Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog

All Articles for Category: Reader Reviews

So, here's my 4,200 word set of notes on my stay last week at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.

I hope you enjoy it - please leave your comments below.

If you want to see photos from my stay, a complete gallery is located here.

Keep reading after the jump.

July 11, 2009

Encore and THEhotel, July 5-8

Posted by Mike E

Here's a play by play of my recent return from an Encore Salon Suite. Enjoy!

April 1, 2009

Encore, March 29-31.

Posted by Mike E

Here's a short review from my most recent trip including tours of both the Duplex Apartments and Sky Casino at Encore. Enjoy and feel free to skip to sections that interest you.

December 26, 2008

Encore's Grand Opening Review

Posted by Mike E

Here's my full review of Encore including four restaurants, the spa, and other notes from my December trip. Enjoy!

November 26, 2008

Global Gaming Expo 2008: Alive and Kicking

Posted by Hunter

Matthew Farley, author of "Good Food, Good Whiskey, and a Good Gamble: Outdated Nostaligia or Still Effective Today?" was kind enough to write up and share his thoughts after attending G2E in Las Vegas.

This dovetails nicely with yesterday's Vegas Gang coverage of the event.

Thanks to Matthew for sharing his insights - I'm sure you'll all enjoy this.

Click through for more...

September 26, 2008

Macau Trip Report - September 2008

Posted by Hunter

George (Drambuieman) is back with another great report on Macau. Some info on CotaiJet, Ponte 16 and more.

Click through to read and be sure to check out the photos:

A big thank you and congratulations to Sean, the author of this excellent trip report featuring a stay at Wynn Las Vegas. You sir, are a class act, putting all of this together.

This is a very fun story that I can pretty much guarantee will make you smile. It even includes a special guest appearance by Steve and Elaine Wynn!

Keep reading after the jump for more...

August 21, 2008

Macau August 2008 Report - Grand Waldo

Posted by Hunter

George is back with another trip report from Macau, this time to the Grand Waldo.

Continue reading after the jump for all your SAR goodness.

Photos are posted here:

Here's yet another report where I sample some amazing food, nightlife, and the new Palms Place. Enjoy!

July 29, 2008

Motoman's July 2008 Trip Report

Posted by Hunter

Regular reader motoman has been kind enough to share with us a report of a recent trip. Here's Moto:

"What follows is a fairly lengthy report about a fairly mundane trip (certainly not up to Mike E standards, but then, who could top that? ;-) It's roughly chronological but each paragraph has its own subject, so feel free to follow along, skip ahead, or skip completely as you prefer, after the jump."

July 18, 2008

Palazzo Restaurants Reviewed (Part One)

Posted by Hunter

This link made the rounds last week and I didn't post it but I've been enjoying this blog so much, I now feel like I need to share.

If you love Vegas food, this is a site to visit regularly (or subscribe via RSS).

July 8, 2008

Treasure Island 2008 Review at

Posted by Hunter

My good friend and fellow Vegas Gang member, Chuck at has posted an updated review of Treasure Island.

I used to stay at TI all the time and I used to recommend it as a great value. That was before the hotel went through massive transformations a few years back... The rates have gone up so it's less affordable than it was but there are still some good things about TI. I really like Isla and I am interested to try Social House. Mystere is still a show I recommend all the time.

Anyway, check out Chuck's review:

Thanks again to George "Dram Man" Geddes for providing a trip report based around his recent trip to Macau.

The photos, previously published, are here:

Thanks George! Continue after the jump...

This past week I was able to try a few new restaurants and so I have some brief comments on what I thought. To give some background on my tastes, I'm a pretty simple eater into traditional restaurants and while I do like to splurge when I can, my day-to-day tastes are basic.

Cut (Steakhouse) at The Palazzo - Cut is a new restaurant from Wolfgang Puck, located at The Palazzo in the atrium that connects to The Venetian. We were seated right on time for our reservation and overall service throughout the meal was excellent. They offer quite a few variations on the beef - both American and Japanese and many sub-variants. They're good at explaining the relative merits, as well as suggesting sauce pairings and other dishes. My New York from Nebraska was basically prepared perfectly. I also had some mashed potatoes that were addictive as hell and finished with a killer take on banana cream pie. I easily recommend Cut to anyone looking for a good steak, though Delmonico down the hall still has an edge IMHO.

This is not a good place for vegetarians. Very few alternatives.

One strange thing, common to both Cut and Table 10 - the decor of the restaurant seems several degrees cheaper than what you'd expect based on food, prices and service. Both places felt more like 'mall restaurants' than other high end joints like Delmonico, Carnevino, Prime, etc...

