The perfect location - when I think of the centre of the Strip, I think of Caesars. You can walk to most casinos from here, not that you'll need to - because everything's happening here.
Here's where it falls down. I'd dreamed of staying at Caesars for years and was over the moon when I booked an obscenely cheap room (US$75) soon after I arrived here. Much to my disappointment, the room - in the Roman Tower - was dismal. And my second experience was even worse - I stayed in a basic room in the Centurion Tower and it was damp, smelly and falling apart. It was, in short, a disgrace.
Having said that, the superior rooms at Caesars are pretty swanky. The Augustus and Palace towers are the newest, and the most popular - they come with flatscreen TVs, walls with the tiniest hint of ice blue and are kept well. The Forum Tower, meanwhile, was refurbished a few years ago. Rooms aren't as smart as the Augustus and Palace towers, in my opinion - they have mirrors around the beds and bold patterened carpets and I prefer the simplicity of the others. Having said that, they're the next level up from the Centurion and Roman Towers, and they'll do.
The downside is that none of the nice towers give you good Strip views, as the Augustus and Palace towers look down at the pool. There are a few at the front of the Augustus tower that have a plum view of the Bellagio fountains, but the odds of bagging one of them are probably against you.
The moral of the tale? The basic rooms at Caesars just aren't worth it - you'd be better staying in a GO room across the road at the Flamingo. You can have a great experience staying here, but you'll need to pay for it.
I know it's not the newest casino, or even the swankiest, but I'm very fond of Caesars - I could wander around for hours. The main casino is huge and well spaced out with lofty ceilings so you never feel cramped, and there's a beautiful circular room for table games with a chandelier roof. It's easy to get lost here, with the various alleys, towers and offshoots, but I never get bored negotiating them. Everything's well kept up, too - the feeling's old school grand, rather than new and trendy.
Eating and drinking
So many options here, which is just as well because the buffet, while OK, isn't what you'd expect from a hotel of this calibre.
My favourite restaurant is in the grounds outside, on the edge of the Strip - Serendipity 3. It's an ice cream bar - it serves incredible, huge sundaes - that does fantastic food on the side. Not just your standard burger fare, either - one of the best dishes I've had in Vegas was a seared tuna salad here. Don't miss the frozen hot chocolate, either - basically a chocolate-flavoured slush puppy (try it with or without alcohol). Servings are enormous, so go easy on the ordering.
Rao's (an offshoot of the famous Harlem restaurant) is an institution, but I've only tried the famous meatballs, and was disappointed. I much prefer the restaurant next door - Beijing Noodle No 9, an upmarket noodle joint (don't be fooled by its takeaway appearance - the food is fantastic). Payard patisserie does a rocking prix fixe lunch menu, that was recently voted best in Vegas, and the laid back Munch Bar, which opened in May 2010, is already garnering great reviews for its burgers (I tried a salad, that was less convincing).
Bar-wise, there's not much (Shadow Bar is overpriced and the clientele is sleazy, Cleopatra's Barge is slightly scuzzy, too), but one of my favourite openings of 2010 has been Numb Bar, which opened on the casino floor in July. It specialises in frozen cocktails (that Vegas staple) but they're upmarket versions, and they also do properly mixed cocktails and ice cold beer, too. Plus it's staffed by some of the friendliest people in Vegas.
Formidable. The Qua spa at Caesars is, along with Canyon Ranch at the Venetian-Palazzo, the best in town. Best of all, you don't have to be staying here to use it - anyone can book a treatment, which gives you access for the day (hotel guests must pay $40 to use the facilities without a treatment).
The Garden of the Gods pool complex is definitely the most impressive in town - seven pools (one for VIPs only, and one topless) with a Roman feel to the architecture. There's no one pool that's good for swimming, but for lounging, you can't beat the way it looks.
Caesars also has the Colosseum entertainment complex. There's no permanent headliner at the moment (Celine Dion returns in March 2011) but they have a rotating roster including Cher and Jerry Seinfeld, as well as regular gigs from Lionel Richie and one off performances from superstars such as Mariah Carey and Bob Dylan. Over in the Cleopatra's Barge lounge, every weekend, you'll find Matt Goss (yes - Matt Goss from Bros), who does a surprisingly good Sinatra-inspired show with a top class backing band and sexy lingerie-clad dancers.
Pretty formal by Vegas standards. Unfortunately, because of the hotel's size, the little people can get lost - I had no help when I complained about both my unsatisfactory rooms. Having said that, if you're a high roller, they'll treat you well - some friends of a friend of mine are regular visitors and were involved in a hit and run recently, and when they had to postpone their return home due to a hospital visit, Caesars put them up for free and ferried them around in a limo.
Who stays there
An international crowd who go for the name, rather than the rooms.
No resort fee. As I said above, it's only worth staying here if you go for an expensive room.
Pros & Cons
- Perfect position
- Iconic hotel
- Top class facilities
- Abysmal standard rooms
- Always busy