New Orleans, the place where "the good times roll," like Las Vegas itself, is primarily considered a playground for adults more than it is a family-friendly vacation destination. So a pleasant surprise awaits you if you choose to stay at the Orleans Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, because this resort, located off the Vegas Strip, but still close enough to get there when you want to, is surprisingly child-friendly.
One of the main features that makes the Orleans an excellent choice for families with kids is that the resort has its own top rated child care facility called Kids Tyme right on the premises. So is there no need to hire an expensive nanny or babysitter or go out of your way looking for suitable childcare arrangements. Although there are plenty of activities at the hotel that the family can engage in together, on those other occasions when you would like to spend time in the casino or enjoy more adult forms of entertainment, you have peace of mind. Not only will your kids will be safe and sound; they will be having so much fun engaging in the wide variety of activities available to them, they might not even miss not having their parents around. Yet you will be only minutes away if any unforeseen situation arises and you need to return to them quickly. Even if the Orleans had nothing else going for it, we would recommend this hotel for the childcare. But actually, there are many other features that make the Orleans a standout selection for families, including the very reasonable cost.
Since its grand opening on December 28,1996, this hotel which will be celebrating its 20th anniversary towards the end of 2016, has undergone several expansions and upgrades. Besides adding more rooms, the enhanced facilities include a huge movie theater and a bowling center. These recreational options add to the appeal that the Orleans has for families. Yet many visitors to Las Vegas fail to consider the Orleans as an option for no other reason than the fact that its off-Strip location is somewhat off the beaten path. Being so far away just doesn't seem practical for those who wish to take advantage of the many exciting activities, restaurants, and shows that the Strip has to offer.
Granted you cannot walk from the Orleans to any other hotel, and while there is plenty for families to do within the property, you are somewhat cut off from the major action and attractions on the Strip a mile and a half away. However, the good news is that getting to and from the Strip is easier than you might think, and taxis are not the only option.
Complimentary shuttles operate from 9 a.m. to midnight daily to and from both the sister property, the Gold Coast, which is also off Strip. and the Caesars Forum Shops in the center of the Strip. Pick-up is in front of the Tropicana Avenue entrance to the Orleans Hotel approximately every 30-45 minutes, with the last return shuttle from the Forum Shops leaving at about 12:30 a.m. Since schedules are subject to change, we suggest you double check with the hotel if these times are still valid. Or, alternatively, you can walk from the Gold Coast Hotel and Casino to the nearby Rio Hotel and Casino and take the free Total Rewards Shuttle from the Rio to Harrah's or Bally's on the Strip. Even if your Strip destination is not one of the hotels that these shuttles go to, the mid-Strip location makes it very easy to get to another place on the Strip.
The Orleans is often referred to as a locals' casino hotel because it specifically caters to small time local gamblers on a budget looking for more bang for their buck. However, the Orleans is also a great option for tourists on vacation, including those bringing their families, who know a good deal when they see one. Boyd Gaming purchased the property from Coast Casinos in 2004, and in 2008, the rooms were redesigned and upgraded with new amenities. All together, there are 1,885 rooms and suites, but an important feature that distinguishes this hotel from many of the Strip properties is the oversized rooms. In fact, the so-called rooms are really "Petite Suites" with a separate sitting area, while the accommodations designated as suites have one or two separate bedrooms. The Orleans is rated as a 3-star hotel, but that designation should not deter you. The accommodations are more than adequate for most families.
Deluxe 2 Queens
(450 Square Feet) These rooms are not huge, but are probably adequate for a small family. If needed, an extra rollaway bed or crib can be rented. The room is equipped with the following amenities:
- 2 queen size beds
- Separate sitting area with sofa
- Flat-screen cable TV and in-room movies
- Iron and ironing board
- In-room coffee maker
- In-room safe
- Telephone and clock and clock radio
- Shower/tub combo
- Complimentary toiletries
- 24-hour room service
- High Speed Internet access*
*Basic Internet access for up to three devices is covered by the daily resort fee. Elite Internet access is $10 additional per day for each device.
During the off season, the double occupancy rate for a deluxe room can be as low as $45 (not including tax and daily resort fee). Depending on the day of the week, the price might be a little higher, but generally $65 or less. You will pay $125 and up, however, for the same room on a weekend.
Premium 2 Queens
(450 square feet) These rooms offer the same features as the Deluxe Rooms, but have been recently remodeled with upscale décor. Accordingly, prices are a little higher. While a $45/night rate (plus tax and daily resort fee) is occasionally available, the norm for weeknights is more often $60-$75.
