So a quick backstory on this hotel and our adventures to Vegas. When we were planning our first trip to Vegas in 2012, as a newbie, I searched all over for an affordable hotel that wasn't a dump and would provide a comfortable base of operations. We didn't plan on spending all day in the hotel room so extravagance was of no concern. There were three hotels that topped the list with the cheapest being the Stratosphere.
I talked to a friend that was going and he said despite the billing of being "On the strip", it was actually located on the far end of the strip, sort of in a no man's zone and a taxi would be required to get to where the action was. The 2nd cheapest was Circus Circus, which I dismissed as I had no desire to spend my first weekend and bachelor party in a clown filled environment (after all we were already clowns and I doubt that Vegas could handle THAT many clowns at one location). So that left us with one remaining choice, The Excalibur.
Mentally, I also crossed this off, and told my friend that I didn't think hanging in a hotel filled with Knights in armor, Horses and jesters juggling balls, would exactly suit the mood we were expecting out of Vegas. This was sin city after all, not a scene from Braveheart. He assured me that Excalibur was nothing like what I described and yes there would be a few fake Knights, but they wouldn't be parading around clinking chalice's and calling for a beheading at high noon down at the town square. I reluctantly went against my instinct and secured my reservation.
Was he right.... read on...
The Castle's Story
Built by Circus Circus (later acquired by MGM Resorts) and opened in 1990 as the largest hotel in the world with around 4,000 rooms, Excalibur is one of the last Vegas hotels built during the "family era", where Vegas was attempting to shed their "Sin City" image and create a more family friendly destination, which didn't last long (MGM hotel would open and later close "MGM Adventures" theme park, once the city realized that they couldn't shun their image, which was their bread and butter).
Excalibur used to feature guards on horses walking the grounds, jesters, magicians and even a pretty cool show in the front moat with a huge fire breathing Dragon that would battle Merlin (the dragon still sits below the walkway, while unassuming guest walk right above him oblivious to his existence). Although a lot of the extras were discontinued once MGM took over, Excalibur is still a great resort where kids and adults alike can have fun without interfering with each other.
Royal Feast Fit For All!
Excalibur is a well rounded resort designed to give you everything you need in one location and it cuts no corners when it comes to food options. From high end dining at the Camelot Steakhouse to family dinners with large portions at Bucca DiPeppo, you can enjoy the best of Vegas all under one roof.
"The Buffet" underwent a major renovation a few years ago and is a beautiful space that offers Brunch with bottomless mimosas and dinners with food from pretty much every corner of the world. Feel free to choose from a one time sitting or 24 hour dining pass!
In addition to the aforementioned, there are 12 other quick service food options to choose from that won't bust your budget. I would be doing the Castle a huge disservice to not let you know that Cocolini is amazing! But just what is it you ask? Well in its simplest form it's Gelato, but right there is where the comparison stops. I've never see Gelato with actual candy bars and other foods sticking out. It's glorious and will be equally loved by kids and adults in your group. Try to walk by without starring at all the options for minutes and ordering something.... I guarantee you'll fail.
Just as they did with the buffet a couple of years ago, all of the rooms within Excalibur's fortress-esque walls have undergone a refresh as well. Where the decor used to consist of time appropriate chairs and headboards reminiscent of what one would find in King Arthur's castle, all furnishings have been brought up to date and share no DNA with the exterior of the building. The lodging portion of the resort is divided into two towers, Resort and Royal. The Resort tower is connected to the pool and Spa meanwhile the Royal exits out to the parking lot and ride sharing waiting area.
The beds are soft and provide enough support to allow you to quickly drift off to sleep after a wild night in Vegas. You'll possibly want to take the pillows home with you as well, but we would advise against it.
A nice touch to the rooms are the headboards are backlit and give just enough illumination at night time to keep the room dimly lit but still pleasing to a set of wary eyes.
Our room pictured above was 23149 (The first 2 digits of every room number denote the floor the room is on) located in the Royal tower and allowed us to have a beautiful view of the strip with Tropicana right across the street and MGM and NYNY caddy corner to the left. If you are a stickler for a good view, make sure you select a strip or desert view, as there are rooms that face nothing but cinder block walls and after a night of drinking, you may wake up thinking you are in a prison.
In keeping with the consistency of having something for everyone, when it comes to adults the trend continues.
Lobby Bar / Sherwood Forest - If you've ever watched "Cheers", then I don't have to do much explaining of these two locations. The bartenders are always welcoming and after the first 20 minutes will know your name the rest of your trip. Good drinks, multiple TV's showing whichever sporting event is being played at the moment and just an overall friendly / relaxed vibe, this is a perfect spot to stop at during your downtime! Swing by and see Celia, a veteran thats worked at Excalibur since the day it opened and has compiled a ton of interesting stories from over the years (ask her about the dragon under the bridge). After our stay she felt much more like a friend than an employee, and for that I say thank you Celia!
There are several in-house entertainment venues that will suit any mood you may be in. Feel like dressing up and impressing all onlookers, then the "Octane Bar" / Loungeis awaiting your arrival, super sleek with Swarovski "diamonds" hanging from ceiling to floor, you'll definitely feel like you've stepped into one of Vegas's high end super clubs with one glaring difference, THERE'S NO COVER CHARGE TO ENTER!
Thunder From Down Under - Ladies entertainment in Sin City, see Excalibur's website for details LOL!
Just like an iceberg, the biggest attraction within Excalibur lies beneath the surface. Appropriately named, the Fun Dungeon is where the action lies. Part carnival, part arcade, you can find classic carnival games like the ring toss, pick a duck (where you use fishing poles to pick up the winning duck as it rapidly moves around the pond), horse races (aim a water cannon into a little hole to move your horse along the above "track" in an attempt to beat the other players to the finish line), pop a balloon and many more. There are also what appears to be hundreds of your favorite video games and games of skill that will have you pumping quarters and winning tickets to redeem at the prize counter!
To round out the options in the dungeon is the 4D Action Theater and The Tournament of Kings coliseum, where you'll feel like your in the movie Braveheart as you watch Knights joust while riding horses clad in armor from the comfort of your seat while you drink from your royal chalice and feast on cornish hens just as King Arthur did several centuries ago! This show is fun for all ages!
It's not Vegas without a pool right?!? In the case of Excalibur, you have 4 of them to choose from!
"Drenched" is the new name for Excaliburs redesigned pool deck with the Vegas standard Dj, cabana rentals and plenty of lounge space to enjoy the sun. Drinks aren't far away with a full service bar and bottle service readily available.
For those that really want to party with no kids around, an adults only pool is also available!
Now with a resort of this size containing 4,000 rooms, you can bet that there will be a line when checking in. One way to avoid the wait that many people don't seem to be aware of is to take advantage of the Mobile Check-in kiosk. Located in the lobby across from the front desk, all you need to do is plug in your confirmation code you received with your reservation and BOOM, no waiting in line! If your room isn't ready, you will receive a text message when it is.
Another option to take advantage of that is offered by all Vegas hotels is the Baggage Check-In. In the event that you check-in but your room isn't ready, or if it's your day of departure, but your plane doesn't leave till later and you've already checked out of your room, you can simply store your bags here for free (Tip the bellhop). This allows you to maximize your time without having to lug your bags around everywhere.
The Excalibur gets a bad wrap, I admit, I once was totally against the idea of staying here as well but honestly, the resort is nice, the rooms are inexpensive (and clean) and like I said before, who plans on spending that much time inside... IT'S VEGAS. Sure it's not Aria or the Venetian but it's also not Aria or Venetian prices!
Definitely give Excalibur a strong consideration next time you plan your trip!