Both of my trips to Vdara were extremely problematic for me as a guest - stuff was broken, long waits, service issues, etc... I decided to write a letter detailing my experience to the hotel's general manager, Angela Lester.
I also decided to post the letter here, after the jump. If she responds, I will also make sure to post that as well.
I tried to be fair and this is not meant to embarrass the hotel but as a paying guest, this stuff shouldn't happen. Comments are welcome.
Dear Ms. Lester:
I was a guest at Vdara between Tuesday, December 15th and and Thursday December 17th ($159/night) having also stayed Saturday December 5th ($309). I am writing to inform you of problems I encountered during both stays in the hope this information is helpful to you.
I want to be clear - I am not asking for any compensation or recompense. Also, you should be aware that this letter is being posted at TwoWayHardThree.com, my casino design and Las Vegas industry blog. Given that the hotel is charging normal market rates for its rooms, I feel it's fair to make my readers aware of the problems encountered so that they can make up their own minds about patronizing Vdara.
I'll attempt to follow a simple chronology of that second trip to try to make the frustration encountered easier to understand.
Things started off well - I was able to check in as early as 9am - long before the typical 3pm prescription. This time I was overlooking ARIA - I noticed immediately that it was a good bit smaller than my previous Bellagio facing room, though both being considered 'standard', I assume due to the curvature of the building. I was happy to see that the room had a coffee maker, something missing from the room during my first stay.
For the first day, everything seemed fine - it wasn't until that evening that the trouble began. At about 10pm I attempted to get back into my room but the door lock would not work. I headed back down to the desk and spoke with the manager on duty. He volunteered to head back up to the room with me to check. The manager validated my assertion that the keys indeed did not work and used his master key to let me into the room. He offered to send the maintenance team over the next day to take a look.
I spent a comfortable night in the room - on my previous trip, the A/C unit had come on at about 3am with a loud, consistent banging noise, I assume due to some sort of internal defect. Nothing like that this time around.
The next day, after a trip to the spa, I headed back downstairs to see about having those technicians sent up and the door lock repaired. The same manager was on duty and he remembered my issue, saying that he would be sending the team up 'right away'. He let me back into the room and I waited... and waited... and waited... About 30 minutes later, I called down to the desk and was informed that the team was 'on the way' and would be there soon. I waited another 20 minutes before calling again. At this point I was told that the representatives of the door lock company had to be called in and neither they nor the MGM team was on property. They would 'be there soon'.
While this was going on, my message light on the phone lit up. I pressed the button and was referred to a live operator. I asked if I had a message and was told to hold. I did so for about two minutes and the operator came back on the line. She asked if I was calling from inside the hotel - I informed her that I was indeed inside my room. I was asked to hold again, this time for about three minutes. The operator came back on and asked me to verify my name... then back on hold. When the operator came back on the line this time, I was told I would need to speak with her manager. At this point I wondered if some sort of joke was being played on me - waiting in my room for engineers that were not showing up and playing some sort of phone game trying to get a message. Before the manager came on, the phone disconnected. I did not call back for the message and opted to pick it up at the desk later.
The front desk manager eventually called back with news on the lock - he informed me that they didn't know what they were going to do about the door, implying it would take some time to fix. He offered to move me to a larger room and to apply a small dining credit. I took him up on the offer and let him know I appreciated it. It was a nice gesture given the extreme inconvenience of the door lock problems we had encountered.
The room we moved into was beautiful, even if the windows were extremely dirty. I didn't experience any problems with the keys in the newer room.
Several hours later, while getting ready for the evening, all of the phones in this new room went completely dead - no dial tone - nothing. This lasted for about 15 minutes after which they resumed normal operations.
The room service order that evening was promised in 30 minutes, though it took 65. No apology or explanation was offered but the food was quite tasty and was not cold.
Might I make a suggestion? Both of the rooms on this trip had only a single trashcan (in the bathroom) for the entire room. This seemed inconvenient. Also, the stopper in the sink was not connected to the adjuster - I had to pry the stopper out with my fingernails to get the water to drain.
The next morning I was due to move to Aria for the next leg of the trip. When we called the bell desk, we were told that in order to move the approximately 150 feet between the two entrances, we'd have to get in cab with our bags and move to Aria's Las Vegas Blvd. porte-cochere. I was told that even though I had already checked in at Aria and just needed to move bags, the Vdara bell cart was not allowed to enter the Aria property and that there was no underground access to shuttle bags. It was hard not to laugh at this situation as the crowning breakdown of trip seemingly full of them.
I realize that opening a new hotel complex is extraordinarily difficult. I hope this information is helpful. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about anything I have written.