Laughlin Best, Cheap & Where to Stay

This is a simple page on Laughlin as an affordable or ‘different’ alternative to Vegas; we’ll complete it with videos and photos as in our large Vegas section. For now, one of our readers (Koutesu) just wrote to us with this refreshing overall review of Laughlin which we think will be useful to those considering a visit.

Laughlin offers an affordable alternative to Las Vegas and, if you have time, it may be worth staying in both places since they are not too far away from each other, and they are well connected (more on this later). For now, Laughlin has kept away from the ultra modern, city-feel of ‘new Vegas’ (if you consider resorts like Aria, for example). This is what a reader (‘Koutesu’) wrote to us about it (with his permission we’re showing it here and, in the near future, we’ll go to Laughlin to do everything we’re doing in Vegas, videos included!):

Hotels and casinos in Laughlin. There are 9 casinos along Casino Drive and the casinos are away from the town where people live. The casinos are Riverside, Aquarius, Edgewater, Colorado Belle, Tropicana (across the street from Colorado Belle), Pioneer, River Palms, Golden Nugget, and Harrah’s. All casinos along the river are connected by the Riverwalk, except Harrah’s. There are water taxis that also connect the casinos. Nevada’s only Indian casino, the Avi Resort, is south about 30 minutes.

[In Laughlin] nothing is on the same level as Aria, Wynn, or Bellagio. [Laughlin] is probably more skewed toward budget type hotels. When Vegas is too expensive, [people] come here. [In Laughlin you will find] many retirees. Spring is when the bikers ride into town for the annual River Run. It’s also possible to ring in the New Year in Bullhead City, cross the river, and ring in the New Year again in Laughlin since Arizona is back on Mountain time when Daylight Savings ends.

Price: I’ve had a deluxe north tower room at Harrah’s for about $25 back in January and a friend and I stayed free at Tropicana in a Jacuzzi suite because he got comped for entering a blackjack tournament. There are no resort fees, so internet is optional for a fee.

Some hotels have remodeled in recent years and I suspect Tropicana was going update the rooms because their garage had boxed up plumbing fixtures. In Vegas you pay a premium for a strip view room. In Laughlin it’s all about the river view. Colorado Belle has lanai on some rooms, including river view rooms in the towers. There are remodeled or upgraded rooms available as well as suites. Tropicana, Harrah’s, and Aquarius offer adult only towers.

Free Classic Car Exhibition: there is a free classic car exhibit at the Riverside. Essentially, two rooms with all sorts of classic cars in them… And the exhibit is free!

Buffets. While I usually only do breakfast buffet, sometimes I do dinner buffet, which can be as low as $10. The buffet food will probably be a step back [from the higher-end Vegas buffets], but crab legs on Friday and Saturday will be cheaper. I think Colorado Belle and Edgewater currently charge $17.99, and you still get at least a 10% discount with your player’s card. You can buy alcohol in some buffets. Aquarius has a station for alcohol in their buffet. A lot of restaurants usually have river views. The casinos do have other restaurants that can offer something unique. Pints in Colorado Belle is a micro brewery and Bubba Gump at Golden Nugget has a patio over the river for dining.

A Bit of History: Don Laughlin is the Walt Disney of this place. He operated Vegas casinos before and decided to open one of his own in the ’60s. He acquired a motel in South Pointe, which was later renamed Laughlin by the post office. He rented 4 of the 8 rooms to guests (his family lived in the other 4), had some table games set up and some slots. His wife’s 99cent all you can eat chicken dinners were a hit.

We are scheduled to review Laughlin soon.  If there is something you want to know meanwhile, don’t hesitate to ask but please remember we will reply with a small delay, given the number of emails received.  Thank you.