Vegas Hotels

   
Treasure Island

Treasure Island

*Updated 4/22/16

Over my decade of traveling to Las Vegas, I’ve had the opportunity to personally sample a number of the tourist zone’s hotels–but certainly not all of them. At general hotel websites, some hotels get rave reviews from families, others from couples on romantic getaways.  Those reviews aren’t necessarily helpful to the solo  traveler.  Below are reviews of Las Vegas hotels from the perspective of a solo traveler (me, unless otherwise noted). They are by no means your only options, but they’re a start. PLEASE NOTE THAT I STAYED AT SOME OF THESE HOTELS SEVERAL YEARS OR EVEN A DECADE AGO, SO MY NOTES ARE A BIT DATED. Do your own research on what the hotels are like today before booking anything.

Ballys Pool Area

Ballys Pool Area

Ballys

Ballys is an aging hotel that is a bit more quiet and sedate than others on the Strip (read: not as exciting). It draws an older crowd. Staff friendliness/customer service, and cleanliness are hit-and-miss. Entertainment and dining options are limited. Positive aspects: The Center Strip location–across the street from the Bellagio and connected to Paris, which has a more upbeat vibe and better dining and entertainment options; Ballys is also on the monorail; and it has a surprisingly nice pool area. I don’t recall anyone checking room keys at the elevator here, but I can’t say whether they do or not.

Update: I stayed at Ballys in 2005, and my review above reflects that. I recently heard from reader Lydia with an update on the hotel: “Bally’s has renovated their South Tower which is now the Jubilee Tower.  The rooms are just beautiful and the consensus is that these rooms are nicer than the classic rooms at Paris.  I stayed in the Jubilee tower for three of the 7 nights when I went on my first solo trip two years ago. I am not sure if you thought the room you stayed in was shabby or if the casino overall was shabby.” [VS: Both.]  “I will say that I agree the casino is a bit lifeless and blah. And, customer service was not overly great, maybe adequate.  When I moved to MGM for the rest of my stay, I was glad.  Only because the vibe and MGM is just more inviting. Really, I just wanted you to know that one of their towers was renovated and I didn’t want your readers to think it was some flea bag hotel.” Thanks very much for your updated assessment of Ballys, Lydia, I appreciate it. I can’t say I ever thought it was a “flea bag hotel,” but it definitely has not ever been one of my favorites. But for the right price, I’d try those Jubilee Tower rooms.

The Bellagio

The Bellagio

The Bellagio

The Bellagio is one of the nicest place I’ve ever stayed. It’s also one of the more expensive hotels on the Strip. Customer service here is fantastic. I have never once run into a rude, surly or mediocre employee here. There are a variety of excellent in-house dining options of a variety of price ranges (nothing incredibly cheap, but certainly affordable), including some quick grab-and-go eateries. It is well-known for its fine dining options. Cafe Bellagio, the 24 hour cafe, is very good and has counter seating, but I also ate at a table for two one day and was seated by a window (without having to ask) so I had something to look at while I ate. The buffet is fantastic, especially for breakfast, when they had some really unusual but tasty options, like vegetable dishes and cheeseballs. The hotel also has a nightclub or two. They did check room keys at the elevators. There is one in-house show (Cirque du Soleil’s “O”), a free Conservatory, and a not-so-free art gallery to entertain. The spa is to die for. I highly recommend it. Even if you do not stay here, you must try to catch one of the fountain shows, preferably at night. It’s quite an experience.

 

Caesars Palace

Caesars Palace

Caesars Palace

(review by Brian Tucker)

The pros for the solo traveler are many at Caesars. . .the location is second to none in the middle of the Strip–this dramatically cuts down on the need to take cabs, as you are in the heart of the Strip whichever way you decide to walk during your trip. There is always something going on at Caesars and plenty of people are milling about on the property, so one never feels alone there. This is helpful for the solo traveler who feels awkward dining or drinking alone; most all the restaurants and bars at Caesars stay busy enough that no one will notice. What are the cons of such a bustling, well-located, iconic property? None of the five towers has a security checkpoint for keys to be checked. If that is something that is important to your feeling of security, stay elsewhere.

