Excalibur

 
Description

Excalibur Hotel and Casino is located on the Las Vegas Strip. Are you looking for a Las Vegas hotel that is conveniently located, reasonably priced, and kid friendly all at the same time? That combination is hard to come by in Las Vegas, especially on the Strip, but the Excalibur Hotel and Casino, located toward the South end of the Strip, fits all three criteria nicely.

Because the Strip is the most desirable location for Las Vegas vacationers, staying there is usually is far from cheap, and the more luxurious properties are probably priced out of reach altogether for many families. In addition, while all of the hotels accept children, most are clearly geared more for adults, so a lot of creative planning is necessary to ensure that your children won't be bored. The absence of these constraints make the medieval castle themed Excalibur a real find. The Excalibur is comparable in price and amenities to the Circus Circus, which likewise attracts many families with children, but it offers the additional advantage of proximity to a whole cluster of other casino hotels, including very family-friendly New York - New York, that will give your kids many more fun things to do.

As at any hotel, there are negatives as well as positives, so we need to be honest. The Excalibur, which was built in 1990, is showing its age, and while the accommodations and amenities are adequate for most guests, they are more basic than luxurious. It is rated as a 3 star hotel rather than a 5 star hotel, so be forewarned if your family is accustomed to being pampered. Only the suites have refrigerators, and the bathrooms do not have a large sunken tub or any tub, where you can relax and soak your feet after a long tiring day, just a shower. Internet access and Wi-Fi are available, but there is no DVD, Blu-ray, or game console hookup. You won't be able to make coffee or prepare food in the room either since there is no coffeepot, microwave, or stove. More importantly, some visitors' comments on TripAdvisor and Yelp describe the place as being "run down" and smelling of smoke. There have been extensive renovations, so hopefully, these problems have been corrected, or will be in the very near future. However, if you or any of your children has a respiratory disorder, the Excalibur might not be the best choice.

This reviewer's assessment is that most likely, if there is a ventilation problem, it is with certain rooms and hotel areas only and not with the entire hotel. Keep in mind that the Excalibur is one of the most affordable hotels on the Strip. While it is possible to get a room at the Excalibur during certain times of year (like December) when business is relatively slow, for the next to nothing price of under $30 a night, and at other times for under $60 a night, my suggestion, if the quality of accommodations matters, is to forego the very cheapest rooms and take an upgraded room. It will cost a little more, but will be worth it.

The Excalibur is one of the largest hotels in Las Vegas with nearly 4,000 rooms. Your choice of accommodations includes "Tower Rooms," with cable TV and high speed Internet (the least expensive), upgraded, remodeled "Contemporary Tower Rooms" featuring a 42 inch flat screen TV, and luxury suites which also include a living room and dining area, refrigerator, guest bathroom, and marble shower. The maximum number of guests per room (adults and children combined) is four.

Rollaway beds are available for $25 plus tax per night, and cribs are available for an additional $20 plus tax per night. A refrigerator for rooms that do not already have one can also be requested for $25 plus tax per night. (If you require a refrigerator for health reasons i.e., for special foods, dietary supplements, or medications, you might be able to have this fee waived.)

The customary check-in and check-out times are 3 p.m. and 12 noon, respectively. However, early check-in and/or late check-out can be requested for a nominal fee.

There is also a daily resort fee of $28 added to the cost of all rooms. The fee covers Wi-Fi service, access to the fitness center, a daily newspaper, and local and domestic long distance phone calls.

The Excalibur Hotel and Casino is ideally situated within easy walking distance of five other casino hotels: New York - New York to the North, the Luxor and Mandalay Bay to the South, and the MGM and Tropicana on the other side of the Strip. A pedestrian bridge connects the Excalibur to New York-New York and the Tropicana, while an indoor walkway provides a quick and easy way to go back and forth between the Excalibur and Luxor. Alternatively, you can take the free tram that goes back and forth between the Excalibur, Luxor, and Mandalay Bay every few minutes between 9 a.m. and 12:30 a.m. daily. The Northbound tram leaving from Mandalay Bay makes stops at both the Luxor and Excalibur, while the Southbound tram starting from the Excalibur goes directly to the Mandalay Bay and does not stop at the Luxor.

If you intend to play in the casino and already have an M Life casino player's card, you will be happy to know that the Excalibur is one of multiple MGM casino properties in Las Vegas which use this card to track your play. Of the five above-mentioned casinos that are located near the Excalibur, all but the Tropicana are also MGM properties. All of your rated play at any of these properties (or any other MGM casino) is counted in determining what comps are available to you. You can then use these comps at the participating casino of your choice. If you don't already have an M Life card, you should get one upon your arrival in Las Vegas to use during the course of your stay. Even if your play doesn't qualify you for any freebies on this trip, you will be placed on the casino's mailing list for special offers in the future.

