I returned to the Las Vegas Strip for the first time since COVID-19 to stay at Caesars Palace and was impressed by the hotel’s pandemic response, but standard rooms could use improvement
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I live just a few miles from the Las Vegas Strip, but prior to this stay, had not been anywhere near it since the COVID-19 pandemic struck. Even when Las Vegas reopened this summer, I was troubled by the initial lack of a mask mandate and the subsequent spike in cases.
However, now that wearing masks is mandatory, alongside declining case numbers, and my own negative test result to reassure me, I decided it was time to test the waters — and where better to return to than a classic property like Caesars Palace?
Located in the center of Las Vegas Boulevard, Caesars Palace is a behemoth outfitted with faux Roman architecture, fountains, and lush gardens. Unlike some Strip properties that have distanced themselves from their themes (looking at you, Luxor), Caesars Palace really goes for it. The pool complex is called Garden of the Gods, the on-site shopping mall is named The Forum Shops, and a replica of Michelangelo’s David stands steps away from the casino floor.
It’s quintessential Las Vegas, and exactly why I chose it for my first foray back to the Strip. I booked a standard, entry-level Forum Classic Room, but was upgraded at check-in to the next tier, the Julius Deluxe Room, which is located in a more convenient tower.
Prices for my original room type start as low as $94 per night, though, I paid $99 for my reservation. Had I booked the Julius Deluxe outright, I would have only paid $5 more per night.
In fact, upgraded rooms here are usually only a difference of a few dollars. And, after this stay, I’m confident those small numbers make a big difference. Because, while cheap and perfectly suitable as a base for a Las Vegas getaway, standard rooms tend to be a bit dated. Refined suites might only cost an additional $20 to $40, and offer a more indulgent, comfortable stay that’s still widely affordable.
Regardless of room choice, you can book here in confidence knowing that the hotel is taking COVID-19 safety precautions seriously. I observed this throughout my stay starting in the near-empty parking garage — blissfully free of charge following the resort’s reopening — and throughout my time on property, which still maintained the Las Vegas glamour I was missing while quarantined at home.
The crowds aren’t completely gone — this is still Las Vegas after all — but they were distanced and I have a hunch I won’t be waiting as long to return next time. Here’s what it was like to stay at Caesars Palace Las Vegas.
Need more Las Vegas hotel suggestions? Read our list of the best cheap hotels in Las Vegas and the best luxury hotels in Las Vegas.
Keep reading to see why I was so impressed by Caesars Palace.
When I arrived at Caesars Palace, it was a pleasure to see the familiar Roman lettering of the logo and manicured gardens. It was also, admittedly, comforting to see sparse crowds and ample signage that made their new mandatory mask policy clear.
The intensely air-conditioned lobby felt a little different when I entered. It was noticeably less crowded and also outfitted with hand sanitizer dispensers and a stand with free masks.
After passing through a mandatory temperature check station, I stood in the socially distanced line at the front desk. Seeing the other guests actually following the designated floor markings further assuaged my anxiety over being back at a Las Vegas casino.
The line was short so I assumed the wait would be too, but because there were only two employees at the front desk, it took almost a half-hour to get checked in.
Thankfully, it was also quite COVID-safe. Employees wore masks, dispensed pens with metal tongs, and ensured guests remained six feet apart. The friendly woman who checked me in explained takeout options and informed me that due to COVID-19, there was no mini-bar or room service. The fitness center, however, was still available.
She also upgraded my Forum Classic Room booking to the next tier, the Julius Deluxe Room, which was random. Business Insider paid for my reservation, and the hotel did not know I was there to review. I attributed this good fortune to low occupancy.
After thanking her for the room upgrade, I made the short walk to my tower and was happy to see that not only were the elevators limited to four guests, but people were actually following that rule.
I stayed in a Julius Deluxe Room, which was slightly better than the base-level Forum Classic Room.
It was a generous 360 square feet (the Forum Classic is 350 square feet) and featured a sharp contrast of classic and modern decor. Marble flooring in the entryway led to muted gray carpeting. A neutral color scheme throughout was punctuated by a neon yellow ottoman and Roman wall art with a bright orange background.
I was pleasantly surprised by the bed, which was King-sized and pillowy. It’s definitely a major plus if you prefer a hotel bed on the softer side, which I absolutely do. The white linens were smooth and breathable and I slept well, thanks to the comfortable bed and the reliable air conditioning that was necessary on a hot autumn night.
