When it comes to picking where to stay in Las Vegas… the big question is To Strip or Not To Strip. Without knowing the lay of the land, you may make some not so wise choices when choosing where to stay. Take it from me, after this last trio I think I might have found one of the best spots there is.
I’ve been to the gambling capital of the country, the hotel capital of the nation, Sin City about 11 times, and each time, I have stayed at a new location and each trip was with different friends and for different reasons. I’ve checked into large resorts and mid-sized themed resorts to off the strip and even a time share / condo, and every time was a different experience. This time we unpacked our bags for three nights at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino and I could not have been happier.
The Westgate has a unique feel from moment one. Where Elvis Presley Boulevard meets Paradise Road, we turned onto the property, the entrance very easy to find located underneath the grandeur of the Westgate marquee which we had seen for some distance before arriving and arguably displaying the largest letters on any marquee in Las Vegas.
Is this the hotel that Elvis built? On July 31, 1969, Elvis Presley kicked off a 7-year residency at this location. At that time, it was called the International Hotel, then the Las Vegas Hilton (LVH), and now Westgate. A statue of the great entertainer greets all that are checking into the hotel. Currently, Barry Manilow graces the stage where Elvis performed. We went to the VIP Diamond Lounge to pick up our Luxe King Suite keys, our home away from home. Overlooking Frenchman Mountain to the east, the suite was the relaxing touch we had needed to start the boys’ weekend at the Westgate. The room was just that with a living area, kitchen, and massive bedroom with ample storage and luxurious bathroom accommodations, nothing left out.
Besides offering such a great place to rest our heads at night, the resort offers multiple chances to fill the belly, the mind, the soul, and the wallets.
One reason you go to Las Vegas is for the wonderful food, and if you’re not having that on your radar, you are doing it all wrong. The Westgate houses several dining options that have been at the top of many people’s lists.
Edge Steakhouse – Every town has a steakhouse or two or three or hundreds. Las Vegas has 666 restaurants per capita (such a devilish number) so the choices are plentiful. But Edge Steakhouse did garnish the #1 spot on Trip Advisor for Best Steakhouse in Las Vegas. As always, when you get a chance, treat yourself to a dry-aged steak. Edge had many other options we enjoyed as the evening went on. Check out the Elvis dining room if you can as not just in the Edge, but across the Westgate Resort, the history of the property and the modern-day upgrades present themselves as smooth and tasteful. And don’t forget the popover rolls. The simple culinary touches and the attention from the staff made for a gluttonous and relaxing evening.
Fresco Italiano – Also a #1 Trip Advisor choice, this time in the Italian Restaurant category, Fresco Italiano left no taste buds out from a great dining experience, we dabbled in alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, from 1st and 2nd servings of refreshing salads to the meatballs, lasagna, penne alfredo, pollo arrosto, fruiti di mare, and more.
Plethora of Asian Delight – Nope, I had never been to a Benihana before, but I have been to other restaurants with a similar concept. This was a great experience with friends as we enjoyed the Japanese exhibition style of dining. Silk Road Asian Bistro and Rikki Tiki Sushi are two other dining options within the Asian courtyard of restaurants. Gorgeous and delectable entrees were enjoyed from all three offerings while we were present. I wasn’t drinking and am not a lover of fish, but I was able to be very pleased with my selections as wonderful offerings were available.
The Side Offerings – Yes, the anchor restaurants were spot on with the quality I desired, but the side options were just as great. Breakfast at Sid’s Café and the bar fare at the SuperBook Lounge were full of perfect options to get the day going or to enjoy while watching each and every sporting match in the world. They rounded off our daily food intake quite well.
Besides food and gambling, Las Vegas is about the shows. I’ve been to some over-the-top offerings that went away because of COVID. Some are trickling back, but the options at Westgate are back, intimate, and entertaining for all.
The Bronx Wanderers – Seeing a father and son and his friends sing songs through the decades brought me back to my childhood listening to songs with my mom in the car or my early years living on my own and even up to the present day. Reminiscing, smiling, clapping, and yes, singing along, it was a great show, and it was a show that was good for all ages. The cabaret venue was perfect for the sound, the interaction, and the eye contact with the performers.
Soul of Motown – The mix of powerful songs, humor, enjoyment, and just strong entertainment by these performers left us smiling and feeling good when we walked away. And yes, since it was in the same venue, there was a great deal of eye contact. Some were serenaded by the singers, we were motivated to sing along, dance (or not), and it was great to be that interactive with the performers.
The Magic of Jen Kramer – We were able to meet Jen before her show and see some very up-close and personal magic. FLOORED! We’re still talking about it. When it came time for her show, the crowd came in, there were some younger kids present and us kids at heart. We were smiling throughout, she interacted with all ages, and we were all in awe and entertained. Thanks, Jen for offering us your talent, humor, and kindness.
Westgate’s Size and Comfort –
As mentioned, I’ve been to the large casinos and resorts, the ones where the slot machine area is as large as a warehouse and craps is not only a game but something said often as you get lost in the venue. The Westgate was the perfect size for a resort for me. The gaming floor was ample and had options of fun and risk for everyone. We gravitated around one bank of machines as they seemed to be favoring us. The options for dining and beverages on the campus were plentiful, of the highest quality, and well-staffed, and there was never a question if we would leave pleased. The entertainment venues were fun, enjoyable for all, and intimately sized for an up-close experience. We got to know much of the wonderful staff as they were talented, caring and found many have been there for years, decades, even through the ownership changes.
The Westgate was a great retreat from home, a place that felt like home, a place where everything was there, but if you desired more, it was a simple monorail ride away. I did venture a ride on the monorail, which was very safe, clean, inexpensive, and faster than a taxi or ride share transportation ($5 single monorail ride to the same location as a $22 taxi ride). I walked through some of the other casinos, hotels, and boy, did they feel different than the Westgate. They felt less comfortable, more crowded, do I dare say less safe, more focused on or pushing the gambling. I was not as comfortable strolling around some of these other venues and I breathed a sigh of relief as I boarded the monorail home, to the Westgate.
So, on your next trip to Las Vegas, you may want to stay at the Westgate, and your company may suggest it as it is adjacent to the Las Vegas Convention Center, but DEFINITELY look into it for other reasons, the reasons I mentioned above – the feeling of home, safety, welcomeness, great food and entertainment options, and a sense of enjoyment for all. And it’s always good when the vacation ends monetarily in your favor.