soaring Las Vegas prices

I’ve been to Las Vegas quite a few times, and each time has been a unique experience. It is truly a destination that can push all your buttons. But the cost associated with an escape to this adult-focused play land has become a real factor and soaring Las Vegas prices are something every visitor should be aware of.

las-vegas-hotels

The Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas is home to the Beatles LOVE show presented by Cirque du Soleil. This show was the highlight of our time within the city of Las Vegas.

Vegas has become a major convention destination, making the city a busy metropolis most times of the year. When we visited during the second half of May, there were 40,000 realtors in town for a big convention, 8,000 Amway consultants in town for their convention, and just prior to our visit, there had been thousands of electronic music fans in town for the Electric Daisy Carnival Vegas. It’s no wonder that prices in Las Vegas have skyrocketed since I last visited 10 years ago. A drastic reduction in the number of people who are gambling has also contributed to lost revenue for the hotels and casinos, so rising rates and taxes have made up for it.

linq-hotel-las-vegas

The 2,640-room Linq Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas has a great pool and place to enjoy fun in the sun. It is part of the Caesars Entertainment family of properties.

las vegas is no longer a budget-friendly destination

Back in 2009, we scored a gorgeous suite at the Rio Suites for just $45 per night. This time, we paid considerably more for a much smaller room at the Linq Hotel and Casino–built on the site where the Imperial Palace used to be. Fans of Vegas will remember the amazing Classic Car Show that the Imperial Palace used to host. The Linq is a super busy location at all times of the day or night and is run by the Caesars Entertainment Corporation that owns many of the popular hotels on the strip including Caesars Palace and the massive Caesars Forum shopping and entertainment plaza.

aria-hotel-las-vegas

The Aria Hotel and Casino is one of the newer hotel properties in what’s known as City Center Las Vegas. It is part of the MGM family of properties and has 4,004 guest rooms.

This concentration of ownership has no doubt contributed to rising prices in Las Vegas, but there are other factors at play. Back in 2004, the concept of resort fees was introduced at a small number of properties. They started out at just $5-15 per night. But over time, the concept of resort fees has become the norm in Las Vegas, and so in addition to the stated rack or promotional rate you may be offered, you will be charged a nightly resort fee of $35-$45 in addition to a 12% casino tax (on any property that has a casino) plus the Nevada state hotel tax of 13.38% on all hotel rooms. So our promotional rate of $144 per night (good by today’s standards) ended up being $205 per night in US funds and $283.50 per night in Canadian funds based on the current exchange rate of 38% that we were charged. Just a heads-up to folks like me who had not visited Vegas for a number of years. The same increased costs goes for almost everything else including meals, drinks, and activities.

airbnb-las-vegas

Our Airbnb at Palms Place in Las Vegas was a spacious unit with modern furnishings just off The Strip. We loved the open balcony and the complimentary Valet parking.

We did try an Airbnb for two nights of our four-night Las Vegas stay and it was definitely cheaper ($398 Canadian for two nights compared to the $567 we’d paid for the two nights at the Linq. The Airbnb we’d chosen at the Palms Place “Luxury Living” units was spacious and had an outdoor balcony with a great view of The Strip, but didn’t quite deliver on some of the amenities we were expecting. That said, we both preferred it and the free valet parking to the Linq–which didn’t even have drinking glasses in the room until we called and asked for them.

beatles-love-las-vegas

The Beatles LOVE show performed by Cirque du Soleil was the highlight of our trip to Las Vegas.

Our favourite in-Vegas activity was the Beatles LOVE show co-presented by Cirque du Soleil and Apple Music. (That’s the Apple Music that used to produce the Beatles music–not affiliated with the world of Apple that makes macintosh (Mac) computers and offers entertainment under the Apple trademark.)

beatles-love-show

The Beatles LOVE by Cirque du Soleil is an incredible blend of acrobatics, visual antics, and the sound of the Beatles. We loved it!

beatles-love

Vegas is a fascinating destination that offers fun and frolic within the city limits, and an amazing variety of day trips and longer excursions that are easily accessible to the Las Vegas visitor, whether you are self-driving or using alternate forms of transportation. I’ll do a follow-up post on the day trips we experienced, as well as a post that salutes the visual art and culinary art of Sin City, so stay tuned.

