I've realized recently that I'm Vegas homeless. When I think about it, I probably have been for a long time.
What does being 'Vegas homeless' mean? I lack a consistent home base. There's no hotel I can rely on to offer me a great stay and friendly service at a price that's reasonable. I don't have a single casino in which I concentrate my play. There's no one hotel I care about and no one hotel that cares about me.
More after the jump...
Here's my promised write-up on La Cave Food and Wine Hideaway at Wynn Las Vegas, a great new addition to the food and beverage lineup at the resort. I had a great time and I'm looking forward to going back on a future trip.
Continue after the jump for the full details.
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.
The esteemed Mr. Simpson is back with his latest column. This time around the bend, he'll share his thoughts on the opening of the Cosmopolitan as well as discuss a recent stay at Aria.
Here's a play by play of my recent return from an Encore Salon Suite. Enjoy!
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.
Mike's back with another Strip Walk column. He's got some photo links in his post but if you want to see the entire gallery, click here:
Continue after the jump to get your Vegas fix.
After spending a few more nights at Encore in the middle of January, I'm sharing some more of my thoughts after the jump.
Along with this, I am still working on editing some additional audio that was taken during various media tours - a substantial job given the varying quality of the source material.
Continue on for a little bit more about Encore.
VegasTripping.com has launched CASINOVAC, an automated recommendations engine for Las Vegas visitors trying to pick a place to stay and play.
Chuck's post about the launch is here: http://www.vegastripping.com/news/news.php?news_id=2484
It's a fun piece of tech - you should check it out!
Mike is back with the final Strip Walk of 2008.
Yes, there's some more Encore stuff in here but most of the column is dedicated to the rest of The Strip - do not fear, Encore haters!
Enjoy. Main text and photo links after the jump.
Here's my full review of Encore including four restaurants, the spa, and other notes from my December trip. Enjoy!
I was able to catch the media event for the rebirth of the volcano at The Mirage last night.
Photos from the event are here. A video is embedded after the jump.
I loved the new setup. It's so much more fun than the old version. Not only is there more fire and better music but the entire structure just looks much cooler - the rock is more natural looking and 'veins' of lava even show up when it's blasting.
The 'FireShooters' that WET Design built for this project are custom - part of the high cost is due to investing in new technology to make it one of a kind.
After being a sorta 'bleh' attraction for some time, I think this is now near the top of the list of recommended things to check out on your next trip.
For those interested, there are also a bunch of Encore and WLV photos in the gallery as well.
We've been alluding to our upcoming coverage for the opening of Wynn's Encore for some time and now we're spilling the details.
We will both be 'twittering' (or is it 'tweeting'?) via Twitter, posting copious amounts of photos on Flickr and recording our observations for what I'm certain will be multiple blog postings. You can post your questions to our Twitter streams and we will do our best to answer them right from the casino floor.
To make it easier on your inner-Vegas-addict to keep up with everything, we're compiling it all in one place:
That's your one stop shop for all things Encore. The page updates itself so when the gates open, you can sit back and let the sweet nectar flow. See Chuck's note on browser compatibility here. His recommendations are seconded from this corner as well.
There's been some talk about doing a special 'Vegas Gang' episode and while the logistics of how possible that will be are not yet clear, rest assured that we will be getting everyone's opinion on Encore out to you as soon as humanly possible.
Mike_ch is back with his latest Strip Walk. This one is more in 'trip report' style as he was slummin' it down on The Strip for a few nights at The Grand.
It's a long one so grab a cup of coffee and sit back.
Mike Ch is back with another Strip Walk. Click through to enjoy.
As usual, there are some photos included but this time around you'll see the debut of our new photo gallery. Gone (hopefully) are the days of duplicated photos, strange bugs and error messages. It's still being tweaked so let us know if you find problems but generally I think it's a nice improvement.
The new gallery is here: RateVegas.com Photo Gallery
Lastly, if you read Mike's prose you will see he's soliciting photo and recon requests from you guys for his next trip. Please respond in the comments here.
Once again, another StripWalk from MikeCh, this time covering South Strip properties (and a trip to the Hard Rock).
Continue after the jump to read the details, photos are here:
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...
Mike Ch is back yet again - this time with a boots on the ground report from Planet Hollywood.
Our man on the scene braved the Palace of Earl to bring back some first hand intel.
As always, photos are here:
Also, he linked up some photos in his post as well. Enjoy after the jump.
As an aside, I'm well aware of how bad the photo gallery sucks. I've not had the time to do much about it but I actually think that might change in the near future. Stay tuned.
