Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
A mellow, afforable hotel far off The Strip, with amenities aplenty, the South Point is popular with locals, retirees, and families.
Pulling up to the huge, 2,163-room South Point feels a bit like pulling up to a ginormous suburban Costco or some such big-box store. Like your average Costco, the South Point is anchored by an expansive parking lot, and there's a sense that any and everything can be found within -- and that's nearly true. It houses an 80,000-square-foot casino, a 16-screen multiplex movie theater, a 64-lane bowling alley, eight restaurants, two pools, a huge bingo hall, and an equestrian center.
There's plenty to do, but there's no kitschy theme like most of the hotels on The Strip, nor is there the history of the downtown hotels. Built in 2005, the hotel promises, in its shiny gold-colored windows, a more relaxing alternative to the bustling, party-hardy Strip. Sure, the gambling goes on until all hours, and the bowling alley is open 24/7, but there's no nightclub for the younger crowd to dance the night away. Instead of the party set, the hotel caters to a mix of families, retirees, and locals. Its suburban location, coupled with the low minimum tables in the casino and free parking, make the hotel quite popular with Las Vegans, whom hotel management estimates make up about half of their business.
The hotel is owned by Michael Gaughan, a former NASCAR driver and longtime casino boss. Some say that Gaughan strives to make his hotels feel more personal than properties owned by large conglomerates like Boyd Gaming or Harrah's, and in some way's this is apparent -- the large staff seems to actually know each other by name -- but it's still a huge complex, and there are typically long lines at check-in.
All told, for the price of a crash pad on the Strip, the hotel offers bright, large, 500-square-foot standard rooms with modern electronics. Getting to those comfortable rooms, however, requires an uncomfortable walk through the casino, which, even by Vegas standards, is pretty smoky.
When it comes to service, the hotel has both the good -- 24-hour room service, 24-hour concierge service -- and the bad -- long lines at check-in and some restaurants, occasionally impersonal service -- typical of a large Vegas hotel. Not so typical is the free shuttle South Point provides to and from the airport. (Guests should call 24 hours prior to arrival to reserve their space on the shuttle.)
In addition to waiting upwards of 40 minutes to check in, you might also get stuck waiting for a cocktail by the pool -- the waitress never seemed to notice me -- and the Del Mar Deli tends to draw a crowd in the morning (I waited in line about 10 minutes just to order a bagel).
But in general, the service is friendly, especially at the restaurants and in the spa, and service requests -- like some extra towels -- are handled promptly.
For many guests, the hotel's remote location away from the Strip's craziness is a big plus. For those looking for more action, it may seem like a snooze. Rather than fine dining and world-class entertainment, all that surrounds South Point are strip malls that offer everything from cheap pizza to a liquor outlet and dry cleaners.
The hotel used to provide a free shuttle to the Strip, but not anymore. The alternative -- the bus ran by Southern Nevada's Regional Transportation Commission -- has a stop right outside the hotel, but it takes two different buses, and at least an hour, to get to the Strip. A daily bus pass runs $7. The South Point also offers free parking, and free shuttle service from the airport.
The standard room -- which the hotel calls a "Deluxe Room" -- is a huge 500 square feet. Its one of the biggest standard rooms in this price range in Vegas. Rooms haven't been remodeled since the hotel was built in 2005, but they still feel pretty fresh and modern.
Beds are also plenty comfortable, considering the price of the hotel. My king bed, framed by its own little curtains, was topped with the hotel's signature Point Plush mattress by Serta Perfect Sleeper (also available for purchase), 300-thread-count linens, a light quilt -- perfect for the climate -- and three fluffy poly-filled pillows. Standard rooms with just one king bed also feature a love seat, but it doesn't pullout into a bed. Those with two queen beds do not have love seats.
All South Point rooms feature 42-inch LCD flat-screen TVs. They broadcast a number of sports channels (the better for betting), music channels, and some basic, but no premium, cable channels. Dozens of current films are available for purchase for $10.99 each, and a few adult-entertainment options are priced at $29.99. Rooms also feature Timex alarm clocks with MP3-player hookups.
Internet, both wireless and wired, is $12.99 a day and requires getting a code off the television to set it up. It was a bit of a pain, but once set up, it worked well.
The large bathroom has one sink and ample counter space. A shower-tub combo (with a curved shower rod) and toilet are behind a second door within the bathroom -- a nice touch for families or modest couples. The toiletries from Bath & Body Works smell fruity and delicious.
There are no minibars in the rooms, but the hotel gift shop sells beer, wine, and hard alcohol at extremely reasonable prices. A six-pack of Corona is less than six bucks. Small refrigerators can be rented at a cost of $15 a day.
My room on the 7th floor didn't have much of a view: It looked out onto the parking structure. The same-size rooms on higher floors come with a better views of either the pool and mountains, or the city and mountains (on the highest floors), but they also cost more. Typically, the upgrades are a huge price bump, but once you start tacking on all the extras it might be worth considering staying somewhere else, like the more upscale M Resort nearby.
Though the hotel no longer offers a free shutle to the Strip, it does provide a free shuttle from Las Vegas's McCarran International Airport. It runs approximately every hour, but guests should call the hotel at least 24 hours in advance to arrange their pickup and reserve space.
The hotel's two pools are also great for families. The large free-form pool has a huge palm tree in the middle of it and a lifeguard on duty. A shallow, circular wading pool is situated next to the free-form pool and is ideal for little ones. For grown-ups, there's a huge Jacuzzi -- about 30 feet in diameter -- that wraps around a palm tree and a rocky mass. There are plenty of lounge chairs around the pool, as well as a lounge area on an adjacent strip of artificial turf. As a whole, the pool area is large and impressive -- better than most similarly priced hotels on the strip. But, it's not as fancy as the sand-bottom pool at the nearby Green Valley Ranch, nor is there a "Euro pool" for those looking for a Vegas pool party scene.
