Westin Las Vegas: a Starwood Hotel in the Heart of Sin City

by on July 11, 2014 · 35 comments

in Caesars, Hotel Reviews, Las Vegas, OpenTable, Starwood, TPG Contributors, Westin

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TPG Points and Miles Editor Peter Rothbart visited Las Vegas last month and stayed two nights at The Westin. Here’s his take on this Sin City Starwood property.

When I visit Las Vegas, if I’m fortunate enough to be in a window seat on the approach into McCarran airport, I’m always struck by two things. First, I can’t help but fawn over the sight of the Vegas Strip, with its glossy mega-hotels set against one another, straining upward in glimmering opulence like flowers reaching for the sun. Even from the confines of the plane, stowing my carry-on as the landing gear deploys, I can feel the frenzied excitement radiating off of South Las Vegas Boulevard.

The second thing I’m struck by, immediately after, is how quickly the Strip seems to dissipate into a Tatooine-like wasteland of aged neon and urban sprawl. Not even two full blocks from the iconic Bellagio fountains you’ll find vacant dirt tracts that might as well have tumbleweeds blowing across them. The disparity is striking.

It’s at the edge of this limbo between riches and roadrunners where I spent two nights at The Westin Las Vegas, counting my pet peeves and contemplating whether calling something mediocre is necessarily a pejorative. Read on to see how the plot unfolded.

The Westin is an 826 room hotel and event center on Flamingo Road, a shade under half a mile east of the booming intersection with Las Vegas Boulevard. This puts the property within striking distance of many major resort casinos like Bellagio, Aria and Caesars Palace, but far enough away to be isolated from most of the rowdiness on the Strip. While you might rue that extra half mile on a summer afternoon, the walk is generally an easy few minutes.

The hotel seems to attract a lot of business travelers, and caters particularly to airline employees, as evidenced by the dedicated lounge found on the second floor. Much of the clientele during my visit was smartly dressed or seemed to be in work mode, though there were plenty of vacationers as well.

As a category 5 Starwood property, The Westin Las Vegas normally costs 12,000 Starpoints per night, or 16,000 during peak seasons (which, in Vegas, are really more like peak weekends). The cash and points option is 6,000 Starpoints plus $110, which may plausibly sound useful until you consider that the paid rate tends to start around $109 per night (or $179 per night during peak periods). Given TPG’s valuation of Starpoints around 2.3 cents apiece, redeeming Starpoints at this property seems like a losing proposition, so I opted to pay cash instead.

I booked a room with two double beds to share with a friend who met me in town for a few days of playing poker and losing track of time. We stayed for two nights (Tuesday-Thursday) for $109/night plus an $11.50/night resort fee. The Westin was Act III of my most recent Vegas excursion. (For Act I, see my review of the Amex Centurion Lounge at McCarran Airport, and for Act II, check out my review of Vegas’ new boutique hotel The Cromwell).


The Westin Las Vegas lobby.

Check-in, Hospitality and Accommodations

The Westin is about a 15 minute cab ride from McCarran, assuming traffic is moving and you don’t get long-hauled. Since I was changing venues from another hotel down the street (where I had spent my first two days in town), I called ahead to see if any rooms were available for early check-in. As it turned out, there were rooms available, but the agent I spoke with over the phone was adamant that he couldn’t hold anything for me, even if I was only a 5 minute walk from his desk. This meant having to walk over from The Cromwell to check in and make sure I got the room, then walk back to retrieve my bags. Sure, I could have just used the hotel’s bell service if, in a stroke of bad timing, the room had been snatched up between my calling and arriving, but the agent’s dogmatic adherence to procedure seemed pointless (pet peeve #1), and wasn’t a good start to my visit.

Upon arrival you’ll step into the hotel’s polished but fairly vanilla lobby (a common theme, as you’ll see). There was blissfully no line, but I’m hesitant to credit the hotel for that (partly since I checked in so early, and partly because of my later experiences). The following day I visited the front desk with a question, and waited several minutes for the solitary receptionist to finish with another customer, while a few other idle employees looked on unaccommodatingly. Fortunately, there’s a separate SPG desk for elite members, and they seem willing to  take care of you regardless of your status level so long as there are no VIPs waiting.