Nove (Italian) at The Palms - I don't make it over to The Palms that often and when I do, it's almost always just to eat. I love Italian food and was looking to try something new so we ended up here.

The restaurant is located near the top of the Fantasy Tower which guarantees a great view of The Strip. We weren't next to the window but you can still easily get a nice look.

The menu has a lot of simple, traditional Italian dishes. We had a pizza and salads to start and I followed with chicken parmigiana. All of the food was really, really good. Incredible mouth watering and addictive.

Service was present but not overbearing and the overall decor and vibe was comfortable and casual. I would come back to Nove pretty much anytime.

I did have a slight altercation with an employee as we were leaving. I may or may not write that up later but he didn't work for the restaurant so no points off for them.

Table 10 (American) at The Palazzo - I've eaten at quite a few of Emeril's restaurants in both Vegas and New Orleans and I've never been disappointed.

Table 10 was another winner - great food. I had jambalaya which was full of chicken and shrimp - tasted great. Also, the 'cheddar beer' soup was awesome. I finished with sorbet that was good but was nothing special.

Service was strong. I spilled water all over the table and they were in there faster than I could snap my fingers cleaning things up.

Regarding decor, see my note above. Sorta a strange trend but unmistakable. The kitchen is open to the dining area so you can watch them work, plus you can see across to Wynn Las Vegas and Encore.

For any of the above restaurants, please feel free to leave questions in the comments and I will try to answer.

January 23, 2008

Palazzo Las Vegas - Opening Weekend Thoughts

Posted by Hunter

Palazzo is the finest hotel ever built in Las Vegas - Las Vegas Sands In-Room Magazine

"Give me a break. This whole thing is the biggest fairy tale I've ever seen." - Red Faced Guy

I was in Las Vegas at the end of December on a trip that was supposed to coincide with the soft opening of The Palazzo, the first major property to open on the Strip since Wynn Las Vegas in 2005. Of course, we know how that turned out - Las Vegas Sands postponed the soft-open for a few days and by the time guests were walking through, I was back at home.

When another excuse for a trip popped up, this time coinciding with the 'real' opening of The Palazzo, the credit card was primed and ready. I reserved a standard 'suite' for two nights at a rate of about $300/night. I've been a critic of The Venetian in the past but I really wanted to go into this past weekend without pre-judging the property... at least that was my goal.

Keep reading after the jump for my thoughts on The Palazzo, some comparisons to other properties, and some specific notes on the photos.

Photo gallery:

January 13, 2008

Trip Report January 2008: Bellagio Suites and Palazzo

Posted by Hunter

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:


December 30, 2007

THEhotel, December 26-29, 2007

Posted by Mike E

After a six-month hiatus, I headed back to town spending three nights at my old, favorite haunt before Wynn opened: THEhotel. My thoughts on the property, some gambling highlights, and general observations follow after the jump.

September 27, 2007

Strip Walk: September 2007

Posted by Hunter

Well, you know the drill at this point. Another episode featuring MGM Grand, Wynn Las Vegas, City Center and more.

Photos are here: RateVegas Photos

This time we get a bonus video: Diablo's Cantina

September 7, 2007

VegasTripping Goes to Macau And Trippies 2007!

Posted by Hunter

My good friend Chuck at is heading to Macau next week. Despite being very jealous, I'm happy to send you guys over to his site to get the regular updates he'll be posting - I know that I'm looking forward to some very thorough reporting from the field, HST style.

If you want to follow the mayhem as it unfolds, here's the best link for the action:

Second up, their annual 'Best Of' list, the Trippies, are now open for nominations. Feel free to nominate us - the parent Web site,, this blog and even our podcast, which we're bringing back into a more regular schedule with live call-in shows (next Sunday the 16th!).

July 27, 2007

The SkyLOFTS Party: July 22-24, 2007

Posted by Mike E

Shortly after my solo trip last March, my friend Jeff and I started talking about what we could do to celebrate his graduation. We decided to go to Vegas (no surprise there) around his birthday to kill two birds with one stone...

(Continue reading after the jump)

June 30, 2007

iPhone Delivers

Posted by Hunter

Well, this has nothing to do with Las Vegas but I am having so much fun with my new iPhone that I decided I had to post something. It is living up to the hype - it is awesome.

Thanks to Dave Schwartz for allowing us to publish his recent Atlantic City trip report.

The report is after the jump and the photos that go with it are here:

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June 7, 2007

June 2007 Las Vegas Strip Development Update

Posted by Hunter

Thanks to mike_ch who is back with another Las Vegas Strip development/construction update.