Click here to read the rest of Brian’s full review of Caesars Palace.

El Cortez Cabana Suites

El Cortez Cabana Suites

The El Cortez

(review by Brian Tucker)

The El Cortez is not the swankiest downtown Las Vegas hotel, but thanks to ongoing renovations and great word of mouth, it is enjoying a renaissance. Located in the Fremont East district (about a block from Fremont St, depending on what part of the property you are walking from), the “El” has been open since 1941. The El Cortez Cabana Suites, in the former Ogden House hotel (where parts of Casino were shot), opened in 2009 to rave reviews, and rightly so. The 64-room building is across the street from the El Cortez’s main building and parking garage, which sounds iffy until you realize there is a friendly 24-hour security guard stationed right outside the Cabana Suites entrance. There is also usually a receptionist on duty in the Cabana Suites lobby to greet guests, though you must still check in the hotel over in the main El Cortez lobby.

While only about half the rooms are actual suites, the relatively small queen-sized rooms provide ample space for the solo traveler. There is no swimming pool on property, but the very generous (for Vegas) selection of cable channels in the Cabana Suites rooms, the fitness center off the lobby of the Cabana Suites, and the convenient gambling and dining in the main El Cortez building more than offset this. (I understand they plan to build a pool behind the Cabana Suites in the near future.) One may also choose to have room service brought over from the main El Cortez building, and each Cabana Suites room includes a limited minibar selection and a mini-fridge. The Cabana Suites truly are the best of both worlds: secluded convenience and hip hotel rooms.

Flamingo GO room

Flamingo GO room, circa 2009

The Flamingo

Not one of my favorite properties. I stayed here in 2009. The Flamingo has three things going for it: Location, one of the best pools in Vegas, and price. Prices are often really terrific here, which is why I booked it. The reason prices are so good is that it is a very old property. After reading reviews by other travelers, I got nervous about the reported cleanliness of the regular rooms and upgraded to a GO room. The GO room was very comfortable, with an enormous bathroom, and a lot of high-tech features, including a TV in the bathroom mirror. It’s very, very pink. Keep in mind that on the weekends, you’ll find a lot of young people who stay here to party because of the cheap prices and the pool area (including an adult pool). The Flamingo only has one good on-site dining option and that’s Margaritaville, which is a blast. I found the casino to be very dirty (dirty floors, sticky bars). The elevators were often slow and crowded. No one checked room keys here.

Golden Nugget bedroom

Golden Nugget bedroom

Golden Nugget

Up until now, the Golden Nugget has been heads and shoulders above all the other Downtown hotels. There have been some renovations of other downtown hotels that may give it a run for its money, but it’s still a very, very nice hotel. I stayed in one of the older rooms and I even thought that was nice, but there are much nicer rooms to be had here (especially in the Rush Tower). The Nugget is in the middle of the Fremont Street Experience, under the canopy, which places it in easy walking distance of most other Downtown hotels and in a safe location for solo travelers. There are multiple dining options on site (I highly recommend the Chart House restaurant), a lounge with live music, a show (Gordie Brown), a nightclub, and the coolest pool Downtown (with a slide that goes through a shark tank!). The best part of staying Downtown is the lower prices and better gambling odds than on the Strip. The Golden Nugget gives you a Strip-like hotel experience at Downtown prices. If you’re thinking of staying off the Strip, give this hotel consideration. For my full review of the Golden Nugget, click here. (Please note that I stayed in the cheapest, and oldest, type of room on property, so my experience was likely different from that of someone staying in one of the newer towers.)

Harrahs

Harrahs

Harrahs

Harrahs is a budget hotel located Center Strip and on the monorail. Its other selling point is the abundance of on-site entertainment available for guests. They sometimes check room keys at the elevators after 9pm, but not always. The customer service here is generally good, though service at the cafe can be a bit slow at times. If you’re looking for counter seating dining, try Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill or the Steakhouse. Harrahs has a fun atmosphere, and people here are friendly; you should have no trouble finding someone to strike up a conversation with. The clientele skews a bit older (except for young people on a budget). My only complaints with Harrahs is that it can get very smoky in the casino at times, and the pool area is nothing to write home about. It needs to be renovated badly, but for the price, it’s hard to complain. I last stayed here in 2015.

