Overpriced poolside food and drinks (and bag checks so guests can't bring their own)
Lounge chairs limited at pools (cabanas cost a steep fee)
Pool often charges extra fee on weekends when there are performers
Waterslide hours more limited than those of main pool; pool closes on early side
First opened in 1946, the 3,642-room Flamingo Las Vegas is one of the most iconic hotels on the Strip. In addition to all the Vegas basics -- including several dining options, a huge casino, top-rated shows, and a number of wedding venues -- this upper-middle-range hotel offers a few great features: a bustling party pool, a spa, on-site shops, and the popular Wildlife Habitat, complete with exotic birds, turtles and fish. Rooms, however, are hit or miss -- Fab Rooms (the standard type here) are dated, worn, and basic, while Go Rooms and suites have stylish contemporary decor and upgraded technologies. Rates are some of the lowest on the Strip, but those on a budget may want to bear in mind that the resort fee is added on checkout. It's not as kitschy as some of its similarly priced counterparts; families may prefer the Egyptian-themed Luxor Las Vegas or New York New York (which has a roller coaster).
Large, iconic Strip hotel with a bustling atmosphere and a popular wildlife enclosure
Opened in 1946 by mobbed-up bootlegger and Genovese crime family associate Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel, the Flamingo is one of the oldest resorts on the Strip and, as such, boasts a rich history. It figures prominently in Hunter S. Thompson's city-defining gonzo opus "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," and both the 1960 and the 2001 versions of "Ocean's Eleven" were filmed on-site. Once the champion of the Strip, the fluorescent-pink Flamingo is no longer the standard-bearer for over-the-top Las Vegas largesse, but still draws hordes of young partiers and couples.
The hotel's exteriors feverishly recall Las Vegas' 1970s heyday. Fluorescent pink abounds, and massive light displays light up the night, creating the impression that the hotel wishes the '70s never ended. Several rounds of renovations in rooms and common spaces have given new life to the hotel, yet its gargantuan size means the vibe is impersonal. The lobby feels very much like an airport departures hall, with gleaming off-white floors, bright lights, retractable belt barriers, self-check-in machines, hundreds of travelers with suitcases, and several sets of escalators. The outdoors, however, have the feel of a playground for grown-ups, with its popular Wildlife Habitat complete with exotic animals, and a large party pool with music and cabanas.
Despite the many partiers who choose to stay here, the Flamingo manages to appeal to families as well, thanks to the aforementioned Wildlife Habitat, and a small family-friendly pool area with small waterslides. But kids might be bummed that the larger Go Pool, which has a waterfall, is only for guests 21 and over. Despite its retro flair, though, the Flamingo isn't quite as themed and kitschy as some of its competitors. Children may prefer the Egyptian theme at the Luxor or the roller coaster at New York New York. Those looking for family-friendliness and slightly lower rates might want to consider the Excalibur, which has an arcade and Arthurian-themed dinner show. Wherever you go, there is bound to be some party presence -- this is Vegas, after all.
Right in the middle of the Strip, and neighbor to Caesars Palace and Bally’s
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 Flamingo puts guests smack in the middle of that scene. Big-name casinos such as Caesars Palace, Bally's, the Bellagio, and Paris are close neighbors. Worthwhile activities in the area include the Bellagio's fountains, Caesars' 160-store Forum Shops, and the High Roller Ferris Wheel, all within a five-minute walk of the hotel. Cabs are easy to find at virtually any time of day or night. A generally less expensive option for getting up and down the Strip is the Deuce, a double-decker bus that runs up and down the strip 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The Monorail has a stop right outside the property as well. The Flamingo is a 10- to 15-minute cab ride from McCarran International Airport.
