If you are headed to Las Vegas for a vacation, you could stay in one of the city's hotels or resorts or consider renting a room or home on a home-sharing app like Airbnb. There are plenty of Las Vegas residents eager to rent you their houses and amenities, like swimming pools, outdoor gardens, and even tennis courts.

Hotels in Las Vegas vary from niche boutiques to high-end resorts with their own casinos. However, if you are searching for a more authentic, residential experience, renting on Airbnb may offer a more realistic view of life in this hot spot.

Key Takeaways

  • If you're visiting Las Vegas, the famous 'strip' and its extravagant resort hotels are themselves tourist destinations.
  • Airbnb may allow you to explore Las Vegas beyond the main drag.
  • While these hotels often offer deals, a house on Airbnb may be easier on your wallet, especially for larger groups.
  • You may get a different experience of the city from your hosts, especially if they are locals.
  • What you'll miss from staying at an Airbnb, however, is the luxury experience of the hotels and access to some of their amenities such as their famous casinos and pools.

Picking a Place

Log on to Airbnb.com to view hundreds of listings for Las Vegas from downtown to quiet, residential areas. The available choices for early September 2021 ranged from a "luxury condo" close to downtown for $93 a night to a private estate with a swimming pool for $1,314 a night.

Use Airbnb's filters to help narrow your search by type of accommodation, including a shared room, a private bedroom, or an entire residence. You can narrow it down by price, and a map adjacent to the listings lets you choose by location.

At the level of the details, you can view photos and read descriptions and user reviews. The best hosts offer extremely detailed descriptions and plenty of photos. A checklist of amenities is attached, so you can make sure the place has wi-fi, a swimming pool, or that it’s handicapped-accessible.

Don’t Skip the Reviews

Regular Airbnb users are conscientious about leaving reviews after their stays. They often note details that a home’s owner might not have mentioned, like the distance to public transportation or how safe the neighborhood seems to be.

Reviewers are often brutally honest. You will usually get a warning if the place was dirty, the bed was hard, or the host was surly. All this information combined can offer you a sense of the place: Is it your kind of place? Generally, after reading the reviews, you can tell if the property is best suited to backpackers, professional couples, families, or retirees.

How to Book

In order to book, you have to enroll as an Airbnb member.

Once you’re a member, you choose a listing and click on “Book.” Many listings offer an “Instant Book” option that directly leads the user through the payment process. Others require the user to request the booking in a message to the user. Once the reservation is confirmed and you finalize it, your payment goes to Airbnb via a major credit card or PayPal. It is forwarded to the owner, minus the service fee, about 24 hours after you check-in.

A Superhost status designates hosts who have consistently high ratings.

What You Get

Most Airbnb rentals cost considerably less than a comparable hotel room. However, it means you’re staying in somebody else’s home. Whether the owner is home or you’re taking over the whole place, there are pluses and minuses.

Many of the minuses could have been taken care of by the host through a better listing description, or by the guest asking the right questions. Will you have kitchen rights? Does the host have a rooster who crows at every dawn? Best to find out before you book.

The following examples compare rooms in three Vegas hotels with Airbnb “entire home” rentals that offer similar amenities in nearby locations. We looked at a seven-night stay in a private suite listed at "Travelocity.com" or an Airbnb-listed “entire home” for two from September 6-13, 2021. These prices could change by the time you read this. 

On (or Near) the Strip

Wynn Las Vegas

This luxurious 2,700-room hotel on the Strip has a distinctive contemporary style with beautiful furnishings and bright colors. You’ll find all the amenities: pools, restaurants, gym, spa, casino, golf course, and a fancy shopping arcade. 

What you’ll pay: Deluxe room for about $628 a night, not including tax, fees, and tips.

Airbnb

“Resort Style Condo One Block From Vegas Strip." It’s not on the Strip but it’s only a block away. The building has two swimming pools and a Jacuzzi. The kitchen is fully stocked and the security is 24/7. Monica, the host, is a Superhost, and Airbnb gives her top marks.

What you’ll pay: $95 per night, not including Airbnb's service fee and housekeeping.

The Resort Experience

Cancun Resort Las Vegas by Diamond Resorts

Just like the name, the resort is similar to high-end entities found on the beaches of Mexico but Cancùn Resort Las Vegas is just a few minutes from the bustling Strip. Gorgeous swimming pools, including one with water slides, a spa, game room, and poolside food and drink service.

What you’ll pay: Double rooms for approximately $233 per night, not including tax, fees, and tips. 

Airbnb

"Exceptional 1 Bedroom Condo, 4 Guests, Near the Strip." This place has one bedroom and two baths, plus a pullout couch, so our imaginary couple could invite a couple of imaginary friends along. It’s near the Strip but not within shouting distance, has two balconies, and visitors are given pool access. What you’ll pay: $105 per night, not including Airbnb's service fee and housekeeping.

For Outdoorsy Types

Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa 

This 811-room resort sits at the gateway to Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, with more than 30 miles of spectacular hiking trails. Downtown Vegas is less than 20 minutes away via a complimentary shuttle. The resort itself has a casino and spa, nine restaurants, and eight lounges and bars.

What you’ll pay: $1,799 a night for a luxury king room.

Airbnb

"Licensed, Close to the Strip, Sanitized, Huge Pool!" The headline says it all. This is a secluded home with a spa and swimming pool, approximately two miles from the Strip, but in a quiet, residential neighborhood. This home is offered by a Superhost and has over 50 good reviews.

What you’ll pay: $512 a night, not including Airbnb's service fee and housekeeping.

What's the Catch?

Saving money isn’t the only reason to consider Airbnb. Here are some pros and cons.

Personal Contact

Through Airbnb, you get to meet a local (at least virtually) who may be happy to recommend upcoming events and his or her favorite bars and restaurants and maybe will even hang out with you, if you want.

Less Flexibility

Many Airbnb hosts require a minimum stay of two or three nights, and others require seven to 14 nights, so check the property notes carefully online. Cancellation fees are at the host's discretion and can be steep. Check-in times must be negotiated, although many use lockboxes so that you can check yourself in.

No Business Center

Business travelers may require standard amenities which only a hotel can provide.

Stuff Happens

Airbnb has been around for a while now, and it has closed off as many opportunities for fraud and general craziness that it can identify and deal with. When you book an Airbnb, you're not necessarily getting the efficiency of a hotel chain, and Airbnbs do not have onsite restaurants or more extensive amenities.

The Bottom Line

Airbnb and hotels may offer both offer specials and savings on accommodations for visitors to Las Vegas. But if you would like to go beyond the main drag and try something new, Airbnb can provide accommodations with amenities for visitors with price points less than some hotels.