Where Should I Stay?

Aria Lobby

Choosing where you stay is more important than you may think.

This is probably the question I’m asked most. “Where do I stay?” Some Vegas folks will say it doesn’t matter because you’re just “sleeping there.” But resort location, amenities, and cleanliness matter to most people.

Aria has been my resort of choice since opening over ten years ago. The resort is just now starting to show some wear, particularly in the rooms but they are still more modern, clean, and comfortable than the other MGM properties. The pros include the restaurant selection featuring Carbone, the pool located on the plaza level which is one of the few resorts that allows you direct access to the pool without having to traipse through the casino floor, an excellent spa, very good service, and the casino was designed to filter the cigarette smoke better than other casinos. Some of the cons are that it is a hike to get to the strip, they no longer have a coffee shop option for a quick meal, and the costs have been rising often more expensive than the Bellagio. The Vdara is a great smoke-free all-suite option adjacent to Aria and Bellagio. It is a slightly inconvenient five-minute walk to Aria. On our last trip, Vdara guests had access to the Aria pool. The Vdara pool is a decent option but it is small, can crowd quickly and because of the way it was built the sun reflecting off the building onto the pool makes it almost unbearable on 90-degree summer days.

ParkMGM also adjacent to Aria has developed into a great place to stay. The pros are that ParkMGM is the only smoke-free resort on the Las Vegas strip, has a nice pool complex, and has great restaurants including Bavettes Steak House, Primrose Cafe’ and the large Italian food experience (just too good to call a food court) Eataly. If the rates are fair, I would highly recommend the top two floors of ParkMGM, the NOMAD hotel with slightly more luxurious rooms and better amenities. The major con for both ParkMGM and NOMADare the small rooms.

Of the other places I’ve stayed, I really enjoyed The Mirage because of their incredible pool and the Luxor for its value. Both are iconic resorts on the strip. I liked The Bellagio but don’t recommend it based on the cost and the tourist traffic which makes it nearly impossible to get to your room, pool, etc…

Just as important are the places NOT to stay. I would advise never staying at Circus, Circus, Excalibur, or The Strat.


I’ve had the pleasure of staying at many resorts on the Vegas Strip. I haven’t nor do I have any plans on staying at any off-strip or downtown properties so I haven’t weighed in on any of those properties. I prefer the vibe of the strip. Below is my general opinion of the strip properties. The cost can vary but consistently the most expensive rates are at the Wynn/Encore. The Strat, Circus Circus, and Excalibur are the least expensive (for a reason).

$- cost

@- where I’ve stayed/my rating taking into account value.





Bellagio @@@@

Aria @@@@@




Nomad (part of ParkMGM) @@@@

Cosmopolitan (recommend!)



Mandalay Bay@@


Planet Hollywood @@




MGM Grand @@



The Flamingo

The Linq (stayed when it was IP many years ago)@


TI (stayed many years ago)@

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