Thanks to reader Aaron_B for sharing this trip report from CES 2008. I know several readers will be interested to hear about and see photos of the renovated suites at Bellagio.
The photos are here:
I was in town from January 4th to the 10th for CES. While I was once again staying at Bellagio for six nights on this trip I was most curious to check out the Palazzo.
On the morning of the 5th I headed down the strip to check out Palazzo. As I walked past the Mirage it was obvious even from that distance that there is still significant finish work to be done on Palazzo’s exterior. The EFIS (aka. synthetic stucco) panels on the end of the building to the right of the Palazzo lettering had obviously not been sealed & still needed a finish coat of paint or stucco as it did not match the front side of the building. Upon crossing the street and waking up the Palazzo entrance it became even more obvious just how incomplete the building is. Just to the right of the driveway on the Venetian side there are still cranes and exposed steel work. On the columns that support the arched entry way over the Palazzo driveway there is wiring sticking out which will presumably be connected to light fixtures eventually. Upon walking into the port cochere it was comical to see about twelve Palazzo valets, bellman, and doorman standing around with their hands in their pockets as there were no customers in sight. The awnings with the Palazzo logo which are placed over some windows near the entrance still had large parts of the plastic protective coatings that the manufacturers had shipped them in attached making it look like there were garbage bags flapping in the wind over the windows. There were many places where the paint had not been applied to the walls along the walkway up to the port cochere. Upon entering the entryway between the port cochere and the main lobby you immediately notice the height of the ceiling and the entryway feels spacious. The trees in planters along the entryway are fake plastic trees. In front of the lobby there is a large glass sculpture underneath a glass dome skylight allowing natural light and surrounded by columns and flowers. The floors have large circular marble inlays. The lobby front desk area has a very high ceiling & a mirrored wall behind the front desk containing a large vase in the center. The front desk staff looked bored as they only had a couple customers to help. The Palazzo casino felt small in overall size. The casino has wide walkways and seems to be an improvement over the Venetian casino. The Palazzo shopping area has multiple levels and has several fountains and a waterfall. The large trees that line the columns in the shopping area are fake plastic trees. Several of the fountains contained large amounts of what appeared to be sheetrock dust which had settled to the bottom and looked pretty nasty. The waterfall has several obelisk’s on each side of it which are made of marble. The obelisk’s had large smudges of something on them indicating that they had not been cleaned prior to “opening.”
Overall Palazzo met my expectations for a new LVS property which were pretty low. I was very surprised that the areas which had been “opened” had not been thoroughly cleaned prior the opening of that area. I think Palazzo is definitely a step up from the Venetian, though I do not think that the facility can compete with the likes of Wynn or Bellagio. It is hard to rate the build quality of Palazzo as it looks like the contractors have not even begun to work through their final punch lists to correct problems or defects, but the overall layout, design and materials falls far short of Wynn & Bellagio. If Palazzo plans on charging Wynn & Bellagio type rates I don’t foresee myself staying there. LVS’s decision to soft open Palazzo does little good for the first impressions of its first visitors. IMHO a proper Wynn style opening would have been a better choice.
Back at Bellagio I had the pleasure of staying in one of their newly renovated Bellagio suites in the main tower. MGM Mirage finally gave Bellagio the much need renovations to their original suites. The changes made to the suites were mainly cosmetic. They repainted everything, replaced the carpet, wallpaper, and all of the furniture in the suite. The crown molding, doors, and baseboards are now painted a cream off white color and the wood molding around the fabric wall panels in the living room is painted a dark brown color. The fabric wall panels are a beige color and the new sofa is a dark brown with lighter colored patterned pillows. The large entertainment center from the old suites is gone and replaced with a low credenza containing the mini bar and a Phillips mini surround sound system/dvd/cdplayer. The new TV’s are 42 inch Phillips Plasma HDTV’s. The choice of using a Plasma instead of an LCD HDTV seems to have been a bad one on Bellagio’s part as the still almost brand new Phillips Plasma already had the Bellagio logo burned into it as well as other text from the Bellagio in room music channels. The picture quality aside from the burned in Bellagio logo was decent on the few HDTV digital channels available but the standard definition analog channels and in house Bellagio chanels and menus looked horrible with snow and interference and the remote barely worked. Bellagio’s A/V engineer’s managers should be embarrassed by the burn in, snow and horrible picture quality of the in house Bellagio channels. Since I hardly watch TV in Vegas the TV was not a problem for me but I think it is likely to disappoint some Bellagio customers. The bathrooms have all new brushed nickel fixtures and the steam shower in the “his” bath has a new frameless glass door and improved digital control for the steam feature. The bathrooms also have new 20’ Phillips LCD HDTV’s. The bedroom now has a nice bench at the end of the bed and new dark wood desk with a nice comfortable chair. The previous large armoire has been replaced with a short dresser with a 34’ Phillips LCD HDTV. The LCD TV in the bedroom had a better picture than the plasma in the living room as it had no burn in on it. The new furniture in the suite was very comfortable & overall the renovations have made the Bellagio suite an excellent place to stay. The only thing I miss about the old suites is that Bellagio got rid of the built in mini fridge which had its own ice maker. They made up for this by asking if I would like a portable fridge which was delivered right away and they filled the ice bucket at the turn down service every night. The suite had a couple of burned out light bulbs and the shower drain was slow when I arrived. The front desk had maintenance take care of both issues immediately. All of my interactions with Bellagio’s staff were excellent reinforcing my opinion from previous stays that Bellagio has the some of the best customer service around. I will most likely return to Bellagio on my next trip.