Booking a Room in Las Vegas
Sunday, May 2, 2004
Anytime you book a hotel room you're taking a gamble. In Las Vegas, you're taking a gamble before you gamble.
Sin City is home to tens of thousands of hotel rooms, from the poshest of the posh to the how-did-I-get-myself-into-this-mess dreadful. As could be expected, the room you end up in depends on where you want to be located and how much you're willing to pay.
Those fabled $25 rooms? Still there, but almost always in the downtown area, where you'll find ancient hotels sorely in need of an upgrade and with labyrinthine, smoky casinos.
The wide thoroughfares running parallel and perpendicular to the Strip (Las Vegas Boulevard) are lined with dozens of low- to mid-priced chain hotels (Embassy Suites, Fairfield Inns, etc.), budget casino offerings (Palace Station, Greek Isles and the like) and some high-falutin favorites (Rio, Palms, Hard Rock Hotel). At Lake Las Vegas, a newish development about 17 miles from the Strip, luxe properties ring a man-made watering hole and command top dollar.
Then there's the Strip itself, where prices vary widely. Rooms at the Stratosphere, at the northern tip, can sink to $30 a night or so on a quiet week, while the mid-Strip Bellagio can easily top $300 -- as can Mandalay Bay, which anchors the Strip's southern point.
Here's what you need to know before booking Vegas.
Getting a DealEven pricier digs can be had for a discount -- if you know where to look and when to go. Some suggestions:
Opt for a less-flashy,
If you want to be near the deluxe properties but not pay top-drawer prices,
To pick a time to visit, check rate calendars on hotel Web sites to see which weeks are less expensive; it usually holds true for other properties. One good source is the Luxor calendar (www.luxor.com).
Given a choice between a
If you're feeling lucky, try a hidden-provider travel site, such as www.priceline.com or www.hotwire.com (the hotel name is revealed after the price is accepted). Check www.biddingfortravel.com to get a feel for winning bids on Priceline.
Double-check before you leave to