- Pyramid rooms look dated and worn down
- Poor ventilation in some rooms
- Long lines at check-in
- Resort fee
The 4,406-room Luxor is an enormous carnival of a resort in which two-story-tall pharaoh statues look on as sweepstakes-prize Corvettes rotate at their feet. Second only to the MGM Grand in room count, this huge property boasts a 30-story, pyramid-shaped main building that shoots 315,000 watts of light out of its peak (making it visible from space), two additional towers of guest rooms, four swimming pools, a 120,000-square-foot casino, the world's largest atrium, a giant sphinx, and a host of dining, entertainment, and nightlife options. In terms of sheer magnitude and spectacle, the Luxor stands out even among its extravagant neighbors.
With more substantive features and amenities than lower-end theme-driven properties like Excalibur, but also a far cry from the luxurious opulence of, say, the Venetian, the Luxor falls into a middle ground on the Strip. The rooms are fairly comfortable (at least the newer ones, in the towers); the architecture is striking (if also over-the-top); and the service is solid (though the lines can sometimes be long).
The ancient Egypt theme has been dialed back in recent years in favor of a cooler, more mature atmosphere characterized by the addition of upscale nightclubs like LAX. Meanwhile, the Luxor offers a fairly typical range of Vegas-style entertainments: a long-running show by illusionist Criss Angel; the Fantasy topless revue; and comedy by Carrot Top.
Considering the range of amenities, the reasonably well-appointed (if unexciting) rooms, the surprisingly low room rates, and the central location, the Luxor is one of the better values on the Vegas Strip. For more luxurious rooms at another well-located theme resort, compare the recently renovated Treasure Island.
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, and the Luxor, at the southern end, offers easy access to several of them. An indoor walkway and a tram connect guests to the medieval castle at Excalibur, which sports kid-friendly activities like an arcade and the Tournament of Kings dinner show; and Mandalay Bay, which has 20 restaurants and the kid-friendly Shark Reef Aquarium.
Because of the extreme heat, traveling up and down the Strip on foot can be a challenge. Cabs are easy to find at any casino's entrance virtually any time of day or night. One less expensive alternative 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 to ride. The monorail, which sits behind the hotels on the east side of the Strip, starts at the MGM Grand, about a 15-minute walk from the Luxor. It stops at Bally's, Harrah's, the Las Vegas Convention Center, the Hilton, and the Sahara. A single-ride ticket costs $5; a one-day pass is $13. (If you're traveling with at least one other person, a cab is usually less expensive.)
Virtually every hotel on the Las Vegas Strip is a 10- to 15-minute cab ride from the airport; the ride typically costs about $15 to $25.
Room quality and decor varies greatly depending on whether guests book in the pyramid or in the towers. The decor in the pyramid rooms hits the ancient Egypt theme hard, with hieroglyphics on the closet and headboards, tomb-artwork bedspreads, and wall-mounted art that imitates ancient carvings. At 364 square feet, the pyramid room is slightly below average for the Strip. (The Luxor's website claims 420 square feet, but my tape measure suggested otherwise.) Exacerbating the confined space, the outer walls slant inward, making it hard to fully appreciate the viewand minimizing ceiling space above the sitting area. On top of that, the faded gray carpet, olive-colored drapes, worn bedspreads, and upholstery on the chairs suggest these rooms have seen better days.
By contrast, the tower rooms are larger (about 450 square feet by my measure), newer, and more up-to-date in design. And because the walls are vertical, the view through the floor to ceiling windows is more enjoyable and the living space more usable. Bathrooms also get an upgrade; they feature both a shower and a deep soaking tub.
Despite the fairly dramatic differences, both room types do share some qualities. The beds are outfitted with comfortable but not quite luxurious Spring Air mattresses, and the electronics are dated: 27" tube televisions with cable and in-room movies and radio alarm clocks but no iPod docks. All bathrooms carry Ecossentials bath products.
The Luxor also offers suites that can sleep four, have separate living areas, and range from 590 to 1,050 square feet.
As in all Vegas hotel rooms, beware the smoking rooms; the windows barely open, so the residual smell of tobacco is powerful.
