Circus Circus Hotel & Casino

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Epinions Product Rating: Disappointing
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Circus-Circus Don't You Deserve Better in Vegas - Treat Yourself to Something Better

Aug 9, 2002 (Updated Apr 11, 2008)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Cheap, clean, utilitarian

Cons:Cheap, poor location, basic casino

The Bottom Line: Vegas on the cheap and it's not cheaper than this. I'd spend an extra $30 a night and stay at a much finer hotel further south on the strip.


I had been to Las Vegas once before and I was too young to gamble and we never actually stayed in Vegas, just passed through the airport. So when I was making reservations for my first “adult” trip to Vegas, I wasn’t really sure what I was looking for and really had no idea where I should stay.

As visiting Vegas was part of a much larger vacation that was costing my partner and I oodles and oodles of money, I focused on booking a room at a “reasonably” affordable hotel on the Las Vegas Strip.

I searched, I searched and searched and finally settled on Circus Circus. It was the cheapest out of all the strip hotels and really, all that I was looking for was a room and a place to be able to take a shower, not too much more.

Mind you, I have never really been a fan of circuses to start with.

We arrived late in the afternoon at Circus Circus, after coming over from just finishing a hike down and back up the Grand Canyon. We were tired, we were cranky and we just weren’t in the mood to deal with stuff. That’s probably why the parking garage annoyed me as we finally got there. As you are on the strip and going by Circus Circus, there’s an itty bitty little sign that says “parking” and once you get into the parking areas and garages, there is nothing telling you where in relationship to the hotel check-in you are. I found a spot (which was a challenge in of itself) and we went in to try to find the check-in. Thank God we didn’t carry our bags with us, otherwise we would have been backpacking even more than we did at the Grand Canyon. So if you are driving into Circus Circus, make sure that you try to park as close to the doors as possible, even though the check-in is still a haul from those doors. That or just pay someone to carry your bags for you.

The first thing I noticed when we walked in (or actually got to the door) is that everything in this hotel has a circus theme (hence Circus Circus, I know). However, the outside of the casino/hotel and the inside of the building are two complete opposites. Outside they are projecting that typical American type circus theme – you know, the big top – flashy lights, clowns, etc. However on the inside, it appears that they are going for the older ‘Parisian’ circus feel. There are all these paintings of circus scenes and everything is designed with that old time feeling in mind. It is a very strange dichotomy between the inside and the outside.

So we find the check in and it was fairly straightforward. I had already paid for the room, so really all I had to do was show ID and put a credit card down in case we used room service or the telephone or what-have-you. The lines were long and we probably waited to check in for about an hour. I’m not sure if it was a busy time of the day (3pm) and it appeared that there really weren’t that many people working – so maybe it was just a bad day for them. However, over the next few days walking by the check-in lobby, there was always quite a line.

We went back out to the car and got our bags and then headed up to find our rooms. The entire building was not designed with ease of travel in mind. Several areas throughout the first floor (which hold the casinos and the hotel lobby) appear to look the same and most everything eventually loops right back around so you can end up walking in circles for quite some time until you realize that you are back to where you started. In addition the areas where the elevators are all look the same, so unless you are paying attention, you can go to your floor, but be completely on the other side of the tower or in a different part of the hotel. This is very confusing, especially since every hotel floor looks exactly the same.

The room was good enough. I heaved a sigh of relief when I realized that there were no circus themed items in the room. At the very least, you have the room to escape from it all if you cannot stand the circus (at least until you turn their TV channel on and see their ‘Chief Clown Officer’). We had gotten a room with a single king size bed. In addition to the bed, there was a desk, table, two chairs and then we had the bathroom. Men – make sure you put the toilet seat all the way up or it will fall down while you are in the middle of using the toilet – it can get kind of annoying. The TV had all the basic cable channels, no pay networks like HBO or anything though.

After resting up a bit the casinos in Circus Circus were the first we hit. Once again, I’d like to say that this casino appears to have been designed to confuse people and make them get lost, more so than the average casino. Moe and I spent quite a bit of time, even after being there for 2 nights, wandering around trying to get our bearings. It was time consuming and just frustrating.

The two casinos at Circus Circus are not large by strip standards, but they were never overly crowded while we were there and provided a decent selection of slot machines and table games. In all honesty, out of the rest of the casinos on the strip, we played the longest at Circus Circus and spent the least amount of money. One slot machine I played for 3 hours on $2 – now that’s entertainment value for your money. However, if you are looking for the latest and greatest slot machines, or fancy tables and finely decorated casino floors – this is not the place for you. While there is an acrobatic circus occurring during daytime hours over the main casino – the two of us very every rarely looked up to watch it – we were either play – or we were wandering around trying to find the exit.

The location of Circus Circus is also very poor for anyone interested in visiting the rest of the strip. It’s about 2 miles north of the south end of the strip. So that means, unless you take a taxi – it’s quite a haul to just about any of the major casinos towards the southern end of the strip like Treasure Island, New York-New York, Paris, and MGM to just name a few. Moe and I spent probably about ½ the time we at Vegas walking back and forth and every night we had that long walk to look forward to.

Bottom line – if you want to do Vegas cheap – you aren’t going to get any cheaper than Circus City – but you will end up with a fairly basic hotel and casino and you will end up walking miles or spending lots of money on taxis if you want to visit the rest of the Strip. Probably the only people that will really enjoy Circus Circus would be children who are forced to go to Vegas with their parents. They can watch the circus, or spend their parents money in the indoor theme park that the hotel/casino has (it is not great, but is okay - I did not go on any rides).

I'd spend an extra $20 to $30 a night and stay at a hotel much further south on the strip with much nicer accomodations. You really don't save all that much with Circus Circus when you consider the cons.


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