Spacious, light rooms with decor that ranges between classic and dated, and contemporary
The Flamingo has a whopping 3,642 rooms, the smallest of which start at a spacious 350 square feet. Units are divided into two main types -- Fab and Go. Fab Rooms are the standard type, and have bland classic decor with heavy wooden furniture (mismatched, in some cases), laminate floors, and accent walls in neutral colors. Large windows let in ample light, and vintage Vegas photos are fun touches, but there have been reports of poor maintenance, especially in bathrooms. Go Rooms are far more contemporary, with large white tufted headboards, brown patterned carpeting, fun striped wallpaper, and stylish lounge chairs by the window. In-room amenities are basic for this category, as only flat-screen TVs and alarm clocks are standard. Go Rooms and suites have upgraded amenities, including electronic blinds, high-definition TVs, mini-fridges, and coffeemakers. Wi-Fi is available throughout and it is included in the mandatory resort fee. Guests can choose between city, High Roller, and Strip vistas.
Bathrooms are average in Fab Rooms, with standard shower/tub combos in most, and basic hotel-brand toiletries. Go Room bathrooms have in-mirror TVs, frosted glass doors, and more contemporary fixtures, including round sinks over marble counters and glass-enclosed showers and separate tubs.
Two main pool areas: a party pool for adults, and a smaller pool complex for families
During the day, the action takes place around the hotel's two pools. The Beach Club Pool is quieter and smaller, with dozens of loungers and a more family-friendly vibe. Kids get access to a couple of even smaller pools with little waterslides near the main Beach Club Pool, though hours here are more limited. A white pedestrian overhang separates the waterslide pools from the adult-only pool area.
The adult-only (21 and over) Go Pool has a party atmosphere, with DJ sessions, ball games, and slides. It is a fun and rowdy spot, but there are always long lines due to ID checks and bag searches (no food or drink is allowed in, not even water, though free water should be provided). It's a good idea to line up early if you want to snag a lounge chair, and prepare to pay an extra fee when there are performances on weekends. A poolside bar offers overpriced drinks, and cabanas with a minimum tab are available for those willing to pay big bucks. The crowdedness typical at this pool will be a turnoff to some.
Hits include the brunch at the Paradise Garden Buffet and the fun at Margaritaville.
The Flamingo serves up a wide variety of dining options: value at the Paradise Garden Buffet, a fun party scene at Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville, and quick bites at the Flamingo Food Court.
Paradise Garden Buffet has massive windows and vaulted ceilings create a far more pleasant environment than the windowless confines of other Vegas buffets, and is popular for brunch.
Margaritaville, a theme restaurant and bar that is equal parts Florida Keys and Caribbean islands, has colorful deck chairs, jumbo margarita shakers, large screens playing Jimmy Buffett's videos, and booths shaped like boat decks cry kitsch, but in a fun way.
Center Cut Steakhouse has a variety of meat and seafood entrees, just make sure you come hungry and with wallet full.
The Flamingo's casino offers slots, blackjack, poker, a sports book, and many other table games.
The casino offers almost 2,000 slot machines, 22 gaming tables, and a large betting hall with dozens of screens showing sports and races. A bar with burlesque-style decor and hot pink stools keeps drinks flowing through the night. The poker room offers low-stakes Texas Hold 'em, among other games; there's free Wi-Fi and mobile charing at each seat. In addition to the main, larger casino, there's the 15,000-square-foot Margaritaville Casino, with 200 slot machines. It opens right on to the sidewalk of the Strip, so lots of foot traffic finds its way through the wide doors, livening up the action.
The hotel features a spa with private, couples and group massage cabins, a well-equipped fitness center, several shops, and six wedding venues. The on-site Wildlife Habitat is a popular attraction that draws locals and visitors alike. It occupies an extensive outdoor area with tropical plants and ponds, and is home to dozens of exotic fish, turtles, and birds, including flamingos. The hotel also features self-parking, which is included in the resort fee, and valet parking (for a fee).
At night guests and non-guests have a wide array of live shows to choose from, including burlesque and comedy shows.
Flamingo Las Vegas is one of a handful of Vegas hotels participating in the PetStay program for dogs, which allows guests to book designated PetStay rooms (these incur an additional nightly fee). PetStay rooms come with mats, food and water dishes, treats, and waste bags; guests will also receive welcome packets with information on outdoor dog potty areas (there's a relief area on-site) and walking routes. Dogs must be under 50 pounds and up to two dogs are allowed per room. In addition, dogs must be crated when left unattended in the room and during housekeeping service.
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