The Luxor has four large pools, just two of which are open on weekdays; the other two open only on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. There's a lot of real estate devoted to these pools, but with cement decks and standard plastic lounge chairs, they don't distinguish themselves much from those at Excalibur or Planet Hollywood. One nice feature: The massive, funky-shaped main pool sports cement islands, where guests sun themselves or deposit beer bottles. A team of attentive cocktail servers bring drinks from the Oasis Pool Bar.
Guests have to pay for anything else that enhances the experience. VIP seating in the form of padded lounge chairs costs $30 a day, and daybeds cost $100. Both come with towel service, a raft, and a bucket of water bottles. Cabanas are typically expensive at $200 a day for weekdays and $300 on weekends, and include refrigerators stocked with soft drinks, bowls of fruit, newspapers, 37" flat-screen televisions, phones, and rafts.
The Nurture Spa is pleasant but not top-of-the-line, with a narrow locker room and small lounge. Customers can choose between a $10 fee for admission to the fitness center or $25 for full use of the spa facilities.
As with all MGM resorts, guests have access to the private Shadow Creek Golf Course, about a 20-minute drive from the Strip. The greens are only open to resort guests, and MGM offers a personal limo from the Strip and caddie service.
The gym, located next to the pool, is well-equipped with twenty or so cardio machines, including elliptical trainers, exercise bikes, and treadmills; a full set of free weights; strength machines; Pilates balls; and ab exercisers.
The Vegas standard -- no more, no less. 24-hour bell service and room service, long lines at check-in, and a concierge from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
The array of services at the Luxor mirrors that of many low- to mid-priced Strip megaresorts. The staff fulfills small requests with speed, but doesn't proactively engage guests to offer help. The bell staffers stand ready to hail a taxi for departing guests, but don't run up to new arrivals to take bags, as they do at more upscale places like the Wynn or Bellagio.
The high volume of guests, even by Vegas standards, means that check-in can take as long as 20 minutes. So many people try to get their rooms at the same time that the Luxor set up multiple rows of velvet rope running the length of the huge front desk to help handle the crowd.
But the staff executes effectively when it comes to small requests. Room service and extra towels came quickly; and when I asked to change rooms the staff offered to help with my bags and accommodated me within minutes.
A very large casino even by Vegas standards.
A 120,000-square-foot casino floor with 1,500 slot and video poker machines, a poker room (which offers limit and no-limit Texas Hold-'em and daily tournaments), a sports book, and eight different table games.
Two semi-permanent exhibitions, Bodies and The Titanic
Two semi-permanent exhibitions call Luxor home. "BODIES...The Exhibition" displays 13 whole human bodies and more than 260 organs, all dissected and preserved using a special method. The 25,000-square-foot "Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition" features items recovered from the wreckage, including luggage, whistles, and an unopened champagne bottle from 1900. A piece of the Titanic's hull is on view, as is a full-sized replica of the ship's Grand Staircase.
The Luxor hosts more children than most of the other Vegas properties I visited, which isn't surprising given the huge pools, the Disney-like ancient Egypt decor and architecture, and the Bodies exhibition. Crib rentals cost $20 plus tax per night and cots are $30 plus tax per night. There's also a $30 charge added for each guest over double occupancy (regardless of age) with a maximum of four guests per room.
Pyramid rooms could use refurbishment, but no significant hygiene issues.
Even in the slightly worn pyramid rooms, cleanliness isn't an issue. My bathroom in particular was well-maintained, and although the carpet was drab and old, it wasn't musty or stained. And the tower rooms are even fresher looking -- nothing at all to complain about there in terms of cleanliness. The hallways, lobby, and other common areas are well-maintained.
With seven restaurants, plus a mall-like food court, the Luxor offers many dining options. You won't find any celebrity-chef restaurants, but food is decent. Entrees range from $39 to $56 at Tender Steak and Seafood. Tacos & Tequila offers standard Mexican dishes for $15 to $23. Meanwhile, the very casual Pyramid Cafe makes simple fare -- my club cost $12 -- and serves breakfast all day.
More, the buffet at the Luxor, offers good variety and good value but is otherwise unexceptional. For roughly $20, you can eat a dinner of chili cheese fries, pizza, tacos, green beans, and cheesecake.
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