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Las Vegas – despite its reputation and the general crowd it draws – has become one of my favorite destinations to visit. It’s not that I love the excess or indulgences; in fact, I mostly find those mystifying or funny. What I love most about Las Vegas is that you can, as Kurt Cobain says, “come as you are.”
Whether you’re fresh from a day of outdoor adventure, in town for a work conference and want to discover local gems (like one of my favorite tiki bars), or want to travel the world without packing your passport, Vegas has something for everyone – and is willing to cater to anyone.
That includes your accommodation options – there’s really a place to stay for everyone visiting Vegas, whether you’re on a budget or willing to splurge, looking for a calm base or want to be in the heart of the crowds on the Las Vegas Strip.
If you’re struggling to decide where to stay in Vegas, never fear. Here are some of my favorite places to stay in Las Vegas, and I’m confident you can find at least one that fits your travel style and budget – whatever that may be.
In this post, I promote travel to destinations that are the traditional lands of the Nüwüwü (Chemehuevi) and Nuwuvi (Southern Paiute) peoples. With respect, I make a formal land acknowledgment, extending my appreciation and respect to the past and present people of these lands. To learn more about the peoples who call these lands home, I invite you to explore Native Land.
1. Park MGM
Hands down my absolute favorite place to stay in Las Vegas is the Park MGM, though you’ll notice as you read the rest of this list that the Park MGM is perhaps the most understated of any property on the strip. It’s not flashy, it’s not pretending to be somewhere else in the world. Instead, it’s designed to promote wellness from the foundations up – yes, wellness. In Las Vegas. I know, and I love the contradiction!
See, the Park MGM is designed with rich green and verdant tones throughout; it’s literally designed to bring nature indoors. It’s also the only smoke-free casino on the entire Las Vegas Strip (as of 2022) which just makes you feel better since you’re not breathing in toxins as part of your vacation.
The rooms are also designed for wellness with air purifiers, white noise machines, blackout curtains, water filters, and aromatherapy machines. Seriously, this place is so relaxing that you might feel stressed about however much you lose on the slot machines.
The Bellagio is home to one of the most famous sights of Las Vegas – the dancing fountains. Every evening huge crowds of tourists congregate at the center of the Las Vegas strip to watch the dazzling, colorful water display right in front of the Bellagio; imagine admiring them from your room before drifting off to sleep.
Inspired by an Italian villa – perhaps on the banks of Lake Como like its namesake – the Bellagio is one of those properties that makes you feel as though you’ve traveled without all the hassle of passport control and customs. The Bellagio’s stunning façade matches its neoclassical Roman interior to create an environment of luxury and majesty.
Despite being a bustling hotel with over 4,000 rooms and a casino (naturally), the Bellagio is anything but congested and fraught. From check-in to check-out, the experience is seamlessly streamlined with every effort made to make you feel as comfortable and relaxed as you might after a week of drinking Italian wine and soaking up the Mediterranean sun.
3. The Palazzo at the Venetian
Vegas just can’t get enough of Italy! There’s the Bellagio, Caesar’s Palace, and the Palazzo/the Venetian (two sister properties). But hey – I’m not complaining; it’s much cheaper to visit Vegas than Italy with gas prices as they are, and I am personally quite charmed by the bizarre alternate reality that the Venetian encloses within its walls with the indoor canals, starry skies, and Italian town squares surrounded by incredible restaurants.
In any case, if you have to choose between the Venetian or the Palazzo, go for the latter. This is the newer and higher-end of the two sister properties, even if that’s not the official company stance or marketing strategy. The Palazzo has stunning suites that look out over the Strip with plenty of marble and comfortable couches after a long day on the casino floor. In the event you get hungry, there are – as mentioned – incredible restaurants including some of the best Neopolitan-style pizza I’ve had outside Naples at Brera Osteria.
Okay, so we’ve explored Italy a bit without declaring any goods to Italian border agents – now let’s take a turn for left field. The Cosmopolitan is leading this movement with unrivaled glamour, luxury, and style; they have the most bizarre advertisements of any Las Vegas hotel and that makes them stick out in my mind.
Unlike the classical style of Vegas Strip hotels like the Bellagio, at the Cosmopolitan, designers focused on cutting-edge interior design to give this resort a striking and engaging décor. The creative prowess of the designers is clear to see throughout the resort, but perhaps nowhere more than the themed Alice in Wonderland seating area – as I said, they embrace a “through the looking glass” and “down the rabbit hole” aesthetic!
5. Paris Las Vegas
If Italy and Wonderland aren’t quite your style for immersive accommodation, you don’t have to look far to see the French influence on Las Vegas. You can’t miss the famous Eiffel Tower replica; it’s connected to the Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino. Gallic charm was at the forefront of the designer’s minds here which has resulted in a resort with a quaint European charm to it.
You can relax and unwind here before going on to enjoy the cobbled streets and starry ceilings of the resort. The quality of the design is such that you will begin to feel as though you’re wandering through the streets of Paris. In recent years, there was a $100 million renovation of the Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino The best addition for guests to have come from this investment is the Voie Spa & Salon.
If you like the Strip but it’s perhaps a bit much for you, try looking further up Las Vegas Boulevard for other accommodation. Among the glitz and glamour of the new casinos that keep popping up, there are a few gems from Vegas’ earlier days; the SAHARA is one of those properties that will remind you of Sin City’s legacy (and seedier past).
SAHARA was built in 1952, making it the second-oldest casino hotel on Las Vegas Boulevard, though for a time it was called “SLS.” (The oldest is the Flamingo, which unfortunately feels its age if you ever stroll through the casino floor.) The SAHARA has undergone extensive renovations and updates in the last two years, redesigning the hotel’s façade plus keeping it fresh for guests inside who want a different perspective on Las Vegas without giving up any of the amenities.
Today you can stay in one of 1,615 guest rooms and explore the 60,000 square-foot casino floor. Like many hotels and casinos in Vegas, SAHARA has everything you might need in one building – and at a very reasonable price since it’s not in the heart of the Strip’s hustle and bustle.
7. Green Valley Ranch
So far I’ve been entirely focused on hotels along the Las Vegas Strip – and I’ve barely scratched the surface of your options. However, there is life beyond the strip in Las Vegas… and there are casinos and hotels that aren’t on the strip too. For a calmer, quieter, and more relaxed trip, try out Green Valley Ranch in Henderson, about 30 minutes south of the Vegas most people see (the only part of Vegas most people see!).
The architecture, ambiance, and style of the Green Valley Ranch pay subtle tribute to the Spanish missionaries who set up missions and rancherias in the Golden State next door (California). There are all your expected standard amenities, but because it is off-strip and has more real estate to enjoy, the highlight of Green Valley Ranch is sand beach at the pool which is perfect for the kids.
Green Valley Ranch also offers a free shuttle to the Strip, in case you need to see the Welcome to Las Vegas sign or see those Bellagio fountains.
Obviously, this barely scratches the surface of all the Las Vegas hotels you can choose from – but it is a good starting point for deciding where to stay in Vegas. Have any questions about these properties, or other ones you’re considering? Let me know in the comments.
Special thanks to sustainable travel expert Paulina from Paulina on the Road for contributing to this post.
Some photos courtesy of Booking.com and the respective hotels; please do not redistribute.