Las Vegas, April 22-May 2, 2006
Wynn Las Vegas, The Mirage, MGM Grand, Food Poisoning
Part 1 follows the jump.
I flew from West Palm Beach to Las Vegas at 6:30 AM, Thursday, April 22. Thanks to the three hour time change, I landed at McCarran at 10:30 AM and checked into Wynn by 11:30. I was attending a low-level weekend slot tournament at Wynn with 349 other hopefuls.
Check-in was at the new VIP Lounge whose entrance is off the main hall where Gizmos store used to be. I was a week too early to see the completed lounge. By now, the Lounge should be open with a new seating area with light snacks and drinks. From what I saw, it will be as nice or nicer than its counterpart at Bellagio.
I was assigned a Parlor Suite on the 23rd floor. This is the 1,280 sq ft, 1-bedroom suite which overlooks the golf course. I personally like it better than the larger Salon Suite which seems too big, more like a hospitality suite for hosting cocktail parties. Further, I prefer the relaxing views of the pools and green golf course over the hyper-views of the Strip and, more and more, the rising presence of Palazzo.
Unlike last trip when there were a few glitches, Housekeeping was excellent with complete turn-down service each evening. Even the elevator service was prompt throughout the weekend. Have they fine-tuned the programming of the Suite Tower elevators?
Like any casino�s invitational slot tournaments, Wynn�s goal is to get likely players into the casino and give them time to play. In this case, there were no activities on Thursday. Tournament registration and machine selection took place late Friday afternoon into evening with all three rounds of tournament play scheduled for Saturday. I like the freedom this schedule provides. The registration and tournament were held in the closest ballroom to the casino. Bars and food service were set up Friday evening and Saturday. Everything was extremely well organized, and this was the first tournament in which each session started exactly on time. They�ve got it down to a science now.
I�m a middling kind of guy because my total score put me at about 175 of the 350. This gave me $300 of Free Credit rather than the $30,000 cash 1st prize.
I still believe slots at Wynn are looser than Bellagio or other MGM Mirage casinos. Anecdotal experience over a weekend isn�t statistically valid, but at least Wynn lets me play. In fact, Wynn�s slots treated me well for the weekend which came in handy as I suffered at The Mirage and MGM Grand later on. Within 15 minutes of arriving, I hit for $6,000 on a $5 Windfall machine. A little later, I played a $10 Top Dollar machine just inside the High Limit Slot room. I got the Top Dollar bonus round several times, but each time I was awarded small amounts. I was about to try my luck elsewhere when I got the Top Dollar bonus again. The first of four offers showed $150, an insult on a $10 machine. The second offer was $200 and the third was $450. That gave me pause. My rule of thumb is to take any offer of $225 or more on a $5 machine and $450 or more on a $10 machine. I hesitated and heard the person next to me say, �Take the $450; the final offer will be less.� I decided to go for it and punched the button for the final offer. What do you know! The top award of $10,000 popped up. Wynn was treating me well. I held my own the rest of the weekend and gave some of Wynn�s money to MGM the following week.
Corsa Cucina is a great restaurant now. Its location, at the major intersection of the casino, the theaters and the way to the poker room and Ferrari dealership gives it prime visibility. The expansion and redecorating are right on the mark. The bar and lounge area now wraps around the corner and is a great place for a drink. It was crowded every night and got a little noisy. If you plan on eating in the dining room, I�d suggest getting a table far within the room to avoid the bar noise. A very nice restaurant with good food.
This was the first time I had ever entered Terrace Pointe Caf�. It was good, and the perfect weather made it even more enjoyable by sitting outside overlooking the pools.
Some friends came over for the Buffet one evening. I�m not a buffet fan, and it�s OK, but it still isn�t up to the level of Bellagio, in my opinion.
Tableau, the restaurant in the Suite Tower, is excellent, but it is so hidden away that I�m sure it�s still not making its numbers. It�s always nice to see the staff there, many of whom I know from the old Aqua at Bellagio.
Boulud is a great restaurant, and its hidden-away bar and lounge, which serves the full menu, is a good place for dinner.
I noticed Wynn has installed an outer set of doors from the parking garage into the casino. In the past, I kept wondering how many of the Hertz car rental employees would keel over from the exhaust fumes.
Wynn still needs a relaxing lounge with music in the back of the casino. The former �B� Bar looked pretty lonesome all weekend, although the high limit table areas next to it did a brisk business.
Next: The Mirage