Child Friendly Activities

The fact that the Excalibur Hotel and Casino is a lot more wallet friendly than most Las Vegas casino hotels is not the only reason it is popular with families. Kids of all ages have fun at this hotel because between the swimming, arcade games, and multiple entertainment options, there is plenty for them to do. Also, whenever they get hungry or need a quick pick-me-up, no one has to go far to find the right place at the right price. There is no need to leave the hotel at all because you can always choose from a variety of family friendly places to eat (both fast food and full service) or grab a snack. There are shops that sell toys and children's clothing and costumes. But one activity that is sure to be a highlight of everyone's stay is the Tournament of Kings Dinner Show. What child wouldn't be excited over the prospect of staying in a medieval themed castle that from the outside looks like it could have been transported from Disneyworld? What children wouldn't have a blast eating with their hands and taking a trip way back in time to root for their favorite dueling knight in the same building where they can be winners themselves playing challenging games that are the product of 21st century technology? The following are some of the fun activities at the Excalibur that kids, teenagers, and kids at heart can all enjoy.

Swimming

The Excalibur Hotel has no less than four outdoor pools, including one with a water slide which is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. The other three pools include the Drenched Pool, which is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., the Main Pool, which is open Saturdays and Sundays only, and an adults only pool. There is plenty of seating, or if you prefer, you can reserve a cabana for the day. You and the kids can enjoy an inexpensive lunch or snack at the poolside café, Drenched.

Fun Dungeon

If there is any kid's activity that can top a day at the pool, it is playing the games at Fun Dungeon. The Fun Dungeon is conveniently located on the lower level and open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Once your kids discover this place, they won't mind at all the fact that they can't play the grownup games in the casino because there are over 150 family appropriate games to keep them happily entertained in the fantastic Fun Dungeon!

Your little ones, and older kids, too, may have a hard time deciding what to play with such a wide choice, which includes 83 Redemption games, 18 Prize Redemption games, 65 Arcade games, 16 Carnival Midway games, and 10 Sports games. Of course, with all that activity and excitement, your kids are bound to get thirsty or be in the mood for a snack. Not a problem. Dairy Queen and Orange Julius are right there in the arcade. An added plus is that Fun Dungeon is a lot cheaper than the Adventuredome and a lot less crowded. In short, Fun Dungeon is not only a fun stop for the youngsters in your family, but for the kid in you, too.

Tournament of Kings

Many Las Vegas visitors who have their kids with them are clueless about which of the dozens of shows in town are appropriate for children, but for guests at the Excalibur Hotel, the decision is no brainer--take them to the Tournament of Kings! This show has been thrilling audiences at the Excalibur week after week since 1990, and will probably continue to do so for at least another quarter of a century.

Ordinarily, when the plans for the evening include both dinner and a show, you have dinner in a restaurant first and then go to a separate theater afterwards to take in the show. But Tournament of Kings is your chance to do something different by combining the two in a thrilling interactive theatrical experience unlike any other. The action, based on the tale of King Arthur, takes place in a theater-in-the-round arena where valiant knights on horseback get out their swords and go to battle in a fast and furious jousting competition right before your eyes. Meanwhile, you and your kids are feasting on a hearty three-course dinner using no other utensils than your own hands!

Even if you have told your kids many times that eating this way in public is a no-no, this is one place where it is fine for all of you to throw that rule of etiquette out the window. In fact you are not even provided with a fork and knife!

Dinner/show times are 6 p.m. every day except Monday and again at 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday. The price is $69.85 plus the service fee for the show and dinner or $48.57 plus the service fee for the show without dinner. Unfortunately, there are no discounted prices for children. Tickets can be purchased at the box office or by calling (702) 597-7600.

The dinner menu is fixed and consists of the following:

  • Cream of Tomato Soup
  • Roasted Cornish Game Hen Seasoned with Allspice
  • Red Bliss Potatoes
  • Steamed Broccoli
  • Roll
  • Apple Square

Alternatively, a special substitute meal can be requested in advance for those who have an allergy to nuts or have specific dietary needs (gluten free, vegetarian, vegan, kosher, or dairy free).

Important: The hotel has issued the following warning for anyone who has asthma, allergies, or other respiratory problems:

Warning for Asthma/Allergy Sufferers:

This show features horses, pyrotechnics, strobe lights, smoke, and fog effects in an enclosed area. Guests are seated in close proximity to the horses and dirt arena. Therefore, persons sensitive to horses, dust or with allergies, asthma or respiratory conditions should attend at their own risk.

Castle Walk Shops

Lastly, no trip to Las Vegas is complete without a little shopping for some memento of your stay to take home, and the Castle Walk provides plenty of options, including the kid-friendly Toy Zone, Dragon's Lair, and Kids of the Kingdom. Toy Zone, like the name suggests, is a mecca for almost every kind of kid's toy imaginable. Dragon's Lair is a medieval themed gift shop where your kids can get T-shirts, toys, and other dragon, fairy, and knight related items. Kids of the Kingdom has a large collection of plush toys and also sells both sportswear and medieval costumes for kids. The Castle Walk Shops open at 9 a.m.; closing times for the different stores vary.

