Excellent – bang in the middle of the Strip, opposite Caesars. You can walk pretty much wherever from here.
You can get standard rooms for as low as US$35 a night here, and although they’re ok, it’s well worth upgrading to a GO room (about $20 more). The GO rooms were renovated four years ago, and they’re fabulous – providing you like pink. The walls are candy-striped, the TVs are flat-screen, there are iPod docks, TVs in the bathroom mirrors and remote-controlled curtains. But be warned – they’re very girly (the lightbulb in the bathroom is a bright pink).
Again, be warned, if you’re sharing – the GO rooms also have frosted glass walls for the bathrooms. They’re opaque enough to cover up the details, but you can see the light coming through, so some people might find that off-putting.
Delightfully kitsch, although, again, you’ll have to like pink. There’s neon pink throughout the casino in the lighting and on the walls, and the casino has lots of mirrors giving it a retro vibe.
Backing onto the glass-walled buffet are the splendid gardens – a vast collection of lawns, fountains, pools, with koi carp in the water and real flamingos, too. I love these gardens, and especially the pools.
Eating and drinking
The buffet has a decent reputation – I’ve eaten breakfast there once, and was impressed (they even have miniature bottles of vodka up for grabs). Its position is glorious too – a huge, glass-walled atrium overlooking the flamingo-filled gardens. There’s a burger bar next to the buffet, which is meant to be good, but otherwise options are limited. Margaritaville – a Caribbean-themed restaurant and bar – is always uncomfortably packed, and although it's a Strip institution, I find the food over-priced and not that good. The upstairs bar has fantastic Strip views but it’s still a tourist trap that I try to avoid.
The main pool is a huge, snaking affair with fake cliffs housing a DJ booth and waterfalls providing impromptu massages. It's really relaxed with a nice mix of people, and I love it.
I’m also a big fan of the GO pool – a beautiful, tiny, 21-and-over-only pool with eight-foot high sculptures of flamingos which pour water into it. It used to attract a distasteful crowd, because it was one of the few pools in town to allow topless bathing, but they ended that in June, meaning you now get the kiddy-free vibe without the attendant sleaze. Unfortunately, men still have to pay ($15) to get in, but it’s free for women (a hangover of the topless days).
Lastly, you can’t mention leisure at the Flamingo without talking about Donny and Marie. The Osmond duo’s show here is surprisingly good. If you liked them first time around, you’ll love them, but even people like me, who didn’t have a clue who they are, will revel in the cheese.
Pretty friendly, from what I’ve experienced.
Who stays there
A huge range – although prices are low, it doesn’t have the budget reputation, so you get plenty of families, couples and groups of girls coming for the GO rooms.
No resort fee.
- Families with younger children
- Mature travellers
- Special occasions
Pros & Cons
- Glorious gardens
- Fun, retro vibe
- Fancy pool
- Relentlessly pink colour palette
- Limited eating options