Thanks to reader John Hall for contributing another piece, this time the focus on Bellagio and Wynn Las Vegas. I can't say how much I appreciate contributions from you guys, the loyal readers. If you want to send something in, send it to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ok, what do we have here? Well, as regular readers know, we have spent an awful lot of time looking at Steve Wynn properties, and Wynn Las Vegas over all of them. Well, before there was WLV there was Bellagio and it is still a literal cash factory on the Strip. After touring the back of house facilities, I have a renewed appreciation for the property - it's really a work of art in its own way.
Ok, let's get started. Here's John's submission:
To start off, I’ve got a couple of neat Wynn updates. First, Steve finally got the clue, and has installed doors and A/C units in the self-park elevator lobbies, the A/C units actually cool down the elevator lobbies, better than their counterparts at Bellagio. Next, The 'B Bar' has finally reopened, this current incarnation, takes up about ¼ of the bar’s original space, while the remaining ¾ of the original space, is being used as high-limit gaming. This new B Bar, is actually a very nice addition to the bar count at Wynn, and is a much-needed walk-up VP bar. However, Steve still can’t compare his current bar offerings to that of Bellagio. Also, it looks like the Wynn Shoe store [editor: Shoe-In is simply being remodeled], in the Esplanade, is being turned into a new store, not quite sure what it will be thought. Other than that, the property is looking great, as always.
Mirage - The “re-designed” Onda has opened, and it is looking pretty-nice, although, it sort of reminds me of Harrah’s Italian restaurant. Other than that, not much else is happening at The Mirage, expect for the construction at Japonais, and The Beatles Lounge. [editor: For pictures of Japonais, click click here]
Venetian - nothing ever really changes here, but I was able to catch Phantom during this trip, and I must say, the theatre looks beautiful, both the theatre and the show, are a much needed addition to this property.
Aladdin - This place is right in the middle of its transformation, into Planet Hollywood, and it looks like it, there are giant, bare and white, construction walls all over the casino, which make getting around the property a real pain.
Caesars - Well it looks like Harrah’s management style has really sunk in at the Palace. I’m not a big gambler, and Harrah’s caters to their loyal players, and it is quite evident throughout the casino (from the dedicated check-in lines, and casino cage windows). I guess I won’t be staying at this property, unless I really start putting that Total Rewards card, in each slot I play, or asking each pit boss, to track my play. Oh well.
Wynn vs. Bellagio comparison:
I am a huge Steve Wynn fan, and I have followed his career, since the first time I stayed at Treasure Island (early ‘90s). So, I was thrilled, to say the least, the first time I stayed at both Bellagio and Wynn Las Vegas.
To start off, I’ll give you my thoughts on Bellagio, followed by my thoughts on Wynn.
Bellagio, seems to be going downhill fast. Compared to the personal service that one receives at Wynn, this AAA Five-Diamond Award-winning property is really heading down-hill. When I arrived, during this trip, the bolt on my in-room safe, was out. So, the safe wouldn’t close. When I noticed this I called maintenance, and they said someone would be up in twenty-minutes to fix it. Forty-five minutes later, no one had come to the door, I called again, and they said it would be ten-minutes. Another forty-five minutes later, I was still stuck in my room, and no one had shown up. I called a third time, and the maintenance person, finally came. When I compare this to the fact, that the CD player in my room at Wynn, was broken, and an attendant was up to my room with a new one, in ten minutes, makes me wonder how a property with service like Bellagio’s can keeps its five-diamond rating. (Also, that was just one instance of the shotty service, that I received at Bellagio.)
Bellagio seems to, also, be in a serious state of flux, over what kind of property it wants to be. It seems like it is both an MGM property, but it wants to stay a Wynn property, and this shows. The test swatches for the wall covering are still up in certain parts of the casino, there are still test carpet test swatches up in the casino, as well. The property also shows a dip in quality, when you compare the Spa Tower crown-molding, wall coverings, and convention areas, to that of the main tower. I might be nit picking, but when you walk along Via Fiore, from the lobby, to Jean-Phillipe Patisserie, you can tell, that the same design philosophies, weren’t utilized in the two construction projects. Let me just say, when intricate mosaics stop, and fairly ugly 3-D marble combinations start, something is wrong.
To sum up my thoughts on Bellagio, I see a property, that when it opened, was the most beautiful city, not only in Las Vegas, but even the world. Now, it’s a mish-mash of huge crowds, mis-matched guest areas, and restaurants (FIX), nightclubs (Light), and shops (La Scarpa) that don’t fit into their surroundings.
These statements bring me to this thought, Wynn Las Vegas, is truly the luxury property in Las Vegas, its has a solid, unified design, and a management team that not only keeps the guests quite content, but also isn’t afraid to admit that they certain retail/dining/entertainment locations don’t work, and they aren’t afraid to change and remodel those failing locations.
I truly believe that Bellagio, deserves to be stripped of its five diamond award, and that Wynn deserves to receive that award.
Thanks for taking the time read, I hope you all enjoyed it.
Also, I’ll be up in Vegas in August, and, if you’d like another trip report, I can write one up with my thoughts on Venetian. Also, I won’t be forgetting my camera on this next trip.
[Back to Hunter:]
Ok, that's his take. What do you think? Do you agree?
I'll admit that to a certain extent, Bellagio had dropped off my radar. I mean, I clearly never 'forgot' about Bellagio but it wasn't at the top of my list when planning activities for upcoming trips.
That changed a bit for me when I took the aforementioned back of house tour. Going on that tour reminded me of what a masterpiece Bellagio really is. When they say, 'no expense was spared', they really mean it. I haven't done a tour in all of Wynn's employee areas yet but what I am told by employees is that the simply isn't as nice as Bellagio once you get behind the 'Employees Only' doorway.
At Bellagio all the back-of-house areas are fully finished, in that the colors, paint, etc... continue into the back of house where at Wynn they stuck with the natural cinder block and concrete. That's not to say that this won't change at WLV or even that it is a big issue at all. Still, it's something I noticed and it really helped to renew my love affair with Bellagio.
Thanks again to John for submitting his report.