(900 square feet) The Executive Suite is ideal for families with two children needing more spacious accommodations. In addition to all of the above-mentioned features that the Deluxe and Premium Rooms offer, the Executive Suite offers all of the following:
- Separate bedroom
- In-room wet bar with refrigerator
- Multiple flat-screen TVs
- Garden bathtub
- Cordless 2-line telephone
Larger suites are also available, including the Louisiana Suite (1,350 square feet), New Orleans Suite (1,800 square feet), and the Presidential Suite (2,500 square feet). If you are interested in booking a suite at the Orleans, call 1-800-675-3267.
Most of the rooms and suites at the Orleans are nonsmoking, so obtaining a nonsmoking room won't be a problem. Families that are in need of handicapped accessible accommodations will be pleased to know that the Orleans Hotel has those types of rooms as well. Accessible rooms come with adjusted bed heights (20 inches), a wider door (34 inches wide) and roll-in shower. Such requests as well as any other special requests such as a nonsmoking room, or room with a view of the Strip or close to the elevator should be made at the time of the reservation. It is a nice touch that all of the rooms come with both a sitting area and a coffee maker. These amenities, particularly the coffee maker, are hard to find in hotels on the Strip, so they should not be taken for granted. Unless you book a suite, your room probably won't come with a refrigerator, but you can certainly request one. Ordinarily, you will be charged, but if you need the refrigerator for medical or nutritional reasons, you should request that the fee be waived.
Keep in mind that the maximum number of guests per room is four. But we have great news, which will surely delight any family with young children. Even though the quoted rate is for double occupancy, at the Orleans, children under 13 sharing a room with a paying adult stay for free! You will have to pay a nominal fee for an extra rollaway bed and/or crib, but there is no surcharge for the room on top of that. This special concession for children is the exception in Las Vegas. It will undoubtedly save any family traveling with young children a lot of money.
Check-in time starts at 3 p.m. and checkout time is 12 noon. While you can request early check-in or late checkout, it is not guaranteed. The Orleans, like most other Las Vegas hotels, charges a mandatory daily resort fee, but at $17.91 (including tax), it is substantially less than what many of the Strip hotels charge. The fee covers all of the following amenities:
- Complimentary shuttle to and from the Las Vegas Strip
- In-room coffee maker with coffee
- Wireless-in-room Internet access (up to 1 MB of band width) for up to 3 devices
- 10 minutes daily Internet access in the Orleans Business Center
- Unlimited local and toll-free phone calls
- Use of in-room safe
- Daily access to the fitness center
Special Promotions and Discounts
Compared to many other Las Vegas hotels, a stay at the Orleans is generally quite affordable. However, special discounted room offers and promotions tied to special events like the 2016 Garth books tour and the National Finals Rodeo sometimes produce even bigger savings than usual. Below you will find a description of a special limited time only money-saving offer that is ongoing right now. In addition, B Connected cardholders always get to stay for a discounted rate.
It's Sunny in Vegas
Even if it's winter in most parts of the country, it's sunny in Vegas! The Orleans is offering up to 20% off on your room for stays through March 31, 2016. The offer includes a $10 food and beverage credit per day. Book online or call 1-800-675-3267 and mention Offer Code V56SIV. The offer is subject to certain blackout dates.
Best Rate Tier Benefit
If you plan to stay at the Orleans, it pays to "Be Connected." B Connected is the name of the player's rewards program in which the Orleans participates along with various other Boyd Gaming casino hotels throughout the country. If you are a B Connected cardholder, even if you haven't played in a while be sure to present the card at the time you make your reservation. Doing so will qualify you for an automatic discount over regular rates for non-cardholders. The higher your tier in the 3-tiered program, the bigger your discount and, of course, if you are a top tier rated player, you are probably already receiving customized room offers and might even be able to stay for free.
If you never stayed at the Orleans or another Boyd Gaming hotel and don't have a card, no problem. You can pick one up for free when you arrive in Las Vegas and use it when you play, as well as for buffet discounts and special offers at the hotel. Then the next time you and your family decide to vacation at the Orleans, you, too, can take advantage of the cardholder's discounted room rate.
