7 places to stay in Las Vegas on any budget

I love Las Vegas! I’ll go anytime, with any amount of notice, for any reason. With friends out there acting as local guides and something to always see or do (on and off the strip), it’s one of my favorite destinations. The trouble with having friends as locals is, well, they’ve got lives to live, work to do, and places to be so sometimes I’ll end up spending a night or two in a hotel when their couches aren’t available. Here are some of the properties I’ve stayed at in the last year.

Hostel Cat

1236 South Las Vegas Boulevard, Las Vegas, Nevada

Hostels in Las Vegas are ridiculously expensive considering that nice hotels are extremely reasonable. I did want to check out one or two for the experience and booked one night at the Hostel Cat.

This hostel is pretty close to the Stratosphere but the area is sketchy AF and as a solo female I made sure to be back before dark — which kind of defeats the whole point of Las Vegas. So while it’s technically “close” to the strip, I’d recommend Ubering or walking in a group. It’s a mile to the Stratosphere which “kind of” starts the strip, however it’s another mile and a half to the Encore and Wynn casinos where, in my opinion, the strip actually starts.

The check in area is tiny! Upon pressing the buzzer and being allowed to enter I opened the door and promptly smashed into a German guy who was also waiting to check in. I squeezed past him and stood smooshed between him and five other guys who were also checking in. We were shoulder to shoulder or nose to back and had to wriggle between each other when it was our turn to be called up to the desk. After getting checked in and taking a quick look around I headed to my “cabin.”


Cabins at Hostel Cat Las Vegas
Shared cabins at Hostel Cat Las Vegas.
Exiting the tiny main area, you go out to the side, punch in a code on a gate, and then are admitted to an inner courtyard with colorful cabins. Inside each cabin there are bunk beds and a shared restroom which are typical of hostels and the bed was comfortable enough. There are also lockers sufficiently large enough for storing luggage.

The courtyard area is actually pretty pleasant and well picked up after, and several tables and chairs offer seating. As standard in a lot of places in Vegas there is no grass but gravel instead. The colorful cabins are quite pretty on a sunny day and had it been cheaper I wouldn’t have minded staying here so much.

Another thing to note is that the front common room doesn’t open until 8 a.m. Granted most people are likely not going to be up early in Las Vegas but on this particular trip I was working and had to be online by 9 a.m. Eastern time. I tooled over the the front at 5:45 a.m. Pacific expecting to put on a cup of coffee and get some work done but was disappointed to find it locked. I ended up working out of my top bunk in the dark for an hour until the sun came up and I moved to a table out in the courtyard. A small thing for most, but something to be aware of. I much prefer places that have 24 hour common spaces and staff.

Rate per night: $40.95 when I stayed (varies depending on time of year and events)

Would I stay again? No. I really didn’t like the area and out of every hostel I’ve stayed in this one just felt dark and plain and a little janky. This was a last minute decision and I’m sure I could get a better deal (and more creature comforts) at one of the hotels with a little more planning.

Las Vegas Hostel

1322 Fremont Street, Las Vegas, Nevada

On another trip to Vegas I stayed at the Las Vegas Hostel located near Downtown Las Vegas. It’s a very easy walking distance but the area is super sketchy for a bit until you get closer to Downtown. I did walk around solo during the day but wouldn’t recommend it at night.

While not super new, the exterior does have a modern appearance, the common areas are open 24 hours and the door locks at 11 p.m. requiring you to be buzzed in by the on duty staff at the front desk.


common areas at the Las Vegas Hostel
Common areas in the Las Vegas Hostel.
I found the staff to be super helpful and pleasant and they pay attention to who is actually staying there and who is not. I like that you had to go past a front desk person each time you come in, no matter what the time of day, since the surrounding area was suspect.

The rooms aren’t anything special but they were clean and did the job. The windows were thin and you could hear people shouting and carrying on in the streets at night, which I just solved by turning up the AC. Lockers are good sized to fit backpacks or carry on suitcases and they are the only hostel in Las Vegas with a pool and hot tub.The girls in my room were fun and friendly and we all went out one crazy night, a rag tag hodgepodge group … me from Ohio, a girl from New York, a girl from Spain, and a girl from Korea.


pool area at the Las Vegas Hostel
Pool area at the Las Vegas Hostel.
If you’re going in a group and would feel safe walking down the street even at night I’d say the location can’t be beat for staying near Downtown Las Vegas. With the Downtown Container park nearby and all the casinos and shenanigans on Fremont street a mere half mile down the same street, there’s plenty to see and do even if you’re not right on the strip.

Rate per night: $34.00 when I stayed (varies depending on time of year and events)

Would I stay again? Yes. Being this close to Downtown Las Vegas can’t be beat and if there aren’t major events going on the rates can be cheaper.

Excalibur Hotel and Casino

3850 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, Nevada

Ahhh the Excalibur … a fairy tale castle on the outside … and home to the Thunder from Down Under on the inside.

Thunder from Down under at the Excalibur Hotel and Casino
Does it get any better than this right downstairs … ?
I spent two nights here on one trip to Vegas and very much enjoyed it. I love staying right on the strip and when I found a cheap deal here I snapped it up. It’s close to some of my favorite casinos, The Luxor and Mandalay Bay, and offers plenty to do itself.