Doreen Pendgracs

Known throughout the Web as the "Wizard of Words", I've been a freelance writer since 1993. I'm currently researching and writing volume II of "Chocolatour: A Quest for the World's Best Chocolate". Volume I was published in September, 2013.

38 Responses

  1. Judy Lawless says:

    Wow, that’s interesting, Doreen! We hadn’t been to Vegas for six years before we were invited to join friends from our Arizona park to join them there last January. They had two suites on a time share and another couple who were supposed to go had to cancel so they offered us the extra suite for very little. It wasn’t right down on the strip, but we had our car, so it worked out well. We did find that meals on the Strip were a lot more expensive, and parking was a real challenge. The best part of that trip was a visit to Valley of Fire State Park. Don’t think we’ll go to Vegas again.

  2. Linda Paul says:

    Very interesting post, Doreen. Vegas is a town I avoid like the dengue fever. But you raise some interesting aspects. I can’t imagine a resident population that fluctuates so enormously. What you describe is like a town moving in and out over the course of a week.

    I know that “the help” have a nearly impossible chore to find a place to live anywhere near their jobs. Pondering those conglomerate casinos, it is easy to imagine a mafia type regime that undercuts competition, thereby amplifying cost to the guest and maximizing profit to the bosses.

    Las Vegas used to be known as a cheap place to get good lodging and food because those were subsidized by gambling. I guess now money is squeezed from all forms of commerce there. All that said, the entire western US is being plagued by exponentially rising housing costs, particularly the inland west, where I live. This is driven, I think, by 2 factors. One is the desire to escape the madness of large cities on the west (& east coast). The other is driven by climate change and the floods, fires, and crumbling shorelines of the west. I wonder if Canada is also experiencing tremendous hikes in housing costs?

    • Hi Linda and thanks for the dialogue. Yes, Canada is experiencing a rise in housing costs. Particularly in the 2 largest cities of Toronto and Vancouver, where offshore ownership has caused the prices to rise so dramatically. As you say, many locals are fleeing the big cities and moving to smaller centres (as I did back in 1982!) Re Vegas, the rise in prices is a direct result of the decline in gambling revenue. Gambling used to bring people in and subsidize the costs of hotels and meals. Now, the casinos are half empty and the hotels have had to create revenue from other sources.

      • Linda Paul says:

        That’s interesting, Doreen. I did not know that about the decline in gaming revenue. I wonder if that is due to the entry of competing Native American casinos scattered about the States. Vegas is no longer so unique.

        • Hi Linda. No, I think that the primary reason for the reduction in gambling revenue for the Las Vegas casinos is that most of the heavy gamblers have switched to online gambling. And I think that the majority of us who used to gamble a wee amount just for fun have switched to lottery tickets and more reserved forms of gambling. Who’s got money to feed to those insatiable machines???

          • Linda Paul says:

            I’m sure you’re right about that, Doreen. But I’ll bet the increased pressure from Native American casinos add to the pressures. Native American casinos are a relatively new (and in some circles, highly controversial) player in the gambling world. Until about 1990, there were no other casinos than those in Nevada and in New Jersey. Interesting turn of events. I guess Vegas can sustain itself now on the high stakes, big business, convention game…but obviously there are no free rides anymore. Really interesting perspectives.

  3. Kathy Andrew says:

    Thanks so much on the heads up Doreen. .i haven’t been to Vegas in a long time and hadn’t realized how much it had changed in terms of cost. Great idea to explore the Airbnb options that seem better than the hotel. So glad you made it to the desert too.