At any rate, check-in took just a few minutes, and my friend and I were promptly en route to our room on the 10th floor.


A 2 queen room at The Westin Las Vegas.

The room was clean, comfortable, and well lit. It felt more spacious than the one we had just left at The Cromwell, but not as large as a 2 Queen room at Bally’s across the street. Apart from the two beds, there was a reading chair by the window, a wide desk, and a dresser with 6 large drawers, topped by a large flat screen HDTV that swiveled a full 90 degrees. There weren’t as many unoccupied power outlets as I would have liked (pet peeve #2), but there were enough to get by.


If you want a hotel room where you can properly watch TV from all angles, look no further.

The bathroom was unillustrious. Other than a lack of ventilation (so the room fogged up quickly when the shower was in use), it was fine. There were sizable towels and bathrobes, and the toiletries were passable. There was nothing to complain about, but nothing praiseworthy.

Our room faced north, and had a nice view of the Palazzo, Venetian, Wynn, and Encore in the distance, with the new supersized Ferris wheel known as The High Roller dominating the foreground. There was a lot of natural light, but the shades closed fully to transform the room into a hibernation den for the tired and/or hungover.


A decent view north from our room on the 10th floor.

To depart from the overall averageness of the room for a moment, there were actually a few notable problems. First and foremost, the internet was shoddy (pet peeve #3). Reception was poor to begin with, and my network credentials kept resetting, so I got fully booted every 20 minutes or so. The connection did seem moderately more stable in other parts of the hotel, but the login issue persisted. I value quality internet pretty highly, and for a property that ostensibly appeals to business travelers, offering poor Wifi service is unacceptable.

Second, cell reception in the room was poor. This can’t fairly be blamed on the hotel, but it’s worth noting for business travelers or those who require a goodnight phone call to someone special before bed. I didn’t test other areas of the hotel for service, so it’s plausible that our room was a telecommunications dead zone.

Third, the thermostat in our room was persnickety, and couldn’t seem to settle on the conditions we wanted. When set to a reasonable 67 degrees, the fan near the window relentlessly blasted 40-degree air towards the far wall, which made sitting at the desk feel like running the Iditarod wearing only a Snuggie. When set any higher, the thermostat just closed up shop, allowing the room to gradually reach baking temperatures.

Getting back to the theme of this post, while the room was functionally satisfactory (apart from the problems mentioned above), it was completely unexceptional. Like the set of a 1980s era sitcom, nothing stood out. The color scheme could have inspired E.L. James. There were pictures of cactuses on the walls. Seriously, you have to really try to create something so utterly flavorless. This isn’t a criticism per se; some people prefer accommodations that aren’t too stylized, but for a hotel that’s just a throw of the dice away from the Vegas Strip, the whole property was notably bland. It’s for you to decide whether that’s appealing.


The Westin features one full-service restaurant, Suede, which is located in the rear section of the main floor, adjacent to the gaming area. Suede is open 24/7, and offers separate breakfast, lunch, dinner and late night menus (with a lot of overlap between them). I visited on a Tuesday evening around 8 pm (pretty standard dinner time in Vegas), and the restaurant was as barren as a Mongolian steppe. This seemed to be the case every time I walked by except during peak breakfast hours. Nonetheless, in case it does seem busy (and for the points maximizers among you), you can make reservations at Suede using OpenTable.


Prime time at The Westin’s house restaurant, Suede.

Despite its sleek name, the restaurant (like the rest of the property) is understated, which can actually be pretty refreshing after hanging out in the overwrought trappings of the Vegas Strip. Suede is clean, comfortable, and elegant enough to be classy without feeling exclusive. There’s some noise from the casino, but not enough to be annoying (and it probably wouldn’t be noticeable if there were more people in the restaurant). We staked our claim to a booth near one end of the space, which felt private until two more groups came in and the hostess inexplicably sat them immediately next to us on either side, despite the continental expanse of other options (pet peeve #4).

