Viva Las Vegas | Part 3 - Staying on The Strip

I’ve covered adventuring, taking on new heights in the city, and partying like you should when you’re with your girls in the nightlife capital of the world, but what about the place you lie your head in between it all?

[UPDATES: Check out my newer hotel reviews of the Planet Hollywood and the SLS casino-resorts].

Although you won’t be in your room too much because you will be out and about getting lost on the strip, you still need a comfortable, convenient, and modestly-priced hotel to recharge in.

So far, I’ve stayed in three hotels, including the Marriott Grand Chateau, the Elara (a Hilton Grand Vacations Club), and the Flamingo Las Vegas, and I recommend them all! Check out my reviews below:

1. Marriott Grand Chateau

2 bedroom villa at the Marriott Grand Chateau - photos courtesy of TripAdvisor.com

There were 4 of us total who stayed in a beautiful 2-bedroom villa here thanks to Erin’s family’s timeshare exchange. The room was gorgeous -- equipped with a fully stocked kitchen, dining table, living room area, a spacious master bedroom with a huge bathroom and spa tub, a second bedroom and bathroom, and washer/dryer units. We walked in and instantly grew anxious as we got acquainted and discovered it was everything and more we needed for a week in Vegas.

Regardless of whether you have a timeshare or Marriott rewards points, the Grand Chateau is very affordable -- it’s hard to find rooms so spacious and so close to the strip that won't cost you an arm and a leg.    

It’s not one of the busy casino hotels with a bunch of shops, restaurants, or nightclubs inside, but there are so many other benefits of staying here. It's like a breath of fresh air. You can retreat here when you need a break from all the chaos on the strip,  but it’s literally only a hop, skip, and jump away from all the action.

The view from our suite

The location is excellent. It’s in walking distance to Planet Hollywood,  Bellagio,  Paris, MGM, and thus the entire strip. It’s closest attraction is the Miracle Mile Mall (attached to Planet Hollywood), so you can walk right across the street for access to restaurants, bars, stores like Urban Outfitters, H&M, Aldo, and more. This Marriott also offers a convenient shuttle to the grocery store -- so you can stock your kitchen -- and to the  Fashion Show mall -- in case Miracle Mile isn’t adequate for all of your shopping needs.

Rooftop view

Oh, and there’s a rooftop bar and pool with a fantastic view. I mean, who doesn’t love rooftop pools!?? I would definitely recommend the Grand Chateau if  you're looking for a quiet, yet convenient stay. If there’s a large group of you, 6 for example, you can stay in a 2-bedroom villa for 3 nights for about $200/person.

2. Elara, a Hilton Grand Vacations Club

Holiday decor in Elara's lobby

Thanks to an amazing deal I h̶a̶c̶k̶e̶d̶ scored, we got to stay here, right on the Vegas strip, during New Year's weekend while on a budget. There were three of us (four on one of the nights) in a standard room with 1 King and 1 pullout couch (both very comfy).  On the 39th floor with an incredible view facing the strip,  I loved the huge windows that overlooked the gorgeous city. We didn’t feel cramped at all with its spacious bathroom and plentiful floor space, and its kitchenette made it convenient to be able to keep food and reheat it.

Our 39th floor view

5:30 AM sunrise view - niiiice

The mini fridge and microwave really came in handy!

Location is a biggie here. As it used to be a Planet Hollywood property, it's attached to the Miracle Mile Mall (again -- shopping, dining, and shows!). If you stay here, you can easily access PH, its casinos, and clubs without ever having to step outside.

We had a ball holding mini photo shoots in the lobby, with the huge Marilyn Monroe Warhol art as our backdrop. The Hollywood theme is still present even though it's no longer a PH property, with photos of Hollywood signs, Marilyn Monroe and James Dean framed throughout the rooms.

Although there is always tons of traffic surrounding the lobby since Miracle Mile is busy, it's still very secure and difficult for non-guests to access the rooms. You have to have a valid key-card to get upstairs. Downstairs, we rarely had to wait for a taxi. Being that it's not a huge resort (such as the Venetian for example), there wasn't always a mass of taxis waiting ... but that also meant there were never any lines! I wouldn’t hesitate to stay here again.

Since I was working for the government, I booked this room through FedRooms.com at a per diem rate of $99/night -- which is pretty unheard of for staying on the strip during New Year’s weekend. I honestly don’t think it was supposed to be listed at that price, nor have I been able to find it on the site since then, so unfortunately I can’t tell you how to score this incredible deal. But you can snag reasonable rates on 3rd party sites like Orbitz. Between the King bed and the pull out sofa bed, 4 of you can sleep comfortably in a studio for about $130-$150/person for 3 nights.

