Five years ago, on our first trip to Vegas, we stayed at the Sahara Hotel; a pleasant enough stay with comfortable beds, simple bathroom and nice view of the strip. The Monorail made it less challenging to get to the heart of the action in the relentless heat, or there was the option of walking via Stardust, Frontier and other Casino-Hotels that offered air-conditioning to help alleviate the pain that the oppressive sun brought upon us. The hotel was anonymous enough: we were able to sit by the pool or amble through the casino without being bothered by anyone, nor did we have too much difficulty finding somewhere to eat within our budget (God bless the Sahara buffet and the 3/4 lb hot dog from down the street, next to a useful Subway with its foot long sandwiches). We thought it was a great place to stay... until we stayed in the Desert Rose Resort this August!
At first, having looked on Google Earth and having read some of the more negative reviews on here, we were sceptical: the hotel was near Hooters, near the Airport, off-Strip and small. We wondered just how safe the area was, were there going to be cockroaches in the bathroom, was breakfast as hazardous as some people claimed, was there going to be a noise issue; all manner of thoughts.
Then we read through the good reviews: we saw that it was ranked as the number 4 hotel in Vegas; saw how many people loved the spirit of the place; the size of the rooms and facilities on offer; the manager's reception and the fact that you did at least get a breakfast!
Providing you are up early enough, breakfast is a dream: bagels, bread/toast, cereals, fruits, preserves, muffins/danishes, cheeses (a nice cheddary one and a flavoursome white cheese with jalapenos in it), fruit salad or peaches were all readily available accompanied by a great selection of teas, coffees, fruit juices (we were particularly taken with the fresh orange juice and the cranberry punch) and two varieties of milk (2 percent and skimmed). The later you arrive to breakfast, the more waiting around there is but still the food is available and frequently topped up. True, some people have little idea as to what constitutes a line and will tend to push in, although we put this down to the fact that there could be a confusion as to whether there is one line for the cereals, meat/cheeses and toaster, or whether there were three separate ones. It didn't happen too often and most people understood the system well. There is even the option of taking food back and enjoying breakfast in your room; something we happily did on occasion.
The manager's reception was also good: beer, wine, soft drinks, tea and coffee were offered along with either nachos and pretzels, or canopes of raw vegetables with a cheese sauce and a selction of mixed nuts. It was on for two hours and while perhaps not being something you would rush back for, it was pleasant enough to have if you were there at the time.
Having read through other reviews, we were pretty sure of what to expect with our room but nothing could actually prepare us for the truth: they were excellent! The kitchen was very well stocked: large fridge-freezer; dishwasher; huge oven; oversized microwave; a "Mr Coffee" perculator (along with accompanying Wolfgang Puck coffee); a blender/processor; toaster; vast array of cutlery and crockery and enough workspace to prepare a great meal. The sink was the size of a bath which proved useful for the washing up that we did (we're not dishwasher people!).
The dining table was of a very good size and was the lounge with corner unit sofa and t.v. Ok, the television could be a little more modern but it was very large and provided a good picture on the odd occasion that we sat down and watched it (usually channel 18 for the weather forecast, or the local Fox news). We never had casue to fold the sofa out into a bed although we heard that it was very confortable!
The balcony was another excellent option. In a city that's prone to not letting people open their windows for fear of suicides, it was a true delight to be able to sit out and enjoy a glass of wine and the views. We were lucky: being in suite 4305, we had the pool on one side of us and the Luxor/Mandalay Bay hotels on the other. There are some cracking views to be had from many rooms although some did suffer from being inside, and facing inwards. Usually it wouldn't bother us, but we were there for two weeks so really wanted something a little bit special; we weren't disappointed! Also, being on the third floor wasn't a problem for us: some have said that the noise of the air-conditioning on the roof kept them awake - we had our air-conditioning running in the room so external noises didn't really affect us. Furthermore, the air-conditioning units on the roof run at a constant rate so the noise lessens the more you are exposed to it (rather than stop-start noises).
The bedroom was good too: a huge bed, another television and a walk in wardrobe were all exceptional. I'm not sure quite how cold it gets in Vegas, but we ended up taking off the many layers of quilting and blankets that are an option for those that need it. Also, give yourself a few minutes every night to prepare the bed as someone there has an obsession with pillows and cushions!
The vanity units and bathroom were simple but effective and included a hairdryer which proved useful to my partner as our European electricity powered hairdryer only runs at half power in the United States. Speaking of electricity, I'm not sure quite how the American system is but there seemed to be a lot of plug sockets and switches near to water hazards. Mains lighting with a switch in the bathroom? Sockets by the sink? I'm sure it meets up with legislation, although it took a bit of getting used to (and very precautious hand drying!).
In the rooms, you'll also find: an iron and ironing board; broom and mop and an electronic safe. We were told that some rooms had a DVD in them too, although ours didn't. All-in-all, an excellent room with great facilities.
