When this property first opened in 1969 it was called The International but it became the Las Vegas Hilton shortly thereafter, a name it kept for nearly 40 years. For the last few years when it operated under that moniker, the hotel was not actually owned by the Hilton Hotel chain but rather licensed the title in a deal that ended in 2011, after which the property became simply the LVH - the Las Vegas Hotel and Casino. Not much changed in the few years it operated under that name, which was both good and bad (it needed some work).
Now the resort has gone through its most substantial change yet, becoming the Westgate Las Vegas, a hotel/timeshare hybrid that has providing the building with its first major overhaul in a decade. To say that it's about time is an understatement.
Most of the public areas are getting some attention, with a new casino bar just inside the main doors the primary sign that things are different. There is also new carpeting, floors, and wall-treatments but they aren't much different than they were before. It all looks pretty much the same, just spiffier.
The rooms are a different story. A chunk of them, now known as the Signature rooms, have gotten new decor treatments that are using some of the furniture and the overall design aesthetic from the former Westgate tower at Planet Hollywood (now Elara). They are heavy on the use of bold black, red, and purple with contemporary furnishings and other "Hollywood" inspired touches (think: pictures of Marilyn Monroe). The headboards and the bench at the foot of the bed are tufted leather and the mattresses are plushy comfort. Each has 60" LED flat screen 3-D TVs, coffee makers, mini-fridges, and all the other usual Vegas hotel room amenities (from safes to irons and boards and more).
The basic footprint of the rooms has not changed - most are the typical rectangle although some at the junctions of the three wings of the building have a little extra room. The reason that this is important is that they are not the big, luxury sizes that you'll find at newer hotels like Wynn or Bellagio but they still have plenty of room to stretch out.
The so-called Premium rooms are leftovers from the LVH and Las Vegas Hilton days, with standard hotel furnishings that aren't going to get anyone too excited. All of the rooms will be converted to the Signature style over time. For now, it's probably worth the extra $20 or so per night that it would cost you to get one of the newly renovated rooms but if it's more than that, the older ones are perfectly fine (and can be a bargain to boot).
Only a few hundred rooms are actively being marketed as timeshares right now so you can still consider this a traditional hotel. Eventually the bulk of the property will be sold but rooms will most likely but put into rental pools so you'll be able to stay here without buying in. And while they do have people around waiting to sell you a timeshare, they are fairly low key so no one is going to chase you down the halls waving brochures at you. They like to consider themselves classier than that.
Entertaining is in flux, with several shows moving in and out as the hotel has tried to find its groove. There's a big showroom and a smaller cabaret theater so check the website for what may be playing.
Back when the hotel first opened as The International it was home to several years of concerts by Elvis and there is still a bronze statue of him in the lobby to commemorate his time at the hotel. Unfortunately the big Elvis museum that had been operating here for about year closed in February of 2016.
The casino area has gotten some upgrades as well. There are some new machines and tables although this is still a small casino, made even smaller by the square-footage taken up by the new bar. People who like the seemingly endless casinos at places like MGM Grand and Venetian may find this one a little too wee, but others will appreciate the intimacy. The sportsbook, which bills itself as the largest in the world, is getting a high-tech makeover with new video screens, mobile integration, VIP boxes, and more.
The former Spacequest casino area will reportedly be turned into a nightclub/dayclub operation with a new pool added but for now it's the sales center for the time shares. Speaking of new pools, the main one was expanded when they redid the recreation deck with new surfacing, cabanas, and lounge chairs. It's nice, but still a little spare compared to the lush jungles of The Mirage or Flamingo. A new fitness center is up and running by the new pool and a Suzanne Somers branded spa is coming soon.
Restaurants are also getting revamped with a deli, Sid's Café and an updated steakhouse among the offerings.
The hotel will remain a stop on the Las Vegas Monorail system, which makes getting to and from The Strip a bit easier. That's important since it's too far for most people to walk to get to the things you want to see.
Room rates have remained relatively affordable. Unlike most major hotels in Vegas, where weekends are usually more expensive than weeknights, this one fluctuates in often unexpected ways. Since it is next door to the Las Vegas Convention Center, it tends to draw bigger crowds during the week and so you'll often see prices higher on a Tuesday than you will on a Saturday but not always. Expect the lowest in the $40 per night range for the Premium rooms and another $20 on top of that for the newer Signature rooms. Those rates can soar up to closer to $200 on really busy nights but I'd say the average is around $100 plus the $33.99 per night resort fee (plus tax).
No matter what name it has operated under, this hotel has always offered nice (if not terribly exciting) accommodations, often at reasonable prices and that seems to be continuing with the new ownership. Now that's a retro attitude that I can embrace.