“Huge swag rooms at a bargain. Stay one before they’re gone.”
The pictures already posted by others tell well the story of the 850 sq. ft. 1 bedroom apartment stayed for two nights during NASCAR weekend. A red leather corner sectional seating seven (and housing a queen sleeper). Floor-to-ceiling views of the Strip from the living room and also from right next to the king bed. A HUGE Jacuzzi 24 inches from that bed, with mirrors on three sides. Five TVs. Including a 12-foot wide projection screen that drops to cover the living room window to receive the projection TV. A combo washer/dryer under the bathroom sinks. A full size kitchen/fridge and a dining table for six. All done up in very retro-swank styling. Warhol-styled artwork of Marilyn Monroe. Even some zebra fabric seating -- long live El Morocco! Put it all together and you get a top competitor for best entry-level room in town. And the property is basically off-the-radar, so pricing is amazing. Too bad these rooms are scheduled for a design dumb-down in the near future. Why, you ask? Well, like much of what has been built to become Las Vegas, there’s a backstory to it.
This tower, and these rooms, debuted next door to Planet Hollywood in 2009 as “PH Towers Westgate.” Westgate was then a huge time-share operation, and it had the vision to swag up these rooms ever-so nicely. Unfortunately the timing was bad, as it debuted directly into credit markets seized-up from The Great Recession. No credit lines equaled no time-share sales, leading to Westgate having to sell off the property. (That story is told in detail, btw, in the second half of a 2012 film titled “The Queen of Versailles.”) The new owners affiliated with Hilton Grand Vacation Clubs in 2012 and rechristened the property Elara. Accordingly, the new target market for these rooms is Joe CompanyMan, burning up all the HiltonHHonors points he accumulated while on the corporate treadmill. As they sit, these rooms are judged by Hilton as being way too Austin Powers to suit such tastebuds, so they are slowly being “Hilton-ized” -- that is, being blanded down into various shades of taupe. Let us hope that at least the projection TV and Jacuzzi survive.
This is, officially, a non-gaming, non-resort property. Downstairs is a smallish hipster-looking bar, a nook with about twenty tables to deal out breakfast fare … and that’s about it. The good news is that its lobby is next door to a showroom (The Saxe Theater) and also opens up to one end of the Miracle Mile shopping area, that in turn leads into the Planet Hollywood casino. So Elara does mimic a full casino/resort property better than you might first think.
Service is mostly well-above average; the staff holds a solid customer orientation. Upon arrival, I was informed that 300,000 NASCAR-heads in town had created a full valet … and I was not even offered an opportunity to bell the luggage. Instead, I was directed to self-park and to look to end up in Section 3e or so, that being near an entrance to the Elara main desk. What I found in self-park was a game of automobile Russian roulette, a hundred-or-so cars jockeying for the next vacated space in the entire deck. After 30 minutes and 10 laps around the track, I opted to hover at the top floor, far corner, section 5z … and eventually scored. Then I had to schlep the luggage to an elevator that deposited me somewhere into the far end of the shopping area. And into a lot more schlepping. When I hit the front desk nearly an hour after I first arrived, I politely advised my clerk Ray of my valet odyssey, expressing the hope that my room assignment would fare better. That, layered upon my Hilton HHonors status, led to an upgrade to Room 5309, the aforementioned 850 square feet, three floors down from the top floor and possessing just about the best view available from the property. Thank you Ray, you are so Vegas! Throughout my stay, I found room service, bell - as well as subsequent valet service - to be equally fawning.
Hilton HHonors members: This is a Cat 9 property and as such it stands tall above the other three redemption properties in town. I’ve stayed at two of them -- and toured the third. If you can’t swing a redemption at Elara, then HGVC Strip/LV Boulevard is your second best choice for room quality; on the Strip yes, but far away from the action. HGVC at The Flamingo is second best for location. Save off-Strip HGVC at LVH for last dance; it’s a hike over to LVH … and grapevine has it that there’s good reason why LVH recently lost its Hilton branding.
Unless you absolutely have to stay five-star, this is an excellent venue for you to consider. The location, mid-South Strip, is pretty desirable. For now, at least, the rooms are ever-so swag. And pricing is high-bang-for-buck; it’s off the radar because (1) it’s pretty new, (2) it’s only listed in a few of the usual marketing channels, (3) there’s not a single coupon code available anywhere in the entire Solar System and (4) on the face of it, it’s a non-gaming, non-resort property.
RECOMMENDATION: Get ‘em while they’re hot!
Happy Motoring !
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.