LAS VEGAS: I’m LOVING SLS Las Vegas for $74/night

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LAS VEGAS | Best hotel under $100? SLS Las Vegas might very well be my new favorite hotel on the Strip. It’s modern, hip, and most of all—FUN! Youthful. Whimsical. Delightful. These words kept popping up in my mind from the videos of birds and abstract art behind the registration desk to the monkey-theme throughout the hotel.  Monkey art is everywhere! In the lobby bar, on the ironing board covers, even  your in-room coasters—they’re a classic mascot.

We booked our room via Priceline just a few days before we arrived and they had deals starting at $74/night. (We took the 2 Double Non Smoking Superior World rooms for $79.51/night). Priceline rates the SLS  a 7.6 out of 10 with 169 guest reviews and the hotel only opened in August. The deal comes with $40 food credit and free Wi-Fi. For those of you that have been coming to Las Vegas for decades, SLS is what the Sahara turned into. Keep your eye on the carpets for great vintage Vegas scenes.


DEAL | I already thought the Priceline rates were a great deal, but once I became an SLS Las Vegas fan I found a 30% off deal on the SLS Facebook page (Promo code PLC04).  I checked Nov. 30- Dec. 2 rates on this promo were only $62.30/night for a World Superior King. Of course there’s still the $25/night resort fee which is common with Vegas hotels. And of course, don’t forget to check I found rates as low as $60/night Thanksgiving week.

TESTED | You know you have to take a last-minute Vegas trip in you! I chose to test the rates for three nights Nov. 24-27. had rooms with a king bed starting at $59.63 which came to $275.36 for the whole stay *including* taxes and the resort fee. I call that a deal for such a cool new hotel!

Cora at Griddle Cafe SLS Las Vegas

Cora shocked at how big the pancakes are at The Griddle Cafe, SLS Las Vegas


TIPS | If you or your kids love pancakes—don’t miss the GARGANTUAN pancakes at The Griddle Cafe. They’re epic. One order was more than enough to feed our whole family of three with plenty left over. We also had fun taking pics by the giant duck at the pool and having an afternoon gelato at PERQ, the hotel coffee bar.

Jen Leo and Cora at PERQ, SLS Las Vegas

Jen Leo and Cora at PERQ, SLS Las Vegas

Want to get in on ever more deals? Sign up for the SLS loyalty program called The Code. I saw 40% off deals for members (membership is free).

If you make it out to Las Vegas, have a great time at the SLS Las Vegas!

VALENTINE’S DAY: Last-Minute Rooms in Las Vegas $100 or Less

cora_vegas_2013_720I love spontaneous trips to Vegas so much that I would not object if my husband wanted to zip over there this weekend for Valentine’s Day without prior plans. On the off chance that he might want to, I looked at hotel prices. Ouch! Before you jump to bunk in at some of the best-loved casino resorts in town like Cosmopolitan, Caesars, Bellagio. Be prepared to open your wallets to the tune of almost $300/night or more. Even the cheaper Las Vegas hotels are either double what they normally are, or in some cases, sold out. So, I did some digging and found a few options under $150/night plus some helpful tips to keep the costs down.Heck, I got lucky and found some rooms that I’d stay at for $100 or less!


1. It’ll be easier for you to book a room if you only stay Friday night, February 14. I tried looking for rates for both Friday and Saturday night and some of the hotels had availability for Friday but not Saturday. Or in some cases, Saturday night was near double the cost of Friday night. If you can, take off work and stay Thursday & Friday instead of Friday & Saturday nights.

2. Before you buy a ticket via a typical online travel site, check the hotel’s direct website and compare rates. I checked and rooms at the much-loved Cosmopolitan were an average of $532/night for the two nights. Pricing Friday at $325. But when I checked the Cosmopolitan’s website, they only had availability for Friday night. The price was $250.

3. Split the cost with some friends. Yeah, yeah, it’s Valentine’s Day. A night for love, indeed, but  single people celebrate Valentine’s Day, too. College girls, guys and grads—hello, I’m talking to you. Save money by piling in together.

4. Don’t forget about taxes and fees. If you’re not used to staying in Vegas and are on a strict budget—don’t forget about resort fees. If you see an advertised room rate, make sure you follow the steps to see what the true cost would be after factoring in taxes and resorts fees. It can jack the price up considerably.

5. Remember to ask if they have AAA, Military and Senior rates. It’s an easy way to knock off a few more buckaroos. Sometimes they’ll display in online booking but most times they won’t. Pick up the phone and ask.


(in order of rooms that I’d want to stay in)

Treasure Island | TI is one of my go-to hotels for decent, mid-priced rooms with a great location. I found rooms on their website available for $101.72 on Friday night. The total cost after taxes and fees was $141.93. If I wanted to stay both Saturday and Sunday the price went up to $294.18 or $385.49 after taxes and fees.

Monte Carlo | I found a Deluxe Room with two queen beds available Feb. 14 for $117.80 before tax and the $22 resort fee. The total came to $154.34.

Tuscany Suites | If you need a little bit more space, try the off-strip Tuscany Suites. I haven’t stayed here yet but my husband and other friends have. The suites are 650 square feet, have kitchenettes, living room space and a dining room table. Room start off at $120 for Feb. 14 before taxes and the $17 resort fee.

