Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas-31

Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas Review: Is it the Best Strip Hotel?

A few years ago the thought of going to Las Vegas and staying in a hotel without a casino, would seem ridiculous to me.

In my 20s and early 30s, the whole reason to go to Vegas is to drink, gamble, and go to clubs that never quite lived up to expectations.

So the idea of staying at a place that didn’t have a casino? Honestly, the thought never even crossed my mind.

Now, at the ripe old age of 37, I have a greater appreciation for peace and quiet.

And, luxury. 

Gone are the days of finding the $39 dollar-a-night room at Circus, Circus. Now, I’m willing to spend a bit more to stay someplace a bit more comfortable.

Obviously, there’s no shortage of comfortable hotels in Vegas. Resorts like the Wynn, Bellagio, Cosmo, and more will certainly suffice.

But even those 5 star hotels are different than your typical 5 star hotel. This is Vegas after all.

So where should you stay in Las Vegas, when you want to be close to the action, but still have private retreat to head back to after all the festivities have ended for the evening?

My best recommendation? The Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas.

In this Waldorf Astoria Vegas review, we’re going to look at the entire experience at the hotel, and help you decide if you should stay there on your next trip.

Because as you might expect, it certainly isn’t for everyone, but for the right person? There’s simply no better choice.

First Impressions of the Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas

The Waldorf Astoria is part of the City Center complex located in the center of the Strip, which includes the Aria, Cosmopolitan, and Vdarra hotels. It also includes the high-end Crystals shopping center.

The hotel originally opened in 2009 as the Mandarin Oriental.

In 2018 the property was sold, and is now under Hilton management and rebranded as the Waldorf Astoria.

From the second you pull up to the front of the hotel, you can tell it feels totally different than your typical Vegas resort.

The lower lobby.

The motor court and front entrance are all enclosed away from Las Vegas Blvd., so you don’t get the frantic energy of the Strip. 

It’s pretty wild to be right in the middle of Vegas, but not have hundreds of people around at all times and the sounds of slot machines clamoring away from the moment you step inside.

There’s a nice arrival lobby with a concierge on the first floor, but as with other more recently built 5-star hotels I’ve stayed in the main lobby is located higher up – in this case, the 23rd floor. 

The lobby is an impressive site with high ceilings, a Tea Lounge to the right of the check-in desk, and the Sky Bar beyond that, which has wonderful panoramic views of the Strip.

Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas Lobby

The main lobby on the 23rd floor.

Check-in was a breeze and I had my choice of $25/day resort credit or points due to my Hilton Gold status.

I chose the credit and applied it to a massage on the last day of the trip, which I’ll talk about in a bit.

When they made the transfer from the Mandarin Oriental to the Waldorf, there wasn’t a whole lot that was changed. 

The hotel still has some Asian accents and Asian motifs, but despite being built over a decade ago it still feels modern and up-to-date.

The major impression I had upon first arriving (and throughout the stay) is just how much it didn’t feel like I was in Las Vegas.

And depending on your goals for a Vegas trip, this could be a terrible fit, or you might find it’s the Vegas hotel you’ve been waiting for.  

The Rooms at the Waldorf Astoria Vegas

Walking down the 19th-floor hallway to my room, you can definitely still feel the Mandarin Oriental vibe – which isn’t a bad thing at all.

Entering the Strip View King Room, you’re met with a room that very much feels worthy of the Waldorf Astoria name.

As I mentioned above, most hotel rooms at Vegas properties, still feel like Vegas hotel rooms. I’ve stayed in a suite at the Bellagio, and it was nice, but I’d hardly say it was on the same level as a Park Hyatt, Shangri-La, or in this case, a Waldorf Astoria.

My basic room at the Waldorf was the nicest Vegas hotel room I’ve stayed in – and it’s not even close.

The furniture is done in dark wood motifs that feel luxurious and well thought out. Despite being first built in 2009, everything in my room was still in pretty good shape, and didn’t feel like it’s had 13 years of use.

