Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
This apartment complex turned inexpensive condo-hotel is dirty, decrepit and a deal at no price.
With its 360 fully equipped one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, Desert Tides is marketed as a "newly renovated property" with "plasma TVs" and "high-speed Internet." Sounds fancy, no? But take a look at the this old box set and not one, but two modems that didn't work on my computer. Better yet, take a look at the hotel photos and see if you can spot what's renovated -- the widespread dirt and broken fixtures tell a different story. Add in the glaring signs of this hotel's poor maintenance -- a vandalized hotel sign at the entrance, overgrown weeds, a rusty playground -- and it's apparent that the hotel is one to avoid, especially since other affordable Vegas apartment complexes are kept in much better condition. For the same price -- or even less -- the Tuscany Suites serves up clean apartments and delicious food at its affordable restaurants.
One look at the overwhelmingly negative TripAdvisor reviews should turn away all but the most daring of travelers. But if the seemingly close proximity to the Strip and the low price for an apartment in Vegas still leave you curious, read on.
Even by the standards of do-it-yourself apartment-hotels, the service is scarce. The little help you get comes with a bad attitude.
Apartment-hotels aren't known for depth of service, but certain basic assistance, such as porter service and a helpful front desk clerk, isn't too much to expect. Even by those modest standards, service at the Desert Tides fails the test.
The surly staff is as bad as anything else at the hotel. After a brusque check-in, I was given a map to find my room in this maze of old apartment buildings. I was offered no help with my bags -- with no elevators or bellmen, guests are expected to lug their suitcases up the stairs of their building. I would have tested the service further, but the rooms don't have telephones.
Uneasy with my room, I decided to leave hours after I arrived. When I checked out, the receptionist gave me an annoyed look, not bothering to ask if there was a problem or if I was dissatisfied with my stay (though my demeanor didn't hide anything). She simply informed me that I couldn't get a refund (not that I'd asked), and turned away as soon as I was checked out.
Housekeeping is provided for guests that book by the night, but not for those who book by the week.
While the Desert Tides is just two blocks from the Las Vegas Strip, don't be fooled. Those are two long blocks that involve walking along a busy highway. Directly around the hotel are empty lots and a power generator. The five-minute walk to the nearest hotel-casinos, the Rio and Gold Coast, is via a dusty, gravelly road and requires crossing a highway. The Palms is a little farther, about a 10-minute walk. This relatively remote location, plus the lack of any obvious security on-site, made me feel unsafe.
Most Las Vegas visitors want to explore all of the big properties along the densely-packed three-and-a-half mile long stretch of hotel-casinos known as the Strip. It's a short cab ride from the hotel to the Strip (about $6), but the front desk has to call a cab. On the Strip, cabs are easy to find at virtually any time of day or night. A generally less expensive option is the Deuce, a double-decker bus that runs up and down the strip 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and costs $3. There's also a monorail system, which stops at MGM Grand, Bally's/Paris, Flamingo/Caesars Palace, /Imperial Palace, the Las Vegas Convention Center, the Hilton, and the Sahara. A single ride ticket is $5; a one-day pass is $13. If you're traveling along the Strip with at least one other person, a cab is often the least expensive option.
McCarran International Airport is 10 minutes away, about a $15 cab ride.
Spacious rooms with new kitchens and bathrooms, yet far too many stains and broken fixtures. Plus, security feels inadequate.
Let's start with the good parts. Rooms are spacious: A one-bedroom is 751 square feet, and it comes with a new, fully equipped kitchen that includes a stove, a microwave, a stainless-steel sink, and a toaster. Bathrooms are also new and clean, with shampoo and soap from Bath & Body Works. The washer and dryer are new. The living room has a pullout leather couch and a that are in good condition. The old TVs come with premium cable, including HBO. The other units -- the two-bedroom and the three-bedroom apartments -- have the same features.
Now for the many, many bad parts: no telephones in the room, and no elevators in the three-story apartment buildings, which means you have to lug your bags up the stairs. The free high-speed Internet comes via a modem that, in my experience, didn't work. The king-size bed has a hard mattress and only three pillows. Even more egregious is the poor cleaning and maintenance. The balcony was especially filthy, and its screen door broken. The bedroom carpet and were stained, and I spotted a crack on the door frame the size of a fist.
All those complaints notwithstanding, my biggest concern was safety. The rooms have electronic locks, which give the impression of high security (and the hotel says security guards are on duty from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m.) However, an intruder could get into my apartment through two other entrances: One bedroom window opens into the hallway, and the balcony can also be reached from the hallway. (Clearly, I gave this much thought -- I didn't feel safe.)
Numerous TripAdvisor reviews question how safe this hotel is. One TripAdvisor reviewer tells how at 3 a.m., men knocked on the apartment door claiming to be hotel security. They were plain-clothed and had no ID.
The pool, actually a narrow stream that surrounds a rock formation with palm trees and a mini-waterfall, looks quite pretty. A stone bridge leads to this little island. Deck chairs and a Jacuzzi are to the side. Yet the hotel's lax sanitation standards left me reluctant to jump in, even though the water looked clean. The deck is surrounded by overgrown weeds and fallen leaves, and a wayward plastic bag sat in the shower.
The gym suffers from similar maintenance woes. The four machines may look fairly modern, but random parts lay on the floor. Would you really use a machine that looks like it's missing parts?
For all of this, guests must pay a $6.95 resort fee.
The only hotel amenity that doesn't look like it was salvaged from another decade is the lounge. With untarnished tiles, marble countertops, and couches in good condition, it appears to be newly renovated. Yet on my stay, the room doubled as a storage room, with boxes and an old TV stored to the side.
If you love your family, do not bring them to this dump. And unless you're testing their immune system, don't allow them to go near the rusty playground or the dirty pool area. However, if you persist, the two-bedroom units with a fully-equipped kitchen and sleeper sofa are large enough for a (gutsy) family.
Instead, book a room at a clean and just overall not-shady place like Tuscany Suites. It might even be cheaper, and there are on-site restaurants with inexpensive, good food.
Pets weighing less than 25 lbs. are allowed. "Unusual" and "aggressive" pets are barred.
The hotel charges $75 per pet for a stay of one to six nights, $100 for seven-to-14 night stays, and $150 for a stay of more than 15 nights. Rottweilers, pit bulls, reptiles, spiders, birds ("except maybe some birds in cages") and any other "aggressive breeds" or "pets that make guests cringe" are not allowed.
If it's not dirty, it's broken.
Try "uncleanliness." This hotel gets the Oyster award for the dirtiest hotel we found in Vegas. I present to you the evidence: vandalized hotel sign, overgrown weeds, broken gym equipment, plastic bag in the pool shower, rusty playground, and around a murky fish pond. (The hotel says landscapers come every two weeks, so perhaps I just missed a freshly cut lawn.) In the rooms, the offending evidence includes stains on the carpet broken, grimy balcony screen, dirt-caked balcony, hole in the wall, ... need I go on? For what it's worth, the bathroom was clean.
No food on-site, not even a vending machine. The nearest restaurant is at Rio hotel, a 5-minute walk away along a gravelly highway.
Considering the lack of sanitation at this hotel, perhaps the absence of an on-site restaurant is a blessing. The hotel lacks a vending machine and convenience store as well. The nearest source of food is at Rio, a five-minute walk across a dusty, gravelly road and a busy highway.
The nearest grocery store is Food 4 Less, one mile from the hotel. To get there you would need a car, or you can ask the front desk to call a cab.
Big apartments at a low price. But poor maintenance, woeful service, dirt everywhere and a remote location make this the worst Las Vegas hotel Oyster has covered to date.