Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog

January 1, 2007

Reader Trip Report: Bellagio December 2006

Posted by Hunter

Thanks to reader Aaron_B for this well written trip report from Bellagio. This is his first contribution so let's give him a warm welcome.

Also, if there's anyone else out there that would like to share a report, please feel free to send them to I cannot guarantee that it will be published but I will guarantee to read it and get back to you. I'm especially interested in reports from hotels that we don't cover as often (i.e. not Wynn Las Vegas, The Mirage, Bellagio, etc...) but that doesn't mean you cannot submit one from the above.

Some photos are also posted:

The report continues after the jump. Enjoy!

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , ,

This year for the Christmas holidays I decided to take my parents to Vegas and treat them six nights at Bellagio. I figured what better way to spend the holidays than showing off Vegas to two “Vegas virgins.”

We arrived on the 21st around 11:30am. Check in at Bellagio was a breeze. There was hardly any line and they had a Bellagio Suite in the main tower ready.

Upon entering our suite in the west wing on the 33rd floor I was initially a bit disappointed to discover that the 33rd floor has the balustrades outside the windows which does somewhat detract from the views if you are sitting away from the window in the suite. Beware if you are staying in a suite at Bellagio all of the suites on floors 29 and 33 have the balustrades and some of the suites have the balustrades on 35. Interestingly the balustrades are apparently made of some sort of stucco covered foam ala the Venetian which are now starting to show their age with cracks, some of which you could see clear through. Hopefully repairing or replacing the main tower balustrades is on MGM’s maintenance to do list. Otherwise the views from our suite were pretty spectacular with a view of the south strip, the Project City Center construction, the pool area, spa tower and the mountains. The suite itself had been very well maintained and was in excellent condition despite being one of the original suites which has yet to be renovated. My parents were quite impressed by the fact that the suite had two and a half baths. After enjoying the steam shower in the suite I’d now love to have one installed in my own house. The quality of the marble tile work and wood molding in the Bellagio suites always impresses me.

A bellman brought up our bags within five minutes and the rollaway bed I had requested appeared in ten minutes which I thought was pretty quick service.

Throughout our stay at Bellagio I was very impressed with the quality of service which we received. Everyone at Bellagio did their best to provide personalized service and though I have always been impressed by the service at Bellagio I felt that they have brought their service up to a higher level compared to my previous visits. I guess the strong competition from Wynn has helped make Bellagio step things up.

One night we could hear loud thumping bass from a neighboring suite at about 1:15am. I called security and they took care of the noise problem within ten minutes. We did not hear any more noise from the other suites through the rest of our stay.

As Hunter mentioned in his recent Podcast the Bellagio Casino renovations are pretty much complete. All of the awnings in the casino have been replaced as well as the supporting structures. Almost all of the chairs at the table games and slot machines have been recovered and have a new teal colored striped backing. I think I spotted only a couple rows of chairs with the old backing in front of the Buffet. Most of the table games have had their green felt replaced with tan felt. All of the carpet throughout the casino is new. I think all of the casino renovations are a nice improvement.

As others have already mentioned on the blog the VIP check in area has been renovated and the vip elevator lobby & elevators have been totally renovated with dark wood and more contemporary furnishings. I was pleasantly surprised that the renovated vip elevator lobby looked better in person than it did in pictures. As has been mentioned the elevators now are identical the suites elevators in the Spa Tower. I have to say that though I really liked those elevators before I think with the updates they now look much more contemporary. The doors from the vip check in to the elevator lobby and casino have an unusual type of glass with varying shades of teal and white strips of glass melded together. During our second day someone cracked the glass in one of the new doors between the vip check in and the elevator lobby. The cracked glass was not replaced during our stay. I would guess that the unusual glass in the doors is Chihuly glass & probably will take them some time to get a replacement made.

As always at Bellagio there were constantly employees cleaning the public areas keeping the place looking great. One location which surprisingly fell through the cracks of the cleaning crews was the center elevator in the bank of 3 elevators off the vip check in lobby. There was a half eaten strawberry sitting on the floor of this elevator throughout the entire day on Christmas day and into the next morning. I was surprised they did not have anyone check these elevators for such a long time, though it was Christmas day and possibly they were being more lax then usual. Other than the strawberry they were doing a good job keeping things looking nice.

The Christmas display in the Conservatory was beautiful as were the decorations in the lobby area and the small courtyard behind the front desk.

The only on property dining I did at Bellagio on this trip were three meals at the Café which were all very good in quality of food and service. I was surprised how busy they were on Christmas Eve and Christmas day & I never would have gotten into the Café without a line pass as the line stretched all the way through the conservatory into the lobby. I did not eat at the Buffet on this trip but the line for the buffet stretched all the way to the main guest elevators.

We went to see “O” on Christmas Eve. I had seen “O” once before two years ago but it was just as impressive the second time. I believe they have made some changes to the show since the last time I had seen it and because there is so much going on in the show you could see it numerous times and still pick out different things you had missed before.

