Brett Moss is gear & technology editor.
For prospective NAB Show attendees, “where to stay” is always an interesting question. Vets know that Las Vegas has a wide variety of hotels, at wildly varying levels of quality. There is also the ever-present question of location — close to the convention center, on The Strip or “I need a cheap place to crash, I’ll bum a ride to the LVCC …”
And vets also know that waiting until the last minute to book an NAB hotel room is, well, a gamble. Although the city has umpteen jillion rooms (and more coming online with new hotels in the “City Center” complex), in some years it seems the NAB Show can fill the most desirable and the ones left might come at a pretty penny. In other years, particularly when the economy is weak, you can get dream rates even at “official” show hotels.
On the official list, there are a lot to choose from and they fit a variety of budgets.
What are rooms going for this year? Everything from top of the line $200+ a night Caesar’s Palace ($249) and the nicely-located Renaissance Las Vegas ($235) to the equally well-located and sub-$50 Sahara ($43) and still walkable Circus-Circus ($45). And there are the usual suspects in between such as the Riviera ($52, very close to the convention center), The Strip denizens Bally’s ($79), Flamingo ($75), Harrah’s ($75), Imperial Palace ($41), Monte Carlo ($98) and Treasure Island ($99). Official hotels have free shuttle bus service to and from the convention center.
For those a bit suspicious of any official deals or perhaps wanting a bit more distance between themselves and the show crowd, my scan of travel websites such as Expedia, Orbitz, Travelocity, et al. focusing on sub-$100 per night rooms discovered other hotels, some cheap and some nicely located … The prices quoted are subject to change (and possibly not beyond bait-and-switches).
The cheapest lodgings for the April 9–14 period can be found in “downtown” or “old” Las Vegas. The Gold Spike ($22), Las Vegas Club ($28), Fitzgerald’s ($31), El Cortez ($40), Four Queens ($42) and Golden Nugget ($69) are tempting. The quality of the hotels will vary, don’t call me and complain! The Vegas Monorail does not go to downtown, nor do NAB shuttles; so transportation costs could eat into savings. Several of these establishments are also considered to be for the more serious gamblers, not tourists.
Closer to the convention center is the easily-recognized Stratosphere ($55), sort of within walking distance. Palace Station ($36) is also in the area but not walkable and there isn’t much near it.
On the “South Strip” are a number of new and inexpensive hotels such as South Point ($48) or Emerald Suites ($51), some more family-oriented. These are located at the southern end of The Strip (past the famous “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign or before it, depending on your orientation), on the other side of McCarran Airport. If you’ve rented a car and have brought the family along or would simply like to have a less frenetic atmosphere these might fit the bill.
Orleans ($57) and Gold Coast ($50) are hotels of the beaten path, located just “west” off The Strip, yet not too far away if you’ve solved your transpo dilemma. Not much is around the Orleans but Gold Coast is “down the street” from the Rio.
Back up towards the main drag, Excalibur ($50), Luxor ($86) and Tropicana ($63) are familiar faces and considered affordable Strip hotels. Though they lack direct shuttle service, a bus and the monorail can be accessed at the “nearby” MGM Grand. (If you haven’t been to Vegas, be forewarned - nothing is ever really ‘nearby’ or as close as it appears.)
Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall ($76) sits smack between Flamingo and Bally’s so transportation options abound.
Other cheap digs at the southern end include Hooters ($52) and two nongaming establishments (read: much quieter): Desert Rose Resort and Tuscany Suites, both in the $80 range. You’ll have to arrange your own transportation.
Not to be left out are a number of smaller hotels and motels such as the Best Western Mardi Gras ($85), La Quinta ($69) and Terrible’s Hotel ($95), all due south of the convention center on Paradise Road. Needless to say, there are many, many others further out. Got a tip? Share it below.