Thanks to reader mike_ch who sent in the trip report from Wynn Las Vegas that you will find after the jump.
The photos that go with this report are now online:
So, about a week ago, we got an email inviting us to two nights at Wynn.
For the few who didn't know, I live in Las Vegas and although Wynn once gave us free rooms because we forgot to forward them our new address (like everyone else, Wynn loves throwing rooms at Californians for a few weekdays) it was truly confusing to see another one coming to us now. How could such a thing happen? I have one guess which is that they really want to get as many rooms filled as possible so they can boast a high room occupancy. I'm a fairly frequent visitor to the Wynn casino because I've had some pretty decent flow there over the months. They've given me free play money over the past few months, so one week I come in and lose $60, and the next week win that back and $20 more. So maybe if they thought they threw me a couple nights, I'd bite and it wouldn't be too painful for them since I'm a fairly loyal customer with their casino. I chose Sunday and Monday nights so that I could get my FreePlay on Monday. I'd also be closer to the center of town which is great for us because we live in the remote suburbs of the northwest and the center of town, where all the industry is, is a long way away. That would shorten commute times for everyone.
Unfortunately, I received some sort of illness from bad food at a nearby taco stand on the way there so I wasn't roaming town quite like I normally do. Check-in was quite short. Room 3164 was at the very end of the hall, next to the corner room. The room was pretty much normal. That said, the Wynn is going to figure out sooner or later what parts of the hotel hold up over time and what doesn't. The place has been quite used and abused now and you can see it, from that piece of broken trim on the door in the registration area to the shower handle in the room not staying in place, dropping into the off position unless I set it straight up or beyond into scorching hot territory. For some reason, the beds didn't have that pillow with the Wynn logo stitched into it. Being at the end, we got a great view of everything from Stardust to Boulder Station. Speaking of Stardust, although the tower is just an inky blue blob at night again now that the auction is over, they did leave the marquee sign to light up each night. So you can go and get it in your Strip night-shot pictures while you still can.
Encore is down below. On weekdays the construction makes a lot of noise. I can't really tell where the casino is supposed to be on Encore, since it's just nothing but honeycomb style rooms from the bottom up. Doesn't seem to make much sense. I guess I should give it some more time?
The gambling was bad. The machines took a lot of money, even some of my favorite machines refused to pay out anything. The dealers, despite current circumstances, seem genuinely happy and interested with the players. We took a pounding to thank them for the room for a few hours but finally ran across the street to Treasure Island. Of course nothing has changed much at Treasure Island. It still looks like a blown-up version of Golden Nugget with ultralounges. They're slowly adding newer and newer slots in the corner by the bridge to Fashion Show Mall and the escalator to the Mirage tram. On Sunday night, a machine was shut down and out of order, and Monday night (one would expect slot techs to come to work that day) it was still out of order and now the one next to it was out of order, too. So that wasn't a positive sign. Anyway the gambling at Treasure Island, what little there was, limited to a few video slots that paid out better than the ones at Wynn.
Dinner was at The Coffee Shop off the TI casino. I've had a number of less than great experiences here since MGM took over, and service was still lackluster. I had to give my begging stare at waiters to get drink refills, many of which ignored me, and then a guy in a suit went by. You know how in good restaurants when a guy in a suit sees something needs to be done he'll roll up his sleeves (metaphorically) and do some work himself? I've seen it happen a few times, including at Red Rock, but it didn't happen here. Suit Guy did his best to not look in my direction. BUT, it should be noted, the turkey sandwich (yes, turkey after thanksgiving, I know) was excellent. For all I know it might not be the healthiest option, but golly it tastes good! Recommending the sandwich, but be prepared to conserve your drink while being ignored. Then back to Wynn for more lousy gambling.
Coming back in, I saw the lingerie store near the entrance to the Esplanade that opened up a week ago. I take some pictures for this report, and get bizarre looks from people in the hall. I guess there's some things in Vegas that you just don't do. At least the place wasn't open at that hour.
Unlike most the tourists in the casino, visiting the strip is more an extension of my life than a departure from it, so I had to go to bed in the early evening before all the good-looking and interesting people flood the casino at night. I stopped by the newly-renovated The Cafe for a nighttime snack, a cinnamon roll and water. To make the obvious Bellagio comparison, last month I had a warmed-up roll and a cup of fountain soda at Palio for somewhere between $6-$7 and it was quite good. The roll at Wynn came in a plastic wrapper, was barely warm, very difficult to cut through (I eventually gave up with the plastic fork and knife and started tearing pieces off by hand), and though I paid less for water for than I would have for a bottle of soda, I wound up buying some bottled water that claims to come from Fiji or something. The total cost was $9, and I couldn't help but think that this was not worth it. It reminds me of my Zoozacrackers burger meal last year, where I paid $4 for a bottle of soda that was $2.50 in the drugstore. Basically, if you're eating at one of these quick-stop places in the Wynn, bring your own drink or buy one at the Drugstore or else prepare to take it in the wallet. I think the sandwiches at Sugar & Ice are probably worth the money, though.
I can NOT sleep on the Wynn beds. I don't know if it's because of the pillows or the mattress or what. I bought a nice Beautyrest mattress last year (think a current version of the older Heavenly beds at Westin) and considered a Wynn bed at the time, and boy I'm glad I didn't get one. I only get about five hours of sleep on this bed, every night. I'm not sure why, I just don't sleep, and it's bizarre because I find the other furnishings quite comfortable.