The Costa del Sur Spa offers a full range of treatments from couples massages to a pumpkin spice facial. For $25, guests can also purchase a day pass to use spa facilities and the gym. With the day pass, you can use the Jacuzzi, plunge pool, and sauna, and you'll also get a spa locker, robe, and slippers. I spotted some algae in the Jacuzzi, and I couldn't get the sauna to turn on or find an attendant in the area. Overall, it's a nice, but not exactly glamorous spot for relaxing. The lounge room even has a television playing soap operas -- not your typical quiet spa room, but the guests seemed to enjoy it.
Access to the 24-hour fitness center costs $15 a day. It's annoying but pretty typical of Vegas hotels. The gym itself is quite nice with over half a dozen fairly new Cybex treadmills looking out onto the pool area, along with bikes and cross trainers -- all with individual cable TV monitors -- and weight machines. A personal trainer is available for an extra fee. When I visited, he was ever-present in the gym, offering free tips to guests.
The South Point's most unique feature is its equestrian center, an event center with stalls for 1,135 horses and an arena that seats 4,600. However, it doesn't house any horses permanently, just those in town for the rodeo, or whatever horsey event is happening at the hotel.
The hotel's fairly large casino has table limits as low as $5. It also features a 150-seat Race Book, where seats are equipped with individual TV screens for watching the ponies, and a separate Sports Book with over 100 seats. The 22-table Poker Room is nonsmoking, open 24-hours a day, and has a variety of betting limits. Slot players can see if the casino has their favorite game using its "slot search" online, here. The casino's incentive program, The Club at South Point, allows players to earn points redeemable for comps or cash back.
The large, 500-square-foot standard rooms feature one king or two queen-size beds. They can easily accomodate a rollaway bed, which costs an additional $20 a night. One thing to note, however, is that the rate for standard rooms is for double occupancy. Any additional guest over the age of 6 costs an additional $20 a night.
Neither standard rooms nor suites have sleeper sofas. The hotel has no adjoining rooms, but rooms next to each other can be requested when making reservations (though they can't make any guarantees). Still, with two-bedroom suites running several times what it would cost for two standard guest rooms, it's probably worth the risk.
The hotel's numerous restaurants serve plenty of kid-friendly food. All restaurants, save for the more upsacale Michael's, Silverado Steakhouse, and Don Vito's Italian, have children's menus. There's an even an ice cream shop, Kate's Korner, on-site. The 24-hour room service menu doesn't feature a specific menu for kids, but they should be easily satiated by options like a pancake breakfast ($14.95), chicken fingers entree ($17.95), and grilled cheese ($11.95).
Clean enough for Vegas, but guest rooms could be cleaner. Common areas show the remants of so much family fun.
For the most part, my guest room was clean. However, there was something a bit flaky on the soap holder in the shower, and I spotted an area between my bed and the nightstand that was thick with dust. It appeared not to have been reached by the vacuum in some time.
Common areas aren't perfect either. Carpets in hallways are pretty stained, and they show it when they're patterned with pale yellow suns. I also spotted various stray items left about -- like a toothbrush sitting on the casino floor one day and an ice cream cone in the elevator. Such instances aren't uncommon in large hotels that cater to families, but neat freaks might be happier elsewhere.
The spa also has some cleanliness issues. Soaking in the Jacuzzi one afternoon, I discovered some algae -- not exactly relaxing. The spa shower had a bit of mildew, though at least it was in keeping with the Southwestern color scheme. There was also some gunk -- shower gel or conditioner -- on the walls in the shower.
With eight restaurants and 24-hour room service, the South Point offers a selection of food in every price range.
The hotel's fanciest restaurant, Michael's Gourmet Room, serves gourmet fare in an elegant setting with dark wood interiors. That elegance doesn't come cheap -- entrees are around 50 bucks -- but Zagat ranks the food among Las Vegas' best. Silverado Steakhouse, Don Vito's Italian, and Primarily Prime Rib, are slightly more affordable, but still fine places for dinner.
For more casual meals, Baja Miguel's Mexican, serves basic Mexican fare in a festive environment with entrees ranging from $10.95 to $14.95. The 24-hour Coronado Café has American standards like two eggs with hash browns and toast ($5.45) in the morning. Later in the day, the café also serves up Americanized Chinese dishes like chicken fried rice ($6.95) and shrimp chow mein ($10.95). From midnight to 6 a.m., breakfast specials can be had starting at $2.45. And at the Big Sur Oyster Bar, you can get a quality ahi Caesar salad for $16 and a side of french fries for a very reasonable $2.
For quick bites, there's a Seattle's Best Coffee on-site, and an ice cream place called Kate's Korner. Del Mar Deli doesn't open until 8 a.m., but when it does, it has a great selection of fresh bagels as well as deli sandwiches, pizzas, and burgers.
Room service is available 24-hours, and the delivery is typically prompt -- the turkey wrap I ordered was at my door in just 18 minutes. The plate arrived still wrapped in saran wrap, but the avocados were fresh and the extra sauce was on the side, per my request.
This 2,163-room suburban hotel has big modern rooms and amenities apleny -- great pools, a movie theater, a 64-lane bowling alley, a huge casino, even the occassional rodeo. But this is a much mellower version of Vegas, most popular among locals and families. For a party scene, stay closer to the Strip.