We have been traveling to Las Vegas since the early 80's and have seen Vegas change over the years from the edgy mobster city, to family mecca, to non accountable "what happens stays here" adult playground, and now to what seems to be the "20-30 age group night club burlesquey club party scene" crowd. In all honesty, I liked it best somewhere back in the early stages when the Mirage was shiny and new, and the Stardust still stood, but still have managed to travel there for the last six or seven years in a row, staying in many hotels, and most recently back to one of the older girls on the block...the Flamingo.
I have a history with this hotel, spend my honeymoon about 25 years ago, and stayed there quite a few times over the years. Back in the glory days, the hotel was top notch, one of the major players (this was long before Wynn, Encore, Bellagio, Venetian, Mirage, etc.) and the only equal was Ceasars. Well....that isn't the Flamingo of today, but don't let that scare you away. Now for the real review for the real traveler.
We had a room that was comped for 5 of the 6 days we were there (just a note..six days is two days too long in Las Vegas) so I must take that into consideration. On check in, which was a Saturday night after ten, we walked right up to the desk, so the previous reviews about long lines didn't come into play. I did see upon leaving a line for check in during the morning hours but it appeared to be moving very quickly.
We were upgraded to a GO room from a deluxe room, our front desk clerk was more than accomadating and gracious, and while our room didn't have a strip view (it overlooked the wildlife habitat) and was on the 21st floor, it was more than adequate. The room, in fact, was kind of "cool" in a retro sort of way, with the large white vinyl padded headboards, the most comfortable mattress I have EVER slept it, and the pink lighting with the television in the bathroom mirror. Since I don't know exactly what these rooms fo for price wise, I don't know if they are worth the upgrade price or full room rate, but I actually can say nothing negative about the room. It looked clean, well maintained, the bathroom vent could of used a scrubbing, but other than that, I saw no issues. As far as the maid service, it was late in the day, sometimes that was inconvenient as we hoped it would be clean when we came back after lunch, but it wasn't always the case. There was always plenty of towels left, I called and asked for more once and they were sent quickly. The carpet looked reasonably clean, no nicks in the walls, and no foul odors. Overall, it was a nice room, not the Wynn or the Bellagio, but be realistic of the costs fellow travelers who are reading this... you are not paying those kind of prices.
In regards to location, if you want the Vegas experience, you are in the heart of the action. Having said that, it was a bit wearing for us after the forth day or so. Let me explain. Flamingo is on a hot corner, you have a lot of action, one of the few hotels still left you can literally walk into the door from the street without an escalator, moving sidewalk, or long walk into the place that requires packing a lunch. If you like casino hopping to gamble or people watch (which we do) it is a pefect spot with Bill's Gambling Hall a few steps away, O'Sheas (an acquired taste in casinos) only a door down, Imperial Palace (very retro and still over the top Vegas) close, and all are right on the street. A bit farther on your side of the street is Harrah's and Casino Royale (I don't know how this one has survived but do find myself always stopping in to spend a few bucks) and those are all without crossing the street and a reasonable walk from the hotel.
As far as food, here are my recommendations after a lot of research, and actual meals eaten. The buffet is average, not bad, not great, but I would HIGHLY recommed this deal. Look for some tickets online for the Nathan Burton Show at the Flamingo that has a buffet and ticket to the show (at 4:00 pm) for 29.95. That makes the buffet just about free compared to ticket price but the show is GREAT!!! I can't say that enough, and would recommend it to anyone. I saw a video about him on youtube.com from his appearance on "America has Talent" and he was really good. I planned to go on our son's 18th birthday, he was less than enthusiastic (really Mom...a magic show?) but I am so glad we went. I have not laughed that hard in years, my son, who lauged just as hard as I did, had a wonderful time. This guy is good! I won't give too much away, but it is an all age show that really is amazing. With Lance Burton retiring next month, I see great things for this guy. Check it out for great hour of laughs and a pretty good dinner for thirty bucks!
We didn't go to the Burger Joint, I saw long lines there for the 2.00 hamburger an fries special in the middle of the night and tables full of over-served young partiers, but how bad can it be I guess for two bucks? The whole pizzas ordered at the counter by the Burger Joint (I think it is part of the same restaurant) were actually very good and about 12 bucks for a whole pizza. We took them up to the room a few times and they were well worth the money. We had breakfast at Margaritaville, a bit of a tourist trap I think, but always very crowded. You eat outside on the third floor overlooking the strip, which is kinda cool, and I noted a sign, one the way OUT of the retaurant, you can get 20% your bill with your Harrah's player card, so check that our if you go. It wasn't great, but not bad, and about average in price at 12.00 bucks for breakfast.