We ended up visiting nearly all the properties on the strip during our stay. I think the recent changes at the Mirage are all very nice. MGM seems to have done a good job keeping the Mirage up to date. I have never been a huge fan of the TI & can’t say MGM has done so well keeping TI up to date. The Venetian seemed pretty much unchanged from my previous visits. The main doors off the lobby at the Venetian were absolutely filthy & looking pretty shabby. You would think with all the money the V takes in they could keep the place a little cleaner. The fire damage on the tower outside is still visible. I guess LVS is putting every penny into building Palazzo. Wynn was looking great as always. I enjoyed getting to spend more time at Wynn on this trip than I was able to on my last trip. We enjoyed a good informal meal at Zoocrackers at Wynn. It was funny to hear my folks who had never before been to Vegas & are not really into casinos at all comment; “It’s amazing how much nicer Wynn and Bellagio are than the other hotels.” Wynn was very busy while I was there. Security at Wynn was buzzing around some apparent vandalism which occurred to some of the seasonal decorations just inside the main entrance off the port cochere. It looked like someone had stomped through some decorations and kicked them out into the marble floor. Security was taking pictures and housekeeping was cleaning the mess up.

On our last night we saw Jerry Seinfeld’s act at Caesars which was great. I believe Jerry was only doing two shows & I was lucky enough to get tickets.

Project City Center seems to be coming along. Other than on Christmas Eve and Christmas day construction was going 24/7. Construction noise could become an issue for Bellagio guests in the southern end of the Spa Tower. If I stood right at the window I could faintly hear some construction noise from our suite in the main Bellagio Tower. I got a few pictures of the City Center site from our 33rd floor window at Bellagio. I also got a picture of the sign being installed on the City Center sales office in front of Monte Carlo. Unfortunately I forgot to take the camera down to the City Center sales office off the Bellagio lobby to get pictures of the models.

Spending Christmas in Vegas was absolutely great! Our stay at Bellagio was nearly perfect. I think Bellagio has even managed to improve on their level of service in the last year. I think Bellagio is doing a great job & definitely look forward to staying there again in the future.

Sorry this was so long. I hope everyone has a great new year!



Read archived comments (19 so far)
January 2, 2007 1:03 AM Posted by Mike E

Thank you Aaron and what a great gift to give your parents! I'll be looking forward to more of your reports here.

January 2, 2007 4:45 AM Posted by detroit1051

Aaron, thanks for the great report. As Mike_ch has accurately pointed out, I can be cynical or pessimistic. Your comments on Bellagio were very balanced. Did you happen to notice if any renovation had started on the High Limit Slot Room? It's right behind the craps tables. Last I heard, they were going to make major renovations around Christmas or early January.

January 2, 2007 7:08 AM Posted by detroit1051

The Review Journal has a story on the opening of CityCenter's permanent sales office on the Strip. For some reason, the photos accompanying the story aren't available. I find it strange that the Light Group's Residences at the Harmon won't go on sale until mid-year and that its boutique in the sales office isn't done. MGM is so organized in everything it does, this must be a frustration for them. I hope Mike_ch and other locals get there soon and give us a report.

January 2, 2007 7:20 AM Posted by Aaron_B


Thanks for the welcome!


The High Limit Slot Room did not appear to have had any changes made to it yet. I wonder if they will be doing the renovations to the High Limit room in stages as they would not want to loose their high limit players during renovations?

I did not mention in my report, but the pool area is also undergoing some repairs. The large pool closest to the wedding chapels was closed and they were fixing some of the ornamental concrete structures around that pool.

January 2, 2007 9:33 AM Posted by mike_ch

detroit: I'll take a look and see what kind of people are going in, and pop in if it's clear that other gawkers who have no business there are looking around as well.

I clearly look like a guy who couldn't buy a half-million $ suite so I don't know how long the PCC folks would put up with me. :) Wouldn't expect anything in the way of photos after last year's experiences, though.

January 2, 2007 12:04 PM Posted by Christian

The pool that is under renovation is known as pool 2. This becomes the most popular during the summer months and is constantly being fixed during the off season. The concrete planters tend to get cracked as well as the unusual concrete surface used around the pool deck.

The irrigation systems down at the pool also create a disgusting looking residue along the pilars of the main walkway.

January 6, 2007 2:30 PM Posted by KY

Don't really know what to do with this, but I thought it was amusing. I was just reading a 1993 Time article about Steve Wynn, which includes the following:

"And his next project in Las Vegas will envelop gambling inside a 160-acre resort that will include a golf course, intimate villages, a replica of Rick's Cafe Americain (the gambling joint from the movie Casablanca,) and a 14-acre lake where visitors can water- ski during the day and watch a laser show at night."

Water skiing? Wow.

January 7, 2007 5:29 PM Posted by Aaron_B


I believe the project that the 1993 Time article you are referring to is talking about is what at that time were the plans for Beau Rivage. My understanding is that Steve�s earliest concepts for the Dunes site were along the lines of what the Time article described under the name Beau Rivage. I�ve read somewhere that Steve�s architect for the project Jon Jerde absolutely hated the name Beau Rivage saying it sounded like some sort of illness & suggested Steve take a vacation to the Lake Como region of Italy for inspiration. Steve visited Bellagio Italy and decided to name the new resort Bellagio. Of course a totally different concept for Beau Rivage was ultimately built in Biloxi, MS which more closely resembles Bellagio than the original Beau Rivage concept.

