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The VICE Guide to Vegas Hotels

Want to eat like a high roller, be hungover in peace, or party like Mötley Crüe? TikTok’s ultimate Vegas expert gives us the lowdown on where to stay.
Hilary Pollack
Los Angeles, US

There might not be a single other city in the world—or at least America—as singularly built for partying as Las Vegas, Nevada. If you’ve been there, you know: It’s a staggering playground of slot machines, cheap drinks, free drinks, expensive drinks, huge drinks, fancy drinks, pool parties, unabashed kitsch, and world-class restaurants. There are steakhouses, Elvis impersonators, high rollers, grifters, limousines full of bachelor parties, and hotel conference rooms full of bored salespeople who can’t wait to black out tonight and hook up with their colleagues. All of this is to say that it can be overwhelming and overstimulating, to put it lightly. 


But with so many options can come analysis paralysis—that condition by which having so many choices makes it that much harder to make a decision, and the first step in planning your Vegas trip is picking your hotel. The range is incredible; if you want to stay in the most opulent penthouse suite you’ve ever laid eyes on, complete with bowling alley, private hot tub, and personal butler, you can do that (and pretend you and your friends are the cast of The Real World); if you want to save all of your money for the craps table, you can also find a perfectly serviceable, albeit frill-free, room for a price in the ballpark of 20 bucks a night.

Unlike Hunter S. Thompson, you will not need (nor can we soundly recommend) “two bags of grass, seventy-five pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high powered blotter acid, a salt shaker half full of cocaine,” etc., etc., in order to have a good time in Vegas. All you need is the attitude that even if everything goes tremendously and terribly wrong, you’ll probably emerge with a great story. (Isn’t that the entire premise of The Hangover?) But regardless of what happens (and stays) in Vegas, you should strategize about where you want to stay before heading to Sin City.

To compile the ultimate VICE guide to the best Vegas hotels, we consulted a TikTok expert that truly has the piping hot, whiskey-spiked tea on all things Vegas. Jennifer Gay, aka Jen G., is the face and voice of @VegasStarfish, a cross-platform guide to partying, sleeping, dining, and exploring Vegas with all of the granular, behind-the-scenes info you could possibly need, from the super-sick speakeasies to the scary spots to avoid. She’s ventured through the depths of the city’s finest and most luxurious hotels and restaurants… 


…As well as spelunked through the grodiest spots, and found out which hotel reputations are well-deserved and which are misaligned with reality. (Pro tip: The steakhouse at Circus Circus is shockingly great.) 

Before she was a resident Vegas expert, Jen was a journalist in crime reporting and competitive poker, so her investigative skills are top-notch. She truly knows it all—which is why she was the perfect person to consult for pro tips about the Vegas hotel circuit. 

We spoke to Jen to get the ultimate, ultra-informed takes on where you should lay your head after a night of pizza, poker, tequila shots, Korean barbecue, drinking a yard drink at Wabo Cabo Cantina, getting kicked out of the Bellagio fountain, drinking three more yard drinks, making out with a stranger, losing all of your friends, befriending a bride-to-be, scoring a free ticket to see Criss Angel, and passing out in your hotel room bathtub.

But if you’re not a hard partier, do not sweat it, pal—we also asked for recs for travelers who are begrudgingly celebrating a friend’s birthday or bachelor(ette) party, travelers who want a soothing environment for a gnarly hangover, and travelers who are in Sin City to eat like Anthony Bourdain, not drink like the cast of Jersey Shore. “I have this theory that there’s no bad choice because every hotel fits a need. And your need might be the Tropicana, you might need like a $30 room and a place to crash,” Jen says. “If you’re a young visitor in your early twenties and you’re just coming out here to party, the room quality isn’t as important. But I always tell people that the only bad choice is Circus Circus.” Noted! (Although to reiterate, we will be stopping in for the steakhouse for ribeye and creamed spinach.)


Read on for the real deal-guide to Vegas hotels, from an expert who knows them inside and out. 

