If you haven’t been to the Plaza Hotel Las Vegas lately and can make your way to the property, you’re in for a surprise. The hotel has undergone a litany of physical renovations and operational changes to keep guests more comfortable and entertained than ever.
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Situated in the heart of downtown Las Vegas, the Plaza Hotel Las Vegas enjoys a rich and storied history in downtown Vegas since opening its doors in 1971. The building stands on the site of the original Union Pacific train depot where, even after the hotel’s opening, passenger train service continued until 1997. At the time, because the Plaza served as the stop-off for rail travelers given the station and ticket windows were connected to the hotel, the property had the distinction of being the only train station in the U.S. located in a casino. Today, the Plaza continues to provide a unique and quintessential Vegas experience replete with upgraded styling and a vintage Rat Pack attitude.
A Rightful Renaissance
Downtown Las Vegas at large has undergone a significant revitalization over recent years, and, in 2011, the Plaza was the first downtown hotel/casino to undertake a major renovation. The property helped pioneer the effort to rebuild and reimagine the downtown district as a high-draw destination for tourists and locals alike.
For its part, the Plaza Hotel pays homage to its retro roots with a combination of throwback design elements combined with modern creature comforts and exciting amenities hotel-wide. For example, all 1,003 rooms and suites have been re-outfitted with custom décor elements, including Mark David furnishings, and the property at large proffers an array of dining options, a classic Vegas showroom boasting nationally-recognized entertainment, gaming galore and more.
A Penchant for Penthouses
Besides hundreds of rooms and suites renovated with modern aesthetics designed to enhance each guest’s stay, the Plaza Hotel also offers six exclusive penthouse suites for those who prefer to vacation as a Vegas high roller. These penthouses are located on the 25th floor of the South Tower, providing guests with gorgeous views of the Las Vegas skyline. Three of these suites overlook the pool, the famed Fremont Street and scenic mountains beyond, while the other three overlook the Las Vegas Strip to include the Smith Center for the Performing Arts.
The spacious open floor plans of all penthouses include 945 square feet of living space, wet bar, sitting area and bedrooms that connect to spa-style bathrooms. When you aren’t out on the town, you can get some work done at the desk or relax in your own Jacuzzi. Additional in-room amenities include a Keurig coffee maker, flat screen TVs with premium channels, a safe for valuables and more.
It’s important to note that the penthouses are not open for general booking via the Plaza’s website as they are typically reserved for VIP guests. Those interested in booking a penthouse should contact the Plaza Hotel Services department directly for rates and availability.
Copious Casino Gaming
The Plaza Hotel’s 80,000 square foot casino floor boasts over 500 slot machines as well as almost two dozen table games. Dispersed throughout are over 75 flat screen TVs, the only bingo hall in the area (purportedly with the highest payouts in the city) and downtown’s largest Race & Sports Book. So, whatever kind of gaming you’re into, you’ll surely find it here. In recent months, the property has also revamped its casino operations to make the games more competitive and more favorable to players. According to Jonathan Jossel, CEO of the Plaza Hotel & Casino, with whom I connected for an exclusive interview, enhancements include upgraded video poker, more focus on bingo and improved table game odds. “We are dedicated to enhancing the atmosphere and energy at the property and improving the guests’ overall experience,” Jossel noted. “I, along with the property’s managers, walk the [casino] floor talking to guests and meeting with staff. As a result, employee morale is up, which makes for an improved customer experience overall evidenced by the increase in repeat business.”
The Plaza Hotel boasts many dining options sure to fit your every mood. Dress up for a wining and dining experience at Oscar’s “Beef, Booze & Broads” Steakhouse, which is considered one of Vegas’ best. As the partnership between The Plaza Hotel adn former Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman, this restaurant and lounge with its highly recognizable glass dome overlooks the Fremont Street Experience where patrons enjoy a bird’s eye view of the spectacular Viva Vision light show occurring every evening. While the menu covers all of the bases and even a vegetarian can eat well here, the restaurant is certainly revered for its perfectly aged steaks, made-from-scratch side dishes and wide variety of handcrafted cocktails. Stop in even if just for a crisp martini. Or, opt for casual fare and enjoy delicious hand-tossed pizza at Pop Up Pizza, beer and a brat at the Beer Garden, and breakfast (anytime) at the legendary Hash House a Go Go where comfort food is dished up in mind-blowing proportions. You can also find a quick snack at the Food Court with fast-food favorites like McDonald’s and Subway. Do also take a little time to soak up some live entertainment at the on-site Omaha Bar.
Fun in the Sun
Commencing summer of 2016 guests will enjoy a one-of-a-kind rooftop pool experience as the hotel debuts its multimillion dollar renovation of the 70,000 square foot rooftop pool deck. Luxuriate among greenery in the brand new cabanas and daybeds, or enjoy the bars and dining areas in between dips in the pool. You can even catch some live entertainment or enjoy an afternoon of gaming while you swim and slumber under the desert sun.
Meeting and Event Space
Need to hold a meeting, party, or some other event? No problem. The Plaza has 30,000 square feet of ballroom and meeting space (the largest in downtown Las Vegas) to accommodate groups and events of a wide range of sizes.
Having personally experienced a stay at the Plaza Hotel, I found the best part of the experience to be the people I encountered throughout my visit. It’s clear the property has made a significant commitment to customer service and hospitality. The staff is friendly, competent and helpful, and they impressively work together to provide the best experience possible for guests. Speaking of the guests, you never know who you might run into as the hotel has been featured in movies like Casino, Pay It Forward, The Hangover Part II, The Mexican and Back to the Future Part II.
In looking long term, the Plaza reportedly plans to continue evaluating other projects that can further enhance the customer experience. “The property encompasses 17 acres in downtown Las Vegas, including 10 acres of land that could be used for future development,” Jossel said. “We are proud to be part of the revitalization of downtown Las Vegas and will continue to support the efforts currently underway to further enhance Main Street, which we proudly call home.”
Given that people come from all over the country to experience the energy of Las Vegas, a stay at the ever-kinetic, new-and-improved version of the Plaza Hotel will duly deliver on that expectation. Downtown Las Vegas is very eclectic, and the Plaza enjoys that diversity and eccentricity that you’ll be hard-pressed to find in the mega resorts of the Strip.
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***Some or all of the accommodations(s), experience(s), item(s) and/or service(s) detailed above were provided at no cost to accommodate this review, but all opinions expressed are entirely those of Merilee Kern and have not been influenced in any way.***