Wynn was my final stop before returning to the real world.
Wynn Las Vegas: Final Stop
Last week, Wynn had its first invitational slot tournament since it opened in April. This was my third stay at Wynn, and it remains my hotel of choice in Las Vegas. During my first trip, I was in the Resort Tower; the last two trips I�ve stayed in the Suite Tower. Wynn has done an exceptional job in creating a �hotel within a hotel.� The Resort Tower rooms are nicer than Bellagio�s, in my opinion, because they are larger, much brighter due to the wall of windows and have more comfortable furniture including a useful desk with a chair on rollers and convenient laptop connections. My Resort Room overlooked the Strip and was fine, but I especially enjoyed the golf course view I had on my last two visits. On these trips, I was in an Executive Suite. This is the smallest suite and really doesn�t fit my definition of a suite because it does not have a separate bedroom. It is one large room with the sleeping area separated from the living area by a sofa and table. There are His and Her baths, one with a large stall shower and the other with a Jacuzzi tub. Like the Resort rooms, there is a convenient desk with internet connections. The long wall of windows facing the golf course is a soothing contrast to the high-energy atmosphere in Las Vegas. Housekeeping and turn-down services are top quality. No complaints with anything about the rooms.
I was startled when I first got to my room and looked out at the golf course. The grass was brown and looked like it was dead. I learned that it had been treated with something to make the grass dormant for a short period of time and then over seeded with different grass for the fall, winter and spring months. The course was closed but should reopen soon. There were a few signs of green emerging when I checked out last Monday.
The Suite Tower registration overlooks the pools and also has a deluxe lobby with a pianist in the evening. Elevators are only a few feet from registration and there are doors directly from the lobby into the high limit table and slot areas. My few complaints are the same as last time. Wynn may not have enough elevators for peak times, and they don�t seem to be air conditioned. It wasn�t as bad this past week as it was during 100+ degree days in August. Also, the self-park garage doesn�t give as good an impression when you enter the hotel as Bellagio does. It looks like Steve cut corners.
Wynn has some great restaurants, but none are inexpensive or even moderately priced. Tableau, the restaurant off the Suite Tower lobby, is open to Suite Tower guests for breakfast and lunch and to everyone at dinner. It�s an attractive, quiet room with excellent food. The chef and many of the servers came from Michael Mina�s Aqua at Bellagio. It is a great place to have a drink and/or dinner, but it is so far off the beaten path, I wonder how many guests know it is even there. Business was moderate, but I would think it would have to be busier than moderate to be profitable.
The Country Club Grill, at the end of the long hallway past the Buffet and coffee shop, overlooks the 18th green and waterfall. It�s also off the beaten path, but it does a good breakfast and lunch business. I haven�t had dinner there yet, but several friends told me the steaks are the best at Wynn, better than SW Steakhouse. Now that cooler weather is here, the outdoor patio is a great place to sit.
Daniel Boulud�s Brasserie is down the curved escalator across from SW. I was eating alone one evening and walked in to see if there was a bar where I could order something. Turns out there is a great bar and lounge inside the restaurant, but you would never know it by walking by. Steve may have made a mistake hiding these places away from walk-by traffic. The food was excellent.
Corsa Cucina is the race car themed restaurant near the poker room and Ferrari dealership. We had a group dinner there one evening with about 25 people. The host had arranged a special limited-selection menu from which we ordered. It was a fun evening, but I was disappointed in the food. I might have had a different opinion if we had been able to order from the full menu. I heard the same rumor as in August that Corsa Cucina would close temporarily for remodeling. The red and black racing d�cor doesn�t fit the restaurant it�s trying to be.
Red 8 is the best noodle shop in Vegas. It�s a great atmosphere and great food.
The slot tournament was interesting, but there were too many entrants. My understanding is that, based on the invitations they sent out, they expected 300 entrants. There were actually 600 which is too unwieldy. However, they did double the prize structure to compensate for the increased attendance. Registration for the tournament and machine selection was held from 11 AM-4 PM on Friday, with the first round being played early Friday evening followed by two more on Saturday. The large number of people made registration slow with long waits in line for some. When I saw the line at noon, I left and came back right before 4 PM when there was no wait.
The tournament play was in a very large ballroom which had, believe it or not, more than 100 machines being played in each session. The machines were all tournament machines where if you wanted any chance of winning, you had to get the 2,500 point �Wynn� symbols across the payline at least several times. There was such a large gap between the top symbol payout and the others that it took some of the fun out of the tournament. I�ve been in other tournaments where the points added up faster and higher which made it seem more like a contest. The machines seemed slow to respond and spin the reels compared to other tournament machines I�ve played at Bellagio and MGM Grand. In the end, it�s just a matter of luck and shouldn�t be taken too seriously. Wynn did an excellent job in decorating the ballroom and having numerous bars and food stations throughout. It was well done, but there were too many players. Maybe I�m just unhappy because I finished in 235th place. The two players with the highest scores each got $30,000 and everyone got at leas $200 in Free Credit.
The casino floor was moderately busy all weekend, and it looked like there was some serious high limit table action as well as high limit slot action.
There are some places that just feel comfortable, and Wynn is one of them. I look forward to returning. I have a different opinion as an investor. Wynn, as great as it is, faces an uphill battle against MGM Mirage with its multi-property Players Club (which now includes Mandalay properties). While I was at Wynn, work was continuing to expand the surface parking lot between the garage and the old DI garage. This leads me to believe that the Encore Tower won�t be built, at least not before Macau is up and running. Macau is critical to Wynn�s overall success. I monitor room rates on the internet from time to time, and it�s a concern that Wynn�s rates are often lower than Bellagio�s. I may be looking at dates when Bellagio has large meeting groups attending, but based on my experience at both properties, Wynn should command a premium. Wynn may need a fill 12 months of operating to get firmly established. Las Vegas needs Steve to be successful, and I wish him well. Wynn is a terrific property!