The building boom in Vegas has given everyone a wide selection when
choosing a hotel and casino. If you like rock music and a younger crowd,
go to the Palms or the Hard Rock. If you like an upscale atmosphere and money is no
object, check out Bellagio. If your only experience with casinos includes
riverboats or Indian reservations, you don't know what you're missing.
Vegas has changed quite a bit, however, over the past ten years, as more and more hotels have followed the lead of the Hard Rock by catering to younger visitors. Every casino, even those aiming at a more affluent crowd, has added nightclubs and trendy lounges to attract the younger crowd and the hot young babes. These clubs add life to the casino along with plenty of eye candy as well.
April 12, 2012
We traveled to Vegas to cover the Michael Jordan Celebrity Invitational and enjoyed a luxury weekend at Aria Resort & Casino.
Las Vegas Hotels
Hard Rock Las Vegas Hotel & Casino
The Hard Rock is one of the first casinos to appeal to a younger, hipper crowd. This is not your father's casino. With rock music in the background and a huge bar located in the center, the atmosphere in this circular-shaped casino is different from anything you'll find in Vegas. This place is often loaded with beautiful women, both the servers and the guests, especially on the weekends when all of the beautiful LA honeys come to Vegas. Of course, the Hard Rock now has plenty of competition with the Palms and all the large casinos that are now catering to the same audience with hot new nightclubs. As a result, the talent level at the bar isn't always what it used to be, but it's still a great option.
Pool parties are the latest craze in Vegas, and the Hard Rock got things going with Rehab every weekend during the summer. Good luck getting in if you're not staying at the hotel or you don't have a reservation or a connection. Plan in advance if you want to hit this crazy party.
The new kid on the block has been getting plenty of buzz, as the Maloof brothers have worked the celebrity and sports angle hard. There's usually plenty of talent running around this place, so you're sure to have a great time.
This is the latest addition to the Strip, as the Aladdin has been renovated to become the new Planet Hollywood. The result has been pretty impressive, as they are clearly going after the party crowd. It has the feel of a much larger Hard Rock, and so far the crowds have been solid.
Steve Wynn started a building boom in Vegas when he opened this casino in 1989. It had a tropical theme, with white tigers and other attractions. We were never too fond of this place because we always got lost there. It was like walking through a jungle. With the recent renovations, however, the casino is now filled with open space and it has a much more inviting feel to it. With Jet they have a great nightclub, and Bare is probably the best adult pool on the Strip.
Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino
This casino is one of the coolest properties on the strip. It has awesome decor and is filled with great restaurants and bars, including the House of Blues, Rumjungle, Red Square and Aureole. Along with the Hard Rock and The Venetian, this casino has the best looking waitresses on the Strip. They'll definitely make your gambling experience that much more enjoyable. The pool area is huge with a man-made beach area. The crowd in the casino is a good mix between the younger crowd and the more traditional clientele. Most serious gamblers will like the casino. The hotel also includes The Four Seasons, a 5-star hotel for those of you who need the best luxury that money can buy. Recently they added The Hotel, and even more upscale experience for those of you who need maximum luxury or have money to burn. The only downside is the location at the furthest end of the Strip.
This is still one of the best spots in Vegas, though most of the old-school charm has been lost with the latest renovation. The casino is huge and it's easy to get lost inside. The old section with its low ceilings gives you the impression that you walked into a Martin Scorcese movie and the new section is as grandiose as any of the newer casinos in town. The poker room is huge and the casino is still popular with serious gamblers. The sports book is great. It used to be the best in town but again it's not quite as great since the renovation. You'll find awesome shopping and restaurants in the Forum Shops. With PURE Nightclub Caesar's is now hanging with the casinos that target younger audiences. The club is huge so it adds a new dimension to this classic hotel and casino. The Rat Pack would not recognize this place.
Another of the great new additions over the past 10 years, all of the rooms in this casino are suites. The casino is big, but not too big. The crowd is mixed and the atmosphere is good for gambling. The architecture is beautiful and it's a great place to stay if you're bringing a date. This is one of the few casinos without a buffet. Instead, this casino has a great food court with all kinds of food, making it easy to grab a quick bite without taking too big of a bite out of your gambling time. The Grand Lux Cafe is open 24 hours and offers great selections for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Overall, this place seems to cater to couples and a business crowd. With its own convention center, the hotel is overpriced and they gouge you every way possible.
The Brazilian Mardi Gras theme of this hotel and casino contributes to the upbeat and festive atmosphere in the casino. You'll love the outfits worn by the beautiful waitresses. Located off of the strip, all the rooms in the hotel are suites. The casino seems geared towards a younger crowd. You can check out the two clubs - Club Rio and the Voodoo Cafe and Lounge. The Rio has been slipping over the past five years as they're getting more competition for the young party crowd, but it's still a good option. We don't see as many hotties as we used to see, but it still has some decent talent, and the rooms are great. We also like the sportsbook.
New York, New York
This casino and hotel has one of the most unique designs on the Strip. The inside of the casino is designed to look and feel like old streets in the Big Apple. The casino has a festive and bustling atmosphere, though it may be too small for some serious gamblers.
This was by far the most opulent and elegant casino and hotel in Vegas, until of course Wynn built the Wynn. The entire complex is absolutely beautiful. They actually spent over $300 million for the art in this place (though we don't go to Vegas for the art). The atmosphere is upscale and international and the property is loaded with fantastic restaurants. It's great for couples if you can afford the room prices.
Another Steve Wynn creation. It's elegant like the Bellagio, though the Bellagio was probably more groundbreaking when it was built. The Wynn is a great place, but it's overpriced. Stay here if you can afford it and you're bringing a date.
There's nothing spectacular about this hotel and casino, but it's nevertheless worth listing as one of the better places to stay in Vegas. The casino is great for gambling -- not too big and not too small. It also has a great location at the center of the Strip. They got rid of the pirate theme and rebranded it "TI" with more of an adult theme.
Some of the other hotel/casinos worth checking out are Luxor, Paris, MGM Grand and Monte Carlo.
Casinos to Avoid
This place is a dump. First, it's geared towards kids and families with its silly castle theme. It was built in an era where they forgot what Vegas was all about - fun for ADULTS! Also, the rooms are complete crap. Motel 6 is nicer than this place. Stay here only if you have nowhere else to go. If you're thiking of booking it because it's cheap and you plan on bringing your wife and kids, get a life and take them to the damn beach instead.