The bathroom had two vanities facing each other, a walk-in shower, and a yellow tray containing Apotheke shampoo, conditioner, lotion, a facial bar, and a few hand towels that, unfortunately, looked like they’d been in rotation for quite some time. Like the rest of the room, the bathroom blended classic elements — marble flooring, taupe and gray colors — with some bold splashes of color in the form of the trash can, tray, and wall art.
I especially appreciated the super-fast internet and comfortable desk to work from, though, there was no pen and paper supplied. I’m not sure if this was also part of the COVID-19 policy, but as a writer and a collector of hotel stationery, I was a little disappointed to be without these items.
Other than that, the room seemed similar to how it would have been pre-coronavirus: clean and organized. This was reassuring, as I felt the room had met the promises of proper sanitization.
I drew back the striped curtains to reveal a floor-to-ceiling window that appeared to be a balcony but was just for show. Real balconies are hard to come by in Vegas, so I wasn’t exactly shocked.
I was, however, surprised by the nice view of the pool below and the Flamingo across the street. I did not specifically request a view but was lucky enough to get a high-floor room, so it doesn’t hurt to ask if it’s important to you.
There was one major downside to note, which was the sound of children shrieking in the room next door. I heard this throughout my stay, along with guests laughing and water running.
Caesars is an older property (by Vegas standards anyway), and the thin walls reflected that, as did some lumps in the carpeting and scuffs inside the closet. These weren’t deal breakers — I like a hotel with some history — but I imagine a nicer room in a newer tower might come with less wear and tear. I’m a heavy sleeper, so I slept well, but more sensitive travelers may find themselves longing for earplugs.
I paid $99 plus $19.27 in taxes and an additional $45 resort fee for one night in the Forum Classic Room. Had I just booked the Julius Deluxe Room myself, I would have paid $104 as a base. These prices are typical for weeknights but expect to pay more for a weekend.
While the room suited my needs, next time, I’ll pay to upgrade even further. For $16 extra, I could have stayed in a 550-square-foot Octavius Room with an even better view, a bathtub, and a modern feel.
Or, for $20, I could have booked a 508-square-foot Julius Junior Suite with a separate seating area. And for an additional $45, an Augustus Strip View room comes with 650-square-feet of space, an excellent view, seating area, and a spa bathtub. That’s a small difference for a significant change of scenery.
Of course, in peak season, I’d probably be priced out of many of these options, but it’s worth it to upgrade as much as you can. That being said, regardless of which option you choose, you’re still staying at an iconic Las Vegas property with a beautiful pool, excellent restaurants, central location, and an attached designer shopping area.
Compare room types and prices for Caesars Palace
Caesars Palace charges a $45 daily resort fee, which might seem steep, but is incredibly common in Las Vegas. Here, it covers internet for two devices, access to the fitness center for two guests, and unlimited local calls.
When it comes to dining, entertainment, shopping, and sightseeing, Caesars’ options are usually dizzying during a normal stay. But we are not in normal times.
Some restaurants, including many of the casual options at the food court, were closed.
Those that were open emphasized to-go menus. I haven’t eaten in a restaurant since March and still don’t feel comfortable with it, so I appreciated this.
Caesars Palace made it easy to order to-go food online via a QR code in the room. With a quick scan, my dinner from Beijing Noodle No. 9 was ready to be picked up in just a few minutes. There was even an option to have it delivered to the room for an additional fee.
No entertainment options were available due to the pandemic, though in ordinary times, the Colosseum is one of my favorite venues in Las Vegas.
Omnia Nightclub is also currently closed but is an impressive spectacle when in full swing.
The spa and fitness center were both open, but I wasn’t comfortable visiting either.
I did visit the Garden of the Gods pool complex for an hour before check-out, which is easily one of the lushest, most impressive pool areas in town.
While it was certainly odd to be wearing a sequined face mask and a bikini, the view was gorgeous and I was happy to see staff and guests being safe.
Lounge chairs were separated in groups with a generous amount of space in between, and signs throughout the area indicated that they were not to be moved. Guests were abiding by this policy, and employees wore masks and seemed to attentively enforce these mandates.
If you can find your way out of Caesars Palace (seriously, I’m a local and I still get lost in there), you’re right in the heart of the Las Vegas Strip.