Unsurprisingly, the server was upon us right away, bearing excellent flat bread and freshly baked rolls. The dinner menu offers an array of mildly overpriced, mostly Italian and American dishes – salads and sandwiches for around $15, pastas around $20-25, and meatier entrees for $25-35. We ordered rigatoni with crab and chicken piccata with mashed potatoes and asparagus. I’m not a food critic (and I’m pretty easy to please), but I thought both dishes were well-cooked and appropriately seasoned. I won’t have cravings for either of them, but I was content.


Suede’s crab rigatoni and chicken piccata.

Apart from Suede, the hotel has a lounge on the casino floor – aptly named the Casino Lounge – that serves pretty standard bar food. There’s also a Starbucks on site (by the gift shop), so you can buy a hot, caffeinated beverage to combat the excessive air conditioning and immediately regret it when you exit the lobby into the blistering desert sun.

Pool and Spa

Speaking of understated, there’s not much to say about the hotel pool other than that it exists. That’s not meant to be a disparagement; there’s nothing wrong with it, it’s just … a pool.


The pool. There it is.

The pool deck is on the second floor more or less above Starbucks, and has views of Bally’s, The Flamingo, and the aforementioned High Roller. The pool itself is pretty small – fine when you’re the only one in it, but crowded with more than a dozen people. It’s surrounded on two sides by a few dozen deck chairs and chaise lounges. There’s a row of uninspiring cabanas that have to be rented (absurdly, for more than your room rate), and a separate hot tub area (vaguely discernible in the middle-left section of the image above). There’s also a small bar window with a few tables and patio umbrellas where you can order drinks.

The one unequivocal compliment I can give the pool is that it’s open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, whereas many Vegas pools close around sunset, and are shut down completely during the winter. Apart from that, there was nothing worthy of complaint, but if you came to Vegas with visions of a few days spent extravagantly loitering poolside, The Westin would be a disappointment.

The hotel is home to the Hibiscus Spa, a 10,000 square foot temple of pampering and beautification. The treatment menu includes a wide range of massages (costing around $115-135 for 50 minutes), skin and body care, makeovers, and more. It also has one of the few remaining Vichy showers on the Las Vegas Strip. I’m not a spa enthusiast myself, and didn’t avail myself of the services, but the space was relaxing and the staff were exceedingly pleasant and helpful.


The couples massage room at the Hibiscus Spa.

Other amenities

The hotel sports a windowless, claustrophobic Westin Workout gym (also on the second floor towards the back of the property). There you’ll find a half dozen treadmills, a few ellipticals, bikes and other machines, plus some benches and free weights. While the room has all the boxy charm of a Soviet Bloc tenement, the equipment is modern and in good repair, and the personal TVs on each exercise machine actually work (pet peeve averted)!

In a city where even the convenience store down the street has a casino, The Westin just couldn’t look itself in the mirror if didn’t offer gambling. The gaming floor is small, but doesn’t feel second-rate. There are 8 table games – blackjack, roulette, craps and more, including a $3 blackjack and 25¢ roulette happy hour! – scores of slot machines, and a tiny sportsbook. Here the property really makes hay with its no smoking policy, since a half hour in just about any other Vegas casino will leave you smelling like an Ayn Rand protagonist. The Westin casino has its own rewards program called MaxRewards, which is unaffiliated with Starwood Preferred Guest, so no earning Starpoints as you play.

There’s no poker, so aside from a short stint at blackjack I didn’t spend much time here, but it’s a pretty nice, chilled out spot to play if you need a breather from the commotion of the Strip.


The Westin’s cozy gaming floor.

One amenity that struck me was the Enterprise rental office located inside the hotel. I’ve seen similar setups before, but only in much fancier properties. The ability to drive a rental off the hotel lot is convenient for those who want to explore other parts of the city or beyond. A few quick searches showed that rates at this location were substantially lower than those at McCarran airport (both for Enterprise and other companies).

Overall Impression

My guess is that describing this hotel as adequate, ordinary, and fair won’t galvanize readers who are considering their options in Vegas. However, I think this property serves a purpose, and the decision to stay or not stay is really a matter of taste. If you’re hitting Sin City for an unflagging spree of boozing, clubbing, and throwing money around, you’ll probably feel more at home in Planet Hollywood or The Cromwell. However, if you want a more tepid, relaxing experience, The Westin Las Vegas can suit your needs.

