LAS VEGAS: Budget-minded girlfriend getaway in February

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VegasJenLeo & Elvis on the Strip in 2014
VegasJenLeo & Elvis on the Strip in 2014

I’m sitting here having my coffee when my friend texts me for Las Vegas trip advice. She (early 40s and living in San Diego) is going on a Vegas girlfriend getaway with some high school friends the weekend of February 20. They’re on a restrictive budget with an interest in food, shopping, maybe catching a show and hanging out.  Emphasis on hanging out. They’ll be sharing a room with two women per room and are ok with spending $150-$200/night on hotel but want their own beds. They’d even consider lodging for all of them if it stayed true to the price range. I love this kind of a challenge, and helping friends find their best Vegas experience, so here are some recommendations. One problem, this is one of the more expensive weekends to travel to Vegas in Februrary.

The Bella suites at Venetian Las Vegas – Approx 700 sq. ft.

VENETIAN

Venetian is my first choice for group trips because of the sheer value. You get big rooms with a living room and a big bathroom. All which is key when it comes to women sharing rooms together. In this case, it also checks the box for shopping. The Venetian has it’s own shopping area, is connected to the Palazzo for high end shopping and is walking distance to the Fashion Show Mall, not mention a short drive to the outlets. Bingo.

Venetian Dining: They have a range of good dining options which only increase with the Palazzo’s restaurants. I’d want them to have a long breakfast or brunch at Bouchon (my fave), and then it’d be up to them if they wanted to splurge on celebrity chef restaurants like Wolfgang Puck’s Postrio or  Mario Batali’s Carnevino at the Palazzo or eat casually by the gondolas at Canonita. But lets get back to Bouchon. It’s absolutely the perfect European breakfast or lunch setting for a gaggle of girls to catch up and talk the hours away.

Venetian Rates: Here’s the problem. They were hoping for rooms for $150-200/night to split between two people. I tested rates on Vegas.com ($279/night), Venetian.com ($269/night) and Expedia.com ($249/night). All before taxes and the $25/night resort fee. So, while this would absolutely be my first choice for their style of trip, it’s out due to price. I’m not even going to break it down.

Double Deluxe room at Treasure Island

Double Deluxe room at Treasure Island – Approx 400 sq. ft.

TREASURE ISLAND

I wanted to cut the price way down but keep the proximity to the shopping options still available, so my next suggestion is TI. I’ve stayed at TI several times, and while you couldn’t get me to gamble there again, I do like their rooms for moderately priced rates with a great Strip location. It also checks the box for shopping because it is right next to the Fashion Show Mall and across the Street from the Venetian. Not to mention walking distance to the Forum Shops at Caesars. Sounds good, eh shoppers?

TI Dining: Gilley’s Saloon, Dance Hall & BBQ could be a hoot and the cafe is consistent for breakfast (they have a huge fruit plate and good hash browns). I don’t know much about the other restaurants there. But now that you know how much I love Bouchon, you bet I’d be begging them to walk across the street to Venetian for a meal there.

TI Rates: I recommend getting on their newsletter program to see if you can grab some specials. Vegas.com had TI at up to 35% off plus two free buffet passes per room right in their price range. Two Deluxe rooms with Queen beds for two nights Feb. 20-22 came to $698.26 including all taxes and fees. Divide that by four women and the price comes to $174.56 per person for the whole stay or $87.28 per person per night. By the way, I found the package (minus the buffet tickets) at TI for a full total of $683 but I would’ve totally gone with Vegas.com for the buffet passes.

Deluxe 2 Double room at The Linq

Deluxe 2 Double room at The Linq – Approx 300 sq. ft

THE LINQ HOTEL & CASINO

I’m a sucker for wanting to try new hotels, so I thought I’d just check out the rates for The Linq. Right next to High Roller and in a location that’s full of action. This could be a win, or rather loud and not relaxing. I turned to TripAdvisor and read enough reviews for The Linq  to know that the price is right but if these women are looking to be spoiled, they’ll have to put in a little legwork. For example, some TripAdvisor reviewers complained about noise due to the construction (and advised to ask for a room away from the construction) and others said there were no coffeemakers in their room and no coffee bars in the hotel – you had to go just outside the hotel for a Starbucks. I can’t wait to see what they pick!

