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Las Vegas Reviews: the STRATOSPHERE Hotel and Casino
Stay in Las Vegas in style and on the cheap at the world famous Statosphere Hotel and Casino!

by Paul Diamond Blow

Views of the Statosphere tower; author Paul Diamond Blow in the roof-top jacuzzi

This is a review of the Stratosphere Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, NV. I have stayed at the Statosphere Hotel several times in the last few years mainly since it is one of the cheapest hotels to stay at in Las Vegas and is NOT a dump like most of the other inexpensive Vegas hotels. Plus, I was intrigued by the Stratosphere tower which resembles the Space Needle in my home town (Seattle), but is almost twice as tall as the Space Needle. The average price I've paid is $29-$39 a night (all weekday nights) depending on the season. Unlike many of the other inexpensive Las Vegas hotels, the Stratosphere has both a swimming pool and a hot tub, which also was a deciding factor when I chose to stay at the Strat.

The Stratosphere Hotel
The Stratosphere Hotel has over 2400 rooms and features a 1149-foot-tall tower, which is the tallest structure in Las Vegas. I myself booked the cheapest room available -- a "Tower Deluxe" room -- which is 350-sq foot room with the basics: a queen-sized bed and cable TV (but no refrigerator). While the room was modest, it was clean and comfortable. Of course, I don't go to Las Vegas to hole up in a hotel room -- I go there for the night life and the attractions, baby! One nice thing about the Stratosphere is that it is located north of the Las Vegas strip, so you get some peace and quiet you won't find right on the strip. You can walk down to the strip if you have the gumption (it's about a two mile walk) but your better bet is to take the Deuce Bus, which is a 24-hour double-decker bus that travels up and down the strip every 15 minutes.

There are several restaurants and shops just down the block from the Stratosphere, including a Circle-K store (with a hella deal on cigarettes, hot dogs and slushies), an I-Hop pancake house (which is where we ate most every day), and an all-you-can-eat pizza buffet restaurant (which was actually pretty good.) The Stratosphere itself features six restaruants, including a "top of the world" restaurant on top of the tower, as well as a buffet and a '50s-style diner (Roxy's Diner).

The main attractions of the Stratosphere Hotel are the tower and the roof-top swimming pool. As it gets over 100 degrees during the summer, I spent plenty of time every day in the pool, which is very large although it does not get more than four feet deep. There is a nice view from the roof top pool area, especially at night when all the Vegas lights turn on. The roof top jacuzzi was also a nice treat -- I spent hours in it. There is a bar located on the roof (they do not allow you to bring any of your own beverages to the swimming pool) as well as a Deejay who spun mostly dance and techno type music, much to my chagrin (I prefer rock'n'roll). The vibe was pretty much Eurotrash disco, and as a matter of fact most of the people that stayed at the Stratosphere while we were there seemed to be of the Eurotrash variety. Supposedly, there is also an "adults only" indoor swimming pool where the gals go topless, or even bottomless. There is a cover charge for men, though. I never made it to that swimming pool, but maybe next time...

When you book a room at the Stratosphere you get free admittance to the indoor/outdoor observation deck on the very top of the tower (non-guests must pay $15.95). We went up there one night and the 360-view of Vegas from 1149 feet high was stunning. The Stratosphere observation deck also features four thrill rides including the SkyJump -- a controlled free-fall from 108 stories high (with a $100 price tag). It was indeed a lot of fun watching people do the SkyJump, but none of my friends or I had the nerve (or the $100) to do it ourselves.

One downside of the Stratosphere, however, is that the surrounding neighborhood seems to be a sketchy part of town, with transients, drug addicts, and beggars lurking about... so be aware when walking the streets outside!

The Stratosphere Casino
If you like to gamble (and who goes to Vegas NOT to gamble?) the Stratosphere Casino is an 80,000-square- foot casino which features over 1000 slot machines and 69 table games. I was happy to find that during my stays there the casino never was very crowded and I was free to play most any slot machine I wanted. The slot machines were mostly older video slot machines, with some of the newest games. I must say that the Stratosphere slots seem to be looser than any other Las Vegas strip casino... I've won money there most every time I've played.

As far as free drinks go, the free drinks to gamblers flow like water at the Stratosphere. I have always gotten excellent free drink service while playing the slot machines here, especially when I play during the wee hours when the casino is almost empty of customers.

All in all, I would recommend the Stratosphere Hotel to anyone wanting to stay at a cool Las Vegas hotel on the cheap. It is indeed a good bargain and I would definitely stay there again. It is a good idea to sign up for the Stratosphere's casino players club card -- I signed up for one, and now I routinely get coupon mailers every three months good for one free night with a second night for just $20, plus $20 free credit to use on the slot machines.