Las Vegas is a city that is constantly changing. Each year new hotels and resorts are built, and older ones are remodeled or demolished. In recent years, the hotel industry in Las Vegas has undergone some major changes. The pandemic certainly had its effect on the Las Vegas hotel industry, but those days appear to be behind us, and there has never been a better time to visit Las Vegas! If you’re planning a trip to Las Vegas in 2022, here are 9 things you need to know about the hotel scene.
01 – Las Vegas is open for business!
If you happened to see those rather apocalyptic-looking photos early on during the pandemic of the Las Vegas strip hotels locked up behind chain-link fences, you might well be wondering if things ever opened back up. Well, let us assure you first and foremost that Las Vegas is fully open for business. While there have been a few pandemic-related casualties in the Las Vegas hotel and casino industry, you can rest assured that all the places you know and love are open.
Additionally, as of early February 2022, the Nevada mask mandate has been lifted, and all of the main casinos are now allowing guests in without masks. Previously, from late July 2021 until early February 2022, Las Vegas hotels had been requiring guests to wear masks. However, on February 10 Governor Sisolak lifted the mandate and all of the Las Vegas casinos immediately followed suit.
02 – The Mirage has been sold
In December 2021, MGM sold its iconic property, The Mirage, to Hard Rock International for just over one billion dollars. Hard Rock has publicly announced its plans to build a 1,000 room guitar-shaped hotel on the Las Vegas strip, but the future for the rest of the original Mirage property remains in question. The sale of The Mirage has been a controversial topic in Las Vegas, mainly because it’s widely known as the father of modern Las Vegas. To learn more about the history of The Mirage, please watch our video on YouTube.
03 – Ballys is being rebranded as Horseshoe Casino
Caesar’s Entertainment announced on January 26 that Bally’s Hotel and Casino will be rebranded as Horseshoe Las Vegas in spring 2022. The rebranding will include an updated casino floor, hotel rooms, restaurants, and entertainment. This is the latest in a series of changes for Caesar’s Entertainment, which has been working to update its properties and attract new customers. It was also announced that this year’s World Series of Poker, which normally takes place each summer at The Rio, will now be held at Horseshoe Las Vegas.
04 – Palms is reopening this Spring
The Palms, which has remained closed since March 2020 and has changed hands twice in the past 6 years, will be reopening its doors in spring, 2022. Known as a locals favorite and party hot-spot, this new version of Palms is breaking ground as the first tribal-owned Las Vegas hotel and casino. New owners the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians may be new to Las Vegas, but not to the gaming industry; their Yaamava’ Resort Casino in Highland, California is the largest casino on the west coast. Rumor has it that emphasis is being placed on making Palms appeal to visitors from Southern California. This sort of value-driven approach will likely reinstate Palms in the upper echelon of local favorites amongst Vegas hotels and casinos.
05 – “O” by Cirque du Soleil is currently the most popular show in Las Vegas
Determining the hottest show in Las Vegas is always a moving target, but you can make a really strong case for “O” by Cirque du Soleil. It’s crazy to think that a show which has been running since October 1998 could still be the most popular show in town, but “O” is such a unique experience. Their pool of “O” is 25 feet deep and holds 1.5 million gallons of water. The show, which features 85 acrobats, divers, and synchronized swimmers, celebrated its 10,000th performance on September 1, 2019. “O” was derived from the pronunciation of “eau”, the French word for water. Not only is “O” an incredible show, but it plays at the Bellagio hotel, and having any excuse to go there is usually a good thing. If you’re looking for “O” tickets and would like to support our blog, please consider shopping on StubHub or Ticket Liquidator.
06 – Best Las Vegas luxury hotels
Although “best” may be hard to quantify here, there are certainly different styles of Las Vegas luxury hotels, each of which caters to a different clientele. If you’re looking for an ultra-modern experience, consider The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Autograph Collection. This hotel offers chic rooms and suites with floor-to-ceiling windows, marble bathrooms, and private terraces. Request one facing the Bellagio for regular fountain shows. A variety of world-class dining options are available, and you can dance the night away at Marquee Nightclub. The central chandelier is always a popular attraction, plus you never know which famous face you may run into.
Encore by Wynn
If you’re looking for all the amenities of a full Las Vegas resort, yet prefer the feel of a premier boutique hotel, look no further than Encore by Wynn. This all-suite hotel offers luxurious accommodations and top-notch service in a relaxing and intimate setting. From the moment you arrive, you’ll be treated to personalized attention from a team of dedicated professionals. Booking with Encore gives you full access to not only all of the Encore facilities but to all of the Wynn facilities as well. This does not go both ways as Wynn guests do not have access to Encore facilities. If you’re looking for the Wynn quality and service level, but prefer less glitz and a more intimate feel, Encore is well worth your consideration.
Nobu at Caesars
Finally, Nobu Hotel at Caesars Palace rounds out our discussion of Las Vegas luxury hotels. This relatively unknown boutique hotel tucked away within Caesars Palace bears the same name as its creator, and well-known sushi chef, Nobu Matsuhisa. The 182 Japanese-inspired upscale rooms have a theme of zen and quiet, with muted colors and natural materials. Amenities include premium linens, robes and slippers, 55-inch flat-screen TVs, Nespresso coffee machines, complimentary Wi-Fi and 24-hour room service. If you’re looking for a luxurious and serene escape from the hustle and bustle of the Las Vegas Strip, look no further than Nobu Hotel at Caesars Palace.
