Posted on November 14, 2023 by Categories: Uncategorized

When we visited Las Vegas for work last month we stayed in three separate hotels and I thought it might be useful to share some of those experiences.

Staying in Las Vegas is expensive – mainly because each large hotel is not just a hotel, it’s also a casino, a shopping mall, offering experiences designed to get you to stay put and to keep spending. They are independent resorts all trying to outdo each other.

For our first two nights we went budget and stayed in the Nirvana Hotel, opposite Mandalay Bay hotel & resort. As four of our nights away were paid for, we went for something cheaper for the nights we were paying for. This was a mistake and unless you are willing to ‘slum’ it a little, I’d not recommend it.

The Nirvana Hotel is really a motel and clearly was used by many Americans however for us it was more like a two star hotel in the UK. It was basic with no attempt at luxury at all, although it was fairly clean.

There were no staff to greet us on arrival – a security car drove by to ask if we were okay. We’d been put in an upstairs room which meant having to lug very heavy bags up wrought iron stairs – not a great start.

When in the room, the view was fantastic outside, less so inside. There was a very high and quite comfortable bed but that was where the comfort ended. There was one light in the room on a small table under a tv mounted on the wall. The bathroom was small and there was no room to store wash bags and the air conditioning was so noisy that it kept us awake all night.

The experience didn’t improve when we waited for breakfast which was due to be delivered to our door. This was described in the Expedia description however unknown to us was not actually included in any price. We found a leaflet telling us to go to a ‘van’ nearby to get a breakfast bap with ten per cent discount. This cost $40 for two baps and two coffees – more expensive than in Caesar’s Palace or Bellagios later that week. We only did this once, the next day we walked 100m down the road to a McDonalds and got a better breakfast for $21.

In other words cheap is not always best. I’d booked two more nights here but I cancelled it without penalty and booked a luxury hotel. This was based on the fact that after two days you learn that nothing is easy in Las Vegas – even crossing the road can be a task of 20 minutes to half an hour. You do a lot of walking. Ending your day in a bog standard motel room is not what you will be wanting. Go for the best you can afford.

We then moved to the Nobu Hotel within Caesar’s Palace for four nights. These were the nights we did not have to pay for. The step up in luxury was huge. The room was big with a massive bathroom, with a huge sink that I could have sat in! The bed was luxurious, the air conditioning was not obtrusive.

However there are some unexpected things. There are no drinks provided at all that do not attract a cost. There was a tray of goodies, alcohol, an ‘intimacy’ kit (!) and a fridge with a note that if any of this was moved for more than 30 seconds we would automatically billed for its use. You don’t even get water for free, therefore be very careful..

#a tip for avoiding unexpected costs is to find a Walgreens or similar and buy treats there such as water, treats and soft drinks so that you have some in your room. I noticed that experienced travellers carry a big pack of water bottles and this is why. Anything you buy from within the hotel complex will cost you at least four times what it costs in a local ‘supermarket’.

Another thing about these luxury hotels is that they will charge you an extra fee on arrival – per night – for the use of their facilities such as spa or pool EVEN IF YOU DON’T USE THEM. This was about $40 per night and it’s not included in the booking price and neither is the local tax so even if you do nothing within the complex – you will still get a bill for these extra fees. For four nights in the Nobu this came to $160 and for two nights in the Bellagio $120.

After four days, we moved to our final hotel and this was something of a dream. We love the film Ocean’s Eleven, and we decided to book two nights at the Bellagio. I have no words to describe the luxury of this place and we had a basic room – however with the fees mentioned above it costs around £500 a night. The room was spacious, overlooking the pool area. Stunning just about covers it.

Another thing to remember is that if you use the Bell service to look after your bags and deliver them to your room – the service is free but you will be expected to tip between $1 to $5 per bag delivered. It’s very awkward if you don’t tip and the member of staff is waiting for their tip. We opted for a $10 tip in total for our four bags.

Also the famous fountains were amazing, though the view was a little obstructed because there were huge structures along the Strip ready for the F1 Grand Prix due to take place on for the first time ever this weekend.

The city has signed a ten year deal with F1 to host a grand prix so this is going to be a regular thing. It’s hugely controversial for local people as tickets were selling at a minimum of $1000. However locals are now being offered discounted tickets at $200. This meant there was loads of work going on during our stay, with traffic jams which were even worse than usual – we were told.

My advice in Las Vegas is to go for the best hotel you can afford but just be very aware of all the extra costs which will come with it and then try to check out services around the area which may be much cheaper. Forewarned is forearmed!

Next week I’ll talk about some of the lovely people I met.

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