Travel Fanboy

Episode #60 – Your Budget Hotel Options

In this epsiode of the podcast, I discuss our budget friendly hotel options from from South to North. I focus on properties with an average nightly room rate around $100, give or take. What are the different qualities for each one? What would or would not compel me to stay? That’s what I briefly note below. As always, would love your feedback. Let’s start with the perennial favorite:


  • Location can be an issue, but connected to great restaurants at Mandalay Bay.
  • Great service at the craps tables.
  • Pool is serviceable.
  • Upgrade to Tower Rooms is suggested.


  • Cheapest on the main drag.
  • Basic brown rooms reflect that.
  • Upgrade to contemporary rooms are cheap and a must.
  • Perpetually low limits on table games.
  • Pool also serviceable.


  • Probably the most frustrating resort for me.
  • Nice pool.
  • Location a big issue for me, with no indoor access to any other resort.
  • No ‘X’ factor to bring me in. Doesn’t do anything bad to keep me away, but there isn’t anything that brings me in.

Monte Carlo

  • Used to be a favorite for a lot of people.
  • Underrated pool.
  • Turning into an upscale property.
  • RIP


  • Pushing the upper bounds of our price threshold, but can usually find a sale for around $100 without the resort fee.
  • Decent pool.
  • Comfortable rooms.
  • Open, easily navigated casino.


  • Probably my favorite of the budget hotels.
  • Some Vegas nostalgia with updated rooms.
  • Great pool complex for the price.
  • Low gambling limits.
  • Casino gets a solid “meh” from me.
  • Terrible in house dining, but made better with quick access to the Linq Promenade.


  • Another favorite and one of the best deals on the Strip.
  • Fresh, updated rooms, although small.
  • Serviceable pool.
  • An improved modern, albeit bland, casino.
  • Great location with tons of food options.


  • Basic rooms are a bit drab.
  • Highway motel inspired pool.
  • Casino could use a bit of a refresh, but typically busy with low limits.
  • Location is a big plus.
  • Piano bar and Big Elvis entertainment. So, it’s got that going for them.

Casino Royale – Best Western Plus

  • I don’t know what the “Plus” refers to.

Circus Circus

  • No.


  • Obviously, location is challenging.
  • Low limits for table games and even nickel video poker.
  • The restaurants aren’t bad and you get a great view at the top.
  • Decent pools with cheap cabanas.


Every hotel downtown qualifies for our budget friendly demands. Here are a few of the standouts to me:

Golden Nugget

  • The only true resort: expansive casino, pool, spa.
  • The priciest basic room downtown.
  • Carson rooms (basic) typically almost twice as expensive as most other downtown rooms.

Downtown Grand

  • Review on the site. We all know my thoughts.
  • From Beerdiva on the review post:

We stayed in the casino tower last year. The room was awesome, but the low floor facing the biker bar wasn’t fun at closing time. Also, the noise from the Third Street Stage funnels through to DTG. There are ear plugs in the room for a reason. But any veteran downtown guest is use to the noise.

One perk I liked was the free coffee in the commissary.

When we were there, the pool wasn’t overrun with kids, so you could actually relax. It was kind of windy up there, but it was still more relaxing than the Golden Nugget’s pool.

Of the rooms I’ve stayed in downtown the DTG was second only to Rush Tower, but a bit cheaper.

El Cortez Cabana Suites

  • I’ll be trying on an upcoming trip
  • Inexpensive modern rooms across the street from El Cortez proper.
  • Usually a great deal < $80 and gets consistently positive reviews.
  • Check out Vegas Tripping’s review to see more.

The D

  • Updated rooms are well received.
  • Popular casino which is always a party.
  • I’ll also be trying on my upcoming trip.
  • Pool is essentially a large, chlorinated bathtub.


  • Rooms also somewhat updated.
  • New pool is promising.
  • Casino could use some TLC.

Those are the hotels I’m most interested in. That’s not to say that you can’t find great deals at more upscale resorts. I also don’t mean to neglect other Downtown properties. These are simply the ones that I find are the most comfortable or have the most potential for a future stay. Let me know what you think. Big thanks to everyone for the discussion related to this on Twitter and FB. One thing is clear, many of us have a favorite. I think it’s great. Ultimately, if you find a place that makes you feel welcome and you enjoy. Stick with it!


Host of the Vegas Fanboy podcast. A reluctant Millennial. An amateur human.