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Vegas’ Stratosphere Hotel Review: Would You Ride a Rollercoaster on Top of a Skyscraper?

rollercoaster skyscraper

“Absolutely, definitely not.”

This was my answer when we booked the Stratosphere Hotel in Vegas for our one night in Sin City.

We were going to go all out and stay at the Bellagio but when I found a £20 per room deal at the Stratosphere, which included entry to the look out platform (usually $20), we decided to save our money for the gamblers.

Our rooms were ok, a great deal for the price, but not representative of the glitz and glamour of Vegas. It was the height of the building which was it’s main attraction, not the lobbies or facilities like many of the other hotels.

It’s a great choice for value. Mainly because of this…

The Stratosphere Big Shot

I was in Vegas with friends who’d been before and as I had less than 24 hours in Vegas they denounced this was the best way to see the city, and I just had to do it. Especially as they all were. I’m a sucker for peer pressure.

We’d road tripped for the past 5 hours from Coachella Festival and arriving into Vegas we stank of 5 days of ridiculous fun and were a bit hazy for the same reason. So, after a quick shower and refresh we went straight up the Stratosphere to wake us up and get us in the Las Vegas spirit.

Tower in Las Vegas

After getting totally bamboozled into paying for the special three-ride deal they were doing for ‘one day only’ – which as soon as we saw said ‘three rides’ we realised we didn’t want them – we joined the confusing elevator system up to the top.

We stepped out at 1000ft above ground

The Nevada sun was setting and up there the wind was blasting –  it seriously felt like we were going to be swept the platform. I looked up to the top of the ride and any earlier bravado was blown away, I was actually going up that thing to be a further 81ft (25m) over Las Vegas, 1081ft (329m) in total.

Big shot rollercoaster

Apparently there weren’t many crazies in Vegas that weekend and so there was no queue. Two minutes later I was strapped in that seat – having pointlessly done my hair and put a nice dress on to enjoy the Vegas nightlife – and there was no turning back.

“We’ve only had one death so far”

Cheers to that smiling worker as she signalled for the ride to start.

It was that waiting that got me

My stomach is flipping now remembering the feeling of being sat there helpless and just waiting to be shot into the air. Another few thousand $$$ had probably been gambled away in Vegas in the time it took for us to start.I was in sheer panic mode. This was it, this was how I was going to die. Not a bad view for a last one.


Suddenly we were shot up into the Nevada sky at 4Gs. I screamed and screamed, as I left my stomach at take off. We jolted and came back to earth again, too fast, way too fast.

“Thank god you only do it once”

My friend had said it was just a one time thing, when you’re down, you’re down. Turns out he lied and up I was again, flailing my legs above the Las Vegas strip.

Bleugh. That Taco Bell I’d had earlier was on it’s way up.

No more than 30 seconds later and it was over. Another 30 seconds later and I wanted to go again. What a buzz!

They wouldn’t let me take my camera on, but this jammy guy took it on. Here’s the ride in it’s full glory…

Rollercoasters on the Stratosphere

As I said, there were two other rides on top of the Stratosphere, both of which looked far too traumatic. I could barely hold my camera in place for a photo my hands were shaking too much, but these videos explain it all…

rollercoasters in vegas

On Insanity you get strapped into a ‘claw’ which then moves out over the edge of the 1000ft skyscraper and then slowly opens up and spins you around with no ground beneath. I watched a repetition and the there was not one scream of joy, just sheer terror.

The other one, the absolutely horrendous looking X Scream is like a car on a small strip. You sit in it and the strip tilts so you look like you’re about to faceplant into the ground, then tips you back again so you fall backwards. Repeat until you barf and you pretty much have it.

I really didn’t feel like either of these two would make my life any better, so I chose to avoid and get to seeing Las Vegas. I’d had enough of hanging about on top of skyscrapers.

Visiting Vegas was the final point on my San Francisco to Vegas road trip, via Coachella. If you fancy replicating our road trip without the hassle of actually driving have some great journeys ready made for you. Make a beeline for the ones through Vegas, it’s awesome! 

Book to stay at The Stratosphere now!

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Sunday 29th of March 2015

[…] of other rides around that you can scare yourself silly with instead. Check out this post over on Vicky Flip Flop Travels for some more […]

Jamie Will

Monday 23rd of June 2014

Looks awesome – you definitely should have done the other rides too though!


Monday 23rd of June 2014

Ha! You wouldn't be saying that if you were up there my friend!


Monday 23rd of June 2014

No way! My boyfriend wanted me to go up that when we were in Vegas, absolutely no way! Well impressed you did it :P


Monday 23rd of June 2014

I think I was high on no sleep and a brilliant week. The thought of it now makes me a feel a little sick :)

Jean | Holy Smithereens

Sunday 22nd of June 2014

That's amazing!!! LOL at the man's expression on the 1st video while the girl next to him is squealing. I love rollercoasters, more so those on top of buildings. I think back in 1997, Stratosphere had a "normal" roller coaster and I went on it with my dad. One of the best memories :)


Monday 23rd of June 2014

Aw that sounds like a good memory. Pretty scary though! Not sure I'll make going on rollercoasters on top of buildings a habit but this one was fun!