The resort and casino is also surrounded by classic Las Vegas properties. The Bellagio and the Mirage are both nearby, and the Flamingo is just across the street. This is an ideal location for first-time visitors who want to hit the highlights — the fountains, the Eiffel Tower replica, maybe the real-live flamingos at the Flamingo — without walking miles upon miles.
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Caesars Palace currently holds a 4.5 average on Trip Advisor. It’s ranked 33 out of 279 hotels in Las Vegas.
Recent guests have expressed the same relief that I felt over the resort’s COVID-19 standards: temperature checks, hand sanitizer stations, masks, and employees who have gone above and beyond during a chaotic time.
Several reviews even mention employees by name. My experience definitely reflected this.
Less flattering reviews on Trip Advisor centered around the resort fee. These fees are the bane of any Vegas traveler’s existence, even more so now that there are fewer amenities available.
Read reviews, compare prices, and book Caesars Palace on Trip Advisor
Who stays here: Side note: the reason why it’s Caesars Palace and not Caesar’s Palace is because the original owner Jay Sarno “wanted to create the feeling that everyone in the hotel was a Caesar.”
I tend to agree in the sense that this an everyman’s hotel. It’s not as fancy as the neighboring Bellagio, but it’s not as budget-minded as the Flamingo. Their pool is more family-friendly than other day club-oriented properties, but there are still bars, nightclubs, and restaurants from the likes of Gordan Ramsey and Giada De Laurentiis to keep adults happy. When I was visiting, there was a strong family vibe, but under non-pandemic circumstances, expect a younger crowd.
Are guests adhering to COVID policies? Yes. Caesars Palace says that they’ll kick you out if you’re not wearing a mask and they definitely mean it. Outside on the Strip, it’s the wild wild west in terms of masks and social distancing, but inside Caesars Palace, the rules are enforced.
We like: The bed was one of the most comfortable I’ve ever slept on, and the innovative online platform made it easy to order takeout from a slew of restaurants.
We love (don’t miss this feature!): The Garden of the Gods isn’t just a swimming area, it’s a palatial outdoor garden space dotted with seven different pools, fountains, statues, and Roman architecture. Even if you don’t feel like taking a dip, it’s worth walking through just to marvel.
We think you should know: There is a fine line between classic and dated. Some aspects of Caesars Palace are on the good side of that line — the statues, fountains, and cocktail servers in Roman-themed uniforms — and others, like the thin walls in the Julius Tower, are decidedly less elegant.
We’d do this differently next time: I wish I’d spent the extra $20-$60 for an upgraded room. If the price difference is that nominal during my next stay at Caesars Palace, I’ll opt for more modern digs.
There is a mask mandate in the state of Nevada, along with restrictions on occupancy and gathering sizes. In addition, Caesars Palace has adopted a number of COVID-19 safety protocols, including:
- Social distancing enforcement at the front desk, pool, restaurants, bars, sports book, gaming tables, slot machines, inside elevators, shops, and elsewhere.
- Hand sanitizer stations, complimentary masks, temperature checks, and security staff enforcing mask compliance.
- Frequent sanitization on high-touch surfaces.
- No room service or mini-bars in guest rooms, and room attendants will not enter occupied rooms.
- No free-weights in the fitness center, and frequent cleaning in between usages.
- Signage throughout the property to encourage social distancing and reinforce guidelines.
In my experience, employees did a great job with cleaning and enforcing the rules while still delivering friendly guest service. Every single employee I encountered from the front desk agent to the bartender I grabbed a to-go cocktail from took the time to ask me how I was and to offer extra safety information. This is not an easy job during a pandemic — tip generously.
Caesars Palace is a hotel for Las Vegas visitors who want a classic Strip stay that comes with a central location, lots of dining and shopping choices, and a fabulous pool.
It’s one of the oldest hotels on the Strip, and can certainly feel dated compared to other resorts, but that pain point is largely tied to which room type you book. To ensure a smooth, modern, and comfortable visit, pay the extra $20 to $40 for an upgraded middle-of-the-road room or suite. You’ll be glad you did.
But if peak season means you’re priced out of as many categories, and you’ve got a budget to meet, it might be worth checking to see if you can find a better value at a nearby property like Bally’s, the Flamingo, Paris, or the Linq (especially the ones that have recently been renovated).
However, if you’re the kind of traveler who likes to have so much on-site that there’s no need to even step outside, and want a quintessential Vegas experience that delivers on safety and health precautions, you can’t go wrong with Caesars.
Book a room at Caesars Palace starting at $94 per night
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