07 – Best Las Vegas budget hotels
When thinking of visiting Las Vegas, many people automatically think of staying on the Strip. While there certainly are good hotel deals to be found there, if you’re looking to save a little coin on your lodging costs you might want to consider staying off the Strip as well. Here are 3 Las Vegas hotel options for the budget-friendly Las Vegas visitor: 1 on the strip and 2 away from it.
Freemont Street Experience
If you’re coming to Las Vegas with more of a gambling or party mindset, and you’re not looking for the biggest shows and fanciest restaurants, you should seriously consider the Freemont Street Experience in Downtown Las Vegas. This part of Las Vegas has undergone a pretty major facelift over the past decade, and some of the best hotel deals can be found here. It’s always a party out on Freemont St and you never know what you might see there. A full stage is set up and it’s not uncommon to see major music acts doing free performances there. You can also take everything in with a birdseye view via the SlotZilla Zipline! There are quite a few hotels to choose from, all of which are within walking distance of the Freemont Street Experience, but some of the more notable ones in this area include The Golden Nugget, The Freemont, and The Golden Gate.
Orleans Hotel and Casino
The other option for budget-friendly off-strip Las Vegas hotels is The Orleans Hotel and Casino. This has been a hotspot with Las Vegas travelers for many years; it’s only about a 5-minute drive from the Strip and they offer regular shuttles to and from. There are many restaurants, entertainment options, and gambling options available. This is one of the more popular poker rooms amongst Las Vegas locals, featuring many daily options for live cash games and tournaments. The Orleans also features a 9,000 seat arena, which is home to the Henderson Silver Knights minor league hockey team, and also hosts many concerts and other live entertainment. It’s quite possible that a visit to The Orleans would include everything you need in your Vegas vacation, and you may have no need to visit the Strip.
If you’re more interested in staying on the Strip and are into the vintage Las Vegas vibe, you should consider Tropicana. There’s a rich history here dating back to the 1950s, but Hilton, the new owners, have done a nice job maintaining the property. Located on the south end of the Strip, you can easily walk across the street to visit MGM Grand, Excalibur, and New York, New York. It’s very clean, provides great entertainment and dining options, and the combination of the “South Beach style” decor with the vintage Chevy in the entrance gives a retro feel that many travelers will appreciate. Prince fans should seriously consider catching a performance of Purple Reign during their visit. The main downsides here are the daily resort fee of $37 (this is common at all hotels on the Strip) and the rooms leave a little to be desired.
08 – Circa offers old school Las Vegas style & hospitality – no kids allowed
Circa is one of the newest additions to the downtown hotel scene. This 777 room adults-only hotel pays homage to the golden era of Las Vegas via vintage design and classic hospitality. Their Stadium Swim attraction is basically a sportsbook, sun deck, and swimming pool all combined into one. You can hang out with friends in the pool, place a few bets, catch the game, and have lunch, all in one place.
Indoors Circa features another enormous sportsbook, where you’re welcome to make table and seating reservations via their website. The hotel rooms at Circa are very modern and nicely furnished, while the casino offers rewards via their Club One program. Food and drink options are aplenty, as one might imagine in an adults-only hotel, but Barry’s Downtown Prime, 8 East, and Saginaw’s Deli are among the standout options. Like most of the larger hotels in Las Vegas, there is a daily resort fee, which in this case is just shy of $40.
09 – The top 2 rewards programs – M Life and Caesars Rewards
Competition for your tourist dollar is higher than ever, so most Las Vegas hotels and casinos have implemented some type of rewards program. Due to their size and stature as the 2 largest hotel corporations in Las Vegas, it makes sense that MGM and Caesars also have the 2 largest rewards programs.
M Life Rewards
M Life is the rewards program from MGM. While there are other locations around the United States where M Life rewards can be earned and redeemed, the scope of this article is specific to Las Vegas, meaning you would be gaining and using your M Life rewards at MGM Grand, Park MGM, Bellagio, Mandalay Bay, and Mirage (while it’s still around). The program has 5 tiers, with set numbers of points required for each:
- Sapphire – 0 credits (this is where you start)
- Pearl – 25,000 credits
- Gold – 75,000 credits
- Platinum – 200,000 credits
- Noir – Invitation only
Tier credits are accrued via gaming, hotel room expenses, dining, entertainment, and spa services. As you move up through the tiers you become eligible for different types of promotions and discounts throughout the MGM ecosystem.
Caesars Rewards is the other top-tier rewards program in town. In addition to Caesars Palace, rewards can be earned at Cosmopolitan, Linq, Harrah’s, Flamingo, Rio, Bally’s (soon-to-be Horseshoe), and any other Caesars property that I forgot to mention. The following tiers are used in the Caesars Rewards program:
- Gold – 0 credits
- Platinum – 5,000 credits
- Diamond – 15,000 credits
- Diamond Plus – 25,000 credits
- Diamond Elite – 75,000 credits
- Seven Stars – 150,000 credits
Like M Life, as you move your way up through the Caesars Rewards tiers you will become eligible for new and different types of promotions, discounts, and rewards. Clearly, the casinos are trying to establish loyalty from you as a customer, but it might not hurt to try out a couple of these programs before committing to one. You may prefer the aesthetics of one company’s properties over another, or the rewards from one might be more compelling to you than the other. Either way, if you “do Vegas” a lot it’s a no-brainer to start racking up points with one of these rewards systems.