Vegas Vacation: The Hotel Hunt

Vegas Vacation: The Hotel Hunt

Don't have the funds to travel around the world in eighty days? Well you're in luck. Glide via gondola through the Grand Canal in the Venetian's Italy, sip over one hundred varieties of champagne as you fine dine atop the Eiffel tower in Paris Hotel's Paris, marvel at the magnificent 30-story bronze-encased pyramid of Luxor's ancient Thebes—all for under $200. Make that $27 if you're feeling lucky. (And $0 if the slots say you're feeling lucky.) That's right. We're in Vegas, baby, the only place in the world where you can see the world without leaving your hotel room. And boy, are there a lot of hotel rooms to choose from. Whether you're traveling on a budget or banking on winning the mega million's life of luxury, Vegas has a pad with personality to pacify both your needs and your wallet. Here's a list of the best Las Vegas Hotels from four price ranges.


Low-Budget Range: The Stratosphere

Falling behind on rent? Not a problem. At as low as $23 per night, an equivalent one month rent-tag of around $700 (including utilities, and daily maid service!) will have you clawing to make the Stratosphere your new landlord. Stay at the Stratosphere and that's where you'll be—towering above the Strip as a guest at the tallest freestanding observation tower in the United States. Attractions include a revolving restaurant and four thrill rides, one of which (the rightly named Big Shot) stands in as the highest thrill ride in the world at 1,081 feet. In addition to top-notch views and entertainment, the Stratosphere also has a mall on its second floor that connects to their casino. Collect your winnings and spend, spend, spend. Basic but clean and comfortable rooms seal the deal for this Vegas hot spot. My only word of caution? The Stratosphere is not directly on the Strip, and although not far from it, the area is dimly lit and becomes questionably sketchy at night. Catching a quick and conveniently located bus directly in front of the hotel, however, solves the problem.

Bottom line: If you're traveling to Vegas on a budget, chances are you'd rather see the city than wall up in a costly hotel room. The Stratosphere offers convenient access to Vegas' staple sites as well as spectacular views of the sights that make Vegas famous, all for an unbeatably low price. Everybody wins.

Mirage Hotel

Mid-Budget Range: The Mirage

Give this next hotel your money and you will be repaid in gold, quite literally—the distinctive gold windows of this pick get their color from actual gold dust used in the tinting process. Built by Steve Wynn, the Mirage (you guessed it) is fun for the whole family. Catch Cirque du Soleil's Beatles-inspired LOVE, explore rainforest flora at the entrance's atrium, study nearly 1,000 specimens in the 53 foot-long aquarium behind the registration desk, or bask in the sun at the hotel's topless poolside lounge (and pay only $10 if female as opposed to $40 if male). Throw in high quality service and amenities and the Mirage has your every desire covered, all for the affordably low price of $65 per night.

Bottom line: An excellent stay for the family and a prime gateway to all that the Strip has to offer. Mirage fans are loyal; stay at this great location in the heart of the Strip and the Mirage will have a place in your heart forever.

High-End Budget Range: The Signature at MGM Grand

With pillow-top beds, lavish Jacuzzi tubs, upscale linens, gourmet in-suite dining around the clock, and private balconies overlooking the Vegas Strip and surrounding mountains, the Signature at MGM Grand is immediately a front-runner for those looking for a high-end Vegas stay that is moderately priced at as low as $70 per night. These Signature Suites, which are actually three exclusive all-suite towers providing MGM guests with extra luxury and personal service, are non-smoking and non-gaming environments that are located just steps away from the MGM Grand and all of the resources and amenities it has to offer—including performances of Cirque du Soleil's Ka. Gambling, entertainment, dining, and a respite from it all, the Signature provides an enjoyable alternative to the Grand's exciting but often draining frenzy.

Bottom line: The excitement of the Strip and the private luxury of a five-star resort are both accessible, and the ability to alternate between the two extremes at your own leisure is both a unique and refreshing take on Vegas hospitality. No matter what your Vegas priorities, the Signature has you covered.

Bellagio Hotel

Luxury Budget Range: The Bellagio

Roll out the red carpet, our star has arrived. Now there are dozens of high caliber Vegas hotels that deserve to be on this list, and dozens more that could rightly occupy this slot, but the vision of the Bellagio's 1,200 fountains majestically dancing and spraying water to music won't let me give it to them. Throw onto its enormous lobby ceiling the ornate Fiori di Como, a work of over 2,000 hand-blown glass flowers sculpted by the colorful and eye-patch-clad Dale Chihuly, and it's clear that the Bellagio is an establishment that was built with elegance and class in mind. I mean, c'mon—the smallest guest rooms are over 500 square feet, for Christ's sake. It also has a Gallery of Fine Arts that houses works by greats like Warhol, Picasso, Van Gogh, and Ansel Adams, a botanical garden with endless acres of Mediterranean landscape, and performances of Cirque du Soleil's O featuring world-class acrobats, synchronized swimmers, and divers who perform in, on, and above water. This place pays luxury out the slots. And for $200 per night, everybody should try to cash in.

Bottom line: Brad Pitt and George Clooney stood in front of the Bellagio fountains in Ocean's 13. You should too. And if you have the money, show those two Casanovas who the real stud is and actually stay there.