Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog

May 7, 2006

The Mirage: Trip Report

Posted by detroit1051

The second stop on this longest-ever Las Vegas trip was The Mirage.

The report follows the jump.

The Mirage

On Sunday, April 23, I moved across the street to The Mirage. (I just noticed I typed the dates wrong for the start of my trip. I checked into Wynn Las Vegas on April 20, not April 22.)

I had a Spring Offer from The Mirage for three nights in a Penthouse Suite, so I decided to take advantage of it. It was not a profitable move, but I was interested in experiencing the property after almost all of the renovations had been completed.

This was my second time in a 1-bedroom Penthouse Suite, and like the last time, the suite had not been renovated like some of others I saw on Floor E (30). It was very clean and had a beautiful view of nothing. The Mirage is quite casual about restricting elevator access. Although there was a security guy in the general vicinity of the elevator banks, no one checked for keys, and the keycard access slot had been taped shut. The room was comfortable, but for the first time in years in Las Vegas, I was awakened at 11:30 PM Sunday by a wild party next door. Although the sound conditioning is pretty good, the boom, boom, boom of the stereo got my attention as did the screaming and laughing most of the night. I didn�t complain because I kept expecting things to quiet down. Well, they didn�t until after 3 AM. The next morning, I asked VIP Services whether the people in the suite next to me were scheduled to check out. They were, so I didn�t move, and I never heard another sound. The Mirage appeared to target a younger clientele than either Bellagio or Wynn Las Vegas. Maybe I�m too old for The Mirage.

The bedroom TV rises from a chest at the foot of the bed. The mechanism was broken and had apparently been reported by Housekeeping because a repair person fixed it shortly after I checked in. He said there were plans to keep the chest as a piece of decorative furniture but replace the TV with a flat panel. The living room TV in the armoire had already been replaced by a flat panel screen which was still in the armoire.

Dinner the first evening was at the newly remodeled Kokomo�s. It is still isolated from the noise of the casino by the sound of water in the atrium, and the noise from the always busy Kokomo�s bar (across from hotel registration) didn�t bother diners, but we were far into the room. The food and service were excellent, but the more open, casual look of the space leaves me cold. I still don�t get the steel cables crisscrossing the ceiling.

Ava Lounge is closed which may explain how busy Kokomo�s Bar was day and night. Construction is proceeding rapidly on Japonais which will share access to the atrium with Kokomo�s. Since Ava looks like it is being left untouched, I wonder if it will become part of Japonais or possibly a shared lounge for both Kokomo�s and Japonais.

I also had dinner at Fin. Last trip, I enjoyed lunch there. It was very impressive at dinner. Part of the appeal to me may also be generational. It is a quiet, soothing room with quiet music. It�s a good addition to The Mirage.

My final dinner was at Onda. This somewhat Italian/Steakhouse restaurant is very pleasant. It also is quiet and relaxing. I suppose my opinions say more about me than the restaurants. The barrel ceiling lounge/entryway is closed until June. It will re-open as a wine and cheese bar, supposedly with a retail wine outlet as part of it. Onda�s staff is frustrated by how difficult it is for walk-up traffic to find the restaurant. You have to walk up the employee hallway beyond Cravings and the restrooms to find the entrance. Another month or two, and things should be back to normal. I believe a server said the Grand Opening of the wine bar and restaurant entrance is scheduled for the 4th of July.

Unlike Hunter, I didn�t go behind the curtain to see the newly renovated theater for �Love�. I still believe this Beatles show will be a huge, long-term success.

The Mirage has a winner with the renovated casino. The high limit table area and Baccarat lounge at the back of casino enjoyed good business the days I was there, and the Chihuly glass adds a lot. I even liked the high limit slot area more than in the past. My first reaction was it was a big box plopped down onto the middle of the floor. However, it does separate the front of the casino, with its heavy foot traffic and row upon row of slot machines from the more upscale back of the casino. They did a good job.

I never did see Jet in action; too late for me. The pool area looked as inviting as ever, one of the best in Las Vegas. I was disappointed in the White Tiger exhibit near the entrance closest to Caesars. I never saw more than one tiger at a time, and the place looked a little neglected. Without Siegfried and Roy�s oversight, how long will the exhibit last? I didn�t go out to the Secret Garden, so I can�t comment on that.

