by Nick Anis and Patty Anis
We arrived in world famous Las Vegas (the world’s brightest city at night) where, from miles away we could easily see the majestic Stratosphere tower 1,149 feet (more than 100 floors) above the Las Vegas skyline – visible for miles. The iconic Stratosphere tower offers magnificent panoramic views of the shimmering Las Vegas Strip and the striking contrast of the pristine Las Vegas Paradise Valley. The Stratosphere Tower is the tallest freestanding observation tower in the United States and is the Stratosphere Hotel and Casino Resort’s most striking feature.
We stayed at the Stratosphere Casino, Hotel and Tower for two nights. The Stratosphere Casino, Hotel and Tower is a “landmark” hotel and casino resort, located on the northern side of the strip, basically, at the cross roads of the convention center, downtown, and the strip. At the Stratosphere, you’ll find it easier to park, and to get in and out, than the hotel and casino resorts at the more congested parts of the strip.
If you are wondering where all the action is in Las Vegas, well it’s wherever there are casinos (tables and machines), and showrooms and restaurants. Many of the hotel and casino resorts, such as the Stratosphere, have everything you will ever need or want. But if you get the urge to venture out, you can take the monorail, bus, taxi, drive, or huff it (walk) around and see the Las Vegas sights. All the major hotels and casinos have free valet and self-parking – although parts of the strip can be quite congested at times.
The Stratosphere Hotel is actually a separate 24-story building with 2,427 rooms, and a 100,000 square foot (9,290.3 square meters) casino. There are 16 restaurants including: Top of The World (fine dining spinner), McCall’s Heartland Grill, Fellini’s Ristorante, Roxy’s Diner, The Buffet, Level 8 Pool Cafe and Bar, Tower Pizzeria and Creamery, and Starbucks.
There is plenty of action at the Stratosphere for players. The casino has over 1,025 Gaming Machines (slots and video poker); 50 Table Games (3 Card Poker, Blackjack, Caribbean Stud, Caribbean Stud Poker, Craps, Let It Ride, Pai Gow Tiles, Poker, and Roulette); a poker room with 19 Poker Tables and daily no-limit tournaments; and Race and Sports Book: 8am -11pm, and 7am – 1am during Football Weekends.
Just like Las Vegas itself, the Stratosphere Casino, Hotel and Tower has changed over the years. It started as a family-friendly destination, morphed into value destination, and in the past several years with a wide range of renovations, improvements, and expansion, has become a mid-range resort with lots of amenities and frequent deals on rooms – especially during mid-week.
The casino, lobby, many of the restaurants (including the Buffet and Fellini’s) and the entrance to the hotel, have all been remodeled and upgraded. The ambiance and décor (new lighting, ceilings, walls, fabrics, fixtures, and furniture) give the entire hotel casino resort a more upscale look and feel. Luckily they didn’t upscale the prices, which can still be downright cheap – a rarity in the new Las Vegas.
Upstairs, you will find a shopping mall with some interesting brand names, but not quite as big as some of the mega-resorts in town, a health club, spa, pool with some great views, restaurant and bar, cabana’s for hire, and a recently remodeled, large 340 seat, Copa-Style showroom with 26 VIP booths, cocktail tables, and comfortable seating, great lighting and sound, a runway that reaches into the audience, and world class entertainment that one has come to expect from Las Vegas showroom productions.
W-a-y upstairs, here in the clouds, you’ll find an observation deck, great restaurants, lounges, bars, banquet and meeting rooms, a wedding chapel, and an interesting assortment of extreme thrill rides. On level 108, you’ll find the infamous observation tower and the tasty Sandwich Carvery 108 with classic deli sandwiches. One level down, you’ll find the trendy and more upscale Level 107 Lounge serving cocktails and hors’ d’oeuvres (tapas) – be sure to try the house’s signature drinks: Chocolate Masterpiece Martini and Tangerine Honey Martini. For heartier appetites or more demanding palates, you can order some of the entrées served one level below 106, at the world-famous and very upscale Top of The World restaurant. Level 104 has banquet and meeting rooms with great food and incredible views. On 103, there is a wedding chapel, aptly named “Chapel in the Clouds.”
There is a lot of esprit de corps at the Stratosphere from the 1,974 rank and file workers on up and it definitely shows; no doubt a byproduct of the new, highly professional management. The staff is down to earth, extremely friendly, polite, and helpful. The self-parking signage could use some improvement, but maybe it was because there was too much commotion in our car at the time. The VIP check-in is fantastic, but we decided to get in line and see what it was like. The line moved so fast, there wasn’t time to get our group’s reservation number from Nick’s iPhone. But it didn’t seem to matter, because the reservation agent pulled up our reservation in a flash.
Even though the hotel has 2,427 rooms, there is seldom a wait for the elevators or restaurants because the rooms are divided into 2 towers with 4 elevator banks, and there are separate elevators for the rooms, restaurants, and the tower, which helps keep the elevator waiting time manageable. We were amazed that a hotel and casino resort of this caliber is consistently so economical in Las Vegas; these days rooms, available rooms often range from $35 to $70 per night.
Our rooms were clean and fresh, newly renovated, and nicely decorated in contemporary style with modern furnishings, comfortable beds, and tasteful décor. Standard size rooms range from 340 to 406 square feet. The bathrooms are good sized, organized, clean, and outfitted with a full regime of toiletries. The air conditioning worked perfectly (thank God, because it was summer in Las Vegas).