January 7, 2007 5:49 PM Posted by Hunter

Perhaps this:

January 7, 2007 7:09 PM Posted by John

I still think that the Beau Rivage concept could still become a reality, albeit in a different form. By that, I mean Wynnn has all of the golf course land, which could easily be developed into a similar concept, even though he has said he wants to build two smaller resorts, surrounding the "lake" idea.

However, I forget where I heard it, but I though the main reason was that the island concept would have been hell on shipping/receiving, back of house operation, and, more importantly, customer evacuation in case of an emergency.

January 8, 2007 10:45 AM Posted by mike_ch

They could definitely do it as a condo tower. But weren't water features mostly supposed to be dead? After Bellagio and Lake Las Vegas, the residents started putting pressure on the county to stop letting new projects make these huge water displays because it was depriving the rest of the city.

January 8, 2007 10:54 AM Posted by Hunter

Well, the water for Bellagio's lake comes from a private well on the property and I was under the impression that one of the main benefits of both the Bellagio and Wynn Las Vegas sites was that the golf courses that are and were there (Desert Inn/Wynn and Dunes) came with a large amount of irrevocable water rights, vastly increasing their value and enabling the Bellagio lake and a future lake on Wynn's property.

January 8, 2007 11:05 AM Posted by John

I remember hearing something about that, when Wynn made a huge deal that he was able to gain the water rights to the DI golf course. However, does that stil mean he could build an island hotel? I mean, I know I mentioned this above, but how would you evacuate people, without them jumping into the lake that surrounds the property.

Getting back to the original Beau RIvage, was it supposed to have an Italian "theme" or was it designed as a primarily "French Riviera" style resort, which if true, would be a very interesting concept that Steve could look at using today.

January 8, 2007 3:22 PM Posted by Aaron_B


My understanding of the original Beau Rivage concept is that it was supposed to be designed as �French Riviera,� though I could be wrong. The as built Beau Rivage in Biloxi, MS has usually been described as a �mini Bellagio.�

I think an island hotel could be built successfully as the world renowned Hotel Burj Al Arab in Dubai was built on a small man made island. Burj Al Arab is much further from �shore� than any Vegas hotel on an �island� surrounded by a �lake� would be. The Wynn golf course could provide enough land to build such a resort. The �island resort� is certainly an interesting concept.

January 8, 2007 3:26 PM Posted by Hunter

About a year ago I provided some of my LV photos to Jerde for an internal video they were making. Instead of payment I asked them if they would send me the concept drawings, art and photos for Bellagio's design process with the understanding I wouldn't publish the stuff...

They did and I ended up with a CD full of some very, very interesting materials. The original project's low-rise village was originally much more ambitious with rivers leading to the lake going into the property, etc... Some cool stuff.

Actually, I recognize some of the unbuilt themes in the touches at WLV and I fully expect some of these concepts to be used for future Wynn projects on the golf course... Probably not verbatim since I'm sure MGM Mirage technically owns the drawings and designs - but in spirit at least.

I've shown these to a few people when they are at my house - it's pretty damn cool to look at.

January 8, 2007 4:34 PM Posted by Lisa

I have a Penthouse Suite at the Bellagio in August. I too will need a roll away bed. What are the roll away beds like? Are they comfortable for an adult?

January 8, 2007 6:06 PM Posted by Aaron_B


That�s really cool that Jerde sent you their drawings for Bellagio! Was Jerde�s involvement in the Bellagio project primarily the low rise portion? I�d be curious to know what if any other concepts they had considered for the high rise portion.

At Bellagio one of the things the impresses me the most about the property is the close attention to nearly every detail in its design. From the lake view rooms and suites you can see that the �village� portion of the low rise is even carried over to the back side of the low rise portion which faces the tower to hide air handling & mechanical equipment for the casino. From pictures I have seen of Wynn Las Vegas�s low rise roof it appears that they did not go to such lengths to hide unsightly mechanical equipment on the low rise roof there.


The roll away beds at Bellagio feature a single mattress. I believe the mattress is a Serta mattress which is nearly is thick as the mattresses on the regular beds minus the box springs. I found the roll away bed to be very comfortable. The roll away was almost as comfortable as the regular beds at Bellagio which I have found to be the best anywhere.

One thing I have found funny at Bellagio is that the beds in the regular rooms have about six pillows on them, two of which are decorative & have a storage compartment in the night stand for them, while the Bellagio Suites in the main tower feature only the standard two pillows on them. The suites do have two extra pillows in the closet if you need them.

January 8, 2007 6:48 PM Posted by Hunter

The materials I have are all related to the low-rise buildings... The high rise exterior was basically setup to be compatible with the final low-rise designs.

May 9, 2008 7:10 AM Posted by Rod M. Bedell

Dear Folks:
I have been working for some time on a full scale model of Rick's Cafe' Americain from the movie Casablanca. I was wondering if Steve Wynns plans mentioned in the Time article 5/03/93 for a replica of RICK'S ever came to fruition. Thanks for your consideration.

Rod M. Bedell