For the Vegas-goer who wants to feel rich: The Bellagio

What Jen says: “The Bellagio just feels like iconic old-money to me. The rooms are getting a little dated now, but if you want to feel the rush of awe of Vegas, like, ‘This is why we come to Vegas,’ the Bellagio is classy. It’s a Chanel handbag, it’s a Burberry scarf. Bellagio is always the right answer, and it’s not always the most affordable or the most accessible, but if you’re looking for that iconic, carry-with-you-for-the-rest-of-your-life moment, it’s dining at Spago behind the Bellagio fountain. If you’re looking for the most beautiful photo opportunities, it’s going to be the seasonal Conservatory & Botanical Gardens, and the most beautiful indoor brunch is going to be at the Sadelle’s overlooking the Conservatory. The Mayfair Supper Club is [also] amazing. If the answer is Bellagio, you’ve made the right decision.”

What we say: Come with your personal Ocean’s Eleven crew of ride-or-dies, wear something nice, and watch the water show in the fountain at the end of your night for a little cinematic wistfulness. Also, shoutout to the amazing Dale Chihuly blown glass sculptures that set the vibes the second you walk in.


Book The Bellagio at,, or Travelocity

Lowest price for a room right now: $169/night at 

For the crew of friends on a budget that just wants to play the slots, explore, and throw back cheap drinks: New York-New York Hotel & Casino

What Jen says: New York-New York is a higher-end budget property, and they have a lot of affordable and mid-range bar options. [A lot of people] kind of dig the old-Vegas-style theme. It’s also essentially located next to The Park, which is an outdoor space where there’s open-air sports bars, cornhole, and it’s next to the T-Mobile Arena where the Vegas Golden Knights play. There are good Thai places to eat, and there’s an open-air Italian food court at The Park right across the street. So it’s just kind of like an inexpensive chill place where you can grab a beer, watch a game, casually play some slots, have a slice of pizza, low pressure. But you can still smoke in New York-New York, if that’s relevant. Although I do feel like smoking is going away soon in casinos.”

What we say: Ride the Big Apple roller coaster, but do not take psychedelics before riding the roller coaster. 

Book New York-New York at,, or Travelocity

Lowest price for a room right now: $49/night at 

For a big group of annoying, drunk party animals, i.e., a bachelor or (bachelorette) party: LINQ or Caesars Palace

What Jen says:LINQ is dead-center Strip, it’s cheap, and you can get a suite there for probably just a couple hundred bucks. At the LINQ, everyone’s drunk—in the pool, everywhere, everyone’s drunk all the time. But [more importantly], it’s on the LINQ promenade, which is this great, not-expensive place where you can go get the stupid daiquiri drinks in the big plastic containers. The main reason to stay there is you walk out and you’re right in the middle of The Strip, so you can be drunk in public because we don’t really have open container laws here. LINQ is your obnoxious, scream in your room at 3 a.m. and no one is going to care OR call the police on your behalf hotel.


“My [other] inclination for my drunk friends would be Caesars Palace, but I feel like Caesars definitely doesn’t want to be branded that way, [even though] it’s what most tourists imagine when they think of Las Vegas: the tacky, the over-the-top, the garish. It’s also a beautiful property; it’s just so packed with people. The Bacchanal [buffet] is good, but it’s also booked a month in advance and $75 a person, so it’s borderline a fine-dining restaurant at this point. LINQ is also [a Caesars] property, and they do want to be branded that way. That’s your party hotel.”

What we say: If we’re going to Vegas, we are going to want one of those three-foot-tall frozen daiquiris, and our friends can be obnoxious, so we’re booking the LINQ (or Caesars) for our next debaucherous outing with the most hedonistic dumbasses in our friend group (whom we love!). 

