Imperial Palace : The VegasTripping Review 2011

High Rolling At The Bargain Basement

Posted by Chuckmonster

Imperial Palace : 2011 VegasTripping Review

While often maligned for crud in the corner cheepness, I'm here to offer a differing opinion on the Imperial Palace: gratitude.

Yes, I'm actually glad it exists.

Way back when, during days of personal destitution, the IP was my go-to joint in Vegas. Where else could one stay ON the strip in a relatively clean room at a price that made Vegas tripping possible? Other than the old San Remo, Casino Royale, Greek Isles, Boardwalk and the Imperial Palace... nowhere. A half dozen years later, here I am... Mr. Five Star Vegas Big Shot, dipping my velvet tootsies back into the swamp from whence I came. Oooh... it tingles, bubbles and fizzes in just the right spots. I just hope it doesn't leave a stain.

The point of this jaunt was a guys trip with my trusty BFF Rich, the man behind WinoTripping.com. We're in town to suss out the Vegas wino scene and keep everything - except booze - on the economical side. Imperial Palace fit the bill at the can't-be-beat rate of $29 smackers per night, plus tax, tags and no resort fee.

We arrived strip side at Imperial Palace and waited a God's honest 5 minutes to pull into their porte cochere due to the steady stream of pedestrians on the sidewalk. Should someone hire a crossing guard? After making our way beneath the bulbs - ogling the always impressive, uber funky signs' fontage - we hooked a coupla rights into the parking garage and rode the concrete rodeo until a suitable parking space was found. IP's parking garage contained no visible piles of puke or gunk. In fact the whole new(ish) parking pavilion slash walk way slash vestibule slash water massage spa thingy was quite pleasant and featured some shockingly well designed modern decor. I had no idea.

After a quick trudge through said vestibule, shopping promenade and casino floor we arrived at the front desk to see a rope line about 100+ people deep. Directly in front of us on line was a guy and his wife reading their Blackberries and chain smoking, directly next to a sign that said "No Smoking." Vegas baby! Seeing the length of this line and the shortness of our patience, Rich repaired to the Fat Tuesday iced booze stand for armaments. Without fail, and with brain freeze, the frustration vanished as the bender began (pro tip!)

Imperial Palace Timer

Herein is the true beauty of Imperial Palace, should you wish to behold it. With a front desk queue 100 guests deep and only 3 agents working, they managed to plow through them all and get us out of there in 40 minutes, a clip of 2.5 guests per minute. We still waited - buzzed - for an agonizing term (2x as long as Circus Circus), but it could've been a helluva lot worse. Understaffed and probably underpaid, Imperial Palace has the best check in desk agents in all of Las Vegas. Not only will you not get a complimentary bottle of Fiji water served on a doily a la Wynn Tower Suites, you'll barely get a hello, please or thank you. These folks' sole reason for existence is to get you the hell away from them as quickly as possible, and that is absolutely fine with me.



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Comments & Discussion


Thanks for posting this, I have always wondered what it looked like on the inside. I have stayed in worse looking places so I dont think I would mind staying here. However getting the wife to stay there is another matter.

Just goes to show how much having a positive attitude can change your experience. We have friends who always stay here, and we have always made fun of them. But with this information it seems that spending $30 bucks a night here, or using comps to stay here for free, wouldn't be the swamp of hell I always imagined it would - though as long as we keep getting comped rooms at Mirage, or Bellagio, or Palazzo, or Wynncore you won't find me at IP.

If IP were downtown, it would easily rank right up there with the California and Vegas Club. I walked through IP on my last trip trying to find something redeeming about the place but it was just depressing. Sadly, I think the Rockhouse bar is probably its best feature. I prefer Bally's, Hooter's, or Excalibur in the dirt cheap property category.

I sure hope you didn't rape anything over the balcony railing.

I like the IP for what it is. I also have good luck in the casino, which is almost always high-energy and fun. And the Dealertainers can be entertaining.

Nicely written, thanks. I LOVED that fckuing view for the price! The cleanliness looks good from the pics, and I think you hit it on the head by noting what a great value it is.

