Most of the hotels on the Boulder Highway mini-strip (Sam's Town, Boulder Station, and the like) are older and nowhere near as fancy as the big hotels on the actual Strip, but they aren't trying to be either. What they are trying to be is budget alternatives to the Strip and places where the locals in the neighborhood can gamble, eat, be entertained, and occasionally stay without spending an arm and a leg. The Eastside Cannery is unique is this area because it tries to be fancier than its neighbors but still maintains a low-cost ethos that keeps it from being ignored by the budget-conscious -- it's the best of both worlds.

The hotel has a subtle '60s flower power theme, but that's not really important. What is are the gorgeous rooms that while perhaps not as stylish or big as those in Strip hotels, certainly stand out in this neighborhood. Contemporary furnishings mix with a generous use of textures (wood, leather, marble) to create a modern yet warm look, and the list of standard amenities is long, including floor-to-ceiling windows and flatscreen TVs. The fact that you can often get rooms for as low as $40 a night is like some sort of Vegas miracle.

The hotel's casino is fun, especially for those who appreciate lower limits; the pool is small but satisfactory; the restaurants are all cheaper than similar places on the Strip; and their ballroom-style events center hosts some pretty big names (Gretchen Wilson and Dwight Yoakam put in appearances recently).

The only things you'd really need to change to make this a Strip hotel are the size, the location, and the prices. Thank goodness they aren't considering doing any of that.