Affordable lodging in Las Vegas leaves more $ for fun!

Vegas, Baby!

Vegas, Baby!

Vegas, baby! Two words that mean good times, a 24-hour party atmosphere, the chance to win big, and, of course, the chance to spend even more! The cost of shows, meals, gaming, and simply getting there can add up, so saving on lodging can be one way to get the most out of your Vegas dollar.

Let’s face it — you’re going to Vegas to be just about anywhere but your hotel room, so it’s a perfect opportunity to cut your costs. Since Vegas hosts more than 150,000 hotel rooms, searching for a deal isn’t a problem. We shop around for a hotel room that adheres to Rick Steves’ philosophy:  never sacrifice sleep, nutrition, safety, or cleanliness in the name of budget!

We’ve enjoyed three different properties in Vegas over the past few years that offered a great value. Each offers its own benefits — location, amenities, discounts, and freebies — all at a fraction of the price charged by the big boys on the strip. Here’s the lowdown on each!

El Cortez, Downtown Las Vegas

Downtown Vegas's El Cortez Hotel

Downtown Vegas’s El Cortez Hotel

The El Cortez may not win big props from the jet-setters living it up in the heart of the Strip, but we thought it was great. Just a block or two from the Fremont Street Experience, the El Cortez is in the newly renovated Fremont East entertainment district. Nightlife abounds just outside the doors of the El Cortez, and the casino, bars, and restaurants inside harken back to old Vegas — in a good way.

Our $40 room was spacious and clean if not modern. Service throughout the property was thoughtful and accommodating. We loved the old-school casino, where low-stakes tables and slots were easy to find. Parking was free, our diner-style breakfast was tasty and affordable, and the coupon book included with our room offered about $10 in casino play and a free cocktail along with a $10 restaurant credit. The only thing lacking was a swimming pool.

We’d recommend the El Cortez to anyone looking to soak in the downtown Vegas experience while saving  a lot of money on lodging.

Riviera, Las Vegas Strip

Poolside at the Riviera

Poolside at the Riviera

At the north end of the Strip, the Riviera markets its longevity and history as a classic part of Vegas. It offers inexpensive rooms, several dining options, live entertainment, a large gaming floor, and an inviting pool area complete with an outdoor bar and cabanas for rent.

Our $65 room was modern and clean if not spacious. Hotel and casino staff were helpful and welcoming. Parking was free, and a coupon book included with the room offered discounts around the complex. The highlight of the property was the pool area, contained in a large palm tree-lined courtyard and complete with deck chairs galore.

We’d recommend the Riviera to anyone looking to keep the heart of the Strip within walking distance while saving save some money on lodging.

South Point, south of the Strip

Winning big at Vegas's South Point

Winning big at Vegas’s South Point

About five miles south of the Strip, but still on Las Vegas Boulevard, is the South Point resort complex. South Point offers one-stop shopping for resort goers — multiple restaurants, a huge gaming floor, and large, comfortable, modern hotel rooms.

Our $90 room was well-appointed, large, clean, and modern. We’ve traveled to South Point twice for family reunions, and our rooms have been big enough to comfortably host ten people for happy hour while including the ubiquitous coupon book. Parking is free, restaurant choices range from a Steak ‘n’ Shake and an oyster bar to family style dining to an upscale steakhouse, the sports book and gaming floor are huge, and the pool area is fantastic.

We’d recommend South Point to anyone looking for a reasonably-priced casino resort experience. Traveling in a group that wants to spend time together? Don’t want to spend a lot of time on the Strip? Have a designated driver or plenty of cash for cab fare to and from the Strip? South Point is for you!

We’d stay at any of these properties again, choosing one depending on the time of year or who we’re traveling with. Keep an eye out for us — if it’s summer, we’ll be poolside with piña coladas in hand!

Enjoy your week or your weekend!

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