Dedicated wardrobe area of room.

When you enter the room, to the immediate left there’s a dedicated area for the wardrobe, dressers, storage, and a full-length mirror.

Having this space is fantastic. It allows all of your clothes and belongings to be in a space that didn’t interfere while you’re living in the room.

This made the 500 sq ft room feel even bigger.

Past the dressing area is a large bathroom with a modern freestanding tub. 

The separate shower is very comfortable, and the more I used the Salvatore Ferragamo “Tuscan Soul” amenities, the more I enjoyed the unique fragrance.

It’s not quite the Le Labo shampoo from the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge or Park Hyatt NYC (which are my favorite hotel scents), but it’s up there.

The beds are five-star quality, and very comfortable. I’d rate it just above my experience with Ritz Carlton beds (which are super luxurious, but a little soft), and just below Four Seasons, which are my favorite hotel beds.

I can’t imagine anyone being disappointed by the beds at the Waldorf Astoria Vegas – they’re great.

The room is large enough to have a work desk, and a chair by the window.

The desk

The TV was wall mounted into a console that had a coffee maker and mini bar.

As I always mention, I love a hotel with a Nespresso machine and the Waldorf delivered. The only downside was that all of the pods in my room were decaf coffee. When I called housekeeping to ask for regular ones, some wires were crossed and they sent a pot of coffee instead.

Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas

Wall mounted TV, coffee station, and mini-bar.

Everyone I interacted with at the hotel was very friendly and eager to help.

Aside from the coffee pods, the only issue I had during the stay was housekeeping never showed up on our second day. I didn’t think much of it, and assumed they’d pass back through for turndown service – which didn’t happen either.

Illy (decaf) coffee pods

I’m sure I could have called to have the room turned over at that point, but hey, it’s Vegas. You’re not spending much time in your room.

Overall, the room itself is wonderful, and staying anywhere else on the next trip will likely feel like a bit of a downgrade.

The view from the room.

The Reality of Not Having a Casino

I mentioned earlier the Waldorf is located in City Center Las Vegas, which is about as central on the Strip as you can get.

I legitimately expected the lack of a casino to negatively impact my Vegas experience.

But the reality? It was so much better.

Having a quiet retreat that’s seconds from everything, but feels like it’s far way is truly Vegas – elevated.

I imagine you get a similar experience at the Four Seasons Las Vegas. But being all the way on the far end of the Strip at Mandalay Bay makes it much less convenient.

In less than a 5 minute walk, you can get to the Aria, Park MGM, and Cosmopolitan casinos. So your slot machine or table game of choice is never far away.

The Park MGM was a nice surprise, as I hadn’t been there since they rebranded the old Monte Carlo.

The Vegas outpost of Eataly is a perfect lunch stop, and Bavette Steakhouse made for a wonderful meal.

The NoMad Bar in New York has always been one of my favorite bars in our quest to visit the Top 100 bars in the world, but it sadly closed this past year. There is however a NoMad Bar at the NoMad Hotel which is within the Park MGM.

The vibe isn’t quite the same, but the drinks are still fantastic.

All that to say, the location is about as good as it gets if you want relatively easy access to both the North and South ends of the Strip.

Dining at the Waldorf Astoria Vegas

Being a smaller property (by Vegas standards) the options for dining at the Waldorf are relatively limited.

Their all-day dining option is Zen Kitchen, located on the third floor.

From our table at Zen Kitchen.

Burger at Zen Kitchen

I had lunch there with a friend, and it was very good. He had an excellent Poke Bowl, and I had a very good hamburger and side salad.

You’re paying 5-star hotel prices, but with the $25 minimums at nearly every casino we went to throughout the weekend, the $28 burger felt like a downright bargain.

I also went down to the restaurant one day and asked if they could make me an Americano. The hostess said “of course!” Three minutes later she came back with a fantastic Americano, which she didn’t charge me for.

