IMG 4770The MGM Grand Casino Hotel is exactly that. Grand! It’s an ummistakable presence on the Las Vegas Strip - a huge emerald green building that’s impossible to miss. Just seeing it at night, glowing green, near the South end of Las Vegas Boulevard, excites me, because I know all about the world of fun waiting inside! As their slogan states, they are The Entertainment Authority!

When my Vegas obsession first began, the MGM Grand quickly became my favorite hotel. I’ve stayed there many times and have always enjoyed it. I’ve always been treated exceptionally well by the staff and have returned countless times with friends in tow, so that they could experience this first rate hotel along with me.  The MGM Grand recently finished a massive renovation of the casino, clubs, restaurants and even hotel areas.  I've already seen many of the changes and they have just made a great property even better!

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DSCF2807Coming hot on the heels of my disappointing stay at the Flamingo, I wasn’t sure what to expect from the Mirage. I was certainly hoping for better, and this tropical oasis of a casino hotel definitely delivered...and then some! I enjoyed my stay at the Mirage very, very much and even now, often find myself thinking about it and how much I’d like to return.

Opening in 1989, the Mirage was built by Steve Wynn. The theme is said to be French Polynesia. I just think of it as lush and tropical, yet very modern. You’ll find nods to it’s theme everywhere - from the grass-roofed environment of its porte-cochere, to the brass mermaid statues that flank its main entrance, to the huge aquarium behind the check-in desk, which holds nearly 1000 different sea creatures. Of course, the feature that the Mirage is best known for, is its erupting volcano out front. I remember in 1995, walking up the Strip all the way from the Luxor and waiting anxiously in front of the Mirage, just to watch the volcano do it’s thing. It was impressive then, and now, with a renovation in 2008, it’s as impressive as ever...maybe even more so. The final blast of flame is pretty massive and worth the wait!

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CHi-DSCF2564The Tropicana Casino Hotel is one of the oldest properties on the Las Vegas Strip. In a way, it’s also one of the newest properties on the Strip. The Tropicana originally opened in April of 1957. In the last year or so, however, it’s been undergoing an extensive renovation and the results are amazing!

When I first saw the Tropicana casino, it was a dark, rather shabby, old-school style joint that looked as if everything was coated in layers of old cigarette smoke residue. Now, with a sleek new porte-cochere, gleaming white marble foors in the casino, new drop ceilings, sconces and soft, pretty overhead lighting fixtures, the whole place has opened up and feels bright, airy and happy. It’s a huge turnaround!

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DSCF2773I wasn’t sure what to expect when I booked a room at New York New York Casino Hotel, near the South end of the Strip, adjacent to the MGM Grand, Excalibur and the Tropicana. I had heard that the layout of the hotel itself could be a little confusing. I was also concerned about staying in a hotel with a roller coaster thundering by outside my window. As it turns out, I ended up loving my stay there and wouldn’t hesitate to stay there again!

I booked a room at New York New York in February of 2011, when I was going to join a friend of mine, who was coming specifically to see Cher’s closing night show at the Colosseum. I wasn’t interested in seeing the show, but I thought it would be fun to hang out in Vegas with my friends.

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DSCF2743The Aria is currently one of my favorite Las Vegas hotels. It’s only been open a little more than two years, and I joke with friends that it still has “that new hotel smell”. It’s impressive, it’s immense, it’s modern, state of the art, elegant, luxurious and quite comfortable. The service and surroundings are impeccable and the staff is knowledgeable and helpful in every way. I’ve never had a bad stay at the Aria and I recommend it very, very highly!

 

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Ballys 1304My stay at Bally’s Casino Hotel was perfectly fine. Not one of my best stays in las Vegas, definitely not one of my worst. It was comfortably adequate. The room was not fancy, but the price was right!

Located at the intersection of Las Vegas Boulevard and Flamingo, Bally’s has a very distinctive look. The hotel towers are bathed in a cool blue light, while the moving walkway from the Strip to the entrance, is wrapped in neon and resembles the ball launcher of a gigantic pinball machine!

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 IMG 5035My stay at The Flamingo Casino Hotel was, shall we say...troublesome.

 Originally opened by Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel in 1946, The Flamingo is the oldest resort on the Las Vegas Strip still operating today. Since then, it has been renovated many times, with four hotel towers eventually built on the property. Some of the most recent updates have occurred only in the last few years.

Whenever I’m looking to visit Las Vegas yet again, I’ve always noticed that the Flamingo seems to have some of the most reasonable rates in town. In writing my pieces for MVO, I want to appeal to people with varying budgets, so I decided to try the Flamingo and see if I really got value for my dollar. I was happy with the price of my hotel/airfare package from Vegas.com, but when it came to my actual stay, I was really let down!

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DSCF2466I like The Luxor. I like The Luxor a lot. I will always have a soft spot in my heart for The Luxor. When I first began making regular trips to Las Vegas, The Luxor was my go-to hotel. I love it’s pyramid shape and sleek black exterior. I love the LED lights that outline the edges of the pyramid itself, once night falls. I love the huge, bright beacon of light at it’s apex. To me, it’s just a fabulous, iconic hotel.

I also find that The Luxor generally has very affordable rates.

The Luxor’s standard rooms, I’ve found, are comfortable, if not glamorous. The beds are comfortable, there are fairly spacious armoires, featuring an ancient Egyptian motif, and nicely tiled bathrooms with glassed in showers.

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