The photos are here:

Keep reading after the jump!

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May 4, 2007

Reader Report: Bellagio April 2007

Posted by Hunter

Thanks to reader Aaron_B for providing this write up and photos from his recent trip to Bellagio.

His report follows after the jump and the photos, available at the link below, show off some of the recent construction work. You'll also see some comments on the new car rental facility at LAS.

Thanks Aaron!!

Quick note on the balustrade damage: I remember seeing some of that way back in May 1999, just after opening. I looked out my window and was surprised that it was already cracked.

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Here comes mike_ch's Las Vegas construction update April 2007. This one covers Paris, Planet Hollywood/Aladdin, Bellagio, City Center, NYNY, Excalibur, Mandalay Bay and Luxor.

Thanks again to him for providing this stuff.

Photos are located here:

There are also some new videos, located here:

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March 30, 2007

Book: Open Road's Best of Las Vegas

Posted by Hunter

It's been awhile but I have a book recommendation: Open Road's Best of Las Vegas.

Now, first off, I need to disclose that the author recommended this very blog in the book but that's where my affiliation with the book ends. I actually didn't even know it was in there until Tim from Five Hundy told me that we were both mentioned.

That inspired me to get the book and I was pleasantly surprised to find a competent travel guide, especially useful to less seasoned Las Vegas travelers. What I like about the book is that it goes further than many others, which often look like they sourced all of their material from hotel press materials.

Not only does it break down travel plans by type of trip (i.e. bachelor party, girls weekend, vintage Vegas, nature weekend), it also features recent and comprehensive details on all the major valley attractions.

If you're looking for a book to guide you on a first, second, or even 10th trip, give this a look.

PS: I know I promised my thoughts on the City Center stuff I saw at the sales pavilion. I started writing it up but I'm not finished yet. I apologize for the delay.

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Thanks to Drambuie_Man, we have a major set of new Macau photos that highlight the construction of the MGM Grand Macau, Venetian Macau and others. He was also kind enough to write up his report, which you will find after the jump.

The photos are located here:

Huge thanks go out to Drambuie_Man for taking and sharing these photos with us. He attached some notes to the photos which I have distilled and included here after the jump. I highly suggest that you give these a read along with the photos to get a better sense of context.

Here goes...

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Work got out a little early and I was on my way taking my sweet time to the airport. I had gotten a full eight hours of rest the night before and hardly any butterflies were flapping in my stomach.

Why was I not suffering the usual symptoms of pre-Vegas? Maybe because I knew it would be nearly impossible to top my last trip where I spent time in one of Wynn�s Fairway Villas with friends of nearly 20 years. What I did come to realize during this quick getaway, however, is that a solo trip where you meet others in town at your own leisure is something special in and of itself and a different kind of fun.

(More after the jump...)

Drambuie_Man is heading to Macau and has offered to take questions in advance for those of us that haven't been or can't get to the other side of the world on a regular basis. I'm lucky to have several folks in the area that have been very generous with their time and this is another example of that.

His comments are after the jump and feel free to litter the comments with requests. Also, if you are in Macau or nearby and want to hang out, email me at and I'll make mutual contact.

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February 27, 2007

Mike_ch's February Las Vegas Strip Construction Update

Posted by Hunter

Thanks again to Mike_ch who is kind enough to share his updates and thoughts on what's going on down on the Las Vegas Strip.

This one covers the Stardust, Bellagio, Wynn Las Vegas and Encore, The Venetian, Palazzo, Luxor, Mandalay Bay, Monte Carlo, New York New York, Planet Aladdin, and more.

Photos are located here:

Keep reading after the jump for the report.

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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!

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December 21, 2006

Fairway Villa Report, December 2006

Posted by Mike E

I just came back from another trip in a Wynn Fairway Villa. It was an amazing experience--far better than the first time I stayed in the villas. I've even thrown in some photos and videos of the trips events.

(More after the jump.)

December 15, 2006

Bellagio: December 2006

Posted by Hunter

We checked into Bellagio earlier today after an almost three year lapse since my last stay. While a full trip report and a podcast will follow, I can say right now that I have been very impressed with the personalized, attentive service that I've seen since we arrived.

Not only did I get a call from the concierge before we arrived but since then they have been able to accommodate several requests thrown their way. Everyone has been extremely pleasant and our Spa Tower room is very nicely decorated and includes a great view.

Generally, I am very, very impressed so far. Coming in, my wife was saying that she wished we were at Wynn Las Vegas but after a few hours here, she's lost all sense of regret.