The Orleans is packed with activities that the whole family can enjoy together. As the following descriptions will make clear, there really isn't any need to leave the hotel unless you want to, but you probably will, especially if this is your family's first trip to Las Vegas. We therefore recommend that you set aside at least one day and evening to experience some of what the Las Vegas Strip has to offer, too. Otherwise, you can simply stay put at the Orleans since it is a fully contained resort. Swimming, arcade games, bowling, restaurants, movies, bowling, and theater are all right on the premises.
The Orleans has one heated outdoor Olympic-sized swimming pool. The pool is closed between mid-December and February, but otherwise open almost year-round. Hours of operation are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the spring and fall and from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the summer.
Besides the one large pool, the area includes a wading pool and Jacuzzi. A spacious pool deck provides ample seating (chairs and chaise lounges) on a first come first served basis. Or, if you prefer, you can rent a cabana. Rafts and other pool toys are available for rental as well, and a shop near the pool sells beach accessories. The pool area is handicapped accessible, but unfortunately, the pool itself is not. However, a lift to assist with entry into the pool can be special ordered. For more information, call the Spa Front Desk at 702-365-7316.
Time Out Arcade
Be sure to take time out to enjoy the fun-filled interactive video games in this family-friendly arcade. Hours of operation are Sun.-Thurs. from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Fri. and Sat. from 10 a.m. to midnight.
Very few hotels in the Las Vegas area offer bowling, which is surprising because bowling is a great recreational activity that individuals of all ages can enjoy. The Orleans Bowling Center features 70 lanes, plenty of seating, a fast food snack bar, a video arcade, and a full service K&K Bowling Services Pro Shop. As you can see from the following chart, pricing is slightly higher for weekends and holidays than for weekdays, and there is an additional savings for children and seniors on weekdays.
The Orleans offers very limited options for shopping. Try the gift shop for basic necessities and simple souvenirs. Also, the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory sells high-end chocolates. Otherwise, for more extensive shopping, head for the Las Vegas Strip and the Fashion Show Mall (for moderately priced merchandise) or the Caesars Forum Shops (for high-end merchandise).
Century Orleans 18 Screen Movie Theater
The movie theater at the Orleans offers an extensive potpourri of some of the most popular current movies. Not all of them are suitable for children, though, so make your selections carefully. The complete schedule, including all of the show times, along with a short synopsis of each movie, the running time, MPAA Rating, and starring actors will help you pick a film that the whole family can enjoy.
The theater is wheelchair accessible, and there is a cafe in the lobby where you can order food to take to your seat. Tickets can be purchased either online or at the box office. Tuesday is discount day; each ticket is only $5.25 ($8.25 for movies in 3D).
Special Entertainment in the Orleans Arena and Showroom
Some Las Vegas hotels only have one entertainment venue, but the Orleans has four. The two that offer family-friendly entertainment are the Orleans Arena and the Showroom.
The 9,500 seat Orleans Arena offers an eclectic array of entertainment, including everything from concerts by leading artists like Billy Joel and Carrie Underwood to NCAA basketball tournaments, to special events like Disney Live. A few of the upcoming highlights for 2016 include the JAMZ All Star Cheer and Dance National Championship February 26-29, the Western Athletic and West Coast Conference Basketball Tournaments in March, and Star Trek: the Ultimate Voyage on April 4th. The complete schedule of events can be found on the OrleansCasino.com website.
The 850-seat Orleans Showroom is another option for first rate musical entertainment. Tickets are only $15 apiece for the Chinese New Year Gala taking place there February 17, 2016. Then on March 19-20th, Credence Clearwater Revisited will perform. Tickets for those concerts start at $59.95. Check the hotel website to see what special performances are coming up on later dates.
More Child-Friendly Activities Elsewhere in Town
The plethora of activities at the Orleans might not give you anywhere near as much time as you might like to explore other areas of Las Vegas. Obviously, you won't be able to take in every attraction and show that looks promising, but the concierge at the Orleans should be able to help you with your selection, including what might be the most expeditious use of your time to see and do as much as possible. The concierge can also assist you with dinner, show, and tour reservations. Keep in mind that none of the off-property activities are within walking distance, so you need to allow extra time for transportation.
At the Orleans, Adults Time is also Kids Tyme
A big concern for many families traveling with their kids to a primarily adult-oriented vacation spot like Las Vegas is who will attend to their children's needs when they want to take a little break from family activities and enjoy some alone time. At the Orleans, that problem is easily solved. The Orleans is one of only a small handful of Las Vegas hotels which actually provide their own fully licensed childcare facility right on the premises. If you were to stay at a hotel on the Las Vegas Strip, however, you would either have to use the services of a hotel-recommended babysitter or nanny, which can be very expensive, or search around for a possible alternative like a drop-off center. Most drop-off centers, besides being situated in out-of-the-way locations, have limited hours of operation and are only equipped to take children of a certain age group and probably not children with special needs. The option is not a viable one for every family.