Have you stayed here? Do you want to stay here?  Have questions?  Please share them in the comments below!

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Steve |

    In depth review Peter. Having lived and stayed in Las Vegas many times, I’m glad to know more about this option.

  • JTV

    It is one of the few pet friendly hotels in Vegas!

  • djrobsd

    EEEK! I remember this hotel when I lived in Vegas it was a hideous and run down hotel and casino, and then the Westin came in and gutted it! That was 14 years ago, and from the looks of your pictures it doesn’t look like they have remodeled it since. The property definitely looks like it should be switched over to a Ramada, does not deserve the Westin name for sure.

    Vegas is way too exciting to stay in a bland a drab hotel like this, I would expect to see a property like this in Albuquerque or Salt Lake, but NOT Vegas. And with bad wi-fi signal, and the $15-20 bucks a day that Westin charges if you don’t have status, that is a huge black mark in my book.

  • ck

    SPG Platinum and have stayed there— probably won’t again, too many other good options for a good price, see Nobu at Ceasars for details.

  • PC

    Its totally unrelated to the post but you can buy 400$ Visa gift card for 2.95 fee in all AAA office if you have membership.

  • dcsells

    “a half hour in just about any other Vegas casino will leave you smelling like an Ayn Rand protagonist”
    I don’t get this. Did Dagny Taggart smoke a lot? This is a serious question.

  • BobTru

    Stayed there for a February weekend last year — couldn’t find a better deal anywhere near the strip — and liked it better than you did. SPG member with no status, but was very warmly greeted — checked in & out with no waiting — a very pleasant contrast to the major Strip properties. Staff were very helpful & pleasant. Loved being able to use the hot tub late at night. And our AC worked fine, and the King room was modern and pleasant. Did you ask them to fix your thermostat?

    We don’t really like Vegas, but when your husband’s 90-year-old aunt says that’s where she wants her birthday party, what are you gonna do? We really liked the convenience to the strip, with the feeling of a retreat from it. Under similar circumstances, we’d choose to stay there again. And it’s basically across Flamingo from Bally’s backdoor, and gave easy access to the monorail.

  • AMPfromBNA

    I’ve stayed here for business a few times. It is comparable to most mid-tier SPG properties in my mind. When traveling through Vegas for work, I want to be close enough to venture off to a nice dinner, but not bogged down by busy lobbies and crazy valet. The parking here is super convenient, and since many business travelers rent cars, it was a huge upsell for me.

  • LB

    Not mentioned: a starbucks in the lobby that I’ve used when at Bally’s or Paris basically across the street – and you can earn SPG points multiplied when paying with SPG Amex at the starbucks

  • Michael

    Ok, compared to one of the lavish Vegas hotel rooms, this place seems dull. But we got our rooms for $100 per night, which was just about the best price we could find at the time without being waayyy off the strip. Nothing was amazing, but everything seemed perfectly fine in comparison to any other standard hotel in the country. The only one problem for us was that the hot water ran out one morning… and they ended up giving us $50 off and free breakfast for it. So overall, in my point of view, for that location, that price, $3 Blackjack, and a clean room to sleep in, it fit the bill for us well. Plus we earned SPG points– which you can’t really do at any of the other hotels.

  • PR@TPG

    Sounds like you had a similar experience; there’s nothing really wrong with the place, it’s just unexciting.

    However, I disagree with the idea that you can’t find a comparable price on the Strip. Bally’s (right across the street) has larger rooms that tend to be cheaper, and in my opinion are every bit as nice. Mid-week you can find rooms at many of the nicer Strip properties (Wynn and Aria, for example) for around $130, and I’d take those any day over The Westin for $109.

    Finally, you CAN earn Starpoints at all Total Rewards hotels! Check out this post by TPG about the partnership:

    And this more recent one by Nick Ewen about other Vegas partnerships:

  • PR@TPG

    I should have pointed out that other than the one time I had to wait for service at the front desk, the staff were friendly and seemed to be on top of things.

  • PR@TPG

    Yes. Most of the characters in Atlas Shrugged were chain smokers.

