Best Luxury Hotel
Opened in December 2008 by famed Vegas developer Steve Wynn, the 2,034-room Encore takes the whim and luxury of its sister, the Wynn hotel (opened in 2005) and improves it with even bigger rooms and a more attractive spa and fitness center. Guests can use Wynn's nearby 18-hole golf course, and the hotel has a classy, adults-only European Pool. But it's the Encore's rooms -- all of which are suites -- that make it a cut-above even the very best hotels in Vegas: beautiful lighting via floor-to-ceiling windows, electronic bedside drape control, a comfortable lounge area in even the base-level rooms, and a bathroom that's bigger than the entire room in some New York City hotels.
Best Value Hotel
Transplant this ultraluxurious hotel to any other city in the U.S. and the rates would be three, four, or five times as much. True, it's located an unattractive ten-minute walk from any other hotel on the Strip. But this level of service, attention to detail, and luxury -- at these prices -- are an only-in-Las-Vegas experience.
Best Kid-Friendly Hotel
Kids are sure to love the Shark Reef Aquarium, which in addition to sharks features endangered green sea turtles, piranha, rare golden crocodiles, moon jellies, sawfish, and giant rays. The huge pool complex includes a large wave pool and a lazy river. Abundant kid-friendly food options at the hotel's 20 restaurants.
Best Business Hotel
With 1.9 million square feet of meetings and convention space at the Venetian/Palazzo Congress Center and attached Sands Expo, chances are good business travelers will find themselves at this top Vegas hotel. Lucky you. The beautifully appointed standard rooms start at 650 square feet, on the high end of Strip rooms. The sumptuous casino, big-name restaurants, and endless shopping will make your off-duty hours as productive as your working time. And the impressive selection of high-end restaurants, including Emeril Lagasse's Delmonicos Steakhouse, Mario Batali's B&B, and David Burke's, well, David Burke, offer lots of opportunities to use up your expense account with pleasure.
Best Party Hotel
Hard Rock is one of the most unapologetically hedonistic hotels in Las Vegas, which is a hard trophy to come by in this town. On Sunday, the Beach Club Pool hosts Rehab -- a pool party so raucous, they turned it into its own reality TV show. The hotel's nightclub, Body English, has drawn some notable A-listers (Paris Hilton among them). And true to its Hard Rock name, big-name bands regularly play the recently renovated Joint, a 4,000-seat venue attached to the hotel.
Best Hotel Rooms
Their size alone would put the rooms at the Palazzo near the top of our list -- the fact that every square inch is filled with sumptuous finishings, thoughtful touches, and state-of-the-art electronics lands it at number one. Even standard rooms here measure 720 square feet. Each contains a bedroom and a sunken living room. The latter features L-shaped, crushed-velvet sofas that open up to full-size beds. Art Deco-inspired decor adds to the luxurious yet tasteful ambiance. The king-size, pillow-top beds are dressed in Egyptian cotton sheets and topped with wool throws. Rooms feature three -- yes, three -- flat-screen TVs: a 32-incher in the living room, a 42-incher in the bedroom, and a 20-incher in the bathroom. The bathrooms -- which, at 130 square feet, are larger than some entire New York City hotel rooms -- come with deep soaking tubs and twin sink basins, plenty of soft towels, and Agraria San Francisco bath products.