Monday, October 6, 2014

Tips and tricks I learned from our trip to Vegas: Hotel

Tips and tricks I learned from our trip to Vegas: Hotel 
(One in a part of a series on things learned from our recent trip to Vegas.)

A few weeks ago, the hubs and I went on a week-long "bucket list" trip out to Vegas, where we stopped also at the Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam and Red Rock, besides going all over the strip. We met up with friends who live in Vegas and shared a room/spent the majority of the trip with a friend who is currently living in Arizona- who also wanted to check out Vegas. After the trip, I vowed to write some posts to help out anyone who might decide a trip out to sin city.

So, we stayed in the Casino Royale (owned by Best Western) on our recent stay to Vegas.

Though this particular casino hotel was quite small- it is situated between the Venetian and Harrah’s- it was centrally located and perfect for those who don’t plan on spending a whole lot of time in your rooms. It did end up having a pleasant room on the first floor (they just were redone), though our view was of the back parking lot where they were doing construction. Needless to say, we kept the blinds closed the whole time. The room also came with a Keurig and a mini fridge, so we stocked up on water and beer at the Walgreens, so we wouldn’t spend as much money on beverages.

Our particular casino/hotel's claim to fame on the strip (and to basically everyone who goes to Vegas/works in Vegas) was the home of cheap beers. You could get $1 Michelobs anytime of the day at Casino Royale. (Literally every time we'd go somewhere, they'd ask where you're staying. After hearing our response, everyone would say "Oh, they have cheap beer there." lol) 
Other than that- we had a Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, Subway, Footlong Hotdog and Cinnabon in our hotel, along with an Outback Steakhouse upstairs. Other than those amenities, there was a small computer business center and their own casino floor.

Footlong hot dog. Didn't taste that great, but I was hungry after a long flight.
Overall, it wasn’t a bad place to stay. The location was the best part about it, and after staying a week, we got to know the cleaning staff (since for some reason we always seemed to stop back at our rooms for a pit stop at the same time they were cleaning our room or making our beds. Lol)

Our hotel- situated between 2 biggies: Venetian on the left and Harrah's on the right.
If I had the money, I’d certainly stay in the Venetian- they had the best atmosphere and food selection. I also adore their setup with the gondolas riding through.

I also loved Paris ($5 mimosoas!) and the really cool Eiffel Tower!

From what we could tell, Excalibur had the cheapest and most chain-food restaurants in their casino/hotel, as well as being one of the more family-friendly hotels. However it was one of the older looking hotel casinos on the strip currently.

Though honestly, I would never want to bring my future children (when they are young) to the strip in Vegas- there is way too many crazy street performers and people trying to con you, or get you to take nudie cards- when you just walk down the street. Not the best place for kiddos. Also the sheer amount of alcohol at every corner- not kid friendly.

My biggest beef with our hotel was that it was one of the prime spots for street performers/nudie card handlers and timeshare conners that would stand outside the casino. You will quickly learn when you walk down the strip that there is LOTS of people trying to sell you something or get you to sign up for something, many of which are just big fat con artists.  It makes enjoying the strip very hard, since you are trying to avoid these wackos! We tried to stick to the escalators- thought they had their share of panhandlers at the entrance and exits of them.

They have escalators everywhere!
Here are my biggest tips when just WALKING down the strip:
a) If you are a couple, don't walk holding your spouse's hand. I know this sounds horrible, but we found that if we were very obviously a couple, we got stopped WAY more than if we were just walking side by side by people trying to get you to buy stuff- especially the timeshare people.
b) Don't make eye-contact with people who are obviously not fellow tourists. If you don't look at the pan-handlers, nudie card handlers, timeshare salesmen, street performers- you are less likely to get stopped by them. Also- don't respond to them- just ignore them. I know it seems rude, but they are just as rude trying to con you every second you are visiting their city.
c) Always say you are leaving that night- the timeshare people always want to get people who are staying in the town for a while. They want you to sit through their presentation at one of the casinos (for a few hours most of them) and then try to sucker you into buying their timeshare, by offering many enticing deals and freebies. DON'T DO IT, unless you are very good under pressure- saying "No" 50 billion times. If their freebies and deals are really good and you don't mind wasting 3 hours of your life listening to them talk about their timeshares, and being very good at saying "No", by all means, sit through it. But if not- the second you see people in polo shirts or suits with clip boards- walk on by.
d) Once you've seen the sights of the strip, cut through the casinos. We constantly would walk through the casinos to avoid the crazy street people and masses of people during the evenings. Often times we'd come across restaurants we didn't know existed that way too!
e) Map out your route. I was very careful to map out where we went for this trip, as we had certain shows/restaurants, etc. we wanted to hit up, so I figured out what order to hit the hotels to do all that. Many of the casinos/hotels have escalators connecting them or walkways to cross the strip- make sure you note where these are, otherwise you'll have to walk way out of your way, just to get on the other side of the street!

Here are some tips on staying in Vegas:
-       Compare prices: There is well over a dozen places that have Vegas hotel deals online, but the big thing to remember is many of the casino/hotels charge you a Resort Fee every day in addition to the actual cost of the hotel. The big draw for the hotel we stayed in was that it didn’t have a resort fee.

-       Location:  Our hotel was very centrally located, so we didn’t have to walk more than 2 ½ miles to the farthest casino we wanted to hit up (aka. Rio). Everything else was much closer. We luckily had access to a car, so when we went elsewhere, we just hopped in the car. Hotels on the far ends of the strip (Circus, Circus was really far on one side along with Stratosphere, with Luxor, MGM and Excalibur on the other far end) make your walking time very long and annoying at times.

The Luxor- super shiny!
If the hotel isn’t on the strip- make sure you check if they have shuttle busses or access to the trams. When we walked down to see Penn & Teller at Rio, we about died on the walk over- it was 2 ½ miles from our hotel- as well as across a very busy street and scary walkway. You could tell not many people would walk down to their casino from the strip, as we were one group of 2 walking at both times we travelled to and from Rio. Weigh the distance from everything else when you choose your hotel.

-       Amenities: We personally were not very picky on this. We knew that since our hotel was very centrally located, we could have access to the boat-load of restaurants and shops on the strip around it. It was quite close to the Venetian’s Walgreens for our quick stop to pickup contact solution, beer and other things we couldn’t pack or take on the plane. We also didn’t care if there was a pool or not. But if you are big into the pool scene- just note that many hotels either charge for a chair or cabana at the pool, and if you don’t stay in their hotel/casino- they charge to get into the pool itself. 

We also were not huge gamblers, so the actual casino itself wasn’t that big a deal to us, though in the end, having access to cheap beer was a major bonus to our hotel. lol

Thanks for stopping by and reading my tips and tricks learned from our recent trip to Vegas.

Be sure to stop by and see the other upcoming portions of my Vegas trip tips and tricks:


  1. I just recently took a trip to Vegas too and it's SO TRUE about walking together as a couple! They really zero in on the couples and it's super awkward. We finally just started lying and telling everyone that we were leaving town that day. They didn't try to sell us anything after that.

    As for hotels, we stayed at the MGM Grand and really liked it.

    1. I couldn't believe how annoying those sidewalk people got by the end of the trip!
      I bet your walk was a little bit of a haul being at the MGM though- did you take the tram at all?


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