Child-Friendly Activities Nearby

Clearly, with so many varied activities that your children can participate in, it is highly unlikely that they will be bored at the Excalibur. But what makes staying at this place even more fun for a child is that its convenient location makes it very easy to enjoy additional attractions and entertainment at other casino hotels that are just minutes away. The following are a few suggestions:

A concierge is available at the Excalibur from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. to help make your stay more comfortable and answer any questions you might have. The concierge can provide assistance not only with in house restaurant and show reservations, but also tour reservations and restaurant and show reservations at other hotels. However, the Excalibur does not provide on-site childcare, and the hotel website does not specifically indicate that the concierge will arrange for a babysitter to watch your children in the event you and your spouse or partner wish to be by yourselves for a while. We suggest you call 702-597-7025 or send an email to concierge@excalibur.com to inquire if this is a service that the concierge can provide. If not, you are on your own for making suitable childcare arrangements. See the separate article on this website that discusses your other options.

Child-Friendly Restaurants

Surprisingly, there is no 24-hour coffee shop at the Excalibur, but the good news for parents staying there with their kids is that you have many other options. You are unlikely to go wrong with any of the places mentioned below since all of them are both family-friendly and reasonably priced.

Johnny Rockets

Johnny Rockets is an affordable global restaurant franchise with a menu that is bound to please any child of any age. Though not as big as McDonald's--at least not yet--with more than 300 locations in 26 countries, clearly this restaurant is doing something right. Johnny Rockets is more than just a hamburger joint. It is the kind of place where burgers, fries, music, and friendly service can put a smile on the faces of everyone in the family.

The Buffet

At one time the terms "buffet" and "bargain" were practically synonymous. Today most buffets, including this one, are on the pricey side, but what you get is a much wider range of options. It is hard not to find some dishes to one's liking at a buffet because buffets offer something for everyone.

The Buffet at the Excalibur is open daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. It is also the one restaurant in the hotel where children get a price break. Here are the hours of service and prices for each meal.

Drenched Café at the Pool (Seasonal)

If you and your family will be spending the day poolside, the very reasonably priced Drenched Café makes a great choice for lunch. Burgers, hot dogs, and sandwiches come with a choice of potato chips, fries, cole slaw, or potato salad. Or maybe your kids will prefer pizza, chicken tenders, cheese quesadilla, or Buffalo wings. Afterwards they can have soft serve frozen yogurt (vanilla, chocolate, or swirl) in a cone or waffle cone.

Castle Walk Food Court

When your family is hungry but in a hurry, the Castle Walk Food Court can have all of you in and out quickly and relatively cheaply. Along with a handful of eateries that are just for a lite bite (e.g., pretzels or popcorn) or something for your sweet tooth, these are the places where you and your kids can order something more substantial.

  • Hot Dog on a Stick
  • McDonald's
  • Pick Up Stix (Chinese food)
  • Popeye's Chicken
  • Pizza Hut Express
  • Schlotzsky's Deli: Soups, Salads, Sandwiches, Pizza
  • Tropical Smoothie Café: Healthy fruit smoothies and sandwiches, wraps, and salads, too.

Bucca di Peppo Italian Restaurant

If everyone in your family likes Italian food, Bucca di Peppo Italian at the Excalibur is a perfect choice because all of the dishes are served "family style." Bucca di Peppo is open Sunday-Wednesday from 10:30 a.m. until midnight and Thursday-Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 2 a.m.

Summing Up; Is the Excalibur Hotel and Casino Child-Friendly?

The Excalibur Hotel and Casino has a reputation for being very child-friendly, and form all indications it is. One of the pools has a water slide which young children seem to love, and the popular Fun Dungeon is a place where there are games galore to suit children of almost any age. The Tournament of Kings dinner show, running at the Excalibur for 25 years and counting, offers action packed entertainment the whole family can enjoy.

On the other hand, the Excalibur isn't for everyone. Here are the important negatives to consider to help you decide whether or not the Excalibur is the right hotel choice for you and your children.

  • If luxury accommodations are a priority, there are other hotels on the Las Vegas Strip that will probably be more to your liking.
  • If anyone in your family has asthma or other respiratory problems, another hotel might be a more prudent option.
  • There is no 24 hour full service coffee shop. Other than the buffet and McDonalds, breakfast options appear to be limited.
  • The pool with the water slide, which is only open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., can get very crowded. While there are three other pools, one is only open on weekends and another is for adults only.
  • While there is a concierge, it is not clear if arrangements for babysitting is a service that the concierge at this hotel will provide. If not, you are on your own to find suitable childcare.

Only you can decide if any of the above matters enough to be a deal breaker for staying at the Excalibur on your next trip to Las Vegas. Hopefully not, because staying at the Excalibur offers some distinct advantages which not many other Las Vegas hotels can match.

  • Affordable accommodations within easy walking distance of five other casino hotels.
  • Medieval castle theme.
  • Many low cost dining options.
  • Kid-friendly games and entertainment.

The Excalibur Hotel and Casino is a fun place to stay and play for people of all ages.

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