Staying For Cheap on the Strip (Is Not For the Faint of Heart)

The Riviera Vegas

The Riviera Vegas

Las Vegas is easily one of my favorite travel destinations, a fact easily supported by my recurring visits (I’m up to eight now!) That being said, Vegas is not the best place to plan a cheap vacation. An ideal trip to Sin City includes fine dining, high end shows and plenty of shopping, all of which requires some serious moolah. And that doesn’t even include hitting the tables!

One of the easiest ways to cut costs during a Vegas holiday is stay in an inexpensive hotel. Unfortunately most of the cut-rate motels are located off The Strip and you end up spending a fortune on high priced taxis. However, there are a few hotels and casinos on The Strip you can book for under $50 a night, provided you stay Sunday through Thursday.

Just make sure your expectations are sufficiently lowered. These are not five star resorts.

Riviera Hotel and Casino

The Riviera may be one of the most well know and widely filmed casinos in the world. It opened on April 20, 1955 as the first high-rise on the Las Vegas Strip and has gone through many owners over the years, including Mafioso, two of the Marx brothers and Dean Martin.

In July of 2010, the Riviera filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy as they had lost $4.5 million in the first quarter of the year. The decline in popularity of the Riviera in Las Vegas was caused in part by a decline in pedestrian traffic in the vicinity of the casino and partly due to a shutdown in the construction of the adjacent Fontainebleau Resort Las Vegas and Echelon Place.

The 58-year old hotel has really begun to show its age.

  • Pets allowed
  • Wireless internet connection in public areas
  • Central Strip location
  • Free comedy show
Guest Complaints:
  • Parking garage difficult to find
  • Outdated
  • Discourteous staff
  • Guests often automatically booked into smoking rooms and forced to pay for an upgrade.
  • Casino and rooms smell bad
  • Dark hallways
  • Surprise resort fees at check-out

Excalibur Hotel and Casino

The Excalibur

The Excalibur

When Excalibur opened on June 19, 1990, it was the largest hotel in the world with over 4,000 rooms and covering over 70 acres. Originally designed as a theme resort featuring medieval themed statues and scenery, the Excalibur has lost most of its identity as part of a modernization project.

The Excalibur is home to the Tournament of Kings, a medieval jousting tournament that includes a banquet feast. The show has had a continuous run since it’s opening – which coincided with that of the casino – in 1990.

  • Heated Pool
  • Free Parking
  • Enjoyable Shows
  • Clean Rooms
Guest Complaints:
  • Outdated
  • Rooms far from parking
  • Guests constantly hassled by people selling time-shares

Luxor Hotel and Casino



Thanks to its fascinating architecture, the Luxor is one of the most iconic casinos on the Las Vegas Strip. At the time of the casino’s opening in October of 1993, it was the tallest building on the strip and contained 2,526 rooms. In 1998, a theater and two additional hotel towers rooms were added.

Much like the Excalibur, the Luxor was originally a themed resort and featured a Nile River Tour and King Tut’s Tomb and Museum. In July 2007, plans were announced for a $300 million renovation that would remove much of the ancient Egyptian theme and replace it with more adult-oriented and modern lounges, restaurants and clubs.

The casino is home to the Luxor Sky Beam which is the strongest beam of light in the world. On a clear night, the Sky Beam is visible up to 275 miles away by aircraft at cruising altitude.

  • Heated Pool
  • Free Parking
  • Lovely Architecture
  • Beautiful Pool Area
Guest Complaints:
  • High fees for early check-in
  • Elevators (also known as inclinators) are in poor working condition
  • Carpet in rooms and hallways wrinkled and coming up
  • Wi-Fi inaccessible in rooms
  • AC units in room loud and underpowered

I have personally stayed in all three of these locations, although my stay at the Luxor was during the height of its reign as a theme resort. I recommend the Excalibur if you’re looking for a hotel that’s not a total dive, but has the benefit of location and low price.

As for the rest of your stay, take in a Cirque Du Soleil show (LOVE is my personal favorite), eat at a gourmet restaurant (such as B & B Ristorante or Bouchon at the Venetian) and stroll the Forum Shoppes at Caesar’s Palace. There’s so much to see and do in Las Vegas, don’t blow the bank on your hotel room.

Susan Crown is a globe-trotting, Vegas-loving mom from Jacksonville, Florida. She writes on behalf of Holiday Place, a booking company that focuses on tailor made holidays for any occasion. When she’ not writing (or traveling) she loves to watch bad horror movies, eat loads of greasy bacon and play in the park with her two children.

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