WiFi is offered for an $11.95 charge per day per device. There is also a mandatory resort fee of $14.99 per day, which is commonplace at Las Vegas hotels these days (drat); the Strat’s resort fee is lower than most. For rated players with comps, higher rollers than us (smile), and those seeking more luxury, the Strat has 133 total suites, 10 different types, ranging from 610 square feet up to 2,165 square feet.
For families, visitors, and players, the Stratosphere is an excellent option if you are on a budget and want to get the best cluck for your buck, or if you want to avoid the congestion, and oftentimes outrageous prices to the south. And although you’ll save on room rates, you don’t have to sacrifice good food and fun activities either.
Here at the Stratosphere, a full complement of delicious dining options await you providing an interesting tasty variety of good food, ranging in price, but all quite reasonably priced for the respective type of cuisine and dining venue. For a truly romantic Las Vegas Strip restaurant, you’ll love the two-time Zagat-rated Italian restaurant Fellini’s with its soft ambiance and delicious authentic Italian selections or the award winning Top of the World restaurant that rotates 360 degrees every 80 minutes as you dine in style enjoying what is arguably Las Vegas’ best view, and one of the few remaining unobstructed views in town. We had a scrumptious breakfast at Roxy’s Diner (50’s style Rock’n’Roll diner) that was hot, fresh and delicious, that our server ordered and got exactly right without even writing anything down. But if we had lunch or dinner, besides great food and service, our meals would have been served by Roxy’s singing wait staff.
One of the most amazing things about staying at the Stratosphere is that every guest gets unlimited visits to the tower. You will never get tired of the tower; it is a world famous place. We made several visits up there enjoying and strolling along the wrap-around deck, pausing to sit down or lean on the glass, admiring the view and appreciating the difference between the day and the night time. The view is especially amazing at night.
Do yourself a favor next time you visit Las Vegas; go up to the Stratosphere “tower” to see for yourself. While you’re there, be sure to try out the carnival-type rides that actually extend off the side of the building 107+ stories above the ground. It was fun watching all of the people going crazy and screaming as they tried out these adventure rides. My friends went on all of the rides, and they thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
On the last night of our Las Vegas trip, we attended a live Frankie Moreno show at the Stratosphere showroom. The Frankie Moreno show is terrific, and everyone had an amazing time. According to Todd Ford, Director of Marketing, “Frankie and his 10-piece band offer a throwback to the classic Vegas showrooms—but with a modern vibe! Many local celebs come to see Frankie’s show too,” said Ford. Actually, Frankie Moreno is an incredibly talented and versatile performer who’s definitely headed for major stardom. Besides his long running shows on the Las Vegas stage, Frankie Moreno was a child prodigy, first appearing on Star Search and most recently on Dancing with the Stars and other TV and cable venues. He has also toured nationally and internationally.
During the one hour and 20 minute show, Frankie plays several instruments including guitar, harmonica, base, drums, piano; he is an excellent dancer, and of course he is also a highly talented singer – frequently performing all three at the same time. Frankie Moreno is a multi-talented and gifted performer and his 10-piece band, which includes his brother, Tony, is highly talented, too! The band plays the trombone, saxophone, trumpet, drums, guitar, bass, cello, and two violins.
Another of his brothers, Ricky, is also part of the act, and his parents are frequently in the audience along with local entertainer celebrities (peers), and music, dance, and vocal students Frankie often mentors.
Besides a tasteful assortment of popular contemporary and classic rock, Frankie performs songs he writes himself, and the production includes touching music videos on megatrons chronicling his visits to Venice, Italy and Tanzania, Africa where he wrote two of his songs. The blending of the performances on the music videos with the live performances of these songs makes for a particularly nice affect. There have been a lot of talented performers on the Las Vegas stage; Frankie Moreno is amongst the most versatile of any of them.
Lastly, we want to talk about the Sky Jump and the Top of the World Restaurant which are both located at the top of the Stratosphere. The famous Sky Jump is exactly what it sounds like; you jump off the Stratosphere attached to a wiring harness on your back. Do not let the fear of heights keep you away from the Sky Jump; we talked to one young lady who jumped, and she told us that it was the best experience ever, even better than skydiving thousands of feet.
Despite the fact that the hotel is at the north end of The Strip, there are many great things about the Stratosphere that everyone will appreciate and should experience. We really enjoyed the pool. The pool area is nice and clean and not at all crowded. We left the hotel and casino resort feeling very satisfied with our stay. The Stratosphere Casino, Hotel and Tower is a fantastic place to stay and play; we will definitely book it again the next time we visit Las Vegas.
Stratosphere Casino, Hotel and Tower
2000 South Las Vegas Boulevard
Las Vegas, NV 89104
Photos courtesy of Stratosphere Casino, Hotel and Tower. Hawick Luo and Marissa Chavez contributed to portions of this article.
Author Bio: Nick Anis is a food, wine, travel and technology writer with 24 books in print. Nick’s beats include snow and water sports, and vacation destinations. Publications include Travel-Watch, Where and What in the World, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin. Nick is a member of the International Food, Wine, and Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA). Nick can be reached by email at: email@example.com.
Author Bio: Patty Anis is a freelance travel writer/photographer who has traveled extensively throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Australia, and Europe. Previously, Patty worked in the field of editorial, editing, and graphics design for 14 years and for a Southern California multi-city newspaper and public relations firm for seven years. Patty enjoys the opportunity to discover new destinations and cultures, both domestic and international, and shares these experiences through her articles.
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