Las Vegas has evolved beyond its Sin City reputation, and today it’s a destination that truly offers something for everyone. In other words, you don’t have to be a gambler or a “Vegas person” to have a blast. Prefer to geek out over food and drinks? They’ve got you covered. Enjoy live performances? There’s plenty of it and it’s world-class, ranging from the ballyhooed Adele residency to a recent short run of mind-bending improv by Lin-Manuel Miranda. Nature lover? Red Rock National Conservation Area, Spring Mountains National Recreation Area, and other natural wonder are nearby.
Over the last half decade or so, professional sports teams (hello, Golden Knights, Raiders, and 2022 WNBA Champion Aces) have turned even transient Vegas residents into die-hard fans. And then there are the art exhibits from the world’s biggest names: Akhob, a one-of-a-kind installation from artist James Turrell, sits in the back of the Louis Vuitton store at CityCenter and is one of the hottest tickets in town.
This eclectic mix characterizes the city’s ever-evolving hotel scene, too. Whether you’re seeking a sprawling resort with multiple restaurant concepts, a stand-alone hotel with views of sublime desert landscapes, a boutique hotel with a hip urban vibe, or an intimate pied-à-terre vibe that celebrates design, these seven Las Vegas hotels serve up winning hands for every kind of Vegas vacationer.
Upon first glance, Circa Las Vegas revolves around sports betting: There’s a three-story sports book in the on-site casino and the pool deck features giant TV screens on one side and tiered, stadium-style pools and lounge chairs on the other. But the first new casino Downtown in more than 50 years also celebrates Vegas history: The design harkens back to Old Vegas dramatics, with art deco lighting in the high-limit areas of the casino and images of old-school gamblers inside the elevators. Owner Derek Stevens has even given a new permanent home to Vegas Vickie, a two-story neon kicking cowgirl who once graced the nearby stretch of Fremont Street known as “Glitter Gulch.” Vickie presides over an open foyer, seemingly nodding at guests as they wander around the casino.
Guest rooms at Circa—512 in all—have dark wood accents and carpets with geometric art deco motifs. Rooms in the Flex King category are equipped with king-size beds and couches that disappear when a second Murphy-style bed is pulled down from the wall. (Travelers who value selfies swear by the floor-length mirrors flanked by Green Room–style lighting.) Floor-to-ceiling windows offer epic views of either Stadium Swim or the Fremont Street Experience, a covered pedestrian walkway that forms the cultural and entertainment center of Downtown and was the main drag in the Vegas of yesteryear until the destination expanded with mega resorts to the south. The hotel also is a short walk from the unmissable Mob Museum, which offers a peek into the history of organized crime and runs a moodily lit speakeasy bar in the basement.
With award-winning restaurants such as the rustic Italian Esther’s Kitchen and epic dive bars like the Silver Stamp, the Arts District has emerged as the place for locals looking to unwind and visitors who want to live the way actual Las Vegans do. (Needless to say, most locals avoid the Strip.) The adults-only The English Hotel, named after founding partner and celebrity chef Todd English, offers the area’s swankiest accommodations. Visitors who aren’t into gambling will appreciate that there’s no casino here, and for points travelers, the hotel is part of Marriott’s independent Tribute Portfolio collection. All 74 guest rooms are minimalist with neutral tones; each has a stocked bar cart and an open chifforobe for hanging clothes. Bathroom showers have an ingenious hole in the glass wall so guests can turn on the water without getting soaked.
One of the Arts District’s buzzier restaurants is the English’s own Pepper Club. Since chef English set the place in motion in the spring of 2022, the upscale Japanese and Mediterranean restaurant (English was careful not to call it “fusion”) is now under the auspices of chef Roman Allen Sarmiento, who specializes in sushi platters with fish flown in fresh multiple times each week. Sarmiento also has his own sake business—ask for a taste of his special dry elixir at the bar.
Award-winning chef Nobu Matsuhisa spent most of the 1990s and 2000s growing an empire of Japanese restaurants around the world. These days he’s expanding his global portfolio of hotels, too. This ultra-luxurious property, which occupies a separate tower inside Caesars Palace, was the first Nobu Hotel in the world when it debuted in 2013. It set the tone for the hotel group’s signature Japanese-inspired aesthetic that feels simultaneously traditional and modern. Refreshed in 2022, the 182 guest rooms draw design inspiration from kintsugi, the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with gold epoxy. Corridors feature carpets with patterns inspired by suminagashi —the Japanese art of paper marbling. For those who favor smaller-scale boutique hotels, this hotel-within-a-hotel concept here makes the place feel intimate—not unlike a Japanese ryokan.
The over-the-top design experience begins at check-in, which happens in a diminutive stand-alone lobby decorated with hand-hewn wood blocks. Elevators automatically read your floor with a scan of a room key, a nice touch that surprisingly hasn’t caught on elsewhere around this hospitality-minded town. Of course, adjacent to the lobby, there’s also a Nobu restaurant—the largest in the world. The restaurant offers teppanyaki-style dining where chefs prepare every course right in front of you, along with classic Nobu dishes such as miso black cod and yellowtail jalapeno sashimi.