We've got some friends coming in later tonight (they are at the Barbary Coast) and I've got a few meetings setup over the next few days which I am looking forward to, even if there were a few folks that weren't able to make it. This is shaping up to be a fun weekend. I'm certainly enjoying myself... Signing off from Bellagio - Hunter.

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Thanks to reader George, we have an interesting report and photos from a recent trip to Macau. The report is after the jump.

A couple of comments on the report:

* The Sands Macau actually does have a small hotel at the moment and they are planning to expand it to over a hundred rooms in the next few years.

* While the jury is very much still out on Wynn Macau, looking only at the cash volume through that place in the first days we have reported, a lot of money is moving around in that place. Assuming that keeps up and the basic math works, they have potential to make money... Potential.

* Wynn's Tryst - I was under the impression that it was open based on photos from the club and a few reports. Given this report, I'm now not clear as to its status.

* Craps - Too bad no games in Macau. People seem to generally consider it a dying game. Personally, it is by far my favorite. I have seem quotes from Wynn that imply that he believes the same is one of the last generation. Hopefully it is not dying off.

Overall I found the specific comparisons useful for folks like me who are used to Las Vegas/US casinos and who plan to visit Macau sometime in the near future.

I am working on posting the photos that were sent with this story. They will be up soon...

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November 28, 2006

Reader Trip Report: Skylofts at MGM Grand

Posted by Hunter

This trip report comes from reader Dave F., and focuses on a trip to the Skylofts at MGM Grand in November 2006.


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November 28, 2006

Reader Trip Report: Wynn Las Vegas November 2006

Posted by Hunter

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:

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November 22, 2006

Bellagio, November 19-21

Posted by Mike E

I had a nice two-night trip with the parents recently. Rather than give a full play-by-play as I usually do, I just thought I�d throw out some thoughts, highlights, and even some not-so-pleasant times.

I was over at Bellagio this trip. After eight stays at Wynn and having not stayed at Bellagio in six years, I was definitely due to give Wynn�s closest competitor another shot. Sorry to beat a dead horse, but I�ll be making natural comparisons to Wynn LV here and there. In short, Bellagio impressed me in ways I had forgotten, but Wynn will remain my home.

(more after the jump)

My friend Matt had called me about two weeks ago asking what my plans were on Halloween night. Matt�s one of the coolest people I know. He works at Wynn and we naturally hit it off because I loved picking his brain about the hotel business, the nitty-gritty of the hotels he�s worked in, etc. Good stuff.

As it has always been throughout my teenage years and into adult-hood, I was expecting a mighty fun Halloween filled with studying, sleep, and downright depression thinking I was the only one at home without an invitation to a party. Well, maybe the invitation Matt gave me was make-up for those years and years of crappy Halloweens. His plans: costume party in NTS Limo�s �Goliath� (the largest limo in Vegas) that would later spill into a two-bedroom, 3200 square foot Skyloft. Booze, girls, the works...

(more after the jump)

October 27, 2006

Las Vegas Construction Update: 10/27/2006

Posted by Hunter

You guys have probably seen Mike's construction updates in the past. Well, we're turning them into a front page story as they are available... Thanks to Mike from all of us for providing this info and taking time out of his day to do this.

The body is after the jump but he's covering the following:

Wynn Las Vegas and Encore

Photos are linked and are posted to the galleries. The most recent RV photos can always be found here:

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Thanks for Sean for this trip report, featuring an extensive breakdown of his activities while at The Mirage recently.

This report made me feel like I was right there - I think you'll like it too.


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Another trip report featuring some high end accommodations, specifically MGM Grand's Skylofts, this time from reader David.

Thanks to David and Mike for passing this along!

June 26, 2006

Reader Trip Report: The Mirage

Posted by Hunter

Got a nice reader trip report from John Hall, one of our regulars. It's always good to get a recent perspective. Enjoy!

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I just returned from one night at Wynn to catch the very last performance of Avenue Q. I�m not going to give a full-blown trip report as I usually do since it was solo and pretty mellow. I�ll just throw out some highlights, updates, thoughts, and a couple restaurant reviews for everyone. More after the jump...

March 30, 2006

One Night At The Monte Carlo: Reader Trip Report

Posted by Hunter

This was one of those trips that just came about at the last minute. I made a promise to myself of no more Vegas until April so the bankroll and funds would be more substantial, but then I get a call from my brother:

“Me, Dad, and Uncle are heading to Vegas and staying at Monte Carlo for a night. You down?"


This is a report from reader/contributor Mike E., keep reading after the jump.

