York Hotel & Casino. Other hotels of the South end include Monte Carlo, MGM Grand, New Tropicana, Mandalay Bay and the Four Seasons. These hotels are spread out more than the Central Strip, but compared to the North things are still pretty close. Not that the proximity to other properties in this area matters. Most of the hotels & casinos are pretty self-contained so there isn’t much reason for you to leave if you didn’t want. It’s also easier to indulge in non-gambling and non-drinking activities in the South.
I’ve stayed at two hotels in the central section, The Palazzo and Paris. I preferred Palazzo for a handful of reasons. First, the Palazzo perfectly balances the size and variety of pools offered so that I never felt overwhelmed with my options or by the number of people present (and lets not forget about those water lounging chairs). Second, it is close to the show that we saw (Mystere in Treasure Island) and it was near the night clubs we wanted to dance in(Tryst and XS in the Wynn). Last, but certainly not least, are the rooms. With a sunken living room that showcases a couch large enough for all your closest friends to crash on, the room’s generous size offers a variety of spots to sleep off a hangover or an afternoon’s worth of shopping. The marbled filled bathrooms offer solitude from the hectic Vegas life with a glass enclosed shower, a soaking tub and dual sinks. I heart these rooms. Be forewarned, many of the hotels in Las Vegas, including the Palazzo, pump scented air through their air ventilation systems. My hyper-sensitive nose enjoyed the Palazzo’s choice in scent.
Looking for off the Strip?
There are also options off the Strip. Big names here are Rio, Hard Rock Hotel, Hooters (yes they have a hotel), Palms, and Orleans (not at all an extensive list). Many of these hotels offer shuttles to the strip for free or for a nominal fee. Staying off the strip can be a good choice to save some money, but isn’t a guarantee. For first-timers I highly recommend an on-strip experience especially if you think it is the only time you are going to visit Sin City.
What do you think of my Las Vegas Strip breakdown? Let me know in the comment!