    • Hi, Kathy. Indeed, I never would have gotten my friend Virginia to go to Vegas if I hadn’t agreed to spending as much time OUTSIDE of Vegas as we could! Neither of us are gamblers, and so the Beatles LOVE show was a major highlight. The meals were good, but not nearly worth the prices we paid for them. I’ll write more about that in a future post.

  4. I’m glad you pointed out the expense Doreen, as it must come as a surprise to a lot of people. I guess the resort fee is an attempt to replace the revenue from gambling, which has moved online for the most part. I also heard after we got back that if you book a flight-accommodation package for Vegas, the price is more reasonable.

  5. Bola says:

    I’ve not been to Vegas but have heard how expensive it had become. Great to know you had a good time. Airbnb seemed like a better option! What’s the average price of a bar of chocolate?

  6. Phoenicia says:

    I have heard many stories about Las Vegas – some say it is beyond tacky and others say it is great fun. I guess I will have to see for myself. I have read it is extremely hot and expensive to eat and drink. The films that feature Las Vegas show such glitz and glamour, not forgetting the casinos.

    • Hi Phoenicia. I say to everyone that they should experience Las Vegas at least once. It is a destination like no other, and yes, it does get very hot in the summer months. It is less tacky than it used to be as the prices have risen so the budget crowd that may gravitate towards tacky no longer come in droves. The entertainment is a big drawn in town, and the amazing day trips to of town really make the trip worthwhile as the desert is simply stunning.

  7. I had heard this many times in the last few years–that the prices have gotten out of sight. I was only there once–in 2005 for an HR conference. Luckily, the company paid for everything. 🙂 I’m envious of you seeing the Cirque/Beatles show–neato & groovy.

  8. Kemkem says:

    The prices have definitely skyrocketed. I remember staying at the Bellagio with my best friend when it first opened and we paid about $110 per night. Needless to say the next time we could no longer afford it. What made that first time even more incredible was my friend won $1700 on the nickel slots and she ended up paying for the room. Thanks of the heads up.

  9. Sounds like you had a wonderful time Doreen. It’s too bad that visiting has become so expensive though. Las Vegas has always been a great layover stay for us whenever we’ve headed to the West coast. Even though we live roughly equal distances between Boston and Providence, we prefer to fly out of PVD because it’s much less of a hassle with TSA. We can also book nonstop flights there too!

    I guess I will just have to come to grips with the fact that we can’t get a room for $39 anymore at either Treasure Island or Bally’s! We stayed at both of them on the same trip years ago. We saw George Carlin at Bally’s. Those were the days. 🙂
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    • I hear you, Sherryl! On our first visit to Vegas in the 70’s, we saw Kenny Rogers as a free lounge act. He was with the First Edition then. I think it was at the LV Hilton where we were staying. What was really disappointing, is that when we were checking out, we saw that Elvis was coming the week after!!! That’s what’s so great about Vegas. Thx so much for stopping by.
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  10. Pat says:

    We booked Vegas to celebrate our 15th anniversary in 2001. We had been there before February 14 with my brother Rob and his wife Virginia. Saw a lot of brides and grooms that visit. Stayed at the Imperial Palace and got to enjoy the car show also. The best part was Siegfried & Roy’s show. Wow – where did that elephant go? Went in June one year and were very lucky to have got tickets for a sold out Cirque du Soleil Mystere. We have always booked air and hotel in all our visits but had noticed prices starting to go up. Back to 2001. We were booked to fly out on Saturday but on Tuesday there was 911. Talk about WOW. On Friday I was finally able to see if our flight was a go or cancelled. We could not get a refund or rebook so we decided to go. It was deserted. Walking down the strip you never had to worry about getting bumped into anyone and most of the shows were cancelled. Our hotel took great care of us with complimentary meals, drinks. We even came home with some winnings. We always valued the chance to go where you could be distracted and have fun at a great price. Thanks for sharing your adventure which has now become our new real!

