Choosing the Best Hotel

Everyone is always asking me, “What’s the best hotel in Vegas?” and I always tell them that it depends on what is most important to you.

Many people are primarily concerned with the price. Of course that doesn’t mean that they’re willing to stay in a roach-infested dump just to get a $19 room rate, but it does often mean that people will sacrifice some of the frills, luxuries, and location advantages that the bigger, more expensive resorts in the heart of The Strip have to offer.

If this is you, one of the first things you should consider is location. Generally speaking, the hotels directly on The Strip are the most expensive, followed by the hotels just off The Strip (Paradise Road for example), then those Downtown, and finally the neighborhood casino/hotels scattered about the Las Vegas valley.

If you’re a first time visitor, you might want to just bite the bullet and stay on The Strip, since that’s where most of what you’re going to want to see and do is located. But if you’ve been to Vegas before and you’re looking for a low-cost trip to see it again, staying away from the main drag will usually save you a ton of money. Even if you factor in the cost of the rental car that you will need to get yourself around, it’s still usually cheaper to stay at a neighborhood hotel than it is at even moderately priced hotels directly on The Strip.

Here’s an example. I checked the rate at a very nice Boulder Highway hotel and the price of a small rental car for a Thursday through Sunday stay in June. The total for the car for three days and that room for three nights was $310. Then I checked the same three nights at one of the Strip hotels (and not even one of the most expensive) and the total without the rental car was more than double – almost $700! To save $400 I’ll give up a view of The Strip and sit in a little bit of traffic.

Of course, not everyone is as concerned with cost as they are with what the hotel has to offer and where they will feel most comfortable. For instance, some people want a relaxing getaway with lots of time around the pool, maybe a visit to a really nice spa, and plenty of room service. Others may be looking for the party set and may want a hotel with some hip nightclubs and the kind of younger clientele that will make them feel comfortable. Of course there are those that want to avoid those party places with every fiber of their being and prefer a more mature crowd.

Are you traveling with kids or friends? Are you more inclined to eat at a fancy restaurant or a cheap buffet? Are you planning to do a lot of gambling or do you just want to see shows, shopping, and attractions?

All of these are very important questions to ask yourself before you choose your hotel. And then once you know what you’re looking to get out of your trip, the heavy lifting happens. You have to do some research.

Start by reading the reviews of all the hotels on this site and pay close attention to our rating system that gives a 0-10 score for things like location, price, amenities, and service. Then, check other websites and/or travel guides like Frommer’s and Fodor’s. Don’t trust one opinion – not even mine!

The only thing to be careful about when trolling the web for information is that most other Vegas websites don’t offer true reviews of the hotels. Unlike, they often accept advertising directly from the very hotels they are reviewing so most of the “opinion” you see is pretty glowing. Frankly, I’ve been shocked at some of the stuff I’ve seen on competing websites. One “review” called a hotel that almost everyone agrees is a dump “quirky in an old-school Vegas way.” Um, yeah.

On Vegas4Visitors you may see advertising for Las Vegas hotels, but it all handled through a third-party service (Google). We don’t have direct contact with those hotels or their advertising budgets, whereas some of the other sites do. So here you may see an ad for a Vegas hotel or one for lowering your mortgage rates – we have very little control over it.

Once you’ve done your homework, pick the top five hotels that you think suit you best and start calling to check rates on the dates you want to travel. Best rate wins in my opinion.

Next: What to See & Do