Mandarin Oriental

Valet entrance, Mandarin Oriental

Mandarin Oriental

(review by Olivier)

The Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas is located in the middle of the Strip, between the Monte Carlo and the Aria hotels. Staying at the Mandarin Oriental is always a nice opportunity. First, it is pretty well located to easily walk to other places around. There is no casino inside the hotel thus making it really quiet and peaceful if this is what you are looking for. If you really need a casino, the Aria casino is only 5 minutes walking distance.

The Mandarin Oriental is kind of exclusive place. It isn’t a hotel where you will see tourists taking pictures all around the lobby. You need to stay there or go to the bar to be able to get inside the hotel. So it is never really crowded. Then, in terms of room safety, it is pretty optimal as you need to get to the 23rd floor lobby through a first elevator and then get to a second elevator which has a card access control. So you should never cross lost tourists in the room corridors.

The Mandarin Oriental touch can be seen everywhere in the common areas and guest room decoration. The guest rooms feature all the modern services you could expect from an hotel of this grade such as floor-to-ceiling windows, comfortable bed, large bathroom with bathtub, remotely controlled curtains and air conditioning. Also, there is a lot of staff around taking care to make sure your stay is perfect.

Several activities can be enjoyed while traveling solo at the Mandarin Oriental: outdoor swimming pool on the 8th floor, fitness center, spa (dedicated area for women), etc. The Spa at Mandarin Oriental is one of the most beautiful spas in Las Vegas with a lot of nice features such as sensorial shower, hammam, sauna and laconium. Several pools are also available on the eight floor, next to the fitness center and the Spa.

The Mandarin Oriental bar is a place where you’ll be able to socialize if you want to.  The Twist restaurant by Pierre Gagnaire offers a refined French cuisine. The tea lounge next to the lobby offers an outstanding Strip view, as does the bar, which is next to it.

Overall, the hotel is really refined. The decoration is nice. It is really the best of what you could expect to find in Vegas.

Olivier has more Vegas hotel reviews at his website. He stays at much classier places than I do. 🙂

 

MGM pool

One of the MGM’s pools

MGM Grand

The MGM Grand is one of the larges hotels on the Strip. All the staff I encountered were very pleasant and efficient, if not great. They were not checking room keys when I stayed there, but the lock on the door worked just fine. It felt perfectly safe to me. In-house dining options are so plentiful, you could eat at a different restaurant for each meal and not run out of restaurants for a good while. My personal favorites are Fiamma and Wolfgang Puck (both have bar seating). There is one regular show (Cirque du Soleil’s KA, which is excellent) and concert headliners often perform here as well. The capstone of this facility is its pool area–with five, count ’em, FIVE pools to choose from, including a lazy river. It also has Wet Republic, an “ultra pool” for those who can’t get enough of the party scene in Vegas. It is on the monorail, so you can travel to the North End of the Strip more easily. It has a decent nightlife if you’re into the nightclub/ultralounge scene, and tends to draw a younger clientele. The only drawback of this hotel is its size: It is ginormous, so it takes a long time to walk anywhere on site. On the other hand, depending on your tastes, you could spend your entire vacation on site without leaving and still find plenty to do. I’d recommend this hotel especially for solos in their twenties and thirties. The rooms have been remodeled in recent years, and I understand they are very nice now. However, consensus online is almost unanimous that you should avoid the West Wing rooms at all costs.