Further around the resort, you'll find very friendly staff; it could just be the American way but everyone had time for you and seemed pleased to be of service. We did tip our room maid, although this lead to us having an abundance of towels in the room - by the end of the holiday we had amassed a small mountain of towels in the vanity area!
The pool was an ok size. True, it's not like the pools of the mega-resorts but it was enough: three distinct areas of depth within the pool, plus two smaller jacuzzi/warm pools. Well, one pool was warm, the other was hotter than Vegas itself. However, and this is a big plus for the resort, the pool remained open until 11pm. Obviously, being Vegas, it was still warm, but there was none of the overbearing sunshine so the pool is often still occupied after the sun goes down; a very welcome offering for those with children or for those who don't really enjoy being seen swimming in daylight! Around the pool area, you have the option of using two barbeques and hotel towels. There also seemed to be enough loungers, chairs and tables (with parasols) for those that want to stay by the pool.
The resort also offers a fitness centre and free wi-fi. The fitness centre has a few treadmills, a cross-trainer and a weights machine, although this wasn't working while we were there. The wi-fi proved useful but, should you not have the capabilities of using it, the hotel offers an internet connection in the foyer, at a charge. The ATM (cash machine) in the foyer charges $3 per transaction but this was the cheapest that we'd found anywhere. In fact, we'd ventured out to a bank and that still charged the same amount.
Apparently, there is also a concierge at the hotel although we never saw them in the 2 weeks that we were there. However, this may be due to the fact that we left the hotel around 10am every day and didn't return until the evening - there is a lot to see and do in Vegas!!!
So, bearing all this in mind, we heartily recommend this hotel. The community spirit that was spoken of in the title stems from the fact that everyone will talk with you. Whether you're in the pool, at breakfast or in the lift, anywhere in the hotel, there is a feeling that you're all in on a little secret; that you're part of a little family. Yes, the family swells at the weekend and changes fairly frequently, but the spirit of the place remains the same.
I'm sure that you're probably very aware of the things to do in Town, but there are a couple of hidden gems that shouldn't be overlooked:
If you're staying for any length of time, get yourself out to Wal-Mart and stock up of ingredients. We planned on eating a meal in every other day to try and reduce costs and calories, and it offered a good bit of respite from all the hustle and bustle. The best way to do this is to walk over to Tropicana and catch the Deuce bus somewhere, paying for the all day, $7 pass. By doing this, you can use any of the buses in Vegas and can head East on Tropicana Avenue to the Wal-Mart (around 15mins on bus depending upon traffic).
The car-park behind the Desert Rose/Hooters seemed safe to us: it's patrolled by security on bikes and is well lit. Cutting across it saves a fair bit of time and effort!
Don't be afraid of going into Hooters: from what we saw of the casinos on the strip and downtown, the Hooters' staff are fairly respectably dressed. On Friday and Saturday night it does get a little more testosterone fuelled, but nothing too much to worry about. Also, by joining their Players' Club, you get $100 worth of free slot play for promotional machines and then a further $5 for any slot. We walked away with $15 from it; maybe not much to some but great for us! The other good Club for us (we don't gamble enough for the big places) was Circus Circus which offers $15 in casino chips.
After 5pm, head over to The Hotel at Mandalay Bay and take the lift up to Mix. It's a nightclub/restaurant that offers amazing views down the strip from the 64th floor...and for free before 10pm. The lift is amazing in itself as it's external and glass - great views of Mandalay Bay and the airport and you ascend. While you're there, take time to go to the toilets too for another of life's experiences!
If you forget your camera battery or need something electronic, make your way down to Fry's at Town Square. My camera battery wasn't working and I was looking at $49 on the strip; went down to Fry's and the same battery cost me $12. If you do it while having a Deuce ticket, it will save you a fair bit!
Pick up the free booklets (such as 24/7 or Vegas 2 Go) as they have useful discounts: we particularly enjoyed the 2-for-1's at Hagen Dazs and Ben and Jerry's!!! However, for an amazing ice-cream experience, head over to Cold Stone in the Excalibur food court).
For cheap fast food, try Jack-in-the-Box or, for something truly special, try FatBurger!!!!!
And that's it. The Desert Rose Resort proved to be an excellent choice for us: great facilities, easy walking distance to the strip, good views, great value for money but, above all else, a feeling that you were part of a friendly family and not just another anonymous holiday maker in an oversized, corporate run hotel.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located 1.5 blocks from the Las Vegas Strip, Desert Rose Resort provides you with great access to all the glitz and glam of Las Vegas along with all the gracious pleasures of a resort hotel. Settle into one and two-bedroom condo suites in Las Vegas with fully equipped kitchens and comfortable living and dining areas – all beautifully decorated with sleek, contemporary furnishings and a rich color palette. Desert Rose Resort’s pool is an oasis, a truly relaxing and refreshing hideaway – dramatically different from the crush of people at some Vegas hotels. Lucky you, Desert Rose Resort is a winning deal in Las Vegas - without stepping foot in a casino. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Desert Rose Hotel Las Vegas
- Desert Rose Las Vegas
- Desert Rose Resort Las Vegas