The preferred advantage of hotels over hostels (besides of course, more luxurious digs and privacy) is attached entertainment and food. No matter whether you’re looking to grab Starbucks, hit the casino to gamble, or browse shops, you never have to to leave your “residence” which I absolutely love.

While virtually every hotel in Las Vegas charges a daily resort fee of between $25 and $40 on top of their rate, you’ll often find good hotels in Vegas for so cheap that this extra fee doesn’t matter. Such was my case at the Excalibur, finding a deal for ony $35 night plus the fee. That’s still a really reasonable price for a 3-star hotel on the strip considering how many times I’ve been forced to pay $150 a night for a Holiday Inn or Best Western in bum fuck nowhere due to a friend getting married or some other necessary trip.

This is another reason why Vegas is one of my favorite destinations. Hotels are cheap because they want you to come and lose all your money in their casinos. If you’re not a big gambler and limit your losses in the casino you can actually get away with quite an inexpensive trip.

Rate per night: $35.00 + $34.01 resort fee = $69.01 when I stayed

Would I stay again? Yes.

Monte Carlo Resort and Casino

3770 Las Vegas Boulevard, Las Vegas, Nevada

I’m not sure why but I expected the Monte Carlo to be more upscale than the Excalibur.

Monte Carlo Resort and Casino
The Monte Carlo Resort and Casino in Las Vegas
Perhaps due to it’s more elegant appearance while the Excalibur looks like it would appeal to families and children due to the colorful turrets and whimsical castle appearance. In any case I was mistaken. The Monte Carlo was simply “blah” from start to finish.

I would note that they have been renovating and I stayed in one of their old rooms but even so nothing about the experience stands out as remarkable.

One of my major complaints was that the wifi did not work well in the room and was so bad the following morning that, while I had planned to spend the morning working, I was unable to get anything accomplished.

The location is good, but with so many hotels to choose from on the strip, one OK experience will leave you looking for other options rather than trying a repeat experience.

Rate per night: $37.00 + $39.68 resort fee = $76.68 when I stayed

Would I stay again? No.

Hooters

115 E Tropicana Avenue, Las Vegas, Nevada

OK, so Hooters felt like the perfect crash pad for Las Vegas goers of a certain age, namely young 20-somethings. If this had been me 10 years ago on spring break, I’d have said the Hooters Hotel and Casino offered everything you could possibly want. Reasonably clean, close to the strip, and who cares, you’re not in Vegas to sleep right?

As a 32 year old though, I’m a little pickier. This place is in dire need of renovations as the wood paneling around the front desk and throughout the casino made me feel as if I’d walked several decades into the past, not just through the front door.

Casinos are meant to be dark and smoky but the heavy fog of smoke made its way onto the elevator and up to my non-smoking room on the 3rd floor. Seriously! I awoke the next morning smelling like I’d spent the entire night boozing and chain smoking in my room!

Get a higher floor if you can because the wall and windows are thin and I could hear revelry outside early into the morning hours. While old and very basic the rooms were clean though and if the rate is cheap enough and you’re only using it as a crash pad it’s definitely a convenient option.

As with so many hotels in Las Vegas the casino is planning renovations so much of this may be updated soon.

Rate per night: $28.00 + $29.48 resort fee = $57.48 when I stayed

Would I stay again? Not until after the renovations.

Four Points by Sheraton Las Vegas

4055 Palos Verdes Street, Las Vegas, Nevada

A Starwood Property, this hotel allows me to use points earned on my American Express SPG card so it was worth staying a little bit off the strip. The more I come to Vegas, the less I need to stay on the strip as I like to relax and get work done from the hotel also.

This is more of a business guest type hotel. Simple, clean and quiet you could be anywhere on any business trip in the world, until you look out the window.


W Hotel Las Vega
It’s a nice change from the bright lights and glitter of the strip, yet close enough to gamble whenever you feel like it.

The Silver Sevens Hotel and Casino is just across the street and The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino is just a short half mile walk away. You can even walk the mile or so to the strip if you choose, though I recommend comfy shoes and not doing this in the summer months.

Also close by is Hofbrauhaus, a fun German style beer hall just across from the Hard Rock and while dining there with a friend we saw WWE star Jinder Mahal who had performed at an live event from the UNLV campus just hours before. I of course did not know who he was but my friend was very excited. (You have to grow up with wrestling I suppose.)

The Four Points is very close to UNLV’s campus and I’d highly recommend it if you’re coming into town for an event there. It was also one third the price (in points) of the next hotel so it’s a great option for staying near the action but stretching your SPG points.

Rate per night: 4000 points when I stayed

Would I stay again? Yes.

W Hotel

2535 South Las Vegas Boulevard, Las Vegas, Nevada

This is for the seasoned Las Vegan? Las Vegasan? Las Veganite? who’s been there, done that and wants to relax in style. Once there I never wanted to leave, so you may not want to stay here if it’s your first trip to Las Vegas and you want to get out and see and do everything.