If you have the energy to walk (or take a bus or cab) you have to check out the very retro and historic Peppermill Restaurant down by the Riveria. I know, it isn't in the best of scenic areas, but let me tell you....this place is just pure Vegas. The omlettes, well let me say one would feed three people easily and talk about good. Mine had some mix of sun tomatoes, spinach, fresh garlic, cheese, and tomato hollandasie sauce, with a bagel and cream cheese and was about twelve bucks. My family had "skillets" that could have been a meal for four. It has neon lights inside, these hugh curved booths in blue and purple, the cutest waitresses with old time uniforms, and you can just imagine Elvis sitting in the corner if you close your eyes. You have got to check his place out!
We didn't eat in the cafe/coffee shop at the Flamingo, it always had a crowd waiting in line, so I guess it was all right. We had breakfast at least three times at Bill's next door for the "graveyard steak and eggs" which was 4.99 and really wasn't bad. It was not a filet, but for five bucks, it wasn't bad at all. The coffee is where they get you, it is almost as much as the breakfast, so if you are an early (or late) festive type grab a .99 cent Strawberry Margarita from the bar on your way in for your drink with breakfast.
A real find is to go to the Palm Restaurant across the street at Ceasars for the happy hour (look it up online) and get the half price appetizers for 3.50 each from about 4:30 to 5:30. This is in the Forum Shops and is a five star expensive steakhouse, and for about fifty bucks we ate like kings ordering about twelve different plates appetizers, everything from top shelf crab cakes to kobe steak mini sandwiches, oysters for a buck, and the biggest shrimp I have every seen! What a well kept secret this place is! We could have never afforded to eat like we did as the prices are very high, check this one out!
We also like the Grand Lux Cafe at the Venetian, the glazed grilled cedar plank salmon for about twenty two dollars is more than anyone should eat, and if you sit in the "patio" which is indoors, you get a great view of the traffic around the Venetian convention crowd and casino. Great for people watching. We also love the Oyster Bar (Big Al's) at the Orleans which is off strip, but the shuttle is right outside the door at Bill's next door to the Flamingo. Earl of Sandwich at the Planet Hollywood was a great lunch choice, a big step up from a Subway, and very good!
The pool, which is one of the main reasons people stay at the Flamingo, is nice but very very overcrowded, tight with security, and hard to spend any time there if you want some family time without being in line at dawn. My son was more than willing to hang there all day, but overall, it is a bit crowded, and not the most relaxing setting. It depends what you are looking for in your poolside experience.
Would I stay there again? Sure. What I might do is split my trip and actually not spend my entire time there, maybe a few days at an off-strip property like the Orleans or Rio for the back half of the trip as one can only have so many "strip" days. It is kind of like the Disney World mindset, a few days is good, a few more days can be brutal. I like the history of the Flamingo. Yes, it needs an overhaul, and I do know for a fact is has some new leadership in the general manager Rick Mazur coming into town. Knowing what he did for the Chicagoland Horseshoe Property (which I live by) I suspect he will whip this place into top shape in no time.
Sure, there were some nasty capet stains in the halls, some empty beer bottles and room service trays, half filled beer glasses and cigarette butts in the elevators but frankly, some of that is just people being pigs. Disrespectful pigs. I saw elevator doors with footprints, and know someone kicked one of the glass doors when we were there b because I heard it happen. Again....nothing but disrespect and unacceptable behaviors that no hotel an control. The time share people by the elevator get a bit annoying, the drinks are overpriced at the pool, and the slot machines are not ATM's and take your money willingly. But that's Las Vegas. They don't build these palaces on winners, they build them from losers, and lots of them.
Overall, I would recommend this hotel to anyone. If you are expecting five star service with Wal-Mart prices, you wont' find it here, or anywhere, because it doesn't exist. I would go back again without hesitation.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- From the newly designed GO Rooms to a wealth of dining and entertainment choices, Flamingo proves "fabulous is forever." With classic Las Vegas style and flair, it continues to be one of the Strip’s most-visited resort destinations. Outside, guests enjoy acres of waterfalls, winding pools and lush foliage at the Lagoon Pool and Wildlife Habitat. For adults, the GO Pool is the destination for an afternoon of relaxation. Inside, enjoy performances ranging star siblings Donny & Marie to comedians George Wallace and Vinnie Favorito. Afternoon frivolity is found at Nathan Burton’s Comedy Magic while adult fun is staged nightly at X Burlesque, the Topless Review. Diners can enjoy go tropical at Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville or simply go all out at the Paradise Garden Buffet. Flamingo is also the home of the world's first Margaritaville Casino, a Parrothead paradise straight out of a Jimmy Buffett album. For those on the go, the new Flamingo Food Court hosts a variety of eateries from the all-American menu at Johnny Rockets to a taste of the Orient at Pan Asian Express. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel And Casino
- Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel Las Vegas
- Flamingo Hilton Las Vegas
- Las Vegas Flamingo