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PALACE STATION

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Just Off The Strip

2411 W. Sahara Ave.

Las Vegas, NV 89102

800-634-3101

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1,029 rooms

$39 and up double

$75-$125 per night

$16.79 per night including tax

75

AT A GLANCE

Highs

Low cost, high value.

Lows

A major remodeling and expansion project is causing some construction inconveniences.

Location: 7

Close to The Strip and a free shuttle to boot.

Price: 8

Rooms are often very inexpensive here.

Value: 9

Hard to do better for the price.

Rooms: 7

Comfortable and modern.

Casino: 7

Big and offers plenty of gaming options at low limits.

Amenities: 6

Missing a few niceties but only a few.

Facilities: 8

Lots to see and do here.

Service: 9

As good as at all of the Station properties.

Fun: 7

Low costs and lots to do - what's not fun about that?

Bonus: 7

A very good hotel.

Total: 75

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FULL REVIEW

This hotel is in the midst of a major makeover that will include a new room tower, a bingo room, a remodeled casino removing all of the train station theme, new restaurants, a bowling alley, movie theaters, and more. The plans submitted to the county call for tearing down the old courtyard rooms and building a new 27-story tower with 600 rooms and restaurants and bars on top offering some pretty stunning views of The Strip. Construction is underway now so take everything you read from this point forward with a grain of salt.

The Stations Casinos family of hotels is one of the best in Las Vegas, providing good to great accommodations with tons of entertainment, dining, and gambling options usually at lower costs than what you'll pay on The Strip. Their Red Rock Resort and Green Valley Ranch hotels are among my personal favorites in town and places like Santa Fe Station and Sunset Station offer almost unbeatable value.

But their first and best located hotel for most Vegas visitors, Palace Station, has always been an "also-ran" for me. While they were dumping money into their other properties, this one located just off The Strip on Sahara, languished in comparison to its sister hotels and to Las Vegas hotels in general. Then they remodeled it and it has become one of the best deals in town, where you don't need to sacrifice comfort, amenities, or location in order to get a low room rate.

The casino is crowded and a bit smoky but it provides every bit of gambling entertainment you could possibly want. The rambling layout offers more than 1,600 machines in all denominations but focusing on the penny, nickel, and quarter varieties. All have the ticket-in, ticket-out capability and there are a higher than average amount of video poker machines for fans. Over four dozen table games of all stripes offer lower than average limits and if that doesn't do it for you there is also poker room, a bingo hall, a race and sports book, and a keno lounge.

For dining there is a branch of the corporate chain's very popular Feast Buffet and a host of other options including a fine Mexican joint, a 24-hour café, a steakhouse, and more. Again, I have to stress the cost factor here. The buffet, while certainly not the most extravagant in town, is only $10 at dinner and unlike some places that charge that kind of rate, you won't regret not having paid more elsewhere.

For entertainment there is a 175-seat entertainment venue/lounge with live bands, a small cabaret/comedy club space, and an Irish pub plus several casino lounges.

There are two styles of rooms - the older "Courtyard" rooms are located in low-rise motel style buildings surrounding the pool. While nothing to write home about, they are nicer than your average motel room with simple but comfortable furnishings, high-speed Internet access, hair dryers, and irons and boards among other amenities. The bathrooms are on the small side, so luxuriating in the tub is not really on the menu here.

The "Tower" rooms on the other hand are the ones to pay attention to. They have have sleek, modern furnishings in warm earth tones, flat panel televisions, safes, Internet, coffee makers, and more. The beds are comfortably plush and the linens are soft. The bathrooms have big wrap around vanities and glass-enclosed, walk-in showers replacing the tubs in most rooms. It all adds up to a much higher quality quotient than you'd expect in a hotel that charges the kind of rates this one does.

So as long as we're on the subject, let's talk about the prices. Courtyard rooms go as low as $29 a night during the week and $69 on the weekends, with $59-89 more common for the former and $89-$119 more common for the latter. Tower rooms will be about $20-30 more per night.

Even on the high end, those are remarkable rates for any hotel in Las Vegas, much less one that offers this much in the way of service and amenities.

Although it is not right on The Strip, it is only a short cab ride away. They also offer a free shuttle to and from the airport for guests and another that goes from the hotel to the Fashion Show Mall. If you're driving they offer plenty of free parking in an uncovered lot or a parking garage and also have a free valet.

The staff is unfailingly pleasant and helpful - a hallmark of the Station Casinos brand and a welcome relief from the sometimes too stuffy goings on at the big Strip hotels.

Every time I think I can't be more impressed with the Station brand, they go and throw another delightful surprise my way. Palace Station is one of them.

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