After two days, I called VIP Services and asked if I could extend my stay by one night. The verdict: If I wanted to stay in the Penthouse Suite, I could for a casino rate of $450 a night. Otherwise, they would move me into a Tower Deluxe room, comped. For $450, I packed and moved. It struck me funny that I only moved six rooms away, on the same floor, and saved $450.

I never walked over to Venetian, but I did spend a few hours at Harrah�s. I don�t care to stay at Harrah�s, but it is a place where everyone seems to have a good time.

A friend picked me up at The Mirage early one morning, and we drove out to Red Rock Casino for breakfast. I had walked through it opening week, but the crowds turned me off. This time, I was much more impressed. It really does look more like a Palm Springs resort than a Las Vegas casino. When the rest of the hotel tower opens at the end of the year and the landscaping gets more established, it will be a great looking property. There are a lot of �slimline� (or whatever they�re called) IGT slots, many of which are downloadable with both the top and belly glass video displays which can be changed at the push of a button. They are not being used as downloadable at this time. There has already been a discussion here of the new, huge Wheel of Fortune game. At 9 in the morning, it wasn�t fully occupied, but it did generate excitement on the floor. The visit made me decide to spend two nights at Red Rock before returning to Florida, but it was not to be. The self-park garage is very well laid out and has some of the widest aisles and spaces of any casino in town.

I checked out of The Mirage Thursday morning, April 27 and drove down the Strip to my next stop, MGM Grand.

I enjoyed The Mirage, but with Wynn Las Vegas and Bellagio higher on my list, I see no reason to return.


Read archived comments (4 so far)
May 7, 2006 4:27 PM Posted by mike_ch

But where's the advertised highlight? Give the people what they want! Give them food poisoning!

Uh, maybe that came out wrong. :D

May 8, 2006 9:00 AM Posted by Hunter

Both The Mirage and TI are due for room renovation soon. MGM MIRAGE is on a 5 year replacement plan and The Mirage is actually slightly behind schedule as they were put off to finish public area changes first.

The rooms do need some work, updating televisions etc... One problem that all of the rooms built before ~2001 are going to have is the relative size of amenities. You look at a room at The Mirage or even Bellagio and compare it to Wynn Las Vegas. The newer rooms are larger with larger bathrooms, floor to ceiling windows, etc... This is the trend and something no renovation can change (unless we're talking about drastically reducing room count by knocking down walls and combining rooms.

These details will continue to put a distance between older and newer hotels and that will become even more pronounced with new hotels like Encore and the Palazzo.

May 8, 2006 12:10 PM Posted by detroit1051

"These details will continue to put a distance between older and newer hotels and that will become even more pronounced with new hotels like Encore and the Palazzo."

During the LVS conference call last week, William Weidner said all Venetian rooms, or suites as he calls them, will be renovated so that they will be comparable to Palazzo suites. He indicated that they will be much more contemporary than currently. Most of the changes will be in furnishings and colors which will permit a rapid renovation. There won't be a need for structural or plumbing work. I've stayed at Venetian once, and although I thought the decor and workmanship were subpar, the room and bathroom space is superior. He said they may start work the week before Christmas when it's slow.

Weidner also talked about converting the top floors (33-36?) into true high roller suite floors.

I agree that The Mirage can't do much to the rooms witrhout combining rooms. The bathrooms are unacceptable small. I certainly had no complaint with the Penthouse Suite. It was well laid out, but one could see the evolution from it to Bellagio to Wynn. Of course, The Mirage opened 15 year years ago.

May 11, 2006 7:33 AM Posted by Robbie M

I agree old design choices like the long, high strip windows which you can't sit and look out of (in the standard rooms) and the small bathrooms compared to newer properties like Wynn and Bellagio are always going to leave the Mirage playing catch up unless some major money is spent on renovation. One point I've found anoying at the Mirage is the large marble entranceway. Perhaps one way to improve the rooms would be to utilise more of this space say by replcaing the make up table with a wet bar running parallel to the coridor?