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 a quick summary and highlights of my nine-hour adventure in Las Vegas for Podcast-a-Palooza.
Here's yet another report where I sample some amazing food, nightlife, and the new Palms Place. Enjoy!
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."
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...
I took my parents for a three-night getaway at The Mirage as a combined Mother's and Father's Day gift. This trip was ultra-mellow by my standards but just as memorable as any other. Rather than the usual play-by-play, I've broken the report down in sections. Feel free to skip around to parts that interest you.
(More 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.
It may have been a whole year in the works, but it felt like only yesterday that I had booked my flight as I was sitting impatiently at the airport. This was to be my last hoorah with Vegas until Encore's opening in December. Who knows if I'll hold true to that promise, but I planned this trip to the fullest knowing all too well that these rare opportunities don't come around very often.
(More after the jump...)
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: http://www.ratevegas.com/photo/gallery/palazzo
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:
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.
I've posted my Las Vegas Strip construction photos: Most Recent Las Vegas Photos
All sorts of great stuff including Encore's high and low rise buildings, WLV's villa atrium, Palazzo, the white tiger pit at The Mirage, City Center, P-Ho, Bellagio, and more.
The link above should show them all but you can also visit the November 2007 tag. Also, based on some feedback I plan to add new searching and sorting capabilities to the photo database soon.
Well, I decided that I'm going to jump in the car and head to Las Vegas to photograph and shoot video of the implosion of the New Frontier tonight (early tomorrow).
I'll be trying to do this as 'live' as possible, including posting to my Twitter feed @ratevegas. Also, Flickr should have updated photos and of course I will be posting here, but that's probably going to have a little delay, just due to the nature of the tech. The Twitter feed will be the most up to date as it happens.
So, wish me luck and you'll hear from me soon.
Update: If anyone reading this is either a Wynn Resorts employee or is staying at Wynn Las Vegas and has a room overlooking the Frontier, drop me a line at editor AT ratevegas DOT com - myself and another high-profile Vegas blogger/writer would love to watch from your window.
Well, that was a great conversation... We had an in-depth talk with Chuck from VegasTripping.com who just recently has gotten back from Macau.
We went over everything from specific hotel talk on topics like Wynn Macau, Venetian Macau, Galaxy Starworld, MGM Grand Macau, Casino Lisboa and more. We also talked about the business - folks like Wynn Resorts, Las Vegas Sands, SJM, Melco and others.
Cotai, gaming industry topics, casino design and more. It was a great discussion and I'm hoping we can do another segment soon.
We'll be doing this on TalkShoe but here's how this will work - you guys submit some questions here on the site, I'll ask them in the first 30 minutes or so. The second half of the show will be open for general discussion. We'll see how that goes.
So... TONIGHT at 6pm PT
Update: Ok, the Talkshoe link is here: http://www.talkshoe.com/talkshoe/web/talkCast.jsp?masterId=44621.
If you're planning on joining us, I strongly recommend you go to the TalkShow.com Web site ahead of time to sign up for an account and download the software. Strictly speaking, the software isn't required (only a telephone is really required) but having it gives you extra features.
If you really can't download the software, you can call in using this number: 724-444-7444 with the TalkCast ID of 44621. Without the software you might not be able to ask any questions as we won't be able to identify you in the system.
My good friend Chuck at VegasTripping.com 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.
Second up, their annual 'Best Of' list, the Trippies, are now open for nominations. Feel free to nominate us - the parent Web site, RateVegas.com, 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!).
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)
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:
Thanks to mike_ch who is back with another Las Vegas Strip development/construction update.
The photos are here: http://www.ratevegas.com/photo/gallery/mikech
Keep reading after the jump!
Technorati Tags: bellagio, casino design, condos, gaming industry, las vegas, lasvegas, lasvegassands, luxor, mandalay bay, mgm mirage, palazzo, photography, planet hollywood, project citycenter, trip report, vegas, vegas photos, venetian, wynn, wynnlasvegas
I've written about this in the past but I wanted to see how things had progressed since the last set of plans. Well, not much has changed since the last round, honestly. Since at this point we've already been privy to the high-rise setup - multi-story suites, a new 'tower suites', the service configuration, the most interesting thing is probably the specifics of the casino and garden area. Unfortunately, this is an area still in flux and provided in least detail.
A couple of notes:
* The 'standard' Encore rooms have a similar configuration to those at Wynn Las Vegas, though they are larger.
