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White days & nights: the cool cabanas at Tropicana, one option for a cheap Las Vegas vacation.

By Valerie Moloney

The last time I was in Vegas, I passed out in the middle of the night (not from what you think) and later found my husband down $400 at the Luxor blackjack table at 5 a.m. The trip wasn’t a whole bust – we saw a revue, hotel hopped and ate our weight in buffets – but I’m craving a Sin City redo since little did I know that I was pregnant with my first at the time. Mama needs a cocktail, and a girls’ weekend.

Help me decide between these cheap Las Vegas hotels.

  1. Tropicana Las Vegas
    I’m feeling the old-schoolishness of the Trop. Its free-form 4-acre pool – among the best in Vegas – is a spot I could see myself busting out the white sunglasses and retro one-piece before settling back indoors, where a warm South Beach-meets-Havana theme pervades in orange, brown and white.  And the cheapie in meal gets giddy about the moderate room rates and other on-site amenities such as the Mob Experience and comedy club.  More reasons not to spend money on cabs to find entertainment elsewhere.
  2. Luxor HotelI’m a past Luxor guest, having chosen it the first time for the cheap rooms rates and to have the experience of spending the night in a pyramid. It’s every bit as kitschy as it is gargantuan. The casino buzzes, and there’s always the likelihood of running into Criss Angel and Carrot Top on the way to LAX.
  3. Vdara Hotel & Spa
    My 30s do not resemble my 20s. I need at least six hours of sleep, a facial every season and a bar sans Coors signs and Golden Tee. That’s why Vdara, just as luxurious but more affordable than other 5-star hotels near the Strip, appeals to me. Deluxe and Vdara suites feel like the vacation condo I would want to own someday – complete with city views, kitchenettes and a spa and salon downstairs offering things like snakeskin pedicures and feather hair extensions. Because in Vegas, wildlife is a perfectly acceptableuniform, not a trend.

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Valerie Moloney, who publishes the Orbitz and CheapTickets blogs, would like to challenge Manny Pacquiao to a sing-off the next time he karaokes at Mandalay Bay.

Tagged: Las Vegas

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