Linq Dining: There’s plenty of casual dining here plus you could say you ate at Guy Fieri’s Vegas Kitchen and Bar. I’ve only eaten at the Haute Doggery and I’d totally go back. This is definitely the place for someone with a sweet tooth as there’s also a Ghirardelli and Sprinkles cupcakes within arm’s reach!

Linq Rates: The Linq (part of Caesars Total Rewards program) has a sale right now where rooms are up to 25% off. But rooms were going quick. I was able to find two rooms  (Deluxe 2 Double) with two double beds in each with a view of the High Roller on the Feb. 20-22 dates for a grand total of $792.96 including taxes and resort fee. That’s $198.24 per person or $99.12 per person per night. This rate was on Vegas.com. The Linq was already sold out on Expedia. Tip: If you join Total Rewards program there’s a chance you could find an even better price.

MANDALAY BAY

Now, Mandalay Bay is on the South wend of the Strip, but I like it there. I’m sure the ladies are priced out of the new Delano Las Vegas  (once THEhotel at Mandalay Bay) but I thought I’d just check on the Mandalay Bay room rates. The property is spacious and they’d have more hang out options as opposed to TI. Plus, Mandalay Bay has its own shops, lots of restaurants to choose from and is less than a five min car ride to the Town Square for the true shopping enthusiast. Not to mention easy access to the freeway for those that are driving.  Sadly, room rates were insane for MBB – $249/night. Maybe because they had some concerts happening. Dammit. You can often find rooms there under $200 on the weekends and even under $100/night mid week.

RED ROCK RESORT SPA & CASINO

So, my husband reminded me that the brand new Downtown Summerlin shopping center just opened. Red Rock is way off the Strip, but that might be just what the girlfriends need—a total getaway. I started to get excited, but this darn pricey weekend in February had rooms over $200/night and closer to $250/night after the resort fee. Too bad, I think they would’ve loved having a lunch (or dinner) at Vintner Grill in Summerlin! The ambience at VG Summerlin is perfect for a girls retreat!

World Double Room at SLS Las Vegas

World Double Room at SLS Las Vegas – Approx 360 sq. ft.

SLS LAS VEGAS

OK— I couldn’t resist. I really enjoyed myself at the SLS the last time I was here so I thought I’d check prices. While it’s more of a boutique hotel experience more than a big hotel casino resort experience, I like it. It still feels new, comfy and modern. Dare I even say girly if they stay in the World Superior or Lux rooms. The World rooms definitely fit the bill for the budget but are pushing the upper end. And if two of the women opted to pay more for a Lux room, there is an awesome check in room just for the Lux guests that I’d totally want to hang out in. Not to mention, the Lux Suites have a whole living room area where they could gab away right in their own room and bringing their own champagne would totally be in order here. The coffee bar is cool, the bar is comfortable, great restaurant choices and if the weather is tolerable they could hang out by the pool and chat (even if not in bathing suits). As for shopping, you’d have to drive to everything, Sorry.

SLS Dining: I only tried the Ku Noodle (good but overpriced), Griddle Cafe (one order of pancakes can feed the whole table!) and The Perq coffee bar because I was traveling midweek, but I was dying to try all the other restaurants, especially Cleo and Bazaar Meat by Jose Andrews.

SLS Rates: World Superior Double Rooms are the only ones I want you to go for. Forget the “Story” rooms. Trust me. I wouldn’t dare. Unless you’re OK with floating beds with mirrors on the ceiling. Ew. Go for World rooms or Lux rooms. Now, for the cost. On the SLS Las Vegas website. I found World Superior Double rooms for a grand total of $315.12 including taxes and fees. You’d have to get two rooms, but based on that one room it would be $78.78 per person per night.  If you are going to opt for the Lux Suites – call the hotel and find out which room would be best for you. Also consider signing up for their Loyalty program “The Code” on their website in advance in case they’re offering them extra deals. One last tip – skip the spa. Totally lame.

OK ladies, there you go. Which one will it be? There are even cheaper options if you choose to go downtown and stay on Fremont Street. If you do I recommend getting a suite at the Golden Gate Hotel & Casino (around $80/night), a non-smoking room at the Golden Nugget (many options), or trying the new Downtown Grand (around $100/night).

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