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.
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.”
Shared cabins at Hostel Cat Las Vegas.
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.
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 in the Las Vegas Hostel.
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.
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.
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.
Does it get any better than this right downstairs … ?
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.
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.
The Monte Carlo Resort and Casino in Las Vegas
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
No privacy here! Be forewarned if traveling with platonic friends!
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.
Absolutely in heaven at the W Hotel Las Vegas pool.
Shades of green at the pool bar seating area at the W Hotel Las Vegas.
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.
These normally bustling hallways in the Wynn are deserted at 4 a.m.
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!