With its Elvis impersonators, high-kicking showgirls, and crystal chandeliers, what fresh takes does Las Vegas’ Strip offer millennials? When I was last there 10 years ago, I don’t recall beer pong, craft cocktails, mod design, pool games, or cool viewing experiences beyond the Bellagio fountains. With the Linq Hotel and its High Roller wheel, that’s all changed.
At the end of a recent girls’ weekend, the year-old Linq hit like a clean glass of water after a night of too much wine. So many Vegas hotels choke guests with opulence and excess. The cinder-blocky former Imperial Palace—its exterior now all aqua, yellow, and lime—is just plain fun.
Truthfully, I’d come for the High Roller, the Ferris—whoops, I mean “observation” wheel behind the hotel. Its capsules glide riders 550 feet in the air. That’s more than 100 feet higher than the London Eye it’s styled like, giving the High Roller claim to world’s largest riding wheel.
My friends were skeptical that the 30-minute ride, never cheap, would be worth it. It’s $25 during the day but jumps to $35 from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. We were hopping (literally, as the wheel never stops turning) on at 7:30 p.m., just after the evening price hike.
But that timing turned out to be perfect. We just missed the sun dipping behind the Spring Mountains. But we watched the sky turn honey, peach, and violet over the mountain-ringed Las Vegas Valley as the city’s lights started to glitter. We even saw the Bellagio’s classic fountain show from above. “I’ll admit it—I wasn’t sure, but this is really cool,” my friend Jo said, snapping endless photos. If you’re in Vegas, we say don’t miss the Roller, and make it around sunset.
My friends were staying overnight at the Linq, so we also got to check out the pool and promenade. The promenade is a 300-yard brick stroll-way to the High Roller. Studded with palms and lined with appealing shops (fedoras and chocolate, Havianas and Polaroid), the promenade reminded me of Santa Monica’s ultra-groomed, outdoor-mall feel. We downed Neapolitan pizza and craft beer at Flour & Barley, taking in the colorfully lit fountains alongside us on the plaza.
My favorite part, though, was the pool. After over-the-top pool parties elsewhere the day before, I loved its low-key scene, all floating bean bags and giant Jenga, danceable music but down-to-earth people. I later learned you can luxe it up (hello, $800 bottle service), but like its High Roller, the Linq for us was refreshingly chill.