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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Top 5 cheap Las Vegas hotels to stay and dine on a dime

Dive into a variety of cuisine at the Spice Market Buffet in Planet Hollywood Resort. Photo credit: Litandmore.

By Vince Font

Let’s face it, these days you’re more likely to spend your biggest chunk of change on food than a hotel room — especially if you’re not careful and don’t know where to go. So to help save you a few dollars, I’ve come up with a list of the top five cheap Las Vegas hotels, and low-cost (but good quality) eats you can get nearby.

Circus Circus
This place has got everything you want: fab rates, free circus acts and a great family vibe. That’s not something you can say about a lot of cheap hotels in Vegas. If you’re in the mood for a reasonably priced meal and want to get out and about, check out what’s serving up at the Stage Deli inside the MGM Grand just three miles away. Their prices are reasonable, the portions large and the pastrami sandwich is one of the best you can find in all Las Vegas restaurants. That’s a winning combination in my book.

Excalibur
One of my favorite places to stay in Las Vegas is Excalibur, not only because it’s a great cheap hotel but also for the Castle Walk, an indoor thoroughfare lined with all sorts of shops and vendors that do a darn good job of replicating the atmosphere of a Medieval marketplace. There are pricey restaurants scattered all over, but if you want to beat the temptation there’s no better way of doing so than by filling up for cheap at the In ‘n Out Burger just a mile-and-a-half away.

Flamingo
One of the mainstays of the Vegas strip, the Flamingo has been around since the forties and manages to retain its old school vibe without sacrificing anything in the way of quality and cool elegance. Kids love the wildlife habitat, and I’ve found it’s a great place to work up an appetite before hopping over to the Spice Market Buffet a half mile away inside the Planet Hollywood Resort. Not your ordinary run of the mill buffet, Spice Market serves all kinds of cuisine — from Mexican to Asian to Italian, not to mention the American stuff you’re used to — and has a great do-it-yourself sundae bar.

Stratosphere
I’ve always loved the Stratosphere for the rides more than anything else, even more than the affordable room rates. What can I say, the thrill seeker in me would just as soon get strapped into a roller coaster a hundred stories over the Vegas Strip than double down on a $100 bet. But if you’re in the mood for what’s offered at Tacos & Tequila just a few miles away, one of the Las Vegas restaurants that actually serves up a delectable combo you’re not likely to find elsewhere, I recommend two things: Take a cab, and don’t hop on the Stratosphere coaster after you’ve eaten. It has a tendency to make for a messy combination.

Tropicana
Maybe pizza’s not the first thing that comes to mind when you think about checking in at the Tropicana. If so, that probably means you’ve never had a slice of the pie over at New York Pizzeria right next door inside New York New York. The best thing? You can indulge in your craving for great pizza and beer and not have far to go to get back to the swim-up blackjack tables at the Tropicana. If you don’t think that alone is worth catching a cheap flight to Vegas, you probably need to get out more.

Don’t forget, you can also get great deals on cheap Las Vegas flights by booking your plane and hotel room together.

Vince Font is a freelance writer born in Puerto Rico, raised in Maryland, schooled in California and currently escaped to Utah. When not dreaming of the possibilities of interstellar travel, he’s on the hunt for weird, wacky and off-the-beaten-track vacation destinations. Next stop: The Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast.

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