Stratosphere Casino, Hotel & Tower Review
With its over 40 million visitors a year, with many bringing a lot more money with them to spend than tourists typically do, Las Vegas tends to go all in with its casino resorts, and boast many of the world’s largest. This continues in spite of the loss of the monopoly on legal gambling that it enjoyed for many decades, and with the explosion of casinos popping up elsewhere in the country of late.
Las Vegas simply presents an experience that is unmatched, and they achieve this by going one or more levels up on their competition. So when it came to building a casino resort with a tower, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that they ended up building the largest one in the country.
The Stratosphere began as Vegas World, which opened in 1979 and was owned by casino owner and poker player Bob Stupak, who has several poker championships to his name, including a World Series of Poker bracelet and a Super Bowl of Poker championship.
Stupak certainly knew how to dream big, and in the late 1980’s, Stupak wanted to build a full scale version of the Eiffel Tower on the property, although it turned out that the property wasn’t large enough to support it. He then hired an engineering firm to design and build the current Stratosphere Tower, which was completed in 1996.
The tower was originally planned to be even higher, but became limited to its current height of 1,149 feet by the FAA due to concerns with it interfering with aircraft in the area. Still though, this makes it the tallest structure in Las Vegas and one of the tallest in the world.
The transformation from Vegas World to the Stratosphere was a very expensive one, and this was at the time the most that anyone had ever spent on a casino, mostly due to the enormous cost of the tower. It ended up bankrupting Stupak’s company, which was bought by investor Carl Icahn, who poured another billion into renovations in 2001, bringing it to its current size of 2,427 rooms.
The property saw further renovations in 2010, including improvements to the famous Top of the World revolving restaurant, which provides unmatched views of the city, as well as to its two observation decks. It is currently owned by American Casino and Entertainment Properties, a holding company set up to manage the affairs of the hotel casino.
The Highlights of the Stratosphere Las Vegas
The sheer height of the Stratosphere tower and its observation decks and Top of the World restaurant attracts many guests, as there is nothing else like this in Las Vegas. There are also 4 thrill rides here.
Big Shot was the world’s highest thrill ride up until recently, where riders ascend a 160 foot tower built on top of the Stratosphere, and experience 4 G’s of gravity. Insanity is the third highest thrill ride in the world, Xscream, a roller coaster type ride, is the fourth highest, and those who enjoy bungee jumping can experience plummeting 855 feet with SkyJump Las Vegas.
Stratosphere also has a very large hotel with recently renovated rooms in several configurations from $123 per night plus a daily resort fee of $24.99. These are very nicely decorated rooms with all the amenities you would expect from a top Las Vegas hotel.
There are also 3 selections of suites, all reasonably priced as far as suites go, from $205 per night plus resort fees, which gets you 700 square feet or more of living space which are packed with luxury and additional amenities.
The lineup of restaurants here is highlighted by the Top of the World restaurant, which not only features breathtaking views of Las Vegas, it also serves up some of the best food in the city, and has won many awards for its cuisine and service. This just isn’t a meal, it’s an experience.
Given the choice, it’s hard to imagine guests of this hotel casino wanting to dine elsewhere, but there are several more options here, including McCall’s Heartland Grill, which bills itself as offering comfort food at comfortable prices. The menu here is said to be designed for Everyman and Everywoman, and offers a good selection of flavorful dishes.
Fellini’s is perfect for those who enjoy Italian food, and Roxy’s Diner offers American inspired cuisine in a casual setting. Buffet promises the ultimate Las Vegas buffet experience, specializing in American dishes, where your Take Back Las Vegas membership card gets you a 10% to 25% discount, depending on your membership level.
Nunzio’s Pizzeria offers great pizza as well as other Italian inspired items. Mookies provides cookies, donuts, and other treats. The Creamery specializes in ice cream and milkshakes. Starbucks serves up their famous coffee. Guests can also order breakfast, lunch, and dinner delivered right to their room.
There are 5 bars and lounges, including the exclusive 107 lounge, 107 stories up atop the tower. There’s also the C Bar, McCall’s Whiskey Bar, Airbar, and Images, to give you plenty of options whether you just want to relax, dance, or enjoy live entertainment.
There’s also 4 thrill rides, 2 pools, , on observation deck, over 30 specialty shops, a spa, and a 24 hour fitness center to enjoy.
The Casino at the Stratosphere Las Vegas
The casino here is a good sized one with 80,000 square feet of gaming space. This isn’t the biggest casino in town by any means but is still a good one, and more than sufficient to make any casino player very satisfied, especially in combination with all of the other exciting things featured here at this casino resort.
There are over 800 slots and video poker machines to check out here, with a good selection of things to play, with generous payouts. Those who want to play bigger than the norm can visit the high limit slots area here where you can play for up to $25 a spin.
45 table games also await you here, with minimums starting at $5. You can enjoy playing single and double deck Blackjack, Craps, Fortune Pai Gow Poker, 3 Card Poker, and Bix Six Wheel.
Those who enjoy head to head poker will find a nice 10 table dedicated poker room here as well, with cocktail service and tableside dining. Daily free poker lessons are offered, and you can play either cash tables or enjoy playing in their daily poker tournaments.
The race and sports book at the Stratosphere takes care of their sports bettors with state of the art equipment and upgraded seating. There are separate sections for sports betting and horse race betting.
All of your play here at this casino is eligible to be tracked by their Ace Play loyalty membership program, which is free to join. The points you accumulate can be redeemed for either slot or table game play or cash them in for comps.
The Stratosphere is far from your ordinary Las Vegas casino resort and the tower in particular provides a unique experience and attracts a lot of people by itself. This is a high quality casino hotel resort all around though and is certainly up there with the most desirable places to stay and play in Las Vegas.