Book LINQ at,, and

Lowest price for a room right now: $33/night at 

Book Caesars Palace at,, and

Lowest price for a room right now: $85/night at 

For the traveler who wants to stay somewhere new, shiny, and loaded with amenities: Virgin Hotels Las Vegas

What Jen says: “The Virgin Hotel [used to be the Hard Rock Hotel], and opened during COVID. They have some amazing restaurants, and they’ve really done a lot with the pool and turned it into a super cool beach club. So, if you get the chance to visit, rooms are dirt cheap because they’re struggling—not because they’re bad at all, but because they haven’t put what they needed to into marketing it properly, and they’re not working with influencers at all.” [Editor’s note: Please take us to the influencer-free hotel, thank you.] 


“But the food on this property is excellent. The restaurant at the pool is called Élia Beach Club now, and it’s like an open-air, Miami-style beach club where you can eat and drink while overlooking the pool. And the pool is very beachy, music-festival type vibes—I like the aesthetic there. I like everything about this hotel. They have the best opportunity ahead of them—the Virgin is one of the most underrated spots at that price point in the city right now.”

What we say: We were huge fans of the Hard Rock Hotel in Vegas, and the Virgin hasn’t just carried the torch; it’s elevated the vibe. Make sure to grab a cocktail in the Shag Room.

Book Virgin Hotels Las Vegas at,, and

Lowest price for a room right now: $96/night at

For the crew that just needs a cheap place to sleep, but still wants somewhere clean, comfortable, and bed-bug-free: The Flamingo or Excalibur

What Jen says: “For the people that are just looking to crash, Flamingo. It’s cheap, you can sometimes get rooms there for $17, $18, $19 a night. The pool there is 21-and-over for the Go Pool DayClub. It’s a fantastic party pool. You know, it’s not fancy. Everything hasn’t been renovated probably since the 80s, but it’s clean, it gets the job done, the rooms are large, there’s a lot of pink theming. It’s a great location—it’s right in the middle of the Strip. And it has that gorgeous neon sign.


“Also, everyone shits on Excalibur perpetually, but Excalibur is a much better hotel than people want to give it credit for. It’s super clean, they fully renovated in 2018, and it’s got all the furniture from Mandalay Bay in it now. It’s actually quite nice for a $20-per-night hotel.”

What we say: The Flamingo has live flamingos and parrots, although according to Jen, “all the flamingoes right now have bird flu, so they’re sequestered wherever they take the flamingos until they all get healthy.” (We wish the flamingos a swift recovery.) If you stay at Excalibur, don’t miss Thunder From Down Under, the Australian version of Magic Mike, where a bunch of greased-up bohunks will give your prudest friend a public lapdance. What more could you want? 

Book Flamingo at,, and

Lowest price for a room right now: $33/night at

Book Excalibur at,, and Travelocity

Lowest price for a room right now: $35/night at

For the person who loves old-school Vegas kitsch: The Golden Nugget

What Jen says: “The Golden Nugget in downtown Vegas, because you’re walkable to the Fremont Street experience and all of the old Vegas casinos, but it’s upscale. It’s also affordable. I think a night there is around 79 to 100 bucks. Fremont Street, in general, is cheaper. It is a nice hotel, with great food options, but it very much feels like old Vegas. And the swimming pool has sharks in it, which is cool.”


Book the Golden Nugget at,, and Travelocity

Lowest price for a room right now: $59/night at

The person who wants to go on an over-the-top food crawl: Resorts World

What Jen says: “This is a hot take that will piss people off, but Resorts World—the [newly opened Conrad-Hilton property]. Everyone is shitting on Resorts World, and they’re like, “Ah, it’s so sterile, it doesn’t fit in.” Resorts World is the hot chick that just transferred to the high school and no one wants her to sit at their table, but it’s amazing. I think that everyone who’s hating on it is hating on it because it’s new and doesn’t really fit in yet, but that hotel is going to be like the Wynn, the Cosmo. The food is so good, they have an infinity pool that is stunning—the resort and the pool complex are amazing. 

