Sluggish Ain’t Bad When You Want a Low Rate

The bright side of lagging economic recovery

Last week plans were approved for a resort called Dynasty that will be built on East Flamingo Road with 794 rooms. Construction is at full-throttle on the north end of the Strip, where SLS Las Vegas will open next year with 1,600 rooms. The $2 billion Resorts World Las Vegas will bring 3,500 more rooms when it debuts. Meanwhile a report by Moody’s Investor Service indicates that a current oversupply of rooms will cause the economic recovery on the Strip to remain sluggish. Sluggish isn’t good for the casino industry, but it’s darn powerful if you’re looking for a deal on a room.

I found that out last week when the Las Vegas Advisor checked prices at 93 area hotels, finding 53 casinos with rates of $50 or less (59 if you count outliers such as Buffalo Bill’s, Railroad Pass, etc.). That’s 57 percent of the sample. Of those 53, 47 had rates of $40 or less, 30 had rates of $30 and under, and four—El Cortez, Hooters, Palace Station and the Quad—were below $20.

Pretty amazing results, but it gets better. Several of the lowest rates were found on or near the Strip. In addition to the $18 rate at Hooters and $19.99 at the Quad, the rate was $26 at Harrah’s, $27 at Wild Wild West, $28 at Riviera, $28 at Circus Circus, $29 at LVH, $30 at Excalibur, $31 at Stratosphere, $32 at Flamingo, $35 at Bally’s, $41 at Luxor and $46 at Planet Hollywood.

Want more? Check out the higher-end: Golden Nugget $42, Monte Carlo $54, Palms (or Palms Place) $59, Paris $59, Hard Rock $65, NY-NY $60, The Mirage $76, Caesars Palace $78, Vdara $84, MGM Grand $90, Trump $90, MGM Grand Signature $92, Aria $109 and the new ultra-posh Nobu $149.

As good as these low rates are, there are even better deals to be had when you consider some of the bundled offers that include resort credits and other add-ons. Last month turned up a $40 rate with a $50 bar tab at NY-NY and an $87 rate (two-night minimum) with a $100 food credit at Aria.

Keep in mind that this list portrays the absolute lowest rate found, even if it was available for a single day in July, so you may not be able to duplicate these numbers exactly. Also, the rates don’t include “resort fees” where applicable (which is most places these days), so most are higher than listed. Still, the list serves as a good road map that points you in the right direction for the bargains.

Interestingly, this year’s survey numbers were almost identical to last year’s, indicating that while things may be improving in a lot of areas, there’s still that problem of too many rooms. I expect things will remain sluggish when the new casinos arrive.