LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - DECEMBER 21:  Jupiter (L) and Saturn appear about one-tenth of a degree apart during an astronomical event known as a Great Conjunction to the left of The STRAT Hotel, Casino & SkyPod on December 21, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The planets, which remain about 450 million miles apart in space, have not appeared this close together from Earth's vantage point since 1623, and it's been nearly 800 years since the alignment occurred at night. The conjunction, which occurs on the night of the winter solstice by coincidence, has become known popularly as the "Christmas Star." The gas giants will not appear this close together again until 2080.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Ethan Miller / Getty Images

The STRAT Hotel, Casino and SkyPod

Top choice in Las Vegas

Vegas has many buildings more than 20 storeys tall, but only Stratosphere (now officially The STRAT Hotel, Casino and SkyPod, but still 'the Strat' to locals) exceeds 100 and features the nation's highest thrill rides. Atop the 1149ft-high tapered tripod tower, vertiginous indoor and outdoor viewing decks afford Vegas' best 360-degree panoramas. There you'll also find Top of the World, a revolving restaurant, the jazzy 107 SkyLounge cocktail bar, plus the 108 Eats cafe by chef James Trees.

A partial refurbishment in 2019 included a name change, new games in the casino and four new restaurants, but Vegas' lucky landmark has still kept its main draws, including one of America's fastest elevators, which lifts you 108 floors in a mere 37 ear-popping seconds. While snapping some panoramic pics will be enough for most, daredevils will want to jump on the tower's high-altitude rides and roller coasters.

At the base of the tapered tower is a casino favored by a loud-talkin', hard-drinkin' crowd, with low-limit table games and 1200 slots and video poker machines. After you're cashed out, spend the rest of your chump change next door at the kingdom of kitsch, Bonanza Gift Shop.

Tickets and other practicalities

The STRAT Casino is open 24 hours a day. Thrill ride tickets for Big Shot, Insanity and X-Scream, which include Skypod entry, start at $29 per ride. Weather permitting, the rides are open Mon-Thu 2pm-10pm, Fri & Sat noon-midnight. An unlimited ride pass including SkyPod entry costs $43.95. Tickets for the Sky Jump, which is also open Mon-Thu 2pm-10pm and Fri & Sat noon-midnight, start from $129.99.

Admission for the WET24 and Elation swimming pools is free for guests. Daybeds (from $100) and cabanas (from $150) at can be booked by non-guests.

Insanity, a green claw-like ride swings out into the sky on top of the STRAT hotel in Las Vegas.
Revellers swing out on the Insanity ride on top of The STRAT Hotel, Casino and SkyPod. ©Kris Davidson/Lonely Planet


Insanity swings riders out from the edge of the tower into thin air, then spins its huge claw arms, elevated at an angle of 70 degrees. Rising above it all is the Big Shot, which rockets riders in outward-facing seats up and down a steel spire that forms the pinnacle of the tower itself.

X-Scream, which dangles riders teeter-totter style over the side of the tower, can be a letdown, so grab a seat on the right-hand side to increase the fear factor. For maximum effect, do the SkyJump, a bungee jump-like controlled free fall that drops you 855ft over the side of the tower.

Restaurants and bars

There are ten places to eat in The STRAT, from cafes to McDonalds via the likes of PT's Wings & Sports, where pub grub, craft beers and steams of all the big matches are to be found. It also has four bars.

For our buck, you should eat at Top of the World. At this revolving romantic roost perched atop the Stratosphere tower, smartly dressed diners enjoy impeccable service and satisfying, if overpriced, dishes such as 22oz bone-in prime ribeye steam from Colorado or stuffed roasted lobster tails. It has an excellent wine list too, but reservations are essential.

The bar overlooking the Top of the World, 107 SkyLounge, is the pick of the watering holes. Come during happy hour (4pm to 7pm daily) for two-for-one cocktails, half-price appetizers and striking sunset views.


The STRAT has two pools. WET24 is an adult pool for over 21s with knockout vistas of Las Vegas Valley and cocktails. It's open 2-9pm and admission is free for hotel guests. Those not staying over can hire daybeds (from $100) or cabanas (from $150).

Elation Pool on the 8th floor is a chilled resort-style swimming pool which is more family friendly and boasts three spas. The views aren't as good here, but they ain't half bad, and the bar pumps out music and cocktails in equal measure. It's open 9am-5pm Sunday to Thursday, and 6pm Friday and Saturday. Admission is free for guests and daybeds (from $100) and cabanas (from $150) can be booked by non-guests.

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