  • taryn

    I up-voted you just for taking your husband’s 90-year-old aunt to Vegas. :)

  • Robb

    2 words – “Pet Friendly”. Not something you find on or near the Strip very often.

  • you’renaive

    Your introduction of your intensely policital reading list to your blog have made me remove you from my reading list. Good luck with that whole, “I’m special and don’t owe anyone anything” bit.

  • Stvr

    Useless review without telling us out about SPG elite treatment! Seriously I can just go to TripAdvisor. Hope you’re not paying these interns too much TPG

  • PF`

    It was fine a few years ago – I liked not being on the crazy strip. Room was basic but very comfortable, clean, everything worked and fair pricing.

  • Bill Rubin

    We’ll be there at the Westin for a Monday night next week for a friend’s birthday party. We hate Vegas so we’re just flying in, doing the party, and flying home the next day. As SPG Plat, I figured the 1 night stay at the Westin would be a reprieve from the Vegas craziness, and I had a decent weekend there several years ago for a basketball tourney.

    I’ll see how my Plat upgrade (for a single Mon night, so it should be easy) and internet and air con go. I’m also a stickler for internet, and even more so for working air con (which ANY Vegas hotel must have in proper working order).

    I considered one of the Caesar’s properties, since it’s just a night..but then it’s just a night so we really could care less. Might as well get a night towards Lifetime Gold…which you can’t get through Caesars–just points.

  • Brian C. Lee

    Seriously? How does comparing smells imply a political slant? Atlas Shrugged may have political overtones, but he made no reference to those in this post.

  • PR@TPG

    Sounds like it will suit your needs. Please report back to us about the internet and air conditioning; either confirmation or contrary evidence would be useful!

    It would be great if Caesars properties also counted toward SPG elite status, and even better if you could get reciprocal benefits for the status you already have. Hopefully that feature will be added to the partnership, though I wouldn’t hold your breath.

  • Vaibha

    Thank you for sharing this useful information on heathrow airport chauffeur services..

  • Ben Price

    Going to stay here for Virtuoso Travel Week. The other 3,500 of us are staying at either Bellagio or Vdara.

    Quite frankly, I’m looking forward to the blandness of the Westin. Picking up some stay/night credits and getting a calm stay away from the Virtuoso craziness.

  • Greg

    A lot of the desk employees in this hotel (and many in the hospitality business) were Filipino. I found the assistance quite friendly, though stepping across to where they’re stationed wouldn’t be a bad idea.

    I travel to Vegas (and used to live there) four times a year minimum for a week for business and I don’t gamble. This hotel is more than acceptable for Starwood-oriented business travellers who want to get in and out of their place and off to a work place east of the strip without dealing with strip traffic. Also note that there are some good restaurants on Flamingo heading west, notably Mortons, among others, if you want to stay off-strip for a business dinner.

    The best reason to stay at this Westin has to be Bagelmania, though. Truly unique outside NYC and Miami, this place is a find. I wish I knew about such an authentic NYC bagelry/deli for the two plus years I lived in Vegas. Its on Twain, west from the hotel. Maybe 5 minutes, don’t miss it for breakfast and lunch.

  • dlnbk

    I’ve stayed at this property multiple times, and I’ll agree that it is *fine*, but it’s still one of my preferred hotels in vacation due to its location and proximity to the Strip without actually being on LVB. Sure, the walk down Flamingo can suck if it’s hot, but I’d much rather do that than wade through the crowded casinos of Ballys or the other super resorts (or the maze of confusing hallways to get to the elevators, only to wait for one of those for 10 minutes and go up 25 floors…)

    The ample parking so also a huge win for me. Rental cars are so cheap in Vegas, I just won’t visit without one – especially since there are so many attractive places off-Strip to visit.

    The SPG Plat recognition is fine here too – especially compared to Strip resorts that don’t provide any loyalty recognition (either because there is no program or there are so many more important elites that you fall toward the bottom of the list).

    I like the pool deck too. Sure, it’s small, but it rarely has kids and is mostly flight attendants from all over the world on their layovers. I’ve met lots of Britons by that pool. And, it gets great sun all day because it’s on the second floor without multiple tall buildings nearby.