NoMad Las Vegas
Oak hardwood floors. Pedestal tubs. Leather headboards. The vibe at NoMad Las Vegas, a 293-room boutique hotel on the four top floors of Park MGM, is notably learned and laid back—a cross between modern Greenwich Village and vintage Paris. Everything about the scale of this hotel encourages tête-à-têtes—it’s also a great spot for solo travelers looking to sip a glass of wine with a book. This aesthetic extends throughout the rest of the NoMad-branded hotel. The on-site restaurant, NoMad Library, has real tomes on real bookshelves. The NoMad bar hosts a one-of-a-kind live jazz brunch every weekend. Even the NoMad Casino feels highbrow: The ceiling is lined with Tiffany’s signature floral patterned stained glass, a vestige of the property’s former life as the Monte Carlo, evoking an exclusive European gaming salon.
One of the other draws of this hotel within a hotel: the broader Park MGM casino is smoke free, making it a haven for travelers who don’t want to deal with the haze of cigarette and cigar smoke. The property also is a short walk to T-Mobile Arena, home to the locally beloved Las Vegas Golden Knights; it also hosts concerts throughout the year (upcoming March 2023 headliners include Stevie Nicks and Depeche Mode). NoMad is the closest of the hotels on this list to Allegiant Stadium, where the Las Vegas Raiders play.
Not too long ago, the Palms Casino Resort, just west of the Strip, was synonymous with “Oops! I Did It Again”-era Britney Spears and the Playboy Club that attracted porn stars from all over the world. That changed when the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians bought the place in 2021, and the property became the largest Native American–owned hotel-casino in town. Since then, the San Manuel have restored the coolness factor the Palms enjoyed in its early aughts heyday. The Playboy Club is gone, but the famous themed suites got a refresh and are as mind-boggling as ever. The Hardwood Suite famously has an NBA-caliber basketball half-court and a full locker room, while the Kingpin Suite is designed around two bowling lanes. The Cinema Suite contains a screening room with theater-style seating and a full movie screen.
In addition to the specialty suites, Palms has 1,365 guest rooms, all recently renovated. Accommodations in the Fantasy Tower were designed with muted tones, while the ones in the Ivory Tower are more colorful and feature modern art on the walls. Ghost Bar, a cocktail lounge on the 55th floor, offers epic views of the Strip; it’s not as hopping as it was in the 2000s, but it still offers live entertainment every weekend.
The off-Strip Red Rock Casino, Resort & Spa, a locals’ favorite, is named after the government-managed wilderness to the west of the resort: The Red Rock National Conservation Area. The expansive tract of ochre-colored rocks and desert is only a 10-minute drive from the hotel’s main entrance. From various trailheads along the park’s scenic drive, visitors can head out for hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking, and horseback riding, depending on the season. For the less adventuresome, the Red Rock hotel is a short walk to City National Arena (where the Golden Knights practice), the Las Vegas Ballpark (where the Las Vegas Aviators AAA baseball team plays), and Downtown Summerlin, which is essentially an outdoor shopping mall. It’s possible to spend a long weekend here and never see the Strip at all.
The 796 spacious guest rooms, with floor-to-ceiling windows, rival any of those on Las Vegas Boulevard, and feature sumptuous bathrooms with jetted tubs. The Villa Suites even have their own pools and patio areas ideal for private sunbathing. The 25,000-square-foot spa is a destination unto itself; it offers a variety of treatments and fitness classes, as well as group coordinators who can help plan spa days in conjunction with friend getaways.
When it opened in June 2021, Resorts World Las Vegas became the newest casino resort on the Las Vegas Strip—a title it will hold until the Fontainebleau Las Vegas opens at the end of 2023. The hotel, owned by a Singaporean company, has established a reputation for its food and beverage options. The star of the show is Crossroads Kitchen, the first fully plant-based fine-dining restaurant in town, with such highlights as a “foie gras” made of chestnuts and a vegan caviar made of kelp. Another standout is Brezza, an Italian juggernaut from local slow-food celebrity chef Nicole Brisson. The food court—dubbed Famous Foods Street Eats—is designed to replicate a Singapore hawker center; most dishes are woefully overpriced but include delicious versions of Hainanese chicken rice and laksa curry soup.
Accommodations at Resorts World—3,500 guest rooms in all—are divided into three different Hilton brands. The Hilton has the smallest rooms and a minimalist design. The more upscale Conrad offers larger accommodations and contemporary-feeling furnishings with splashes of red. At the top end is Crockfords, where the guest rooms are practically palatial, featuring dark tones, plush fabrics, and luxurious seating areas perfect for social gatherings. Food-obsessed travelers take note: You can use the resort’s app to order room service from any restaurant on the property.