This also happened recently at the Peninsula in NYC. I’m not sure if this is standard at a certain level of hotel, but it’s a really nice touch. There are plenty of places to get nickel and dimed in a high-end property, so to not charge me the 5 bucks for a drink and offer it with a smile? It goes a long way.

The Tea Lounge is located right off the 23rd-floor lobby, and was very active every time I was there. 

The Tea Lounge at the Waldorf.

I didn’t get a chance to have a cocktail at the SkyBar, but it’s worth going for the views alone.

Twist is their Premier restaurant from Michelin-starred chef Pierre Gagnaire, but it’s currently closed.

The Spa at the Waldorf

For the last 7 years or so, I’ve had a bit of a trick on every Vegas trip I take.

I try and book a later flight out on my last day, and I always go to a day spa.

Many of the spas in town will allow you to visit and use the facilities for a daily fee.

This used to be easier (and less expensive) than it is now.

But for access to the Forbes rated spa at the Waldorf it is $75 for hotel guests for the day.

However I had a $100 resort credit during my stay, so I figured I’d splurge and get a massage for the full experience.

And, I’m absolutely glad I did.

To put it simply, the spa experience at the Waldorf Astoria in Vegas is among the best I’ve ever had.

Located on the 8th floor of the hotel, you have great views of the Strip. It’s kind of odd seeing the sense of chaos below while relaxing in a place so serene.

I haven’t been to any other Vegas spas, and I imagine Canyon Ranch at the Venetian, Qua at Caesars, and the Spas at Encore and Wynn are equally as impressive, if not more so due to being much larger.

But my experience at the Waldorf was everything I hoped it would be.

They were great about giving me a locker earlier in the day so that I could leave my bags there, after I checked out from my room.

The welcome area of the Spa.

There was a large 102 degree hot tub (I’m sure there’s a fancier name for this), with built-in chairs overlooking the strip. It was delightful.

You can’t see the S shaped chairs under the water, but they were super comfortable.

The steam room had a heated tile bench inside it, that was perfectly contoured for your body, and remarkably comfortable.

The dry sauna also had some Asian motifs to it, which made for an inviting place to sweat out all the alcohol from your trip.

There is a laconium room, a relaxation room for before and after treatments, and whatever this room is that had heated chairs:

I loved these chairs.

Honestly, these chairs might have been my favorite part of the whole thing. Something about them was just incredibly comfortable and relaxing.

Finally, there are two experience showers which are the best version of these I’ve ever seen.

There are 5 different modes that ranged from a chilly mist, to a full-on tropical monsoon with lighting and thunder effects.

The “Experience Shower”

In lieu of a cold plunge, one of these showers was perfect in between rooms.

The relaxation room for pre and post treatment.

Getting a Massage at the Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas

My Waldorf Astoria Signature Massage was excellent. 

The massage therapist was incredibly knowledgeable and actually seemed to care more than some other resort massages I’ve had.

She was regularly asking about the pressure, and when I asked for more, she really ramped it up. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a massage, and there were a lot of knots and tight spots. She dug in deep, and truly gave me a massage that was more than just relaxing, but truly beneficial to my body.

It’s a 60-minute massage, that I expected to probably only be 50 minutes after walking to the treatment room, chatting, changing etc.

But it was a full 60 minutes on the table, which is always appreciated.

It’s not the largest spa in Vegas by any means, but it felt private, peaceful, and restorative after a 48-hour bender.

The Pool and Fitness Center at the Waldorf Vegas

Both the fitness center and the pool at the resort are great.

The pool experience is far more benign than at your typical Vegas hotel – and I mean this in a good way. I was there on a Saturday afternoon in October, and almost had the whole place to myself. The pool was inviting, and in keeping with the theme of the hotel, it was relaxing and private. 

On top of the main one pictured below there was another adults-only pool, and hot tubs as well.

The pool.

There is a bar with food options, and the wait staff was super friendly and attentive. 

Looking for yard-size pina coladas and swim-up blackjack? You won’t find it here. 

