The first weekend of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament is one of the busiest times in Las Vegas for sports fans. Plenty of people visit Sin City for the Super Bowl but we don’t see the same number of large groups as the first weekend of March Madness. There are groups anywhere from two people to twenty people traveling together.
In addition to the NCAA basketball tournament, the first weekend of Madness falls during spring break and Saint Patrick's Day. Believe it or not, there are people visiting Las Vegas for more than just basketball during the first weekend of March Madness. GASP!
As you’d imagine, people who travel together usually want to stay together. Between limited availability, and added fees, that can be difficult and pricey when booking hotel rooms on the Vegas Strip. Thankfully there are plenty of places to stay for groups in Las Vegas.
Suites and Villas
Suites and Villas in Las Vegas come in all shapes, sizes and price points. If you have the cash you can splurge on a gorgeous new penthouse suite at the Cosmopolitan overlooking the Vegas Strip. The Cosmopolitan actually has a great variety of suites and villas to choose from.
If you’re on a budget and want to stay in a suite at a casino you might want to look at suites at the Rio. It’s a short ride to the Vegas Strip and Total Rewards Diamond members don’t pay resort fees. That's $30 plus tax per night. Personally, I'd rather take that $30 and make a parlay with each person in my crew allowed one pick. The winnings could be great.
Back to the Vegas Strip. Vdara isn’t connected to Aria but it’s just a few feet away and the prices for each suite are usually comparable to regular hotel rooms in the area. The Palazzo just renovated their rooms (all suites) and is one of my favorite casinos on the Vegas Strip. They often have good prices as well. One of the best deals on the Vegas Strip is at Elara - the timeshare property attached to Planet Hollywood. The rooms feel very 90’s but the price is usually right.
When you split a suite between a larger party, you might find it more affordable than staying in a regular hotel room. The big savings with suites in Las Vegas today is that it’s one resort fee per night divided by however many people crash. That’s a legit saving when you’re looking at multiple hotel rooms versus one suite for a long weekend.
Casinos are still the most popular place to stay in Las Vegas but Airbnb is slowly becoming a popular alternative. Twice as many people booked accommodations with Airbnb in 2017 than 2016. I expect that will increase this year thanks to resort fees that can add $40 per day to base hotel room prices.
Airbnb accommodations in Las Vegas include rooms in a house, hotel suites, and full houses. Depending on the location, the price of a round-trip Uber or Lyft to the Vegas Strip can be less expensive than fees on a basic hotel room. Not only can you load a lot of people into an Airbnb rental but you can save money.
One word of caution, Airbnb isn’t without fees. For example, different places may have cleaning fees, extra person fees, resort fees, etc. Do the math on the rental because the actual savings might not be what you expect. Airbnb is a relatively new option that could save money and offer a unique Vegas experience.
Near Strip Casinos
Casino-resorts on the Vegas Strip have a unique selling point that nobody else has - they’re on the Vegas Strip. This makes prices a bit higher than at casinos in surrounding areas. That said, you can find hotel rooms as close as a 30-second walk of the Vegas Strip for much less than their neighbors.
For example, rooms at Hooters are 20% less expensive (25% after fees) than MGM Grand which is across the street. If you only need the room for a shower and few hours to pass out this might be a good option. Hooters isn’t the only near strip hotel to consider if you’re looking to save a few dollars on accommodations.
Here are some other casino options that are close to the Vegas Strip if you want some options to compare prices.
If you head a little further south on Las Vegas Boulevard you can choose from Silverton, South Point, and M Resort. If you head north, you'll find the Stratosphere and downtown Las Vegas casinos as less expensive options.
Las Vegas still has plenty of accommodations that offer a good value for the price. You might just have to do a little work to find the right place.