3. The Flamingo

My most recent trip to Vegas this past Memorial Day was not a girls’ trip, but a quick weekend jaunt with the beau when he came to visit me on the west coast. As it was an extremely last minute trip, and a holiday, most hotels on the strip were charging upwards of $200+ a night for basic rooms. We luckily landed a "name your own price" deal through Priceline for a standard king bed room, for an enjoyable two night stay.

I’ll get the unfavorable aspects out of the way first for an honest and fair review. In terms of aesthetics, The Flamingo is not the most glamorous of hotels; it doesn’t drip in “ooh la la” like some of the other hotels on the strip, but it’s far from meager. The hallway leading to our room in the Habitat tower was definitely in need of a makeover. Our room itself was nicely renovated with cute pink accents, a comfortable bed, and a chic chaise lounge, however, we did not have a renovated bathroom (I assume due to our third-party discount booking). The bathroom didn't yet get the facelift treatment that the bedroom did, and it didn't come stocked with any toiletries (lotion, soap, etc). Also, our sink got clogged when we went to wash our hands. Fix this, Flamingo.

It would be fabulous if the rooms came with a mini-fridge and microwave, like the Elara, but the standard rooms here do not include these. After resolving the bathroom issues, though, everything was fine for our quick stay.

I made Launte pose with the pink curtains as his backdrop. Peep the chaise, hardwood floors, and cute color scheme.

Amenity-wise, I’d prefer the Marriott and the Elara over the Flamingo, but location-wise, it is perfect!

Real flamingos on site.

Flamingo's got a cool tropical oasis theme going on

Flamingo's got a cool tropical oasis theme going on

It lies at the true heart of the strip, and I loved being so close to many of the hotels! It is directly across the street from Caesar’s Palace and Bellagio, to the right of the brand spanking new Cromwell hotel and already popular Drai’s Rooftop Beach Party, and to the left of the also spanking new strip mall and attraction center called The Linq.

Between the Cromwell, The Linq and the High Roller, I couldn’t believe how much exciting new stuff had popped up on the Strip since my last visit. And they’re still building more! There will always be something new to see and do, a new restaurant to try, a different hotel to stay in,  a lively party to check out, and a new adventure to be had. Vegas isn’t for everybody, but I can’t imagine it becoming old to me any time soon. 

Browsing through The Linq!

It was blazing hot when I came during Memorial Day weekend -- I welcomed these clouds and the cool breeze when they arrived with pleasure

There's fried chicken and bowling here. Fried chicken!?!? Must visit upon my return.

 

I haven’t had a miss yet with hotels in Vegas.

You already know this, but I can’t stress it enough:

Location is everything.

Needing to dip away back to your room, change clothes, nap, and quickly get right back in it is key. Time is precious here and taxis are expensive, so staying on the strip is gold. Yes, it can be just as expensive as gold as well, but it’s worth being amidst everything that you came to Vegas to experience.

Had to bring Launte to see the sunset from the Stratosphere

Mandalay Bay's pool area

 

Another thing I love about Vegas:

This is one of the very few places in the world where you can come and be among people from each and every walk of life; and each of these groups exist here in masses. The city is even crowded during off-peak winter months, but I recently realized that in the summer on a holiday, it’s unlike any place I’ve seen. People flock to the strip in droves, and you will see any and every type of person: seniors who may be pushing 90; little babies and kids who are still to innocent to understand the things that occur in this adult playground; corner boys who came straight off their blocks; fancily adorned Wall Street couples dressed in tuxedos and ball gowns; half-naked women who may or may not be offering services, if you know what I mean; groups of internationals speaking who knows what language; celebrities and moguls; your every day average Joe. There’s no general “type” one can narrow down that comes to Vegas. Everyone comes to Vegas. People in any age group, from all countries, with many interests, and with a range of financial backgrounds can all find sources of entertainment here. It’s incredible.

So go out to play and report back here to share what a great time you had in the city of rebellions! 

Gotta love this place.


 Where have you stayed in Vegas, and what were your thoughts?

Kristen Noelle

I consider myself a softly eccentric urbanista. I’m quiet by nature, and I’ve generally always had a mellow laid-back vibe. However, when it comes to my preferences for fun, my style, and my overall thought process, I get a bit more eccentric. I like stepping out of the box of normalcy -- but without forcing anything. I’m a thrill junkie and I live for things that get my adrenaline pumping, such as riding on top of party buses in New York City and hanging off of skyscrapers in Vegas. I spring for bold hues, colorful prints and patterns, and a relaxed look that gives effortless-chic. I like exploring new places and capturing exciting sites. I’m a creative, with a million different ideas running through my mind each day. Whether I’m designing waistbeads, imagining up new clothing concepts, envisioning my next business venture, or planning my next adventure abroad, I’m always thinking of how I can create something great. Being raised in the suburbs but not far from the city and constantly traveling, I developed a love for the best of worlds. The calm and the crazy. The easy-going and the always-buzzing. The soft and the eccentric.