Never been inside the hotel, and ideally we never will, but we book it many times (always to cancel) on the off chance we need to reshuffle the finances.
;-/

Definitely seems to be slightly improved from when I stayed there in 2006. I'm glad I didn't have a room facing Carnaval Court (one of the guys in our group did and requested a new room the following morning), I had a view of Caesars and the parking garage that sits on top of O'Sheas. This was not too long after Harrah's took over the place back when the consensus was the joint wasn't going to be around much longer due to the plans Harrah's had for the neighborhood.

When I stayed there, we must have had the haunted elevator in the tower I stayed in, as the first night as the elevator was heading to the casino level, it got stuck between floors then ended up on the 13th floor (nobody in the elevator had pushed the button for that floor nor was there anyone waiting on that floor) before finally heading in the right direction.

I last stayed at the IP in 2004, but it looks like they've really fixed up the rooms since then (I still remember flopping onto the bed after a long drive in from LA and nearly breaking my neck - to think they have pillowtops now!) But what I'm most impressed by is that the room service was good. The IP's rap was always that the food was beyond awful, most notably at the Emperor's Buffet but really at the whole resort. Glad to see that the IP is doing better. The Sake Bar is still the best place for cheap video poker/free drinks that I know of on the strip.

I made off better than you. I got bumped up to a King Suite. Twice the space, seperate row of elevators, vanity space, 2 AC units, 2 flatscreens and a pool disquised as huge tub! All that cost me only $24 for a sunday night. If only they had curbside checkin we'd be pimpin! Great place to hide!

I think the key to IP's success is that it's a downmarket property but it's not expensive.

There are some properties of questionable provenance (i.e. Flamingo) where you can spend a lot more money than you really should have to. When I checked out of Flamingo after VPP3, I felt a little ripped off based on what we actually got.

Your room looked way nicer than the IP room I stayed in years ago. Good to see things improving, not declining.

Love the review...stayed there once a long time ago in the early 80s in the Garden Rooms (AKA the way far away rooms) and it wasn't much different then. I stay at the Flamingo now, partially because I have a soft spot in my heart for the older places. The newer joints, while nice, don't seem to have a soul. I hope the IP, Flamingo, Trop, and some of the downtown places are able to survive.

On the pic you see the Mirage, I noticed there is a part of the Beatles Cirque du Soleil sign missing. This makes me think when MGM will remove that horrible sign that destroys the beautiful golden glass effect from the Mirage?

@Leo - They replace them every x number of months and replace them with... new ones.

Glad to see VT slumming!

I can remember the elevator issues going back several, perhaps ten years. It's bad enough having to walk all the way from the sidewalk to the elevators in these Strip places, but then to wait 10 minutes for an elevator... it's a dealbreaker for me.

IP has some acceptable rooms with a balcony and a view, but a whole lot of crap as well. I'm going soon and a couple of my friends booked a room in the Capri Tower. No thanks.

Still not a bad place to visit. Good people watching. Good sports book.

If Wynn would put a (RogThom-designed) Fat Tuesday in the Tower Suites lobby, I'd be far more inclined to return.

Jeezus, how old is that TV?!? No good for watching hotel room porn...

The rest doesnt look too bad, but the wait for elevators at Wynn TS winds me up - no way I would cope with the IP!

Seriously, for $29/night the room isn't that bad. Is the hotel busted looking as a whole, YES, YES it is. But the rooms are clean and if your out there on a budget (like you two were) and you're just looking for somewhere to crash between drunken rampages, I don't see why this hotel wouldn't fit the bill. Especially if you can get a room with a balcony.
I've stayed in Motel 6's and Days Inn (on roadtrips of course) that looked worse than this, cost twice as much, and we're in the middle of nowhere right off the interstate. $29 for a Vegas strip room? Count me in.

Ok, I'm willing to admit that this place has a sentimental place in my heart, primarily because I lost my "Vegas Virginity" there. Yes, the IP was the place I stayed the first time I ever went to Vegas. It was 2006, hotel rooms were still sky-high, I was a young and naive 29 kiddo. I didn't know any better!

That said, the IP truly *is* an under rated classic. I liked the line "You don't get what you don't pay for" and that's very true with this place. But at least the rooms are clean, it's a GREAT location on the Strip, and I think a part of me loves it because so many people dog it.

I've not stayed at the IP since then, but in the 12 times in 5 years that I"ve been to Vegas, I end up there to karaoke and get tanked out of my mind, every trip. Plus, it's one of the few places on the Strip where $5 table games can be found. Yeah, yeah, spare me the 6:5 BJ payout litany. I can afford to play less than optimal gaming. I'm there for the fun, excitement, and everything else "Vegas" that comes with this fantastic city.

