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CIRCUS CIRCUS

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North Strip

2880 Las Vegas Blvd. S.

Las Vegas, NV 89109

800-444-CIRC

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3,774 Rooms

$59 and up double

$75-$125 per night

$30.61 per night including tax

Free self; $15 per day valet

64

AT A GLANCE

Highs

Can be very inexpensive. Great place for families and kids.

Lows

Great place for families and kids.

Location: 7

North Strip isn't as desirable but still good.

Price: 7

Can get some good deals here.

Value: 6

You don't always feel like you get what you paid for.

Rooms: 6

Tower rooms are fine; motel style rooms out back aren't.

Casino: 6

Not a favorite.

Amenities: 5

Rooms lack a few of the better conveniences.

Facilities: 8

Tons of stuff to do here, especially for families.

Service: 8

Usually very good.

Fun: 6

Matter of taste - but the kid thing knocks the score down for me.

Bonus: 5

Ditto.

Total: 64

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FULL REVIEW

Like just about every other hotel in Vegas, this 70's institution has received facelifts over the years that have made it lighter, brighter, and more upscale. Gone (for the most part) are the garish big-top colors replaced by whites, golds, and earthtones with a European Harlequin feeling.

The big top itself is still there, covering the main casino area and featuring continuous circus acts (trapeze artists, high wire, etc.) for most of the day and night. The giant midway/arcade is also still functioning allowing kids an opportunity to gamble legally with stuffed animals as the jackpots.

The property itself is sprawling, with very long walks, trams, or even shuttle buses carrying you to the extreme reaches.

Rooms come in a bunch of different configurations and styles. The best of the bunch are the Casino Tower or West Tower rooms, which feature sleek and modern furnishings, flat panel TVs, soft duvets, and more modern conveniences. They are absolutely worth the $10-20 extra per night you would pay for them over the standard rooms in the Skyrise towers. Those rooms are totally unremarkable - average size, average decor, and nothing surprising as far as amenities. They are as motel basic as you can get except for the Manor rooms, which are even more basic if that's possible. If they want anything more than $50 a night for the latter, go elsewhere.

There are several restaurants of varying caliber, the best of which is The Steakhouse, a Vegas institution for more than 30 years. There are a couple of informal bars but no nightclubs and no traditional showroom.

The primary entertainment diversion, other than the circus acts, is the Adventuredome theme park, a fully enclosed air-conditioned play land featuring a bunch of rides, games, and activities for kids of all ages. There is a mini-water park out back with several pools, water slides, a splash zone, and more but be warned: this is a family-focused resort so if you are looking for a nice, quiet, relaxing hour poolside you aren't going to find it here.

Now that I've broached the kid issue, I may as well dive in. I want to state implicitly and without reservation that I am NOT anti-kid. I like children and in fact I was a child at some point in my life. Some of my best friends are children, or at least act that way.

The thing is that I am not wild about children in Las Vegas. Since the city is primarily a playground for adults, there isn't a lot for them to do. Consequently they get bored and apparently decide that the only way to relieve said boredom is to bug the crap out of everybody around them. I guarantee you that if you walk from one end of the property to the other you will hear at least two kids crying somewhere along the way. The long and the short of it is that if you don't want to be around children, Circus Circus is not the place for you.

The upside is that this hotel often has rooms that are substantially cheaper than other hotels on The Strip. You can get the tower rooms for as low as $35 and the Manor rooms can be even cheaper, although there is that annoying resort fee they charge daily, jacking the prices up by $30.61 per night (including tax). There is also a fee for valet parking, instituted in 2016. It costs $15 per day for hotel guests and non-guests alike. The only way to get out of it is if you have a players' club card at the Gold or above level. Self parking remains free at this hotel.

Still, I know a lot of people who will check-in here, drop their bags, and run off to the more appealing, more adult casinos to gamble and play with all of the extra cash they are saving. That may be worth putting up with a crying child or two.

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