Note: Come back after 2/20 for a huge update with video!
Elara is "The Most Seen Unknown" resort in town because you've seen it before but quite possibly had no clue as to what it was exactly or how to access it.
Completed in December of 2009, it stands at 52 stories high and it's blue hued glass facade accented with the trademark large red "fin" jettisoning out of the side surely attracts attention. The fact that it dons a large "Hilton Grand Vacations" sign at its apex only adds to the confusion. Most people assume it is in fact a Hilton hotel, which is partially true, but it's hard to confirm as there are no direct entrances on the strip into the building.
Originally built by the timeshare behemoth, Westgate Resorts, it was known as "PH Westgate Towers" (a nod to the history that it was originally to be a complex with multiple towers), in a partnership with Planet Hollywood Resorts and Casinos. Unfortunately it fell victim to the recession of the late 00's and was ultimately acquired by Hilton Grand Vacations (another timeshare operator). 200 of the resorts 1,200 + rooms are actually timeshare units with the remaining being used as regular hotel suites.
The hotel is accessible by car off Harmon avenue or foot via an entrance inside of the Planet Hollywood Miracle Mile Shops, a HUGE shopping mall shaped like a horseshoe that surrounds the Planet Hollywood casino. This is a really nice bonus to the hotel because anything you need, rather it be clothes, liquor, food or entertainment is literally right there eliminating any need to go outside to search for it.
The lobby is vast and welcoming with enough room that even when at capacity, you still feel like hardly anyone is there. The large glass windows allow a view directly onto the large pool deck, perfect for people watching.
The reason I recommend this resort to everyone is because it easily competes with every high end hotel in Vegas. When a commercial of Vegas comes on TV, you're shown the opulence, the lights, the high roller lifestyle and pretty much everything that's generally the polar opposite of the regular joe's life & that's the appeal, The fantasy. What you'll also realize about Vegas is that opulence cost and those high roller hotel rooms will easily run you $300 a night on up.
Elara on the other hand was built cutting no corners and it's selling point is also it's price point. You can get a studio here for the low to mid $100's and go on up from there (they even have 5 bedroom suites priced as low as $700 a night!).
These rooms however are by no means "standard", with leather headboards, backlighting, red leather sectional couches, kitchens with black marble countertops, stainless steel appliances, a clothes washer and dryer (NOT common in Vegas, let alone hotel rooms anywhere), themed artwork and floor to ceiling windows to name just a few of the touches.
Speaking of the windows, most strip properties will have your regular sized windows and thats fine, however the fact that your encased by glass, these allow you truly one of a kind views of the strip that really add the "awe" factor to your room.
But there's one more thing that really, I mean REALLY, sets Elara apart from the competition. Press a button and down drops a 125 inch projection screen! Serving a dual purpose as a sun shade and TV screen, this is what made me want to stay here in the first place and will "wow" anyone that sees it! I mean how many people can say the went to Vegas and had a theater room in their suite and paid less than $200?
Elara is that cool spot that is perfect for any occasion and is an easy way to feel like a high roller on a 6 Kids Crew budget! You're located in the center of the action, "with a mall at your feet and a movie theater in your suite" (you see what I did there?). This is a great way to stay in luxury without compromise.
Special Tip: If you in fact know someone that is a Hilton Grand Vacations timeshare owner, ask them for an invite, they can offer you a 3 night stay for less than $200 total, the only caveat is you will have to take a timeshare tour, but hey whats 90 minutes when it's saving you money!