Greetings all! I recently returned home from my fourth trip to Las Vegas.  I was there for Eddie’s brother’s wedding.  This was the first trip to Vegas for Eddie and his immediate family, so I felt like an old pro. Unfortunately, I picked up a gnarly chest cold somewhere in between Vegas and Chicago and am starting to feel not so great.  While I normally would grin and bear it, this is particularly bad timing as you can read about here.

Each time I’ve been to Vegas, I stay at a different hotel.  I never wonder, “what hotel should I stay at in Vegas?” because I usually just pick where my friends stay.  While each one has been fabulous, they all have their own personalities.  While most other trips or vacations are so little about the hotel and so much more about the surrounding city or town and culture, Vegas is the complete opposite.  Ideally, your hotel in Vegas is where you will spend the most time and where you will enjoy yourself the most.   Depending on what you are looking for, here are my recommendations for hotels in Las Vegas .

One of the Best Hotels in Vegas to Stay for a First Timer…..MGM Grand


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Outside the MGM Grand, photo c/o Tip Kilby

MGM Grand is one of the top three largest hotels in the world. Across multiple towers and complexes, there are 5700 rooms and suites available at the complex.  A glittering emerald building set at the beginning of the strip, it is one of the iconic and most happening hotels in Las Vegas.  Prior to the construction of T-Mobile Arena, MGM Grand hosted many boxing events and became synonymous with the sport.  What I like most about it is that it is so huge that you can find something new to explore everyday.  A walk through the hotel is not for the faint of heart.  There are various high-end shop, mid- to high-priced carry out food options, and excellent gourmet dining fare.  Personally, I like Morimoto and Joël Robuchon the best, but I have yet to meet a Japanese or classic French restaurant that I don’t like.

Additionally, I appreciate that there is always a buzz abounding at the MGM Grand.  Whether it is a Calvin Harris night at Hakkasan, a Cirque show or the Jabbawockeez, the energy at MGM Grand is unmistakable. If you like that non-stop energy to continue to the pool, Wet Republic is an option, but I tend to enjoy a quieter pool experience.  Luckily, the main pools are quiet enough to enjoy a lazy lounge, but also include drink and food service.

One of the Best Hotels in Vegas to Stay for the Bachelor/Bachelorette…The Cosmopolitan

The Cosmopolitan is the “it” hotel of Las Vegas.  If you’ve seen their clever and risqé commercials, you know that one of the most striking aspects is the level of modern design put into the hotel. While most of the hotel rooms in Las Vegas are a bit dark and rarely see the light of day, the Cosmopolitan’s rooms are bright and opulent.  You know what else?  Have you ever heard that rumor that hotels in Vegas don’t have balconies in order to keep their insurance liabilities down?  Well, the Cosmopolitan appears to dispel that rumor as there are plentiful balconies throughout the complex.

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The world’s largest chandelier at Chandelier Bar c/o Top Vegas Condos.

What makes this hotel stand out is that it is a titan of opulence in a city known for being over the top.  The largest chandelier in the world is housed at the Cosmopolitan at the Chandelier Bar, pictured above.  Then there is Marquee Dayclub and Nightclub.  No matter if it is daytime or nighttime, this over the top venue has world class DJs on the decks at all times.  Looking for some lively pool time with less people? Check out the Boulevard Pool on the fourth floor.  For an utterly relaxing pool get together, the Chelsea Pool lacks the noise and the hubbub of the other two.

One of the Best Hotels in Vegas to Stay for a Rat Pack Experience…The Mirage

The Entrance to the Mirage c/o Vegas for Brits

When I think of Vegas, I think of the movies and the mystique of it.  Not only do I think of the wild parties and staying up all night, but I think of the old school Rat Pack movies. I think of decor such as thick smoke, dark lighting, heavy furniture and lots of gold. The Mirage embodies all of that and more, with 80’s glam and palm trees abounding.  Meant to have a Polynesian theme, The Mirage is not full of tiki bars. Instead, it has tasteful torches, and pools with waterfalls and rock installations to make it feel more tropical than the Nevada desert. P.S. There is even a topless pool called Bare for any adults into that sort of thing. RHUMBAR, a delightful cocktail lounge, has plentiful mojito iterations and fruity drinks.  Additionally, the layout of The Mirage made it seem like the casino was always crowded, always had a crowd around the craps tables.

To me, the best part of the Mirage is the Beatles theme running throughout the property.  A hit since 2006, Cirque du Soleil’s Love delights crowds with acrobatic feats all to remastered Beatles’ hits.  For a Beatles fanatic like me, there is nothing better than seeing the Fab Four and Beatles merchandise throughout the hotel.  Beyond the show, restaurants like Carnegie Deli and Tom Colicchio’s Heritage Steak are of different calibers but equally exemplary in their own way. For a late night out, 1 OAK‘s Las Vegas location at the Mirage is just as exclusive and fun as its New York City contemporary.


One of the Best Hotels in Vegas to Stay for Anxious Travelers and Families…The Bellagio

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View of the Bellagio Fountain

I cite a disclaimer as the best hotel in Vegas for someone with an anxiety disorder is not going to be on the strip. It would be off the strip, without a casino, and a very quite and relaxing place.  As far as the people I’ve encountered, no one wants to stay off the strip even if the only reason to visit is for a conference.  The hotels, while one on top of the other, take so much time to walk to and through that it’s best to stay at the hotel in which you have an event or show. So, my recommendation for a hotel on the strip is the Bellagio.

Walking into the Chihuly adorned Bellagio is a treat. With high ceilings and a gorgeous, Italian styled atrium, even with crowds, the entrance is airy.  While going through the casino and toward the primary hotel tower is smoky and dark, guests can bypass this entirely by staying in the Spa Tower.  An entirely non-smoking area of the hotel, it is a bit brighter and has a fresher smell to it.  Even better, you can access the pools without having to walk through the casino.

The pools at the Bellagio are so peaceful and serene, there is no more soothing outdoor area on the strip. No music, plentiful umbrellas and misters; it really is a calm pool in a city known for its parties.  With four pools, two of which are excellent for laps and two of which are fountains, there is enough room for all guests.  Note: the pool that is out of the sun the longest is the one directly across from the pool café, past the rotunda.  Specifically, the chairs near cabanas five and six are out of the sun the longest.

The most majestic part of any stay at the Bellagio is the regular viewing of the fountains.  Running every 15 to 30 minutes based on the day of the week and time of  day, the fountains provide a visually stimulating show without the noise or commotion one expects with Las Vegas.  While the music that the fountains are set to is avilable on a dedicated TV channel at the property, it is not necessary to hear it while viewing.

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Bellagio Fountains at night

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Pin Me! Where to Stay in Vegas Based on Why You’re There