Directly across Las Vegas Boulevard from the enormous Caesar’s Palace property, you’ll find a new, very modern resort and casino that has actually been there for years.  Welcome to The Linq!  

Formerly known as the Imperial Palace, the building’s exterior resembled a large pagoda, with recessed neon lighting giving it a pleasant blue glow.  The decor was Asian in nature, and the casino had a fun, funky vibe.  One of its claims to fame were the “dealer-tainers” - cast members from the Legends celebrity impersonator show that had been trained to deal blackjack - “Janet Jackson” or “The Blues Brothers” might be dealing your hands, and would often mount a platform in the middle of the pit, to perform.  

While the casino was likable, however, the guest rooms were another story - shabby, with outdated fixtures and no actual closets; only bare shelves and a bar on which to hang clothes.  The bathrooms had cracked mirrors, dingy, yellowed marble around the sinks, and inadequate showers.  After staying there, I called it a glorified Motel 6.  

Well, all of that has changed for the better!  In 2013, after massive renovations, The Linq opened officially.  Gone is the pagoda, and in it’s place is a sleek silver façade featuring a huge LED “vortex” of shifting colors and patterns, and enormous LED screens advertising the attractions found inside.  And while the property may have lost some of its boisterous charm, the new interiors boast clean lines and bright colors, making it feel adult and contemporary.

Due to a delay in my flight, I arrived at The Linq later than expected.  Luckily, it was still early in the day, and the line for check-in wasn’t long.  I requested a room with a Strip view, and the nice woman behind the reception desk found me one, but warned that it faced an alley between The Linq and Harrah’s, with a stage on which live bands played every night until 3 am.  She then offered me one toward the back of the hotel, with a nice view, but more importantly, it would be quiet!

I had a Deluxe Room with 2 queen beds, and a wonderful view of The High Roller, the 550 foot observation Ferris wheel behind the hotel.  The decor was spare, but modern and new, with a streamlined wall unit, which included desk space.  There was a 47-inch flat screen TV, a comfy chair and small table, a mini-fridge, and an efficient closet unit, with a pastel blue velvet curtain to hide it from sight.  The bathroom was small, but designed for efficient use of space, with a sliding door, and a shower done in an almost European style - only a half-wall of glass separating it from the rest of the room.  Luckily, there was also a shower curtain to prevent splashing.  Overall, the room was not exactly luxurious, but it was very comfortable, clean, and thoughtfully appointed.

Downstairs, the casino’s cream colored marble floors divided up the 118,000 square feet of gaming space, with vivid red carpeting adding pops of color everywhere.  Directly across from reception, was 3535, Las Vegas’ only infusion bar, featuring a variety of flavor infused liquors, and cocktails like the Wat-A-Pear, with watermelon and rosemary infused vodka, the El Fuego, with mango-citrus and jalapeño infused tequila, and the Chai Peanut Butter Cup, which is a must-try!  Restaurants include Chayo Mexican Kitchen + Tequila Bar, and Hash House A Go-Go, home of “twisted farm food!”  Nightlife options include Brooklyn Bowl - an 80,000 square foot bowling alley, music venue, nightclub, and restaurant combined, and O’Sheas - an Irish themed “casino within a casino” with live music, an outdoor bar, and host Lucky the Leprechaun!  For old car buffs, there’s The Auto Collections - an exotic car showroom featuring over 250 antique and historic automobiles.  Anyone looking for shows will find the magic of Mat Franco, the comedy of Jeff Civillico, or Frank Marino’s Divas Las Vegas, the best drag revue I’ve seen, with Marino as the late Joan Rivers, and a cast of female impersonators portraying Britney Spears, Madonna, Cher, Lady GaGa, and Tina Turner, among others - a spectacle not to be missed!

Need to recover from all the fun?  Try the newly refurbished Linq Pool, featuring lily pad daybeds, cabana rooms, and events like Champagne Sundays, or the Spa at The Linq, a soothing space where you can be pampered with massages, body treatments, facials, or a session in their Himalayan Salt Therapy Cave, which is not only relaxing, but helps with respiratory ailments like asthma.

Lastly, there’s the Linq Promenade, an outdoor shopping and entertainment plaza, with casual eateries like The Haute Doggery, food shops like Starbucks and Sprinkles Cupcakes, retail outlets like Pier 30 and 12 AM Run, and of course, the High Roller Ferris Wheel.  The Promenade is a great place for food, fun, and people watching!

I had a terrific stay at The Linq - cocktails at 3535, late-night dinner at Hash House A Go-Go, Frank Marino’s fabulous drag revue, and a comfortable, quiet room.  I even won some money at one of their slot machines!  The only warning I’d give potential visitors, would be to arrive early in the day, to avoid long lines at reception.  Beyond that, however, I’d recommend The Linq for anyone who wants to stay in the heart of the Strip, and affordably, at that!