Kids Tyme at the Orleans is a center providing group care rather than one on one care, but you don't have to schlep out of your way to another part of town to get there. Most importantly, you won't be taking take a chance that the quality of care might not be adequate for your kids because Kids Tyme has to answer to the hotel management. The facility offers a safe, clean, closely supervised environment for your kids to engage in age-appropriate fun activities, including playing with other children their age.
Kids Tyme is open 7 days a week, 365 days a year for children ages 3 through 12. Hours of operation are Mondays through Thursdays from 12 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 12:30 a.m., and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. The last check-in is one hour prior to closing time. All staff members are certified in first-aid and CPR.
Rates are reasonable: $9.00/hour per child. Fractions of an hour are charged at the rate of $2.25 every 15 minutes. The minimum stay during any 24 hour period is 1 hour and the maximum 5 hours. That is quite a savings over the $45/hour (with a four hour minimum) you will probably be charged if you arrange for a nanny to come to your hotel.
Furthermore, there is virtually no chance of your children being bored at Kids Tyme. Activities vary, depending on the age of the child, but the following list will give you an idea of the wide variety of options available.
- Multilevel jungle gym with chutes and ladders
- A movie room
- Nintendo Wii
- Interactive play stations
- Arts & Craft Tyme with paints, markers and crayons
- Snack bar with items for purchase
There is no doubt that Kids Tyme provides excellent quality childcare, and it is in fact the reason why many families traveling to Las Vegas wind up staying at the Orleans rather than at one of the Strip hotels. However, the facility has strict rules and regulations, to which you must agree and, in addition, each child must meet certain specified requirements before he or she can be accepted. These rules and requirements can be summed up as follows:
- Parents must submit official proof of each child's immunizations.
- All children must be fully potty trained.
- All children must be wearing socks.
- Parent or guardian must show valid ID both when checking in and checking out.
- Parents must stay in the building during the entire time their children are at Kids Tyme.
It is understandable that parents need to remain in the hotel so in case there is any problem they will be close at hand. However, it does restrict you in what you will be able to do. For example, you won't be able to enjoy a night out on the Strip. You will be limited to activities on the premises.
Additional information about Kids Tyme is available on http://www.orleanscasino.com/entertain/kids-tyme or by calling 1-702-365-7300. Guests at the Orleans never have to worry about their kids with Kids Tyme looking after them. Every minute of Kids Tyme is fun time, and your kids will be well cared for and safe.
Child-Friendly Meals and Snacks
It is a good thing that there is no shortage of family-friendly and affordable places to eat at the Orleans Hotel because otherwise, with no other options nearby, you could have a problem. You won't go wrong taking your kids to eat at any of the following:
This 24 hour restaurant has a big enough menu to suit almost anyone. Breakfast is served not only at breakfast time, but any time of day. All of the standard dishes, some with interesting twists, are available. These are some of the items that might appeal to kids:
- Ham Steak and Eggs served with hash browns and buttered toast $9.50
- Spam and Eggs on steamed rice and a side of macaroni salad $8.50
- Buttermilk or Blueberry Short Stack $5.99-$6.99
- Country French Toast $7.50
- Cold Cereal $4.50 (Sliced bananas, strawberries, cinnamon, raisins, or pecans can be added to any cereal for $1.99 each.)
Children age 10 and under can order from the special Children's Menu, which will further reduce the cost. For example, your kids can have the Breakfast Meal, consisting of one egg, one pancake, hash browns, and bacon or sausage, all for $6.99. Add $2.50 more for each children's beverage (juice, milk, or soda).
If you're having lunch or dinner at the Courtyard Café, your kids can have a grilled cheese sandwich and fries for $5.99, chicken fingers with fries for $6.99, or spaghetti with marinara sauce for $6.99. Or, if they prefer, they can have a burger, sandwich, or pizza off the regular menu for about $10-$12. Or they can have an open-face hot turkey or roast beef sandwich with mashed potatoes and gravy for $10.99. Afterwards, for dessert, a dish of Dryer's ice cream costs $2.99 or a slice of carrot cake or chocolate blackout cake can be had for $4.99.
