Appalling! It's beside the main I-15 freeway, directly underneath one of the main fly-overs coming into Vegas. Not only that, but it's a mile to the Strip (I'd walk in the day, but not at night, as it's not the most salubrious area, out by the strip clubs), and even then you're only level with the Stratosphere and Sahara, right up the very top. There's no shuttle either, so the only options are to rent your own car or get a taxi (US$5-10 to the Strip, depending on where you want to go).
On the plus side, believe it or not, the traffic really isn't an issue - I've sat out in the garden eating lunch and barely noticed it - the hotel is very self-contained, with big trees fencing it off, and you feel utterly removed from the Strip - in a good way.
The Artisan used to have a reputation as sexy but run-down, but in January 2010 the Siegel Group, who also own the Rumor Resort, bought it up and renovated it. The sexy vibe is still definitely there - rooms have dark walls and shutters, they're plastered with artwork and lit dimly, bathrooms are tiled black - but now, I'm pleased to report, it's clean! The smallest rooms aren't huge but they still have king beds (or two queens), flatscreen TVs and bathrobes (which you don't get in most Vegas hotels), while the master suite - the Michelangelo - has an enormous living room complete with sofa for 10, leopard print-rimmed pool table and a bar area. They're not the most conducive to work, but WiFi is included in the $9.95 resort fee.
If you like a dark, gothic vibe, you'll love this. The lobby is without a doubt my favourite in Vegas - it's like walking into a castle owned by an antique-loving kleptomaniac with statues and paintings - even a coat of armour. The chapel is tiny but gothic and even the corridors are plastered in artwork. It's just a shame that, because it's so small, there aren't any more public areas.
Eating and drinking
There's one restaurant, Mood. I've eaten lunch there and had a pretty good salad, but I wouldn't say it was worth making the trek for. The bar - darkly lit with several hundred mirrors on the ceiling and empty picture frames around the place - is absolutely beautiful, and seems to bring out the exhibitionist in people from the canoodling I've seen. It's also home to After Hours, a party every Friday and Saturday from 10pm-8am that's extremely popular with locals. The place gets packed.
The gym is a sorry affair - one stepmaster and some weights in a cupboard - but the new pool is tiny but gorgeous (adults only, topless sunbathing allowed). There's a patio by the bar which is small but cute, and even a tiny library (a library in Vegas. Yes, really).
Friendly and far more personal than most Vegas hotels, thanks to its size. Although with fewer staff, sometimes during the day you're wondering who can help.
Who stays there
Couples on romantic breaks - who start their clinches in the bar or in the lift.
A daily resort fee of $9.95.
Pros & Cons
- Un-Vegassy atmosphere
- Sexy rooms
- Bad location
- Doesn't feel like Vegas