 

Mirage Pool Area

Mirage Pool Area

The Mirage

The Mirage was my first love in Las Vegas. I fell hard for the tropical rainforest theme that used to be featured more prominently here. The two times I stayed here, they checked room keys at the elevators all day long. My room door had a safety latch and a deadbolt. The staff was friendly, the clientele was comfortable for me, and I never felt out of place. Right now, there are two on-property shows to choose from (Terry Fator and the Beatles’ Love, a Cirque du Soleil show), as well as a number of restaurants of varying price ranges. I can recommend BLT Burger and California Pizza Kitchen, both of which have counter seating, and Cravings, the buffet; all of these are mid-price range options. Other nighttime entertainment options include the nightclub 1 OAK and the Rhumbar, which has patio seating overlooking the Strip. The location is fabulous, as it is right next door to Caesar’s Palace, and Harrahs is right across the street. As you can see from the above photo, they have a spectacular pool area. There is a tram that runs from the Mirage to Treasure Island next door, giving you even more dining and entertainment options. I would have no hesitation staying here alone again. I last stayed here more than 10 years ago, and the rooms have been renovated since then, so I imagine it’s even nicer now.

Monte Carlo Room

Monte Carlo Room

Monte Carlo

The Monte Carlo is one of the best deals on the Las Vegas Strip. You can usually score a great price here (I paid $48/night), and yet the resort offers a lot for that price–including several good restaurants (some affordable and some higher-end), one of the best shows on the Strip (The Blue Man Group), a fantastic pool area, and the free tram to Aria, Vdara, Crystals, and the Bellagio. It’s not as luxurious as the Bellagio or as hip as the nearby Cosmopolitan, and the rooms are definitely showing their age (read: shabby), but they’re clean, which is the most important thing to me. I also really enjoyed how compact the casino is. While it had everything I wanted and needed in a Vegas resort, it was also easily walkable, not a vast sprawling monster that takes up three city blocks. The addition of the new BLVD Plaza and new restaurants at the front of the casino have only added to its appeal. My only complaint about it (other than the shabbiness of the rooms) is the smokiness of the casino. It can get pretty bad sometimes. If you’re visiting Las Vegas on a budget, this resort should be on your shortlist. You can read my full Monte Carlo review here.

Orleans sign

The Orleans

The Orleans

(Review by Edward Terry)

The Orleans Hotel and Casino is located on West Tropicana a little over a mile west of Las Vegas Boulevard (the “Strip”). It is a part of Boyd Gaming Properties, which own Orleans, Gold Coast, Sam’s Town, Fremont, California and Main Street Station in Las Vegas. Although the Orleans is off-strip, there is a free shuttle that runs until 2:00 a.m. from the Orleans to Bill’s Gambling Hall on the strip, then to the Gold Coast and back to the Orleans. This is an excellent option for people staying here who want to visit the strip during the day or early evening.

I have stayed in the Orleans three times in the last five years, all of those as a solo traveler. My last trip there was in early December, 2010 at a time when the National Finals Rodeo was in town and over the weekend when the Rock and Roll marathon was to be run. My room this time, as the others, was neat, clean and nice, but not as ostentatious as some on the strip.

The rooms at Orleans are a bit larger than many strip properties. Amenities in the room included a hair dryer, coffee maker, iron and board and an in-room safe. The door has a locking bar. The bathroom is pretty standard with a tub/shower combination. The water closet and tub/shower are separate from the sink/vanity area. There is no real closet, but, rather, an area by the sink/vanity to hang clothes and to place a travel bag on the rack. In-room internet access is for a fee. My room was neat and clean and I had no complaints. Maid service was good each day.

The hotel area is down a hallway past the liquor store, gift shop, etc. to the elevators. In my trips there, there has always been a security person at the elevator location to check room keys of people going upstairs. The property has numerous dining options, including a 24-hour coffee shop with good food at reasonable prices, a very decent and reasonably priced buffet, the notable Prime Rib Loft, Big Al’s Oyster bar, TGI Fridays and others.

Overall, the Orleans is a very good option for people who don’t want or need to stay in the touristy area. The rooms are very reasonable in comparison to strip properties, there are good food options, live entertainment (weekends) in Brendan’s Pub, a bowling alley and a movie theater. There is free wifi access at Java Vegas Coffee on the casino floor level. The general attitude is very laid-back and friendly. I have always felt very relaxed and quite safe while there.

