Located just steps from the ‘4 Corners’ of Vegas, the iconic Flamingo hotel and casino is at the heart of the Vegas Strip with an abundance of attractions, shops, and restaurants all around, including the entertainment complex of the Linq Promenade right next door.
Thanks to its hot pink and vibrant orange flashing fluorescent signage, the exterior of the Flamingo mimics a showgirl in full costume and is hard to miss. The property is steeped in history as the oldest hotel on the strip, having been opened by mobster Bugsy Siegel in 1946. And though it has undergone an overhaul, as well as several upgrades and renovations since then, it still holds a retro vibe that guests identify with and return to often.
This particular casino holds a place in our hearts as where we first learned to play Blackjack at a dealer’s table as opposed to in our room. However, the ever-growing Saturday night crowd would soon make us feel uncomfortable and somewhat claustrophobic so we opted for some fresh air on the strip.
The casino is huge, but for our personal taste, we found it to be cut up with twists and turns, and with such a throng of gamblers it can be somewhat difficult to navigate at times. Adding to the crowd is that the Donny & Marie Showroom, which at one time featured the long-running show Legends, opens directly into the casino so, as showgoers are exiting, the area quickly becomes congested.
Also busy is the back entrance to the Flamingo where guests of the hotel check-in and out; and taxis, Uber, and buses arrive to pick up and drop off customers on the circular driveway. Here you will find not only traffic to the Flamingo but also to the Hilton Grand Vacations Club at the Flamingo, with both properties butted close together. Day or night, you can expect to find a line-up of vehicles attempting to approach the entrance doors. If you’re in a taxi and the meter is running, take a tip from us and pay the driver as soon as you enter the line-up, then walk the rest of the way to the doors. You’ll save several dollars and a 10 to 15 minute wait time. If you have a rental car, or perhaps your own vehicle with you, the hotel offers valet parking at $13/day and self-parking at $8/day. If only going for a short while to eat, see a show, or gamble, hourly parking rates vary.
Inside, expect to be greeted by decor that’s happily stuck in the late ’70s/early ’80s with highly polished white floors, gold trim, and mirrored walls. It’s like being thrown back in time, especially with accent colour splashes of hot pink here and there, and typical over-the-top Vegas carpet. There are plenty of escalators with vague signage, but there’s no mistaking the check-in desk given the long line of travellers corralled into a line by retractable belt barriers, all checking in or out thanks to the Flamingo’s reasonable rates and convenient location.
Guests can count on entertainment in the form of the Donny and Marie show – a song and dance review much like the duo’s 70s show; X Burlesque, which is an adult show of near-naked women performing and dancing to a variety of music, or the comedy routine of Piff the Magic Dragon.
For onsite dining, guests can enjoy the Paradise Garden Buffet for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, while taking in stunning views of a 3-story waterfall and flourishing gardens stocked with swans, ducks, turtles, koi fish, and Chilean Flamingos. There is also the Caribbean-themed hot spot of Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville. Or, for something more upscale, Center Cut Steakhouse offers melt-in-your-mouth steaks and chops. Mexican cuisine can be found at Carlos ‘n’ Charlies, and the Beach Club Bar and Grill is available poolside.
A spa and some shops are also conveniently on site.
The Wildlife Habitat, which essentially features the items seen from Paradise Garden Buffet, is a draw for this family-friendly resort. But let’s face it, it isn’t much to hold a child’s attention for long.
Likely, young kids would be happier at a themed hotel such as Circus Circus, which carries the circus theme throughout the complex and is filled with rides and attractions. Or the Excalibur is a good choice for families, which is a colourful castle full of knights. As for the Flamingo, it’s better suited to gamblers and partiers given the X Burlesque show, the Friday night event called Electric Safari for the LGBT community, and the GO Pool which features DJ’s and pool parties, and is considered to be a day club for guests aged 21 and over.
Rooms and suites come in a variety of configurations and price points with the main differences being room size, bed size, and view, as well as smoking and non-smoking options.
However, the most popular (and usually the room included with vacation packages) is the Deluxe Double Queen, which can be substituted for a King Bed pending availability. Essentially, this is a standard room with 2 queen beds, corner chair, a small desk area, flat screen TV, and a standard bathroom with tub and shower, toilet and sink.
If you’re booking online and are seeing photos that look like a suite with a separate bedroom and living area, it’s best to question it before booking because you might be led astray. (This is where booking with a travel agent is beneficial because you’ll be told exactly what you’re getting). If paying more isn’t a problem, upgrading to a suite will increase the room size and amenities and will likely add a better view.
Rates are reasonable but fluctuate throughout the year depending on demand during peak and off-peak season. Standard room rates are only $33/night (USD) during off-peak season and off days (Mon and Tues of January and early February) but can climb as high as $259 on weekends. If booking a vacation package with a flight and perhaps even a rental car, it’s best to shop around. There is even a provision for pets if you are travelling with your dog or cat. The Flamingo allows for dogs weighing under 50 pounds and permits a total of 2 dogs. However, you must ensure to book the special ‘pet room’ category and comply with a refundable deposit, which will be returned upon check-out providing Fido hasn’t chewed the furniture, broken something, or had an accident on the carpet.
PROS: The iconic Flamingo is not the among the newest or most expensive hotels on the strip, but it has a lot going for it. The location makes it extremely desirable given that it is within walking distance of some of the most popular casinos, shows, restaurants and shops. The guest rooms are pleasant and clean, and the staff is friendly.
CONS: Although Wi-Fi is available in-room, it is an additional fee. Despite that the hotel is billed as family-friendly, the amenities are actually better suited to adults. And finally, the real estate reps hoping to sell condos to guests are especially aggressive and grow tiresome over the course of a few days stay.