The next day, I had to run off and take care of personal matters for a good number of hours. I departed around 5 in the morning, which means the casino is a total dead zone. The dealers in this shift are not quite as happy as the ones at 6PM, as there's just nobody down there. I needed breakfast, and I didn't have much cash on me, which meant having to eat at Wynn (ack!) just to charge the meal to the room. I bought a newspaper and then went to the Terrace Pointe Cafe, where they were happy to just see somebody. I have heard so much on other sites (VegasTripping, perhaps?) about the pancakes at Wynn, and I tried some on our last stay here but couldn't remember them. Maybe all the rave reviews are about the pancakes at Tableau, because while these were better than your IHOP pancakes they weren't significantly better than pancakes down the street. Also, the entire dining room is now non-smoking. I don't know if they're just getting ahead of themselves on the question 7 ban or not, but it's nice to hear since my last time at Terrace Pointe was ruined by two women who inexplicably started smoking in the middle of the non-smoking section while nobody with a nametag dared to challenge them.
When I returned around noon I decided to stop by Treasure Island and ride the rail over to Mirage. I ate at the Cravings buffet for lunch, which is when I always have buffets. I had heard about a year ago on the Five Hundy podcast that Tim recommended the Mirage buffet over the TI one because it's worth the extra cost. Of course, I've tried the TI buffet and wrote my opinions on it in the RV database. It's basically almost but not quite as good as Golden Nugget, which is $5 less. The extra $3 for Cravings IS well worth it. However, I'll still continue to check into Aladdin for my high-end buffet needs. But if you like seafood, and/or particularly don't care about a meager dessert selection, this is the better buffet for you than Aladdin. It's also good if you want a custom-order gyro/panini station or a built-in bar with your buffet. Being that I didn't want any of that, I thought the prime rib was good and the waitress was overworked but trying her hardest. An RV review will appear soon.
On the way back walking through TI, the old Krispy Kreme near the the tram is now "TI to go," a sundries store that also still sells those doughnuts. I was unimpressed by the dessert section at Cravings, so I picked up a $3 bag of jellybeans (more than the supermarket $1 special, but less than the $7 they want for such candy at Wynn) and headed back to the room to watch some TV.
Palazzo is still coming along. There's now some exterior facade tilework appearing on the ground floor buildings, but just on my last trip by I noticed that the exterior facade was just beginning to crawl up the hotel tower skeleton, and it looks like they're also repainting the skeleton honeycomb of the tower white. Why?
Later on I did some gambling, the gambling was better but not quite good enough. We ate dinner at the Terrace Pointe Cafe, my second time there for the day. They don't have a chicken sandwich, so I tried a turkeyburger (yep, more turkey) that was full of flavor and seasoning and also came with a mountain of french fries. Between the buffet and how rich the food is, I just wasn't able to eat much of it and a lot must have gone to waste. Oh well. I'm a pretty bland guy when it comes to my food, but I like to be a little more adventuresome at Wynn because the restaurants are typically full of good meals and as long as there aren't any pickles or onions involved I'll be pleasantly surprised at what I've ordered. While the low-end of dining at Wynn, Terrace Pointe represents pretty much the high-point of my taste for food, and I was pleased that things have improved so much over our visits there from 8-12 months ago.
After some more 'less than excellent but not altogether terrible' gambling, we packed things up and checked out early. What can I say, we missed our old beds and I'm STILL feeling sick from the bad food I ate on the way there.
Conversation at checkout:
Wynn employee: Oh, so you're a native here! How was your stay?
"Well, I expected to lose money, but I was hoping I would do so a lot slower than I actually did."
Wynn employee: Fantastic!
And that sums up my Wynn experience. Since my last stay, restaurants have gone from a gamble good/bad experience to solid offerings on the low end, and I'm sure the high end fancy places must be nice. However, watch out for the casual drop-in places like the bakery and deli. The casino service is still as prompt as ever, but the rest of the people in the resort, from security to doormen and so on, seem to ignore me or give me attitude as though I'm a suspicious person, and I have few positive notes to chime in about them. I can begin to see where some of the Wynn detractors get their feelings from. WLV makes a big deal about how particular they were in choosing everything for their resort, but choosiness doesn't impress me at times with the costs they always seem to demand. While what they offer is usually not bad, only now and then do I think it's actually good. The weird thing is that I like Steve's other properties, I feel they're usually just as nice (MGM TI changes aside) and Mirage and TI never make me feel like I'm too cheap or too unwanted to hang around even when I'm a guest at the hotel. Of course, Bellagio usually treats me even worse as a visitor, but of course I'm a total rube for it's villa theme, it's visual flair and the dancing waters, so two weeks after swearing it off forever I'll look over at the lake, get sentimental, and return.
Wynn will keep me as a fairly regular casino customer so long as our give-take relationship (which on this visit was mostly take) continues, but I can no longer see myself as eagerly recommending it to one of our wealthier friends who stayed at Bellagio last time. But maybe it's my regular casino visits that desensitizes me to the rest of the resort, as I seem to be at Wynn as often as I am at Red Rock now and I suppose that makes it less impressive. I suppose you can't always Wynn.