 

Palazzo Suite

Palazzo Suite

Palazzo

I’ve stayed at the Palazzo twice now, and I’m going to go on record as saying that it is the nicest hotel I’ve ever stayed at–not just in Las Vegas, but anywhere. All rooms are suites. My suite was bigger than the apartment I lived in for 9 years before I bought by condo. It had all sorts of cool things like automatic drapes and shades at the window, flat panel TVs everywhere (including the bathroom) and its own fax machine. I felt very comfortable as a solo at this hotel. The staff was terrific. The pool scene had the relaxed vibe I was looking for, and there are dozens of dining and entertainment choices in both Palazzo and its sister hotel, the Venetian. Do eat at the bar at the Grand Lux Cafe; they’ll treat you right there. Security checks room keys at the elevators all day, every day. You can read my full review of my stay at the Palazzo here.

Planet Hollywood room

Planet Hollywood room (yes, they’re very dark)

Planet Hollywood

Planet Hollywood has a hip, Hollywood vibe going for it, along with a slew of great restaurants either in the resort or the attached Miracle Mile shops; great lighting and background music in the casino; and one of the best locations on the Strip–right across from the Cosmopolitan and Bellagio. The bed was comfy, the room stylish, and the bathroom was very large, with two sinks–and I was in the most basic room type. One thing I didn’t care for was how dark the rooms and the lobby were, but I am nightblind, so I may notice that more than most people. Also the room safe was too high in the closet for me to reach, and I’m not that short. Still, I loved my stay here and would gladly stay again. I just really like the vibe of this place. Read my full review of my stay at Planet Hollywood here.

TI Bedroom

Treasure Island Bedroom

Treasure Island

I’ve had some good stays at Treasure Island. (The most recent was several years ago.) I would choose the Mirage over TI any day of the week, but when I’m on a budget, it’s a good option. It has a terrific location on the Strip, next door to both the Mirage and the Fashion Show Mall; across the street within easy walking distance are the Venetian, Palazzo, and Wynn/Encore Resorts. Like Ballys, it’s not the most exciting casino resort out there (especially when it comes to dining), but it’s not like you can’t eat and play somewhere else. There are multiple in-house restaurants of varying price ranges, and a Cirque du Soleil show, Mystere). The property is clean and the rooms are nice enough. I liked that each elevator only serviced certain floors, so getting an elevator was usually pretty quick. Some people think the pool area is small, but I thought it was more than adequate and nicely landscaped. I’m not crazy about some of the changes owner Phil Ruffin has made to restaurants here in the past few years, but that’s just personal taste.

 

Deluxe Room

The Tropicana

The Tropicana

I stayed at the Trop in the fall of 2011 and have mixed feelings about it. I thought the rooms and the grounds were terrific. If your primary purpose for your Vegas vacation is lazing around the pool, this is a good choice. The casino was a little lacking, the restaurants sucked, and the location is pretty darned far south on the Strip, making it a bit of a hike to get anywhere else if you don’t have a car. But God bless them, the owners of the Tropicana are constantly making changes to improve the property, and I’ve got to give them props for that. If something’s not working, they get rid of it and try something new. They’ve gone through a number of clubs, shows and restaurants since I stayed there. Now they’ve announced plans to add on to the hotel, bringing it closer to the Strip and featuring retail and dining options. I look forward to seeing how that works out. No one checks room keys at the elevators here, but I felt perfectly safe as a solo female traveler.

For a more complete picture of what Las Vegas hotels have to offer, be sure to check out their individual websites and read other traveler’s reviews (and view traveler photos) at sites like Raveable and TripAdvisor.

Seeking Contributions from Vegas Solo Travelers:  If you have stayed as a solo traveler at a Vegas hotel that is not already listed here, I’d love to hear from you about your experience!  Please use the contact form to send me a brief write-up of what you thought of your hotel.  Did it have a solo-friendly atmosphere?  Did you feel safe?  Were there plenty of things to do and dining options?  Who would you recommend it to?