Today we have a reader review from Tom and his recent stay at Wynn Las Vegas. Remember that we accept reader reviews at this email.
"A great admirer of Wynn’s accomplishments, I nonetheless had mixed emotions about his acquisition of the Desert Inn. A major remodel of the DI completed in 1997 resulted in a resort unlike anything else on the Strip at the time. Though relatively small, the DI had real class. Luxurious accommodations and public spaces were made complete with gracious, attentive service. From room attendants to stickmen, the employees of the DI consistently delivered outstanding customer service. How would Wynn compare with the DI? Would it measure up to my high expectations?"
Click to read after the jump...
From Las Vegas Blvd., the soaring tower and pine covered mountain are impressive. Arriving at the main entrance, where we were immediately met by a valet attendant. While busy, traffic was flowing fairly smoothly. The only obvious problem we encountered was the lack of bellmen. After waiting a few minutes, we elected to schlep our own luggage.
The reception area is a bit crowded, but it is an attractive space, with lots of natural light from the lake-facing windows. Every interior surface exudes quality and outstanding workmanship. After a ten minute wait, it was our turn to check-in. The clerk was brisk and efficient, despite the fact he looked like he was barely out of puberty. The “panoramic corner” room I’d reserved back in February was ready, and we were soon off to the elevator.
Our room, 5766, was located at the north end of the hallway. The corner location provided us two walls of floor to ceiling windows, with an eye-popping view of both the golf course to the east, and the entire North Strip, from the Frontier to downtown. Aside from the parking garage on the northern corner of the property, not a trace of the Desert Inn was visible from my vantage point. Even the golf course was unrecognizable, the layout completely changed.
While the room was comfortable and tastefully decorated, I do have a few nags. First, there is no independent switch for the closet light; you have to turn on the single switch that controls all of the ceiling lights in the room if you need to use the closet, something my wife did not appreciate at 6:00am the next morning. Also, it would be nice if the ceiling lights had a dimmer control.
Flat-panel TVs may be chic and save space, but I wonder if they are still too delicate for hotel use. The Gateway plasma TV had a great picture when viewing HD content, but regular programming was a bit blurry and the sound was oddly distorted. Changing the aspect ratio did not help. I’ve noticed similar problems in other properties that use plasma screens, such as THEhotel. While the LCD in the bathroom looked great, the remote lacked a keypad, equipped only with volume and channel arrows. This can be frustrating when you are on channel three and want channel 23. It screamed CHEAP. When you consider how much time and effort went into the rest of the resort, this was an odd place to shave pennies. Never cut costs where it will be readily noticeable to the guest.
Shortly after arriving, we headed down to the pool. From the resort rooms, this entails changing elevators at either the Spa or Casino level. The layout of the large main pool is similar to Bellagio. No budget for a cabana this trip, but if you get one by the main pool, avoid those at the northern end of the pool area, as they do not get much sun. Drink service both days we were there was infrequent, with only two cocktail waitresses covering both the main pool and adjacent “European” pool. Fortunately, the Cabana bar is a short walk. The frozen margaritas are phenomenal (i.e., strong) and highly recommended.
I also had an opportunity to play blackjack at the Cabana Bar. This is the first time I’ve ever played poolside, so it was a novel experience. Four tables were open, three at $15 and one at $25. While it was fun, I’m not sure I would do it again, as there are way too many distractions.
With 6:30pm tickets to Avenue Q, we decided to hit the buffet for dinner. Price and quality is similar to the other top buffets, but I think Bellagio still has the edge, particularly with regards to overall variety and freshness. I was also disappointed with the limited desert selections. The various dining rooms are quite nice, with a great deal of natural light in the main dining area.
As for Avenue Q, it was hilarious. Don’t let the muppets fool you, this is strictly for adults. The musical numbers are side-splitting and tear-inducing. At $100 a seat, I can honestly say it was worth every nickel. If you can only see one show while you are here, save Le Rêve for your next visit and see Avenue Q.
Before calling it a night, we wandered through the casino. For a Wednesday night, there was a lively crowd, perhaps due to the fact the Gaming Expo convention was still going on. Table limits ran from $15 on up, but just about every table was getting some play. Even the rip-off 6:5 blackjack games were SRO. Lots of the newest slots, but I didn’t see any of the coveted full pay VP. The bars were also doing a brisk business. Thanks to a great location and excellent service, Parasol Up was our hands-down favorite.
I was a bit skeptical when I saw photos of the wild color scheme, but I have to say it really looks great when you see it in person. I found the overall effect much more inviting and relaxing than Bellagio, although both casinos have a lot of similarities. Whereas the Bellagio is a bit stuffy, I found the Wynn to be surprisingly fun.
The facilities are comparable to the other top resorts, with a sauna, steam room, whirlpool, plunge pools, and a couple of waterfall showers. The workout room contains all of the latest equipment, but they could use a few more recumbent bikes. In terms of the physical layout, I prefer the remodeled spa at Bellagio, but my wife felt Wynn was nicer. In terms of the level of service, Bellagio and Wynn are comparable, which is to say outstanding. Expect to pay about $180 for a 50 minute massage, including tip.
SW Steakhouse and the Lake of Dreams
Wow. From start to finish, it was one of the finest meals I’ve ever enjoyed. We had a great table on the patio, with an unobstructed view of the lake. The food, the service, the location, everything was perfect. We even had the pleasure of chatting with Chef Klein. Yes, it is unbelievably expensive, especially the wine list. It was also the highlight of our trip, and an evening long to be remembered.
Personally I really enjoyed the Lake of Dreams show, perhaps because it is a bit odd. Like everything at Wynn, it is colorful and fanciful. My sense is that it is a work in progress, so it will be interesting to see how it evolves over time.
To really experience and enjoy Wynn, you have to be a guest. In the three days we were at Wynn, we never once left the property. This was not our intention; it just sort of worked out that way. There was so much to see and do, and we had such a great time, we just never felt the need to leave.
For me, Wynn is greater than the sum of its carefully constructed parts. It feels special, much the same way the Mirage used to feel special. While I have fond memories of the Desert Inn, Wynn really is a worthy successor for this historic property. I look forward to my return trip.