For travelers who need a cheap place to stay in Vegas, the upper-middle-range Harrah’s is a no-brainer. It’s conveniently located in the middle of the Strip, has a mid-size casino, an OK pool, and a few restaurants and bars. But for anyone who expects to be wowed, Harrah’s is no showstopper. Most of the 2,530 rooms are heinously dated and reek of cigarette smoke. And compared to its neighbors, Harrah’s casino is small, its pool is boring, and its entertainment options are lackluster. A more modern and cleaner Strip pick is the slightly more expensive Tropicana, though it lacks Harrah’s prime location.
A cheap place to stay on the Strip that caters to middle-age gamblers
With a court jester on the facade and a brightly lit exterior, Harrah’s suggests a vague Mardi Gras theme; but you won’t find the vibrancy and excitement of New Orleans here. Harrah's is a less-than-fresh property — in fact, just about everything feels old. With no dancing fountains, shark reefs, faux Venetian canals, or restaurants with celebrity chefs, Harrah's instead focuses on gambling, but even the casino isn’t impressive. At 87,000 square feet, it’s only mid-size for Vegas, and is so filled with cigarette smoke that it has the potential to turn would-be gamblers away. For those who can tolerate the cigarette smog, the casino leads to an unimpressive lobby with long check-in lines and bad fluorescent lighting.
Guests at Harrah’s are all united by the commonality of needing a cheap place to stay on the Strip. Here, the crowd is mostly gambling devotees or people with Harrah’s Total Rewards points. This isn’t the place for a fun family vacation or a rowdy bachelor party. Harrah’s age range is probably best described by the hotel’s regularly running show, "Menopause the Musical."
Smack dab in the center of the Strip, perfectly convenient for exploring Vegas attractions
Directly across from Caesars Palace, Harrah’s is considered to be smack dab in the middle of the Strip. Its convenient location means a lot of Vegas attractions — the Bellagio fountains, the Forum Shops, the High Roller — are within easy walking distance. For easy access to hotels and casinos a little farther down the Strip, Harrah’s has its own monorail stop. The hotel is about a 10- to 15-minute cab ride from McCarran International Airport.
Some are dated and drab, others are renovated with modern furnishings; most smell pretty smoky
Rooms at Harrah’s are either dated and dull or surprisingly nice — unfortunately more fall into the former category. Older rooms’ decor consists of thick carpeting, heavy drapery, and ugly wall paper, all in shades of taupe. Beds are dressed in simple white sheets with red accent pillows, and cheap stock art hangs in brass frames on the walls. Even in-room amenities, like flat-screen TVs, clock radios, and fingerprint-covered mini-fridges, could use an upgrade. Bathrooms are small, with shower/tub combos and granite countertops.
Fortunately, for travelers seeking a little bit of style, Harrah’s does have some updated guest rooms. These rooms have bold patterns, such as thick striped wallpaper, sleek furniture, and geometric patterned carpeting. These either feature a purple and white or a red, white, and chocolate brown color scheme. Renovated rooms also have modern amenities, like iHomes and USB charging ports. Most bathrooms have shower/tub combos, but some have separate shower stalls and large soaking tubs.
Potential guests should note that whether renovated or not, most rooms at Harrah's reek of cigarette smoke.
A lackluster pool, spa and salon, and nightly shows
A rectangular, olympic-size lap pool might be impressive at a condominium complex in Myrtle Beach, but it isn’t in Vegas -- a town known for its over-the-top aquatic playgrounds. If not striking, the pool is at least clean, and has cushioned loungers and a few rentable cabanas.
The spa and fitness center at Harrah’s are pretty run-of-the-mill. The spa offers facials, massages, and a few body wraps, but there’s nothing signature or special that sets the spa apart from its peers. For a more indulgent spa session, head across the street to Caesars or the Bellagio. Though the gym has low ceilings and is fairly dark, it's spacious and outfitted with fairly modern equipment; there are several cardio and strength-training machines, free weights, and a fresh fruit and water station.
The hotel also has several ongoing shows, including The Righteous Brothers, improv comedy, and an Elvis impersonator. Like many hotels in Vegas, the resort charges a hefty daily resort fee that includes “freebies” like Wi-Fi.
Harrah’s has six on-site dining options and four bars. Restaurants include an all-you-can-eat buffet, a Toby Keith outpost, and Ruth’s Chris Steak House, to name a few. There are also grab-and-go type places, like an ice cream parlor and Starbucks. One standout is the Fulton Street Food Hall, an upscale cafeteria with pizza, custom salads, sandwiches, sushi, and a coffee bar. Harrah’s has four bars, but lacks a nightclub or an upscale lounge.
By Vegas standards, Harrah’s doesn’t have too many features to boast about. For starters, the mid-size casino is horribly smoky (more so than most in Sin City), and there isn’t anything particularly memorable about it. At 87,00 square feet, even its size is average (compared to MGM’s 170,000). What draws many people here are the perks of Harrah’s Total Rewards — essentially the gambler’s equivalent of frequent flyer miles — that members can use to earn discounts across Harrah’s properties like Bally’s and Rio.
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