So back in the early 2000’s, some of the major Las Vegas resorts and casinos decided to add upgraded tower additions to their resorts. Mandalay Bay created THE Hotel, Venetian added the Palazzo and MGM Grand built The Signature at MGM Grand, just to name a few. The fancy tower additions were all located on the grounds of the resorts but were more upscale versions of the same hotels. They had upgraded amenities and were usually built as “all suites.”
Well, just like the other hotels, the Elara was built as that upgraded tower addition to the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino. The tower was originally named, “PH Tower by Westgate” and was built as a timeshare complex where the rooms could be owned or rented out as luxury suites. In 2012, the PH Tower by Westgate was bought out by the Hilton group and rebranded as the “Elara, A Hilton Grand Vacations Resort.”
But other than the name change, the hotel remained the same. The rooms, lobby and art decorations were all reminiscent of the old Hollywood charm that inspired the original Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino. Throughout the hotel and rooms, you’ll find old Hollywood signs and paintings of Hollywood stars such as James Dean, Marilyn Monroe and others.
The Elara is situated right in the middle of the strip and is within walking distance to a majority of the other hotels such as the Bellagio, Caesar’s Palace, Paris, Venetian and the MGM Grand. The Elara is located across the street from the Cosmopolitan and City Centre. Though technically, the address is located on East Harman Avenue, it’s still considered “on the strip” because it’s connected to the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino via the Miracle Mile Shops.
The Elara has its own private entrance off of East Harman Avenue but you can also enter the hotel through the Planet Hollywood resort and Miracle Mile Shops off of Audrie Street. Parking is complimentary (valet is $15/day) and it shares the same parking structure as the Planet Hollywood and Miracle Mile Shops. The Elara is entirely smoke and gaming free. You’ll have to walk over to the Planet Hollywood if you want to gamble or go outside if you want to smoke.
Now the Elara is not a party hotel so don’t stay here if you’re looking to go full-on party mode. The walls are thin and you will be shut down by security. You have to treat the Elara like a hotel that happens to be in Vegas, not a Vegas hotel. You know what I mean?
This was my second time visiting the Elara. The first time was in a standard studio room. The studio rooms were huge with floor to ceiling windows, sitting area and kitchenette area equipped with a microwave, mini fridge, plates, silverware and coffee maker. The bathrooms were decent size with Jacuzzi tubs and separate toilet areas. Just imagine a nicer Planet Hollywood room. It wasn’t amazing by any means but it’s definitely nice for a mid-tier hotel.
On this trip, I stayed in a one-bedroom suite (room 2030) and it was amazing. The room was a true suite and had a separate bedroom, living area, kitchen and bathroom. The suite was open and inviting with floor to ceiling windows in both the living room and the bedroom. Electronically controlled black-out shades were installed in both rooms and the black-out shade in the living room doubled as a projector screen.
The separate bedroom was large and had a king size bed, sitting area, work desk and jacuzzi tub. The closet was decent size and there were plenty of drawers to keep your clothes. The in-room security safe was located in the closet and could be programmed with your own personal code. It was a tad bit on the small size and was barely large enough to fit one laptop.
The bathroom had two entrances and could be entered from the bedroom or from the living area. The bathroom was stocked with Peter Thomas Roth products and had an enclosed walk-in shower, toilet area and an “all in one” washer/dryer combo.
The main living area of the room had a sitting area and a full kitchen. The kitchen was well equipped with a full-size refrigerator, dishwasher, stove, microwave, toaster, coffee maker and blender and stocked with ceramic plates, glassware, utensils, pots, pans, bowls and everything else you would need to make yourself at home.
The living area was spacious and was perfect for hanging out with friends. The L shaped sofa-sleeper turned into a queen sized bed and the suite had good views of the pool and Las Vegas strip below.
Here’s a fun fact. All one bedroom suites are connected to studio rooms on the inside. That way, if you wanted to rent a two-bedroom suite, you would get both the one-bedroom suite and the studio room next door. The attached studio room would still have their own bathroom and kitchenette. It was actually pretty ingenious. And don’t worry, the rooms are secured with double locking doors so both doors on both sides must be unlocked for you to pass through the rooms.
Hotel amenities included a pool (for hotel guests only), business center and gym. The pool was nice and there were plenty of umbrella tables and lounge chairs. Cabanas and day beds were available for a fee on a first come, first serve basis. There was a private upstairs area with additional cabanas and lounge areas for timeshare owners’ use only. The pool area does get crowded so come early to snag one of the free lounge chairs or reserve one of the cabanas.
The business center was located on the fourth floor. It had a conference room, six workstations with computers and printers.
The gym was a standard hotel gym. There were treadmills, basic resistance machines, a small selection of free weights and a yoga stretching area.
Overall, this is a fantastic hotel and I really enjoyed my stay here. It’s centrally located, close to the other major resorts and was equipped with everything that you would need to be comfortable. It’s a great mid-tier hotel and I would definitely recommend it for a Vegas getaway. The only downside is this is a Grand Vacations Resort so your typical Gold and Diamond benefits for Hilton Hotels such as complimentary breakfast and room upgrades are not included.