I stayed here on my most recent trip and having finally gotten around to getting the American Express SPG credit card in recent months, I had plenty of points to take care of the room.

Beware the odd location of the front lobby. Tucked away around a curve from the front entrance to the SLS with minimal signage it’s guaranteed that your Uber driver will not be able to find you for pickups without calling you.


W Hotel Las Vega
I love W’s and have visited the Fort Lauderdale, Austin, Atlanta and West Hollywood locations with the two in Chicago coming up. They’re my absolute favorite hotels and I was pretty pumped to see the Las Vegas location as well. The check in staff were amazing as always, friendly, smiling and full of helpful tips, bending over backward to make sure I had everything I needed before directing me up to my room. I was tired, fresh off a 4+ hour flight and ready to crash but I quickly rejuvenated enough for a happy dance after seeing my room.


W Hotel Las Vegas bedroom
A large wall to wall couch arranged itself on the back wall underneath the enormous TV and each side wall was covered in a gorgeous black and white tapestry. Mini bar and coffee machine stood at the ready to help me perk up and an enormous glass window looked into the shower and pristine bathroom beyond.


W Las Vegas shower
No privacy here! Be forewarned if traveling with platonic friends!
Note! The rooms at the W are not “platonic friends” friendly. If you’re not a couple, one of your party will have to make themselves scarce while the other showers as the shower wall is completely open to the bedroom. On the other hand, there’s plenty to do while you wait between the gorgeous lounge called The Living Room or the beautiful rooftop pool.

It was a toss up between immediately changing into one of the amazingly soft robes or heading down to do a little gambling, but though lounging was tempting, a drink won out (as always). The SLS Hotel and Casino is attached to the W so it’s not like I had to go far. A few drinks and spins later, I headed back for the fluffy robe, the comfy bed, and the huge TV before heading to bed. Right before falling asleep though I remembered to set my alarm early to take advantage of the pool in the morning before my late checkout.


The W Hotel pool
Absolutely in heaven at the W Hotel Las Vegas pool.
The pool area did not disappoint. Arriving before 9 I was one of just a few people up at that hour lounging in the pool chairs and taking in stunning views of the Stratosphere and the mountains in the distance. The pool and chairs were a soft blue against the richer blue of the sky. Puffy white clouds hung there with an agenda no more taxing than mine — float lazily against the blue. The pool area had a lovely mishmash of colors; green bar lounge chairs, black and white stripes on the far walls of the pool area, private cabanas decked out in yellows and whites, and, of course, the pinks and oranges of my outrageously delicious drink.


The W Hotel Las Vegas pool area
Shades of green at the pool bar seating area at the W Hotel Las Vegas.
It was an absolutely gorgeous area, a beautiful morning, and the hotel staff were so friendly I wished I had nothing more planned than to stay and drink the day away. Alas, the rest of my day awaited and around noon it was time to gather my things and get ready to check out. I can absolutely say that I look forward to my next visit to the W and staying much longer than 1 night.

Rate per night: 12000 points + $35.00 when I stayed

Would I stay again? Yes please!

Bonus Option: Stay up all night

While this last one isn’t really a place, if you’re up for it, simply staying up all night could be an option and Vegas is certainly the place to do it. I once flew into Las Vegas and rented a car to drive out to Los Angeles because the combination saved hundreds of dollars over flying direct to LA and I wanted to see the scenery on the drive out there. Arriving in Las Vegas shortly after 11 p.m. and needing to depart around 5 a.m. I simply couldn’t talk myself into spending good money to stay at a crappy hotel for six hours. There was a massive conference in town for the week and terrible motels were going for over $100 a night so I decided to completely cheap out and get around it.

I looked up free parking at casinos in advance and then drove to one, walked inside and gambled for a half hour before retiring to the backseat of my car where I spent a few hours curled up alternating between trying to get comfortable and dreaming that security was kicking me out. I eventually did get comfortable enough to fall completely asleep and woke with a start a little after 3 a.m. Fortunately it was January and the temperature was just beautiful. I wouldn’t advise anything like it in the summertime.

I drove over the the Wynn and, grabbing my backpack, headed inside to brush my teeth and get presentable. That accomplished I wandered around for about 15 minutes enjoying the weird quiet of a normally bustling casino in the wee hours of the morning.


Wynn hallways deserted at 4 a.m.
These normally bustling hallways in the Wynn are deserted at 4 a.m.
I tried to find an open bar, (why not?) then gave up and settled into the Sports Book and fired up my laptop to get some writing done. A waitress saw me after about 5 minutes, (I was surprised she was even working in my deserted area), and after telling me about the remaining open bar far on the other side of the casino told me not to get up, she’d get it for me. And so there I was. Writing and having a “breakfast beer” at 4 a.m. (An Ultra is practically water anyway.) The next hour flew by as I worked away and at 5:15 I wandered back to my car, got coffee and a sandwich at Einstein’s Bagels, then set off for California.

By no means a party night … but I really don’t think there are many places better than Vegas for going without a hotel for a night.

*Note: The links to the American Express SPG card are referral links. If you’re interested in signing up for your own card I’ll get a points bonus if you use this link and it’s much appreciated!