But if you’re looking for a more elevated Vegas pool experience? The Waldorf Astoria is a great bet.

The fitness center is also a nice size, and great for a hotel gym.

Fitness center.

On my last morning, I got a 3 mile run in, did some stretching, and I was one of only two people in there.

You should have no problem replicating most workouts you’d do at your home gym here.

Is the Waldorf Astoria Hotel Las Vegas Good for Golfers?

First off, since this is a golf blog, let’s cover the golf part of things.

Is this the best hotel for golfers in Vegas? 

Well, maybe.

It depends on where you want to play.

If you’re going to try and play the best course in Vegas, Shadow Creek? Then no, you shouldn’t stay here.

To play Shadow, you’ll need to stay at an MGM property like the Aria, Bellagio, MGM Grand, or about a dozen others.

That is really the only major caveat when it comes to golfing in Vegas.

You can play Wynn Golf Club without staying there, and if you’re looking to do Wynn and the only other course on the Strip, Bali Hai, then the Waldorf is perfectly situated between the two.

Cascata Golf Club

The 4th hole at Cascata Golf Club.

With the freeway so close, getting to most other notable Vegas courses is super manageable. It’s only around 20 minutes to get to Southern Highlands, TPC Summerlin, and the Summit Club.

Less than 30 minutes and you’re at Cascata.

And in less than 90 minutes you can be at over-the-top course, Wolf Creek

So is golf your priority? Do you want to be close to the action, but also have a place to relax? The Waldorf Astoria is great for this.

Wolf Creek is one of the most unique golf experiences I’ve ever had.

But if you’re on a buddies trip and drinking and gambling is just as much a priority as the golf? Then you may be happier staying in a property that has more happening on site.

That said, it would probably take you less time to get to the Aria Casino from the Waldorf than it would if you were staying in a room far from the elevators on a high floor of the Aria itself.

Who Else Should Stay Here?

I see two types of situations that would be absolutely perfect for staying at the Waldorf Astoria.

The first? Couples.

This is 100% a place I’d come back and visit with my wife. If we were doing a long weekend with a show or two, some nice dinners, a bit of gambling, but not trying to rage like we did in our 20s? The Waldorf Astoria is perfect.

It’s luxurious, comfortable, quiet, and great for a couples getaway.

The second is business travelers. If you’re coming to Vegas on business, and want a place where you can actually get some work done and not be constantly bombarded by the distractions that typically come along with being in Vegas?

Once again, this is perfect.

Honestly? Anyone that wants a true luxury hotel and a fun Vegas experience will enjoy this hotel immensely. 

Final Thoughts on the Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas

I had pretty high hopes for the Waldorf Astoria, and I’m very happy to say that the hotel absolutely lived up to them.

I don’t think I understood just how much I’d appreciate the retreat-like setting of the hotel, and how nice it would be to get away from the chaos.

Man, I sound old.

But this particular 48-hour trip was also meant to be a more casual, less party-heavy trip. And the hotel delivered on every part of it.

Yes, there was a bit of an oversight with the housekeeping, but again, I imagine that would have been solved with a simple phone call – so I wouldn’t be too concerned about this if you’re booking a room.

Being a true 5-star property, you can expect rates to be among the more expensive on the Strip. But considering it’s Vegas, you can expect prices for a room to vary wildly. I’ve seen them as low as $200 for a night, and upwards of $800 for a busy weekend. 

So do your research beforehand. If you have Hilton points you can also book a stay using those. Expect to pay 80k points a night.

For the right person, this is absolutely one of the very best hotels you can stay at in Vegas.

But honestly? Considering how close to the hotel so many quality casinos are, I can’t imagine there are many people that would be disappointed in their decision to stay here. It truly is fantastic, and it provides for a unique experience that you won’t get at many other hotels in Las Vegas.

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  1. William Miller

    Hilton has managed to turn a five star Mandarin Oriental into a four star Waldorf. Having logged over 30 stays at MOLV, to say I am disappointed with the current situation is an understatement.

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