Luxor Las Vegas
Luxor and THEhotel Las Vegas
Luxor Las Vegas is an excellent "in between" choice for those who shun both budget properties (Tropicana, Excalibur, Circus Circus, Sahara, Riviera, etc.) and ultra luxurious properties (Wynn, Encore, Bellagio, Venetian, Palazzo, Caesars Palace, Trump Tower, Four Seasons.) We've been guests at the Luxor (an MGM Mirage resort) three times so far... twice in the mid to late 1990s and once more in December 2006. (After 18 trips to Las Vegas, we have trouble remembering even the year some of our hotel stays took place.) We shot a photo of Mandalay Bay under construction during one of those stays... so it was most likely 1998 since they opened in March 1999 and the structure looks close to complete in our photo.
Mandalay Bay under construction, 1998, as seen from the Luxor parking lot
Luxor is unique in its design, being the only pyramid hotel in the world. Rooms actually line the interior walls of the pyramid and are open to the casino floor up to the 24th level (there is a ceiling above the 24th level, so floors 25 thru 30 are more like a standard hotel whereas the lower floors have you stepping out of your room almost into empty space.) There is a low wall running around each floor which prevents you from accidentally falling off. If you fear heights, you should ask for a tower room when you make your reservation. Otherwise, we recommend a pyramid room between the 10th (below the 10th floor you might hear noise coming from the casino if the room is near slot machines... you know how they play silly electronic music and how people yell when they win) and 24th floor so you can experience the uniqueness of Luxor.
Inside the Luxor pyramid
Each of those little white rectangles you see above are the doors to two guest rooms. Walking around all four sides of the pyramid on one of the upper floors (up to the 24th floor), you can look down at views of the casino, the front lobby check in desk, and the food court & restaurant level. Floors two through five are served by ordinary elevators but due to the angle of the pyramid, floors above five are served by four "inclinators", one at each corner of the pyramid. You'll have to insert your room key into a slot on the inclinator control panel before it will let you select a floor to travel to. I recall not doing this once and being hijacked to several random floors before figuring it out.
Mandalay Bay's second room tower and Luxor, before Mandalay Bay named this tower THEhotel
Although Luxor is the second to last megaresort property at the south end of the Las Vegas strip, the location cannot be called bad or undesirable in any way. It's near the airport (the cab driver should go straight down Tropicana from the Paradise Road airport exit and not take the freeway, which will jack up the fare uneccessarily unless there's a major traffic jam on Tropicana) and is one of the six "South Stripolopolis" (a term I made up) network of resorts. Luxor is connected to Mandalay Bay to the south by the indoor, air conditioned Mandalay Place shopping mall and to Excalibur on the north by an air conditioned indoor tunnel with a pedestrian conveyor belt; Excalibur is connected to New York New York, Tropicana, and MGM Grand with a series of pedestrian bridges which prevent your having to brave the dangerous Las Vegas Blvd. traffic. When Mandalay Bay is a bit too high priced for you, and Tropicana or Excalibur is too "low roller" for you; Luxor is an excellent compromise.
Red line: freeway route to Luxor. Blue line: surface street route to Luxor
The yellow dots on this map show you where McCarran's (the Las Vegas airport) taxi line is located (the yellow dot on the right) and where Luxor is located (the yellow dot on the left.) The blue line shows the surface street route the taxi driver will take: Paradise Rd. northbound to Tropicana to Las Vegas Blvd. The red line shows the freeway route: Paradise Rd. southbound, through a tunnel under the runways, onto I-215 to I-15 to the Russel Rd. exit to Frank Sinatra Drive. Or I-15 to Tropicana. As you can see, the freeway route is much longer. Which means it costs more. It may be faster though, so it's up to you to tell the driver to either get there as fast as possible or as inexpensively as possible. While cab drivers are SUPPOSED to take the most direct route to your destination, if you remain silent, you have a greater chance of being long hauled than you do of getting the direct trip. I don't know what it is with Las Vegas cab drivers but the majority of them will try to rip you off in one way or another. Perhaps they justify it in their minds by reasoning that you're coming to Las Vegas to gamble away a lot of money so they should get some of it too.