French Market Buffet
Another any time of day option where you can't go wrong is the French Market Buffet. Be sure to take your B Connected player's card with you because all cardholders are entitled to a discount. Ruby cardholders receive $1 off the regular price, Sapphire cardholders receive $3 off, and Emerald cardholders receive $5 off. In addition, all children under 42" eat for free!
FuddruckersThis 24/7 eatery bills itself as being home to "the world's greatest hamburgers. However, the name alone will have your kids begging to go there. They also offer hot dogs and breakfast items.
Koji is a combination Japanese Sushi Bar and Chinese Restaurant. Hours of operation are 11 a.m.-1 a.m. daily.
We don't recommend the sushi for children, but some of the Chinese dishes should be fine. If you go at lunchtime (between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.) on a weekday, you can take advantage of their $9.95 lunch specials, any of which come with soup, a spring roll, and a side of fried rice. Some good options for children are Chicken or Beef with Broccoli, Sweet and Sour Chicken or Pork, and Lo Mein. With the meal, kids can have fruit juice, lemonade, or soda.
Your best bet at this restaurant is to keep your kids' orders simple, like a cheeseburger with fries, potato chips, or coleslaw ($9.49 or on weekdays between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. only $6.99). Other possibilities are chicken fingers ($11.99) or a bowl of broccoli cheese soup ($4.99). Leave the fancier combination dishes to the adults.
Also, at lunchtime, you can take $2 off the price of any dessert. One dessert for the family will be plenty. These are big, fancy creations.
Hours of operation are Sun.-Thurs. from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. and Fri. and Sat. from 10 a.m. to 4 a.m. But if you're taking your kids to this place, go early before the atmosphere gets too rowdy.
SbarroThis internationally known Italian chain is a great choice for pizza.
Subway is open daily from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. so you can go there for any meal of the day. Teenagers should be able to finish an entire sub on their own, but not little kids. Order something all of you like and plan to share.
With 31 flavors to choose from, any of which you can have in a cup, cone, sundae, milkshake, or smoothie, this is everyone's favorite place for ice cream.
Summing Up: Is the Orleans Child-Friendly?
Contrary to what you might have thought at first from the name and Big Easy theme, the Orleans is actually very child-friendly. In fact, both you and your kids will be delighted to find a single property offering so many different fun things for youngsters to do. There are lots of hotels in Las Vegas where your kids can go swimming and play in a video arcade, but this may be the only one where they can also go bowling and see a movie.
Families on a budget will also appreciate the fact that there is no extra charge for children in the room if they are under age 13. Both the rooms and the meals are more reasonably priced than they are at most of the Strip hotels.
Only children falling into the 3-12 years age range can participate in Kids Tyme, the childcare facility at the Orleans Hotel. But if you have children in that age group, you can enjoy your vacation with extra peace of mind knowing that your kids will be in the best of hands should you decide to take an occasional break.
On the other hand, the Orleans Hotel isn't for everyone. For example, if you need a Strip location for business reasons, such as to attend a convention, the considerable distance away won't be practical. Or perhaps you are accustomed to vacationing in more upscale surroundings.
- What Is Not So Great about the Orleans Hotel
- The isolated location, 1 ½ miles away from the Strip, the hubbub of activity, can be unsettling. If you have a lot of activities necessitating being in the Strip area, the long commute is also inconvenient and impractical. At the very least, the time you have available to enjoy popular tourist attractions on the Strip and big name entertainment will be significantly reduced.
- The Orleans is a 3-star hotel, not a 5-star hotel. Accommodations and restaurants are serviceable rather than opulent, and the clientele may be too rough around the edges for some people's taste.
- Kids Tyme is not equipped to take care of infants and not yet toilet trained toddlers.
- The hotel offers virtually no shopping.
- There are no other hotels or other attractions nearby, so you may feel more confined than you would staying on the Strip.
- Some guests have complained that the hotel management could have been more attentive and also that general maintenance could be better.
- Features that Make the Orleans a Great Choice for Families
- Spacious rooms at reasonable prices and no extra cost for children under age 13.
- Favorable comments by guests on www.tripadvisors.com and www.yelp.com on the on the friendliness of the hotel staff.
- Exceptionally wide choice of reasonably priced, family-friendly restaurants, attractions, activities, and entertainment
- Kids Tyme, a childcare facility on the premises where children ages 3-12 can have fun and engage in age-appropriate activities with other kids the same age. For parents, knowing that their kids are being well cared for in their absence is a big relief; for the children, the group activities provide a great way to improve their socialization skills.