Hard Rock Hotel | This party palace is not my ideal Vegas hotel, but on a busy weekend like Valentine’s Day weekend the price is right. I found rooms on the hotel’s website starting at $101.65. After taxes and fees it was $138.49.


LVH – The Las Vegas Hotel has a lot of history and quite often a fair deal. It’s close to the Convention Center and monorail. I haven’t stayed here before but it gets decent reviews for a cheap hotel. I found AAA rates starting at $59.96  or $87.32 after taxes and fees. Have a look at the website. If you want to be a baller your dollars can upgrade you into big suites fast.

The Palms – Now that I know about I check there too! It’s a shop where people resell their rooms when they can’t used them anymore. I found a room at The Palms on Feb. 14 for $72.20 or $80.86 after tax. Note: This does not include the resort fee which will be collected at the hotel. Note, I linked to Roomer in this graph, not The Palms.

If you’re willing to use Priceline or Hotwire you can find more rooms under $100/night. Check with if you want a community of support. In order to get those rates you’ll need to venture off the Strip and even delve into three-star hotels. But the deals are there.


Let us know if you find a brag-worthy deal for a Last-Min trip to Las Vegas. And most of all—HAVE FUN!

MARINA DEL REY: $89 Spa Day at Ritz-Carlton


BOOK BY FEBRUARY 17 | A few weeks ago I took advantage of a Travelzoo Spa Day at Estancia La Jolla with two girlfriends. I’d previously stayed at the property and had a sampled the spa treatments so I knew what a great experience it’d be.  We had such a good time, I’m on the look out for more Southern California spa deals!

I went back to Travelzoo and found this one just up the road in Marina Del Rey. Get a 60-min massage or facial at the Ritz-Carlton in Marina Del Rey for only $89. I was surprised that the Ritz-Carlton was offering a deal, but I checked reviews on TripAdvisor and Google for this particular Marina del Rey hotel and it checked out for me. Doesn’t it sound like a fun day out?!

DEAL: Purchase the $89 Travelzoo Spa del Rey at the Ritz-Carlton deal and get your choice of a 60-minute Spa del Rey massage OR a 60-minuteCustom European facial, which uses organic ingredients. You also get to use the hotel pool and spa amenities, including whirlpool and eucalyptus steam room and 10% discount on cuisine ordered from the spa on day of visit. If massage isn’t your thing, you have the option to buy a manicure-pedicure for $79.

DATES: Book by February 17 for travel Jan. 16, 2014 – April 15, 2014.; Monday-Friday only. Appointments are required.

TESTED: As of writing this post on Feb. 4, the deal was still on offer for another 13 days. Booking the deal only gets a voucher.  You need to make an appointment and the deal is only good Monday – Friday with limited bookings on Fridays. It does not included tax or tip. Overnight parking is $40/day but you can get temporary parking $8 for the first three hours, $3 each additional hour.

TIP: The Ritz-Carlton Marina Del Rey is only 10-15 minutes from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and an hour and a half from Carlsbad, CA where I’ll be driving from. Spending the night can get expensive fast but I found their California Cruisin’ deal on the Ritz-Carlton website is tempting. You get overnight accommodations Thursday – Sunday, $25 gas card, $25 food credit, and valet parking ($40) for $279/night. Room rates typically run more than $400/night.

Let us know if you grab this deal and if it’s a good time. Have fun!

LAS VEGAS: $69 Suite Deal at Golden Gate Hotel & Casino Downtown


Earlier this month I got a press walk through of the Golden Gate Hotel & Casino in downtown Las Vegas. Some people wouldn’t be caught dead staying downtown, but I’ve always had a soft spot for the other end of Vegas. I even got married at the Golden Nugget on 7-7-7. Only now, I don’t just have a soft spot for downtown Vegas, I’m downright excited about it! And I couldn’t wait to stay at the Golden Gate. The renovated rooms are sweet. And Suite. We just nabbed a suite like the one in the picture above for only $69/night. Cool, huh?

BTW - Downtown is totally changing thanks to the efforts of the Downtown Project spearheaded by Tony Hsieh.  If Fremont Street scared you before, try it again and don’t miss the Container Park.

DEAL: A recently redone suite for $69/night is plenty exciting, but what I loved about this room was the style. It’s gives props to its Old Vegas past yet is decked out with modern furniture and amenities from Wi-Fi to the Keurig coffee machines and rainfall shower heads. The yummy Dupar’s is right downstairs and the brand new Container Park is right down the street.

TESTED: I found the $69/night deal available most nights midweek in February and beyond. If you can only travel on a weekend, the rate was also available Feb. 7 and 8, 2014. I grabbed it for Feb. 25-27. Tax was 13% plus a $20/night resort fee. So, all in all the room cost $195.94 for two nights.

TIPS: Don’t miss a meal at Dupar’s downstairs. They are particularly known for their pancakes, but I’d eat there for any meal. It’s a cozy diner that delivers.

Let us know what you love about staying at Golden Gate Hotel & Casino. And hey, have FUN in Vegas, Baby!