My review below for the Palazzo contains some observations about Circus Circus that may be of interest to some travelers, especially our international guests.
Our twelve-year-old children had time off from school and were anxious to visit another state and see new places. Las Vegas is a short trip from Denver where we live. We decided we would stay at a nice hotel, enjoy some good meals, and take in a show.
Upon arriving at the Palazzo on December 26th, the children were immediately entranced by the beauty and grandeur of the hotel. The lobby was adorned nicely for the holidays. We were greeted very graciously by the check-in personnel after a very short wait.
We began our walk to our suite. If you remain on the first floor where the lobby is located, you have to walk through the casino to get to the elevator banks to the suites. This is when it hits you that you are in Las Vegas. Colorado is a no-indoor-smoking state. If one is not accustomed to it, the stench of cigarettes is striking. After explaining to the kids, their immediate response was why would anyone want to smell like that. You can avoid the casino by taking the escalator to the second floor where the very high-end shops are located.
We entered our 720-square-foot Bella View Suite. It precisely measured up to our expectations based on online reviews, descriptions, and pictures. Our view from room 730 on the 37th floor overlooking the strip exceeded our expectations. The only flaw was some peeling wallpaper in the bathroom near the toilet. Standouts from the children's perspective were the remote-controlled window blinds and the television in the bathroom. We adults appreciated the extremely comfortable beds, quietness, overall spaciousness of the room, and quality of the appointments. I can't remember the last time I slept a full eight hours. I did here.
Regarding value, I felt the $219 we paid during the week was justly priced, but less so towards the $289 Friday rate. Make sure you check prices on the internet. We got a significantly cheaper rate through Expedia than the listed price on the hotel site. A further comment on value, I do not like to be nickeled and dimed. I feel like the Palazzo did this.
I am not quite sure what the additional $20 per day resort fee is intended to cover. Most hotels offer complimentary Wi-Fi and we did not use it anyway. There are no indoor pools for the kids during the winter months, a drawback of this hotel and I believe Las Vegas in general. The only thing I could rationalize was the free parking. The room also does not have a coffee maker in the room, a standard amenity in most hotels. I assume they want you to spend $5 in the coffee shops downstairs. Finally, the $1,000 coupon book they advertise had few savings of interest and felt more like a gimmick.
Also keep a close eye on the room refrigerator. Following the recommendation of another reviewer who said they got charged for items just being moved in the unit, I did an in-person check out of the room where I learned $110 had been added to the bill for items moved but not used. They credited the charges back without incident. However, anyone not looking for that, it could be quite a shock and disappointment upon arriving home. As a side note, the small refrigerator is only designed to hold their beverages and will not accommodate any other items.
The days of inexpensive meals and shows are long gone in Las Vegas. We could only afford to take in one show during the stay. We saw Cirque du Soleil's O at the Bellagio for a whopping $750 for four tickets, fairly standard rates for high-end shows. I must say, the extravaganza did not disappoint. I have seen many Cirque shows in various forums. This performance set the benchmark for greatness and left all of us mesmerized.
Exercise caution if you intend to catch the highly-rated Bellagio buffet before the 7:30 PM show unless you can begin lining up for dinner around 4:00 PM and have lots of cash. We arrived a little after 5:00 PM to find a 90-minute wait, a line that appeared to never end, and a price tag of $50 per person. If you are traveling with young children who tend to have big eyes and small stomachs, I believe the cost and experience is difficult to justify. In a rush, we opted for what proved to be a forgettable and sparse dinner at the Central at Caesar’s Palace with a $130 price tag.
An overall good value in Las Vegas is the Grand Lux Cafe. The decor is lush, the food some of the best I have ever eaten especially for a chain, the price very reasonable for the large portions, and the service staff warm and helpful. The original location is in the Venetian. There is another one located in the Palazzo. We found it worth the additional two-minute indoor walk to the Venetian location. The ambiance and service felt more welcoming. The dinner portions are huge. The service staff almost always suggested ordering lunch portions for the children or starting with fewer dishes. This was advice well taken. In fact, my wife and I felt like we could have shared a salad and one entree. If you decide to do the breakfast buffet, the children will only cost $9.95 compared to $17.50 for adults. This includes unlimited drinks and ends up being a good value, not significantly more than the much less appetizing Denny's just down the block. All in all, we ate there four times during our stay and never grew tired of it.
With no indoor swimming pools and having spent our show money on the first day, we set out on day two seeking ways to entertain the kids. Being a beautiful, crisp winter day, we decided to take a leisurely stroll. As a father walking the streets with your spouse and children, be prepared to see your share of homeless begging for money and Hispanic migrants accosting you at every corner with naked pictures of girls offering escort services, despite your family being physically in hand.
A healthy walk from the hotel, we made our way to the M&M World at the opposite end of the strip. To my surprise and despite it just being a four-story store selling everything M&Ms at high prices, the kids noted it is a highlight of the trip. We also stopped next door at the Coca-Cola store. Much less impressive. On the walk back, we stopped by some of the older hotels like the MGM, New York New York, and the Flamingo. These hotels were dark, dingy, and tired. The kids really got an appreciation for their accommodations at the Palazzo. That night, we stood outside Treasure Island in crushing crowds in the cold to watch the free TI pirates show. It was not age appropriate and the kids were quite disappointed.
On our third and final full day in Las Vegas, I appreciated my decision to spend $150 for an Enterprise rental car. By that time, we were ready to get off and out of the smoky strip. However, the kids first wanted to visit the Adventuredome at Circus Circus. It is important to note that the only way to get there is by car, be it rental or a $12 taxi ride.
We were appalled by this hotel. Looking at some of the positive reviews on this site for this facility, I can only assume that some Circus Circus staff are writing those assessments. Immediately upon entering, it was dark, old, and smelled of vomit. The kids poked their head into the amusement park entrance and immediately determined they did not want to do it. They decided to check out the loud and worn-out video arcade. To my amazement, they actually enjoyed about an hour there. I guess that is the difference between kids and parents. You just never know what they will find enjoyable.
During our brief stopover at Circus Circus, we saw mostly foreigners and a lower-end crowd. I don't know if I observed one international traveler who looked happy. Most looked absolutely disgusted. My children said what I was thinking, how sad it is for international travelers to spend all that money to come to America and to leave thinking Las Vegas and Circus Circus represents our country. They don't. If you are travelling from another country with children, please think twice about visiting cities like Los Angeles and Las Vegas. These cities tend to be dirty, congested, overrated, costly, and don't represent the America I know. And if you do, please spend the extra money to stay in a nicer hotel.
We at last set out in our reasonably priced full-sized car for Hoover Dam. Once you leave the strip, you realize there is nothing pretty or attractive about Las Vegas the city. However, leave the city limits and you begin to see unique and eye-catching landscapes. We arrived late to the dam. It was too crowded by that time to get out and enjoy the views up close and take one of the tours. However, we saw what we wanted to see from the top of the parking garage and snapped some good photos. I would have liked to spend more time here. One should probably allow a full day. On the way back, we took the parkway along Lake Mead. It was beautifully picturesque and peaceful. We stopped at the marina to feed the fish and ducks. The kids thoroughly enjoyed this. It was a nice finish to the trip. If you do travel to Las Vegas with children, I highly recommend renting a car which can be affordable, and spending less time on the strip and more time exploring some of Nevada's natural beauty. I wish we would have done more of that.
By day four, the day of our departure, both of my children were more than ready to get back home to Colorado. They commented how much more they appreciated the beauty of where we live and the overall lifestyle. It was an interesting experience, but if I had it to do over, I would not have taken my family to Las Vegas and will likely not return there again myself.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.