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I love my readers. Fortunately for me, I live relatively close to Las Vegas. It's easy to get there, even by car. Still, a town that moves this fast, there's bound to be some changes that I can't report in real-time.

That's where you guys come in... Mike E. has reported back with the latest from Wynn Las Vegas (Corsa changes, high limit stuff, etc...) and The Mirage (new nightclub, restaurants, paint). Not only are you getting the boots on the ground updates, it's a great read.

Follow along after the jump to check out Mike's excellent contribution. I also have a couple of comments at the end...

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December 23, 2005

Reader Reviews: Wynn Las Vegas December 2005

Posted by Hunter

Another segment in our 'Reader Reviews' category, reader John Hall was kind enough to submit his thoughts after a recent stay at Wynn Las Vegas (12/19-12/21). These segments are not written by our 'staff' but instead provided by our loyal readers. To submit your own, please send it to More after the jump.

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December 4, 2005

Reader Review: Bellagio: Part III

Posted by detroit1051

Part III: Bellagio

Bellagio was the last stop on this unusually long trip to Las Vegas. It was interesting to stay at both Wynn and Bellagio on the same trip and compare my impressions of each. Until Wynn opened in April, Bellagio had been my property of choice since opening day in October, 1998. It still has much going for it.

December 4, 2005

Reader Review: Wynn, The Mirage, Bellagio: Part II

Posted by detroit1051

Part II: The Mirage and Green Valley Ranch

On Sunday, November 20th, I moved across the street to The Mirage. Some of these rambling comments will be redundant because Hunter gave us all fair warning recently about the construction at The Mirage and provided detail on other changes.

December 3, 2005

Reader Review: Wynn, The Mirage, Bellagio: Part I

Posted by detroit1051

November Trip To Las Vegas and Palm Springs
Part I: Wynn Las Vegas

November 17th was the beginning of a two week trip from Florida to Las Vegas, Palm Springs and then back to Las Vegas. Two weeks in and around casinos is too long to return home in a positive financial condition, but as they say, �Hey, I had a good time.�

The trip was planned to participate in the Wynn slot tournament November 17 to 20; take advantage of my Winter Offer at The Mirage and then, after a drive to Palm Springs with friends for a few days, return to use Bellagio�s Winter Offer on dates which coincided with the opening of MGM Mirage�s annual Holiday Gift Shoppe selection.

Continued after the jump:

November 27, 2005

Reader Review: Wynn Las Vegas

Posted by Hunter

Here we are with another installment of our 'Reader Reviews'. This time, reader 'Mike C' has been kind enough to write up his recent stay at Wynn Las Vegas.

So, sit back and enjoy the ride after the jump.

As always, readers can submit reviews to:

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November 24, 2005

Wynn Las Vegas Fairway Villa Trip Report

Posted by Hunter

Howdy! Thanks to fellow Vegas fanatic Mike E, we have a trip report direct from a Wynn Las Vegas Fairway Villa. I was lucky enough to see this villa for myself this week and thus his trip report will be interwoven with my own comments, as we've done in the past.

Photos of the villa are located here:

From here on, it is Mike talking unless you see the [Hunter] notation. More after the jump!

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September 21, 2005

Reader Review: Wynn Las Vegas

Posted by Hunter

Today we have a reader review from Tom and his recent stay at Wynn Las Vegas. Remember that we accept reader reviews at this email.

"A great admirer of Wynn’s accomplishments, I nonetheless had mixed emotions about his acquisition of the Desert Inn. A major remodel of the DI completed in 1997 resulted in a resort unlike anything else on the Strip at the time. Though relatively small, the DI had real class. Luxurious accommodations and public spaces were made complete with gracious, attentive service. From room attendants to stickmen, the employees of the DI consistently delivered outstanding customer service. How would Wynn compare with the DI? Would it measure up to my high expectations?"

Click to read after the jump...

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September 5, 2005

Reader Review: THEHotel

Posted by Hunter

I'd like to present a new category, 'Reader Reviews'. This is where we take reader submissions of long-form reviews. This gives you guys a chance to share your thoughts with our readers, which at this point is a pretty large number of folks.

Please feel free to submit your reviews here: Submissions to the Editor

Our first entry is from Sean Simpson and the property in question is THEHotel at Mandalay Bay. Regular readers know that this is an option that I highlight frequently as a bright spot on the usually dim South Strip.

I hope you guys enjoy it and thanks to Sean who was nice enough to spend the time to write this up for us.

Update: For those that want photos, we have a bunch of THEHotel at Flickr: here.

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