    • Hi Pat and thanks for sharing your Vegas memories with us. Yes, the Cirque’s Mystere show is a great one. I saw it in Vegas with Reg 10 years ago and loved it. How amazing that you were in Vegas when 911 disrupted the world. I’m sure you’re one of few travellers who has ever seem the streets of Vegas empty!

  11. Emidio Amadebai says:

    Interesting post, Doreen! I have to say, I have never been to Vegas. Of course, I did ‘see’ it in movies and ended up having this idea that it is a place to have lots of fun, gambling, going crazy and not assuming any responsibility afterward. I have friends, who also have this same idea and plan to save up in order to one day go to Vegas and have the best time of their lives. I am sure they’ll find the information on this post relevant for their ambitions.

    • Thanks, Emidio. Vegas is indeed a rather unique destination, in that it can be pretty much anything you want it to be. In future posts, I will talk about some of the great (but high-priced) food we ate as well as some of the amazing street art. And the desert sidetrips really make the trip worthwhile from a nature lover’s perspective.

  12. Lori says:

    Interesting read, Doreen. I’m not a huge fan of gambling but I did enjoy Vegas the few times I was there — it was the other things like the Cirque shows I really love (O and Mystere) — and the new Beatles show looks amazing. Can’t wait to see that! It sounds as if Las Vegas, like many cities, are having to evolve with the ever-changing economy and clientele they’re attracting. Kind of makes you nostalgic for the retro Rat Pack days though.

  13. Ben says:

    I went on a holiday with my family to Vegas in 2012, and it was the best holiday I have ever been on. The weather, the casinos, the shows, the nightlife and the culture and history e.g. Caesars Place, The Rat Pack.

    I remember it being pricey even then, but I would love to go again.

    Every city, I guess moves on with the times, and Vegas is no exception.

    Thanks for posting, Doreen!

    • Hi Ben and thanks for stopping by. Yes, Vegas has tried many trends over the years. I remember when they tried to market themselves as a family destination! That certainly didn’t work. But now being a major convention hub has opened the doors to a steady stream of people who enjoy the destination for a few brief days.

  14. Jackie K Smith says:

    Vegas used to be our ‘go to’ sun and fun destination. Close to Seattle in terms of flight times, usually far more sun than we had at home. We also are taken back by ‘resort fees and taxes’ and they are particularly evident now that we use hotels when returning to the States for visits. (in all cities). Vegas has always been described as the US Adult Disneyland and so I guess you just have to decide if it is worth the price to experience it. (Being retired, we could watch for deals — signing up with hotels and getting email specials and timing the visits at low convention times. It also helped to join their casino ‘clubs’ or whatever they call them because they often included perks that you wouldn’t have gotten with a regular booking. A most interesting look you provided in this post, Doreen

    • Hi Jackie. Indeed. there are times to visit when it is considerably cheaper. But we went to Vegas to celebrate my birthday and you can’t change the timing for that. I definitely won’t be going back unless I can get one of those heavily discounted packages.

  15. Bevery says:

    As always, a very informative article. I had no idea Vegas was so expensive a place to visit.

  16. Sue Reddel says:

    I totally agree with you Doreen. We recently bagged on a trip to Vegas. We bought tickets for a concert first thinking it would be easy to get a cheap flight and hotel. We were so wrong. We ended up selling the tickets (thankfully) and not going. Just not worth it.

    • Hi Sue and thanks for your comment. I think you’re so right. Vegas has priced themselves out of the market for the average traveller. They are now relying primarily on the convention trade I suspect. Happy travels, and enjoyment as you continue to celebrate your birthday this month. 🙂

  17. cyrille says:

    I went to Las Vegas nearly ten years ago as part of a group tour and had a great time without hardly spending anything! I did not know that things had changed that much. I’d love to go back and try out some of your recommendations though.

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