“What I really like about Resorts World is they have everything. They just opened Crossroads, which is a high-end, fine dining [vegan restaurant], all plant-based. They have this steakhouse there, Carversteak, that is fantastic. There’s a great Mexican restaurant; there’s a great sushi spot; they’ve got Fuhu; it’s Asian-fusion and it’s so good. You definitely want to go up to the Alle Lounge on 66, on the 66th floor of the Conrad Tower. It’s this amazing, beautiful lounge that serves small plates, and they have an open-air balcony where you can see the entire city from the 66th floor. I’m actually doing a foodie tour there at 5 o’clock today.”


What we say: We can’t wait to check out Here Kitty Kitty Vice Den, a speakeasy tucked away behind a wall in a convenience store in the Resorts World mall. Also, don’t miss Psycho Las Vegas, a music festival returning to Vegas this August where you can watch bands like Suicidal Tendencies, Mayhem, Carcass, Warpaint, Emperor, High on Fire, and Bone Thugs-n-Harmony perform at Resorts World’s venues (including at the pool stage). 

Book Resorts World at Resorts World Las Vegas,, and

Lowest price for a room right now: $84/night at

For the person who needs a soothing vibe because they’ll be mercilessly hungover: Park MGM

What Jen says: Park MGM is non-smoking, so it smells really nice in there and there’s a lot of windows and sunshine. If you’re hungover, you’re not going to wake up and go downstairs and smell whiskey and cigarettes. I would also go with Park MGM specifically because of the Eataly there. You can go to Eataly starting at like 10 or 11 a.m. and get charcuterie, or a glass of wine, or espresso, chocolate, pastry, just all kinds of Italian deliciousness that would be good hangover food. They also have a noodle bar and delicious less-expensive options as well. What I also really like about it for the person that is perpetually hungover is it’s connected to Aria through indoor corridors. Park MGM is cool, affordable, and mid-range, not-too-expensive. Although their rooms are [somewhat] basic, you’re really close to everything that is exciting without paying the price. And I love that it’s smoke-free.”


What we say: We are always hung over in Vegas, so this is very good to know if we want a hotel where we can just stumble downstairs to eat fancy charcuterie and tiramisu. 

Book Park MGM at,, and Travelocity

Lowest price for a room right now: $59/night at

For the traveler looking for a great pool party where they won’t get roofied: The Venetian

What Jen says: “Let’s play this one safe. TAO Beach Club at the Venetian comes in with the best health rating for their water level, and they recently renovated. It’s super fun, super classy, [and has] excellent security.”

What we say: Come for the bonkers pool party, stay for the gondola rides through the Venetian’s insanely immersive, Disneyland-like elevated lobby. 

Book the Venetian at,, and Travelocity

Lowest price for a room right now: $127/night at

For the person in search of ~*~ambiance~*~: The Wynn

What Jen says: “The Wynn. It is stunning. And if you look at the properties that Steve Wynn personally developed in our city—Mandalay Bay, Mirage, Bellagio—all of his properties have the same thing in that they have a lot of natural lighting and a lot of plants. The Wynn is the only four- to five-star hotel full property [casino and resort] in the city, and the way that they got that designation was to fulfill a bunch of really ridiculous criteria—there must be a live plant in every single room on the property. Even the elevator lobbies have a live plant. There’s a whole horticulture team and dudes whose entire job is to walk around at night and gently wash the leaves on live plants. It’s intense.


“The other thing about Wynn that I love is that you’ll see furniture scattered throughout the property, but everything is functional. It’s very much like adult Disneyland in that [way]. You’ll never see glasses and trash sitting around because they’ll put [hidden trash] bins inside furniture, and then someone comes along and then collects the bins. [Also, instead of] the typical, horrific Vegas carpet that’s designed to make you avert your eyes so that you focus on gaming, they have this gorgeous red carpet that’s got giant rainbow butterflies on it. I feel like when you step into Wynn, you’re stepping into a place that’s not really in Vegas, it’s like its own planet. They really try to court international guests, and it shows in their food, too. [There are] so many amazing restaurants, like Delilah. I’m pretty sure, like, Justin Bieber has to be waitlisted to get in there. If you give any indication that you’re going to see a celebrity, they won’t let you in—you have to act chill so if Kit Harington’s sitting next to you, you don’t really care.”

