After leaving Laughlin, I headed back to Las Vegas where I would spend the next week at the LV Hilton, Venetian and Wynn. This report starts with the Hilton.
Part II: Las Vegas Hilton, Venetian
After a weekend in Arizona, I returned to Las Vegas where I would spend the week at Las Vegas Hilton, Venetian and Wynn.
I decided to go back to the Las Vegas Hilton because I always stayed there and enjoyed it in the late 1980�s-early 1990�s. Well, you can never go home again. I was so disappointed that I checked out after one night and moved to Venetian.
The Hilton lost its luster years ago, but I had hoped the new owners, Resorts International, would have made more progress on bringing the property back. There are signs of construction and renovation, but not enough. The rooms are clean and adequate, but the public areas, restaurants and casino are pretty bleak. The Star Trek casino seemed dark and gloomy to me and doesn�t fit with the main casino or the rest of the property. I don�t know how successful The Hilton�s tie-in with Star Trek is, but I�m sure they�re rethinking it.
The main casino is primarily a slot house with many old, non-cashless machines. Many had stickers slapped on them that they were not TITO compatible. The Baccarat room was empty each time I walked by. The Sports Book, which 20 years ago was regarded as one of the finest, if not the finest, book in town, is a shell of what it used to be with snack bars and penny slots encroaching on its space.
Andre Rochat, the well known local restaurateur, took over the old gourmet room, Le Montrachet, less than a year ago and re-opened it as Mistral, a high-end restaurant. It was shuttered when I arrived. A bartender said it never did enough business to cover the rent. There still is a satisfactory steakhouse and Italian restaurant, but the restaurant scene is depressing.
Las Vegas Hilton is first and foremost a convention hotel. It has its own large convention/meeting area, and its proximity to the LV Convention Center adds to its business. However, as a tourist property, it�s sorely lacking. I won�t go back.
Next stop, Venetian!
I had a somewhat rocky start to my two night stay at Venetian, but, in the end, I enjoyed the property. When I checked in on Tuesday, I was given a room on the 7th floor which overlooked a construction/demolition site which I believe was the location of the former museum. Also, the room was handicap-accessible which meant there was not not the regular tub and stall shower. The shower area was large, with just a curtain, to accommodate a wheelchair. Also, as handicap-accessible, there was not a step-down to the living area. I was more concerned about construction noise right outside my window, so I asked for a different room. I was moved to the 27th floor and was told it would be away from construction and not handicap-accessible. I moved up and found myself in the identical room with the same construction view except I was 20 floors higher. I went to the registration desk and was told no way was I in a handicap-accessible room�the computer told him so. I asked for a supervisor who told the registration clerk that the computers were wrong. He straightened it out and gave me a room facing the Strip and Wynn on the 23rd floor. The room was fine, except for the d�cor, and it was good to have a large glass-walled stall shower. No complaints about the room or housekeeping.
Like the LV Hilton, Venetian is primarily a convention hotel and has that feel rather than the atmosphere of Bellagio, Mirage or Wynn. Venetian has excellent restaurants and the shopping area is always a popular attraction. The Grand Luxe Caf�, operated by the Cheesecake Factory, is certainly a step up from a typical coffee shop. The only other restaurant I tried is Aqua Knox, an excellent seafood place on Restaurant Row. Anyone who likes fresh seafood will enjoy it.
The casino is large and confusing, in my opinion. Although Venetian is primarily a convention hotel, it caters to high rollers and gets a lot of heavy table players. The high limit slot area is uninteresting and was never busy. Some of the $5 and up slots are still not TITO, taking bills with wins dropping as tokens.
Venetian�s self-park garage is a challenge. It is small, dark and dismal. The walk and elevators from the garage to the hotel/casino is equally unattractive.
I enjoyed the room and the restaurants, but I don�t plan on returning unless it is for business.
Next, the trip next door to Wynn Las Vegas.