* The sub-basement level includes another employee dining area, room service kitchen and other back of house facilities. Fortunately they won't have to run room service from the main WLV room service kitchens which would have had potential for cold food and bad service.
* There is additional valet parking under the new garden/casino space.
* There is a lot of cooking capacity, suggesting maybe ~6 new full size dining outlets and a handful of other smaller facilities (i.e. 6 restaurants and maybe 3-4 places like Sugar and Ice or the coffee shop).
I've also got some new documents to review, such as utilities layouts for the new building and if they shed any new light, I'll update this post.
I posted some photos previously but here they are again: http://www.ratevegas.com/photo/gallery/encore. My main camera was busted so I had to use the point and shoot. Hopefully next time I can send some photos from my new iPhone (yes, I'll be in line 6/29 - I love Apple more than I love WLV!)
Update: I have been contacted since this ran by multiple sources that indicate the 'garden' plan, as previously reported, is basically out, with the majority of that space being used for gaming and some dining. There is still some floral areas but more along the lines of what we have at WLV now, nothing grand in scope. This is of course, always developing but I've now got this from two sources, people that have proven credible in the past... We'll see!
Also, on the self-parking, we're hearing that a large portion of the new garage will be new self-park.
We really don't do a lot of Atlantic City coverage - I've only been there one time myself... Not a place that I would want to visit on a regular basis but I had an interesting day there and a great meal at one of Borgata's gourmet rooms.
Borgata itself was impressive - standing in their casino you would be hard pressed to forget you were on the Jersey shore. It feels like a Mandalay Bay-ish type of place.
Anyway, thanks to reader Tom M., for a slew of photo updates:
Some interesting new projects like an expansion at Borgata, plus of course MGM Mirage's possible entry into the market - AC is hopping!
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.
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.
We all know the base genetics of MGM Mirage's City Center development - a mixed use project across 76 acres on a prime piece of Las Vegas Strip real estate. Multiple hotels, gaming, restaurants, retail and condos all coming together in an effort to master plan an miniature city.
The construction cranes are crawling over the property and the 4,000 room hotel/casino that will anchor site is up beyond the 11th floor. A live Web cam of the construction is on the official Web site. Also, MGM MIRAGE provided me with some photos and renderings of the project. Some may be familiar and others new.
I was able to tour the sales pavilion that has been a key tool in allowing MGM Mirage to almost completely sell out one of their condo developments (The Residences at Mandarin Oriental). Along with the tour some questions were answered about some of the other components of the project.
Keep reading after the jump for some more thoughts on what I saw.
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.
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...)
I recently spent a weekend in Las Vegas. My stated purpose was a friend's wedding but I managed to get in a few other activities for the benefit of you fine people.
Here you will read about Encore at Wynn Las Vegas, Palazzo, The Mirage, Spamalot, Luxor and more.
Also, I uploaded a couple hundred new photos: http://www.ratevegas.com/photo/most_recent
Some more info 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 email@example.com and I'll make mutual contact.
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: http://www.ratevegas.com/photo/gallery/mikech
Keep reading after the jump for the report.
Technorati Tags: aladdin, bellagio, boyd, caesars, casino design, gaming industry, harrahs, las vegas, lasvegas, lasvegassands, luxor, mandalay bay, mgm mirage, mirage, palazzo, photography, planet hollywood, project citycenter, stardust, vegas, vegas photos, venetian, wynn, wynnlasvegas
I was listening to a caller on Five Hundy By Midnight talking about 'hitting the buffet' and it got me to thinking that my travel habits for my Vegas trips sure have changed over the years. For those of us that go often, sometimes upwards of ten times a year, I can only assume I'm not alone in this.
Continue after the jump...
Thanks again to Chris, our friend in Hong Kong, who checks in frequently with new info on progress in Macau. Keep reading after the jump to get the latest on everyone's favorite S.A.R.
Updates on the Sands, Galaxy, Cotai, the condo market and more.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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!
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.)
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...
This trip report comes from reader Dave F., and focuses on a trip to the Skylofts at MGM Grand in November 2006.
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:
This podcast includes some audio clips from my recent trip to Las Vegas. I talk about construction on Encore, CityCenter, Palazzo, Aladdin and more. Also, some special guests including Tim and Michelle from Five Hundy By Midnight and loyal contributor Mike E. We listen to a few messages from listeners (thanks for the theme song!) and even find some time to talk Vegas news.
