I stayed in a new Bellagio room and I'm telling you all about it.
My photos are here: http://photo.ratevegas.com/Other/Bellagio-August-2011/18787622_vpPdgc
The write-up is after the jump.
This past week, I stayed a single night a renovated room at Bellagio.
I love Bellagio. I was sucked in early by the original ad campaign and it's never lost it's allure for me. If there was a debate on Wynn Las Vegas vs. the B, I think there's a strong case to be made for the latter. It's a great hotel.
Yes, it's had it's ups and downs - there was a dark period somewhere around 2003-2005 where things seemed to have fallen off significantly. Fortunately, since the opening of the Spa Tower, some casino improvements and now the remodel, MGM seems to be putting some money into the joint.
There are a bunch of changes I'm not a fan of: the new(ish) Carta Privada looks like an alien ship landed on Roger's carpet ; some of the restaurant changes are suspect ; The Bank can sometimes flood the casino with random miscreants and whoever the fuck authorized Hyde Lounge should be shot. Beyond that, it still has a lot of that Wynn/Thomas/Radoff/Butler/Wynn charm.
In June, VegasTripping broke a story about what the long-rumored room remodel would look like... Or at least one of the designs. The update was widely criticized, including us bashing it on the Vegas Gang. It just didn't feel very Bellagio.
That's not to say that the older designs were perfect. The last set of adjustments had filled the rooms with an extremely large armoire that included a massive tube television. How very 90s.
I was as vicious as anyone when I saw those photos. Egads, they looked awful. Turns out, as the summer progressed, we got a look at some of the other designs. Not quite as offensive as the original foliage explosion but still questionable.
I had to try one.
I've stayed at Bellagio many times. My first trip was a few weeks after opening and I remember it well. The housekeeper was still in our room when we got there. She was one of the nicest and friendliest hotel employees I've ever met, sharing stories about a career working for Steve and how she'd been with the company since The Mirage. I still remember every detail about that conversation.
Since then, I've had trips staying in suites, standard rooms, the Spa Tower, etc... I've been all over the hotel including back of house tours, checking out the villa floor and the various VIP areas. As a whole, it's an extremely impressive facility and I've come to really appreciate it as a masterwork.
Turns out that if you want to try one of the new rooms, Bellagio will book you one for a $30 premium. There are still more floors un-done than done and they can get away with charging early adopters a little extra. I believe my stay for a Thursday night in August was $129.
Out of the elevator, my first impression was the two-tone-ish carpet. This is identical to the very first set of VT photos and it's one of my favorite parts of the re-do. It seems more stylistically ballsy than most of the other choices and also just true to itself: it's both fun and respectable at the same time. As for the other parts of the guest corridors, they feel somewhat cheap, like some of the newer casino fixtures downstairs. Just compare the corridors here to the re-done Wynn versions from a few months back. Night and day - the Wynn corridors manage to feel special where this Bellagio update is almost like a really nice Holiday Inn. I think I saw that light fixture at Home Depot.
Okay, we're at the room. Beep beep.
First impression - there's a lot more light in this room than the previous models. One of my main complaints about the older design was that it always felt so dark, to the point of being a little depressing. Way too heavy. Bellagio doesn't have the benefit of floor-to-ceiling windows, a trend that took hold right after it was completed. With lighter wallpaper, carpet and drapery, the room feels more alive. This is probably the biggest achievement of this updated design.
The insanely large armoire has been replaced by a slightly less insane entertainment center / closet. The Samsung TV is now an LCD, doing away with the ancient tube model that was previously using up all the space. The desk, desk chair and other room accessories are also new - my room featured a great view of the villas below and the pool beyond. A larger safe is now bedside, including plenty of room for my iPad and MacBook Air, amongst the other random crap I wanted to secure. No outlets in the safe as you'll find at Venetian/Palazzo though.
The bed is also new. I slept fairly well - about as good as can be expected in a hotel. The Wynn Dream Bed is still the gold standard in my opinion.
The bathroom is not significantly re-worked. You'll notice new wallpaper and a few other tweaks but generally, it's the same (very nice and spacious) bathroom it's always been.
In case you're not already aware, Bellagio has joined the resort fee bandwagon. The only part of those services I care about is the Wi-Fi... Well, unfortunately the Wi-Fi sucked. Low signal strength and when connected, it was super slow. Combine this with below-average in-room AT&T 3G signal and we have a recipe for unhappy Internet junkies. If every hotel on The Strip isn't working on having the best in-room Internet, they're missing an opportunity to impress their customers.
Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by my time in these updated rooms. Yes, the wallpaper and carpet are a bit 'souvlaki palace' but I still enjoyed it. That said, if you showed me this room photo out of context, I would have never guessed it was Bellagio. Despite having been very comfortable, I still think the design team missed out on what makes a room in this hotel what it is.
I guess they can try again in 2017 but in the meantime, I'll have no problem staying here.