    Overall, it’s a fine choice for economical Vegas visitors who want easy access and a predictable experience.

  • David Stephens

    I stay at that hotel during most of my trips to LV. I’ve been there for business about 6 times in the past year. I agree with your assessment, although I don’t remember having any issues with internet or air conditioning. At times, rooms with windows facing West will get pretty hot because of the weather conditions, but cranking down the AC and pulling the shade seemed to help. I do remember that the first time I stayed there (about 2-3 years ago) I thought that it was not up to Westin standards. I still think that, but since I’m not in Vegas to party and I’m just looking for a decent room. This one is good enough for me. Since it is off the strip just a bit, driving in and out of the property is easier than the big casinos. Traffic near the hotel can still be pretty bad, but it’s better than trying to navigate the Strip every time. I want the points and this has been a good option for me.

  • Christian

    Best feature of the hotel is that you can see the elevators from the door, without having to go on a quest. The walk to the strip is not too far but also not really pleasant. It’s a great hotel to stay at when you’re in Vegas for a conference, and want to get away from it.

    To the author: brevity is underrated…

  • Joey

    Thanks for the hotel report. One comment I have to mention is when you say cell phone service is poor, please state your cell phone provider, because all the carriers have different service strategies.

    But that said, I value my Starwood points tremendously, but in Vegas I can play the hotel casinos, and score rooms that way. (sometimes cheaper, sometimes the playing is not so cheap, but that’s why I go to Vegas anyway!)

  • Jana @ 333 Days of…..

    I agree with your review. It is a little tired and the depressing casino are just makes it seem dirty. I would stay there again but only because it’s a Westin and parking is easy. I like the mellowness of the pool area but it is not a resort by any means.

  • GSection

    Your review is spot on. I stay here several times each year for work and yes its definitely not flashy but if you are traveling for work, you won’t get any unpleasant surprises.

  • PR@TPG

    Great point! I use Sprint, so other carriers may have better service there.

    I completely agree with your assessment; Starpoints are just too valuable to squander on a property like this. If you’re going to stay at this Westin, just pay cash.

  • Brad @

    “The Westin casino has its own rewards program called MaxRewards, which is unaffiliated with Starwood Preferred Guest, so no earning Starpoints as you play”.
    This may have changed recently, but when I was there a few years ago I was able to convert the points I had earned at the casino into SPG points by requesting the transfer at the casino rewards desk. (That said, the points didn’t automatically post, so I had to e-mail SPG to request the credit – but I finally got them)

  • Bill Rubin

    Just returned from last night’s one night stay at the Westin Las Vegas. As an SPG Plat75, I was at check in recognized and thanks for my SPG Plat status/loyalty, offered complimentary cold bottles of water, and upgraded from my standard room to a deluxe king room on the 17th floor. I asked about a junior suite or suite upgrade, but the clerk said the suites were all being refurbished and weren’t available. On getting to the room, I confirmed that was true–none were available on Our deluxe room wasn’t anything special, but for $109 we didn’t much mind–and the air con was working well. (It did seem to work a bit less well when we got back from our dinner/drinks at around midnight, but it was OK and I still managed to sleep (e.g. pass out). Wifi worked very well–not an issue at all. Breakfast buffet was included because I was SPG Plat–and it was just OK, but it was free. Service in the restaurant Suede was so-so but I’m used to that in Vegas. Location was great–just a short walk or very short cab ride to Caesars, Cosmopolitan, City Center, etc. All in all, if you’re in need of an elite night or two, the Westin will do the trick if you’re not paying a lot. If all you need is SPG points, you can try one of the Caesars properties–but having seen some of the regular rooms our friends stayed in at Caesars, I’m not sure I’d want to bother unless you’re paying for a pretty nice room in the Ceasars Excalibur Tower. Since I’m SPG75, I preferred to get the 4 points/$1 and used my SPG Amex to get an added 2 points/$1…not to mention the 1 elite night (which you can’t get through Caesars) towards Lifetime status.

  • PR@TPG

    Great feedback Bill! Glad to hear you had better luck with the AC and internet.

  • JRS

    Tupac got clipped out front on the corner.

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