Here is the link to the photos mentioned in the podcast: http://www.ratevegas.com/photo/most_recent
A reminder - feel free to call in and leave us a message about anything Las Vegas or Web site related. The call in number is: 702-508-4232.
Technorati Tags: bellagio, casino design, gaming industry, las vegas, lasvegas, lasvegassands, mgm mirage, mirage, palazzo, photography, planet hollywood, podcast, project citycenter, ratevegas.com, vegas, vegas photos, venetian, wynn, wynnlasvegas
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)
I spent some time in Las Vegas this weekend (actually, a little more time than I had planned) and I wanted to report on my trip.
First off, I have posted construction photos of Encore, City Center, Bellagio renovations, Aladdin/Planet Hollywood, The Mirage (Japonais and Revolution), The Palazzo, and the pit that will become the Cosmopolitan.
I got to meet with a few readers/listeners, fellow podcasters and friends. I had a short chat with Elaine Wynn who is a real class act.
The photos are posted at this link, plus they are also in their respective categories:
More after the jump...
Technorati Tags: bellagio, caesars, casino design, gaming industry, las vegas, lasvegas, mgm mirage, mirage, palazzo, palms, photography, planet hollywood, project citycenter, treasure island, trip report, vegas, vegas photos, venetian, wynn, wynnlasvegas
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)
Beau Rivage is MGM Mirage's flagship property in Biloxi. It sustained significant damage from Hurricane Katrina on August 29th, 2005. MGM re-opened it less than two months ago on the first anniversary of Katrina. Notes and photos of my recent trip to Beau Rivage follow the jump.
I attended a casino function at Bellagio last week. A few notes I made appear after the break.
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.
Thanks to reader John Hall for contributing another piece, this time the focus on Bellagio and Wynn Las Vegas. I can't say how much I appreciate contributions from you guys, the loyal readers. If you want to send something in, send it to: email@example.com
Ok, what do we have here? Well, as regular readers know, we have spent an awful lot of time looking at Steve Wynn properties, and Wynn Las Vegas over all of them. Well, before there was WLV there was Bellagio and it is still a literal cash factory on the Strip. After touring the back of house facilities, I have a renewed appreciation for the property - it's really a work of art in its own way.
My photos are now online. I updated all the various categories but if you just want to see the new photos, use this URL:
There are a load of pictures of the Palazzo model they have up at The Venetian. There's no note at all about what the thing is but everyone that walks by checks it out.
I did get a couple of requests and I tried to fill them. I did peek around the barrier and take Social House photos (not open yet) but they DID NOT come out so I am not posting them. Social House looks kinda neat on the inside, as does Japonais at The Mirage.
Keep reading after the jump for more...
I just got back from another wonderful stay at Wynn filled with plenty of partying, good food, great people, and a total of seven hours of sleep. More after the jump...
UPDATE: Five Hundy's latest podcast including some trip highlights I don't remember...
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!
Got a nice reader trip report from John Hall, one of our regulars. It's always good to get a recent perspective. Enjoy!
Note: Updated 6/28/06 to conclude the report with Bellagio.
I've posted comments about Red Rock separately. Here are some observations about Wynn and Caesars Palace. I'll update this post with Bellagio in the next few days.
Observations from two days at the new Red Rock Resort on Charleston at the 215.
Details and photos follow the jump.
So, I'm in Vegas checking out what is new and different and instead of just writing a simple note I decided to record audio as I walked through the properties... So, I guess this is the first Two Way Hard Three 'podcast'. I don't plan on podcasting on any kind of regular basis, this is a convenience thing. It's not short at over 30 minutes.
Anyway, if you don't like to hear people complaining about stuff, this isn't the podcast for you. I listened back and a lot of it is negative - I like talking about how people are screwing up... You have been warned.
NOTE: I recorded this late, late Friday night. I just listened to it again (and edited a bit). It's a little crazy sounding at times, very stream of consciousness. I also sound a little tipsy (never!). Hopefully I won't scare anyone off... Enjoy. I am off to a top secret meeting. Will report back when I have something to report.
Our podcasts are available via the RateVegas.com podcast RSS feed: http://www.ratevegas.com/feed/podcast
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The final chapter of this trip report, MGM Grand and food poisoning, follows the jump.
The second stop on this longest-ever Las Vegas trip was The Mirage.
The report follows the jump.
Las Vegas, April 22-May 2, 2006
Wynn Las Vegas, The Mirage, MGM Grand, Food Poisoning
Part 1 follows the jump.
