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TREASURE ISLAND

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Center Strip

3300 Las Vegas Blvd. S.

Las Vegas, NV 89109

800-944-7444

website

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2,891 Rooms

$59 and up

Avg. $100-$200 per night

$35 per night plus tax

82

AT A GLANCE

Highs

Quality; location; rooms.

Lows

Resort fee is too high; where are the pirates?

Location: 10

Center Strip means close to just about everything.

Price: 6

Prices have become more affordable but resort fee is silly.

Value: 9

You get a lot for the money.

Rooms: 9

Very nice decor, verging on luxurious.

Casino: 8

Large and lots to do.

Amenities: 9

Some of the best-equipped rooms on The Strip.

Facilities: 9

Tons of entertainment, dining, and luxuriating options.

Service: 9

Very friendly.

Fun: 7

Not as fun without the pirates.

Bonus: 6

Bring back the pirates!!

Total: 82

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FULL REVIEW

When Treasure Island debuted in 1993 it was as highly themed as Las Vegas resorts get, with a wacky "Yo Ho Ho" stamp on everything from the eye-patched pirate on the giant marquee to the chests of gold in the casino walls to the sailing ships artwork in the rooms. It was silly, it was cheesy, and we all made jokes about it but come on and admit it... it was fun.

In the mid 2000's, corporate owners MGM Resorts International swept away the bulk of that pirate theme with a massive overhaul designed to make the hotel appeal to young adults. Even the name changed, from Treasure Island to "The T.I.". The result tried to be more grown-up; all sexy and alluring. Out went the wacky pirate battle and in came the supposedly titallating (but just plain dumb and now thankfully non-existent) Sirens show; out went a relaxing lagoon-side bar and in came the high-end nightclub. Most of it fell flat in my opinion and most of the fun the place used to exude was gone.

Billionaire Phil Ruffin bought the hotel away from its corporate overlords in 2008 and he said he wasn't going to make any major changes. But changes have come, both big and small, and the hotel is better for it. The nightclub has gone away, the rooms have received updated furnishings, the dumb pirate show has sank, and more affordable dining options have been added all of which adds up to a more middle of the road package that the average Las Vegas visitor can both appreciate and afford.

The casino is large and filled with lost of slots and table games. Denominations on the former and buy-in on the latter are reasonable with everything from penny to five-dollar slots and $10 blackjack tables scattered about. If you need a taste of the high life there's a lovely high-limit lounge in the center of the casino that even offers a complimentary buffet for gamblers. They have their own players' club now and points climb quickly with plenty of rewards and offers streaming your way, even for moderate gamblers.

There are several restaurants including a fun, new version of the country-western landmark Gilley's, an upscale steakhouse/Italian joint, a good buffet, an inexpensive pizzeria, and more. As mentioned, the fancy nightclub is gone but there are a few bars scattered around the property and in back is a small shopping promenade, a showroom featuring the fantastic Mystère by Cirque du Soleil, and a free tram to The Mirage.

The remodeling of the rooms has turned what were kind of staid accommodations into sleekly sexy ones. Each room comes with floor-to-ceiling windows, flat screen televisions with pay-per-view movies, in-room safes, high-speed Internet access, irons and boards, a writing desk, and unexpectedly comfy beds. Bathrooms are all marble affairs with make-up mirrors and hair dryers.

There's a very nice pool area and small (by Strip standards) but complete spa if you're in the mood for some pampering.

A 2015 addition on the northeast corner of the property along The Strip added a big CVS (because we needed another one of those) and a couple of attractions themed to Marvel's Avengers (now open) and Transformers (coming soon).

Prices have dropped dramatically as well, partly because of the new ownership and marketing efforts but also because all rooms in Vegas have gotten cheaper to try to lure back some of the audience the city lost when the economy went to hell. You can get a room here on the weekdays for as low as $45 and weekends for $99, although $75-100 and $125-150 are more common prices. Note that this does not include the $35 resort fee, a mandatory extra charge that covers in room high speed internet access, access to fitness center, a $25 credit for future stays, and a bunch of other stuff. TI is not the only hotel charging these kinds of fees and while theirs is one of the highest, it actually has the most to offer for what you pay.

While I still miss the wacky Treasure Island of days past, I do appreciate the fact that they seem to have come to their senses in terms of the future direction of the hotel. The middle-market needs a dependable hotel option and Treasure Island provides it.

Recommended for: Average Joe tourists, budget conscious travelers, people who want to have fun but in moderation.

Not recommended for: Anyone looking for a "party" destination, families with children.

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