With millions of visitors every year, the resorts along the Las Vegas Strip are some of the most enduring and popular attractions in Sin City. Their mix of iconic architecture and luxurious spas, dazzling casinos and glamorous nightlife ensure that you’ll never forget what happens in Vegas.
More than 42m people visit Las Vegas annually for the resorts that demark and define the city. From five-star food and drink to sprawling acres of lake-size pools, skyscraping hotels and cavernous casinos, a trip to the Strip offers opulence, extravagance and the occasional bit of debauchery.
Near the northern end of the Strip, below Treasure Island and across the street from the Venetian, is the Mirage: a perfect resort for those who want the Strip experience without the appurtenances of a theme park. Though the pool doesn’t host parties or regular events, its large size makes up for it, especially if you’re traveling with a big group. While here, stop by Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat, which carries on the tradition of its eponymous magicians by providing a place for people to encounter and learn more about tigers and other wildlife.
Located in the middle of the Strip, Caesars Palace is a perfect base for exploring everything Las Vegas has to offer. Famous for being a prominent location in The Hangover series, Caesars attracts both travelers and residents with its solid mix of upscale and affordable entertainment, dining and gaming options. The resort’s Garden of the Gods Pool Oasis offers seven pools, each with a different atmosphere – from family-friendly to the invite-only Bacchus Pool reserved for special guests and celebrities. Cove Beach features a different themed party every Thursday through Sunday.
Known for its Sphinx and its striking light beam that some say is visible up to 100mi or even 200mi (161km to 322km) away, the Luxor is a hotel and casino with distinct architecture. The hotel offers guests amazing views of the Strip, thanks to an elevator that lifts guests at a 39-degree angle to their desired floor. It’s also home to a 30,000sqft (2,787sqm) e-sports facility and one of the largest hotel pools in Sin City.
The Strip is still dotted with the progeny of a 1990s experiment to make Vegas resorts more family-friendly, with notable examples including the Luxor, Excalibur and Treasure Island. But this Big Apple-inspired hotel exudes a surreal verisimilitude that other theme hotels simply can’t match. The kitchens offer a wide variety of food that encapsulates the culinary highlights of trekking around the five boroughs, and the hotel has its own rollercoaster.
One of the Strip’s newest resorts, Park MGM has taken over the parcel formerly occupied by the Monte Carlo. Park MGM’s theater hosts big-name acts, such as Lady Gaga and Cher, while providing a location that’s adjacent to the T-Mobile Arena, home of Vegas’s NHL team, the Golden Knights. The culinary highlight is Eataly, which started as a Florentine marketplace highlighting regional, farm-to-table recipes. The room prices are reasonable, and its location makes it perfect for sports fanatics during hockey season.
The Flamingo is a Las Vegas classic. Opened in 1946 by mobster Bugsy Siegel, the hotel has reinvented itself to offer today’s visitors the opulent experience they expect with nods toward its sordid past. Ask for a room that looks over the inner courtyard to get a view of the resort’s Flamingo Wildlife Habitat that features exotic birds (including flamingoes, of course) and rainforest-like plants alongside the pools. The Go Pool DayClub features live music, tipples and dancing most days.
Everything about the Cromwell screams cosmopolitan sophistication. While it’s teensy by Strip standards, that hardly seems to matter once you’re inside. Its intimate casino and surprisingly spacious rooms have a Parisian jazz-club vibe, and its restaurant, from Food Network favorite Giada de Laurentiis, proffers perfectly executed contemporary Italian fare. The big draw, however, is Drai’s Pool on the rooftop; it turns into a nightclub every Friday, with the party continuing throughout the weekend.
The Bellagio is one of the most respected resorts on the Strip, and with good reason. Its stoic facade and incredible fountain – 1,000ft (305m) with jets of water soaring 460ft (140m) in the air – is the centerpiece of countless movies and television shows, including Ocean’s Eleven(2001). Gold is the order of the day when it comes to decor and, while there are no pool parties, groups can reserve cabanas and circular daybeds to score a perfect spot for people watching by the water.
Visiting Mandalay Bay is like stepping into a tropical world, with a man-made beach, a pool and the Shark Reef Aquarium. With its golden exterior, the resort is a popular hotel that also hosts a large convention center and arena, and an array of bars and restaurants, not to mention a shopping mall with endless options.
The best part of a visit to Vegas is encountering the unexpected, and nothing offers the opportunity to do so quite like the Hooters Casino Hotel. The waitresses – clad in classic Hooters regalia – bring gamblers their drink orders with a complimentary buffalo chicken wing on the side and, although the pool isn’t the party hub found at other resorts, you’ll find a variety of backyard games there, including beer pong and cornhole.