It started with a call a few months ago from my cousin: �What are you doing April 19th through the 22nd?� I was thinking to myself how busy I was and that I�d have to miss work for the weekend. Before I could reply he says, �Because we�re planning on heading to V��
�It�s on!� I reply without even letting him finish his sentence...
Here's my latest report out of Vegas. Click on the link for more. Enjoy!
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.
I spent three nights at Wynn the last week of February, followed by three nights at Bellagio. It was interesting to stay in comparable accommodations at both properties and compare them.
I spent the weekend in Las Vegas at The Mirage. This was my first time as a guest there since Wynn Las Vegas opened this past April. I am happy to report that despite the fact that I'll probably stay at Wynn whenever I can, The Mirage will fill in when Steveland is full or overpriced. The stated purpose of this trip was for a friend's birthday but fortunately for me, I had some time to catch up on all of the changes since my last trip six weeks ago.
My main focus was to see how The Mirage looked and felt after having a facelift. I also made it over to WLV to see Corsa after its re-design.
The photos from this trip are detailed here in this entry. To read the rest of this post, click the link and keep reading.
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...
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. More after the jump.
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.
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.
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:
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: email@example.com
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!
Wynn was my final stop before returning to the real world.
After leaving Laughlin, I headed back to Las Vegas where I would spend the next week at the LV Hilton, Venetian and Wynn. This report starts with the Hilton.
I stayed at MGM Grand, Venetian and Wynn during September.
To read part one, MGM Grand:
I've been roaming the West for the past ten days and plan to write a report about my stays at MGM Grand, Las Vegas Hilton, Venetian and Wynn. It will be another week before I get my notes together. In the meantime, I sent a brief summary of my one day in Laughlin:
Drove to Laughlin from AZ for one night at Harrah's. First, I checked out Ramada Express before noon Sunday because a friend is an Aztar investor. I was impressed with how clean and fairly new much of the casino was; looked like new carpeting. Lots of new penny slots but higher denomination slots and VP need updating. Checked out two floors of the West Tower to see how the rooms looked. Top floor was all suites. The ones I could see (housekeeping had the doors open) were large and well furnished. A lower floor had standard rooms, and they looked OK but nothing special. The train motif doesn't appeal to me, but it sets Ramada apart. The Steakouse looked very nice, and the Buffet was busy. I donated $100 to AZR on a $5 slot.
I had never stayed, or been in a HET property, so I figured if Harrah's Laughlin was good enough for Danpatchfan, it would be good enough for me. $55 for one night, standard room in South "Adult"
Tower. Room was small, but very clean and comfortable. Bath must have been remodeled in the last year or so. Casino was loaded with 1 and 2 cent slots as well as many multi-denominational reel slots. Didn't see any 9/6 JoB except higher denominations. Range Steakhouse was good considering the prices for full dinner including salad, vegetables were mostly in the mid to high $30 range. Great views of the Colorado from the steakhouse. I wondered whether my Casino Management Association polo shirt would be ok for the Steakhouse. The guy in front of me had on a "A Hog's Head Is Better Than No Head At All" T-shirt, so I concluded I didn't need a dress shirt and
I signed up for my Total Rewards Card when I got there and it was Gold. When I asked why I hadn't been given the regular one, they said Gold is the lowest. So much for that. The caste system seems to work very well. The perks for Platinum and Diamond are all very visible which must act as an incentive for customers to play more to get upgraded. Hotel check-in line was long for us peons, but the Platinum counter was almost empty. Next to that is the private office for Diamond check-in.
I have a new appreciation for Loveman. Every employee I met was friendly, helpful AND competent. I was very impressed with how they went out of their way to help and even walk me where I was going. It's as if they were trained by Wynn when he operated Mirage and Bellagio.
This is a copy of the letter that we sent to Wynn Las Vegas management following our recent stay.
I'm writing to share my impressions of Wynn Las Vegas after a recent stay. I know that you are striving to create a perfect experience for your guests and so along with all of the great things I noticed, the end of this letter mentions a few items I think you can improve. I hope you'll indulge my opinions and I promise not to take up too much of your time.
Walking into Wynn Las Vegas makes you feel good.
Between the natural light in the casino, the magnificent flowers and trees(!), water cascading from the mountain and the whimsical use of color, your resort redefines Las Vegas and raises the bar in the entire hospitality industry.
I have an interest in resort and casino design and have studied what you've done in the past. I can honestly say that despite my extremely high expectations, Wynn Las Vegas exceeded them. Not only is the resort beautiful, it is extremely functional. I could go on and on about what I like about the resort but for the sake of brevity, I'll list just a few of my favorite things.
