Quintessential Vegas Stays

By Natalia Kvitek,

Las Vegas is never less than completely over the top with a deliciously dark underbelly that gives the city a bit of grit. Why should your visit to the true city of lights, gambling and partying be any different? These throwback Vegas hotels have the cheese and sleaze down to a T ensuring your stay is as quintessentially Sin City as any trip there should be.


The Gangster Hotel

Typical Las Vegas hotels

The illuminated El Cortez. Photo by Dale C 

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The El Cortez is vintage Las Vegas at its best. The longest continuously running hotel and casino in Vegas was once owned by notorious gangster Bugsy Siegel and retains its historic exterior with modern upgrades to the interior has brought it to 21st century comforts. Get your quarters ready for the slot machines and relax in their Miami styled Cabana Suites while planning your Vegas wedding at the Cortez.

El Cortez bed lounge

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The 61-pound Nugget

Casino hotels in Las Vegas

Try your luck alongside the biggest golden nugget in the world. Photo by Azlan Cuttilan 

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The Golden Nugget revs the old-Vegas glitz & glam ambiance as one of the swankiest places to gamble in town despite having lost the crown for world’s largest casino. Slide into the lagoon swimming pool and swim next to a three-story shark tank. The hotel houses the largest single golden nugget in the world weighing in at 61lb and 11oz. You’ll be right in the hustle and bustle of Fremont Street and many rooms sport fabulous views overlooking Freemont Street.

The Golden Nugget Vegas shark tank close up

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The Antiques Roadshow

Main Street Station Las Vegas

A fascinating interior decoration inside the Main Street Station. Photo by Thomas Hawk

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The atmosphere at The Main Street Station is basically an antiques roadshow: carved-oak fireplaces looted from Scottish castles, chandeliers from a Parisian Opera House, bronze doors that once welcomed visitors to the Kuwait National Bank, and the showstopper– the Berlin Wall urinals in the casino. While the casino revels in its Old World mishmash, the hotel rooms are elegantly appointed and modern to give your senses a rest while you catch up on sleep.

Main Street Station Vegas seating area

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The Local Haunt

Party with locals in Las Vegas

Get down and dirty with Las Vegas at Sam’s. Photo by Thomas Hawk 

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Sam’s Town is where Las Vegas locals visit to let their hair down. A few miles from the lights of the Strip on the Boulder Highway, this Wild West hotel has an 18-screen movie theater and 24-hour bowling alley. The big draw is the surreal indoor park, Mystic Falls, the best people-watching light and water show in town. This is definitely a family-friendly hotel and free shuttles to the Strip and Downtown mean you can leave the car in the parking lot and focus on having a good time!

Sam's Town Vegas Mexican Restaurant

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The Place to Forget

Artisan Hotel Las Vegas

Photo courtesy of Artisan Hotel

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If their Facebook albums say anything, it’s that The Artisan is THE place to have a good time in Vegas. While the exterior looks nothing out of the ordinary, it hides a Gothic lair full of statues, candlelight, marble and reproductions of famous paintings hanging from dizzying angles. Keep in mind this hotel has a no-children policy, a topless-friendly pool and all night parties. Watch the sunrise from their patio — what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas after all.

The Artist Vegas guest room Queen

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The Air-Guitar Mansion

Hard Rock Hotel Las Vegas

Welcome to the Kingdom of Rock. Photo by Thomas Hawk 

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If you’ve come to Vegas to rock out, do it at The Hard Rock Hotel. The onsite concert space has played host to some of Rock ‘n’ Roll greats like Def Leppard, Mötley Crüe and Kiss. No one big playing while you visit? No problem- the rock memorabilia is reason enough to visit, as is the swim-up blackjack and the outrageous party atmosphere.

The Hard Rock Hotel Vegas lagoon

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The Hard Rock Hotel Vegas living roomThe Hard Rock Hotel Vegas restaurant lounge


Mystical Caribbean on the Strip

Fun hotels in Las Vegas

Set sail for Treasure Island. Photo by Jessica Diamond 

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Treasure Island is friendly and unpretentious and smack in the middle of all the lights of Vegas. While the hotel has grown out of its Jolly Roger pirate theme slightly, the hotel and casino has solidified its landmark position on the Strip over time. If shows are what you’re after, grab tickets for Mystère — the longest running permanent Cirque du Soleil show in Las Vegas — which runs at TI.

Treasure Island King bed

Photo courtesy of Treasure Island