I do concur that the elevator situation is horrible, and it doesn't sound like it's gotten any better since my stay. There's nothing more obnoxious than waiting 15 mins for an elevator. To the best of my recollection, you could take the stairs down to the main gaming floor but you couldn't go up the stairs because the doors to each floor (again, save the main casino floor) were locked from the stairwell.

If you want a very simple, yet clean, and wonderfully located hotel, I would HIGHLY recommend staying at IP in a heartbeat. Fortunately I'm now comped at other, higher end Strip casinos but if i had to pay for a room...IP would be the hotel of choice. Again, you don't go to Vegas to sit in a hotel room!

Reading this article actually got me to consider switching to IP for an upcoming Fri-Sat-Sun visit. Currently booked at Flamingo (GO room with view) for $412 for three people (all taxes and fees included). IP would be $300 for a Deluxe Room.

A significant difference, and I am not expecting (nor do I require) a perfect experience at the Flamingo. Would it be worth the difference to stay at IP? For me, no. Again, those goddamned elevators.

That club sandwhich looks yummy..

Thanks for posting this..having taken a couple of laps in the casino, the layout of the place is what it is..but if you're like me, and your goal is to stay in every Vegas hotel at least once, then this now has a higher place on the list..

Those of us who spent time at the Stardust realize the message being sent with a TV like that..."you want a TV, there, you have a TV..now get back in the casino, where you belong"....$29 with no resort fees..I can deal with that..

Very nice review, for the price, it's a hard place to beat. I wish CET would have finished more of the remodel that Englestead's daughter started, under her watch the place definitely changed a lot. (Dealertainers, Deluxe remodeled rooms, more light on casino floor, new casino carpet).

I do wish they had safes in the room and I forgot how nice that TV 'cupboard' thing is for making a makeshift bar.

For truly ghetto Encore beach equivalent. I would recommend the 2nd floor rooms with balconies that open up directly onto the pool deck, who needs Cosmo Marquee bungalows.

Oops, looks like IP has removed some of those rooms from service that had walk out onto pool deck. These sure look like those rooms.

http://www.facebook.com/#!/media/set/?set=a.10150733219380508.732987.304887115507&type=1

The new Corona Cabanas

Nail on the head, Chuckmonster. IP is straight up "Utility". It's a place to put your drunken ass in preperation for the next drunken night. It's like that party house in highschool. You were never really concerned about messing anything up so it allowed you to have some fun with it. Nice write up.

@blisfful_I if you had a Flamingo Deluxe room booked vs and IP deluxe room booked, I'd say make the switch and save the cash. In some senses I'd consider the IP deluxe room better right now (it's newer remodel, newer being a loose term). But compared to the Go Room vs IP, go with the Go even at about $120 more for the trip.

I think I am 5 star vegas hotel spoiled that I wouldn't stay in any Harrah Hotel for free including Caesars Palace unless I was guaranteed an Augustus Tower room.

I stayed at the IP in February, in the middle of the week. The line at the front desk was probably 20-25 minutes, and while the elevators weren't *fast*, I wouldn't say I ever had to wait more than a couple of minutes for one.

It's convenient to swankier hotels, the room is fine for crashing in, and the karaoke is fun. In fact, I ended up passing on going to shows or clubs because I decided I'd rather stay in the hotel, drink, and sing karaoke.

Their buffet is okay, but Hash House A Go-Go is fantastic. If I stay in a different hotel next time, I might make special trips to the IP just for breakfast.

I've stayed at IP a number of times. The rooms are cheap, and the beds aren't bad. I have to admit that the check in staff when I was there weren't as quick as what your saying but they were 10X faster than other casino's I've stayed at in the past! The only thing I don't like about IP is it is dirty has hell, and when I'm in the lobby I always get some hooker asking me if I need a girlfriend for the night. Each time I get that, I'm not sure to be happy a hooker hit on me, or sad lol! Either way IP is a great go to spot to stay cheap on the strip and I'd give it 3 stars.

This was an great post. So glad somebody finally took the time to give IP a fair and objective look. Just because you don't have Bellagio, or Encore money doesn't mean you can't have a good time on the strip.

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