What we say: The Bellagio is where people think they’ll see celebrities; the Wynn is where you’ll actually see them. 

Book Wynn Las Vegas at,, and Travelocity


Lowest price for a room right now: $195/night at

For the person who’s here to have sex all weekend (or at least feel like they might): The Cosmopolitan or the Cromwell

What Jen says: “The best boutique hotel is Cosmo, but I don’t think it’s necessarily under-the-radar. [So, the] Cromwell, probably. It’s adults-only, and it’s [essentially] a sex hotel, so it’s all like black leather and mirrors and stuff. It’s a very tiny property with a night club on the roof, and it’s centrally located. Cromwell is probably your best, adults-only boutique hotel that’s not Cosmo. But Cosmo is amazing. [Its vibe is] sexy, mysterious, black leather and lace. Debauchery.”

What we say: Nothing kills a weekend of boning like being surrounded by screaming children, so Cromwell’s adults-only policy gets a big thumbs up for those going to Sin City in pursuit of a little classy, kinky escapism. 

Book The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas at,, and Travelocity

Lowest price for a room right now: $160/night at

Book the Cromwell Las Vegas at,, and

Lowest price for a room right now: $81/night at

For the person in search of the best music residency or magic show in Las Vegas: Park MGM, MGM Grand, or Resorts World

What Jen says: “I love when Gaga is in residency here; she comes and goes, but she has an ongoing relationship with Park MGM, and so there’s a free Gaga museum inside Park, which is amazing. She really likes NoMad restaurants and bars, so you can run into her there frequently. [Sometimes] if she’s in town, she’ll get lit and go play piano and sing [at the bars], and it’s just amazing. Like, I’ve run into her at least six times. She’ll let you know [she doesn’t want to be bothered] because she’ll have sunglasses and a scarf on, but then after a few drinks, the sunglasses and scarf come off and she’s singing and playing.

“Another residency that people sleep on is Silk Sonic, at the MGM Grand. People don’t realize that that’s Bruno Mars because it’s his collaboration, and he doesn’t want to promote it as Bruno Mars, but they give away tickets to that show because people don’t go see it and, you can find it on the seat filler websites quite often. Both Gaga at the Park MGM and Silk Sonic at MGM Grand are excellent residencies. Resorts World is doing big things in the music sector as well. They are rotating Carrie Underwood, Katy Perry, and Luke Bryan right now. And, although none of those are necessarily my specific forte of music, they are world-class, over-the-top shows in a fantastic amphitheater. 


“[For magic shows], I love Penn and Teller because they’re really funny [and kind of] trash everybody. And it’s smart-funny, so it’s more than just like, ‘Look at this!’ It’s the only reason to go to the Rio, unless you’re just really into feral cats. The other really good one right now is Shin Lim at Mirage. He’s a young [guy] from America’s Got Talent, and he's wildly talented and very contemporary. No one should see Criss Angel ever. He’s the only magician in town who thinks it’s okay to turn off the lights to finish a trick… so bad.”

What we say: If we are strongly advised against getting Mindfreaked, we will happily bounce around Vegas trying to run into drunk Gaga. 

Book MGM Grand at,, and Travelocity

Lowest price for a room right now: $65/night at

Book Mirage at,, and Travelocity

Lowest price for a room right now: $69/night at

There you have it—the most comprehensive guide to Vegas hotels that any and every VICE reader could ever need. Whether you’re looking to sip piña coladas by the pool, black out by the slots, or eat Michelin-star-worthy cuisine, there is truly a lid for every pot—and every form of hedonism.

Check out more of Jen’s tips, tricks, and secrets of visiting Las Vegas by visiting her TikTok, Instagram, and website,

This story is part of The VICE Guide to Las Vegas, a no-holds-barred journey through the skanky desert jewel of the U.S.A.

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