Now that I've gone over some of the standout features of your new resort, I wanted to share a few things that that I think you and your staff could improve at Wynn Las Vegas.
These are listed in no particular order:
Finally, I wanted to mention our check-in. We arrived Sunday May 1st, the resort's first day of major guest turnover. Between when we arrived at 2 p.m. and at 6 p.m. when we got to our room, we had to visit the registration staff four times before a room was available. Based on conversations I had with others in the line, we were not the only ones who were experiencing this problem.
I was surprised that this happened on such a massive scale, especially in the VIP check-in area. Perhaps this could have been mitigated if staff gave more realistic windows of availability from the beginning instead of having us check back so many times. Also, some of the tensions could possibly have been relieved if some kind of compensation had been offered, just to let the waiting guests know that hotel management understood the difficult circumstances - even something as simple as a snack at the cafe.
As a Wynn Resorts shareholder, I am thrilled the hotel is so busy but it was a frustrating experience to say the least.
Thanks for sharing your creation with the world. I look forward to visiting again soon.
Want to see hundreds of pictures of Wynn Las Vegas? Click here.
Wynn Las Vegas is the world's most expensive casino resort, costing $2.7B to design and build. At 2,716 rooms, that brings the per-room cost to about $1,000,000.
So, after all the money, the hype and the hoopla, how does the place stack up?
My expectations were extremely high. Did Steve Wynn deliver? Yes.
Here is my take on what I saw. It's pretty long, bear with me.
Lobby, Lounges and Public Areas
I think that most people who walk through Wynn Las Vegas will be reminded of Bellagio. Similar features include a large 'garden' area, marble used everywhere, water and even the same typeface used in the signage.
Compared to the lobby at Bellagio, Wynn's check-in area is simple. While it does feature a great view of the lake below, the Dale Chihuly piece at Bellagio is not replicated in any form at Wynn Las Vegas.
There are two garden areas between the main valet and the shopping area that are reminiscent of Bellagio.
The color and floral patterns are repeated throughout the resorts floors, as you can see here in this mosaic:
Between the two garden areas is one of two lounges, Parasol Up. Parasol Down is located at the bottom of a pair of escalators that lead to a patio over the lake. We had drinks at both locations and I was excited to learn that they use real fruit juice in their cocktails, freshly squeezed. 'Up' reminds me a bit of the Fontana Lounge at Bellagio in that they have live entertainment nightly. 'Down' features most of its seating outside in front of the Lake of Dreams.
Wynn wisely didn't attempt to duplicate the scale of the Fountains of Bellagio at Wynn Las Vegas. There is a small water feature in the Lake of Dreams - at night there is a multimedia light show and the lake changes color. I was a bit skeptical about this before I saw it but I can say that it is pretty cool. The colors are very deep and rich - they did a good job executing on this one.
The area right above Parasol Down was clogged with people every time I walked by... If you don't want to brave the crowds you have other options for a quick drink. Near the casino cage is the 'B Bar' (B is for baccarat). It's all sit-down, waitress service but it is a nice place to watch the action. There is a bar at Corsa Cucina that opens on the casino floor as well. Sugar and Ice, which I thought might have been a bar located in the shopping area is in fact a coffee/espresso outlet instead.
One of the things that really impressed me about the public areas was the details. The wallpaper is an incredible textured brown. The furnishings and plants are different all over.
How are the bathrooms? One neat feature is the trough like marble sinks instead of individual spots.
I could go on about the public areas for hours. I recommend you take a look at all of the photos to get a good feel for the place.
Casino and Sportsbook
This is Las Vegas, right? Wynn features a 100,000+ square foot casino with many of the standard games as well as a few new ones.
First off, let's talk about the look. To put it simply, imagine the casino at The Mirage and then add in some of the stylings from Bellagio and you have an idea of what it looks like. The table games are located all along the outsides of the aisles through the casino.
Wynn's slot club is called the 'Red Card' and when you check in to the resort you are automatically enrolled but non guests can also get the card. All the slots are new and state of the art, including small LCD screens that let you play a special bonus bingo game if your card is inserted.
I did see some 9/6 $1 VP but not a lot of machines had fantastic pay tables. Regarding table games, they do have some 6:5 blackjack and they do use continuous shufflers on many games.
The casino was a lot of fun to play in and the craps pit we hung out at was staffed by a great crew. I've long thought TI had some of the best dealers but I can see a lot of them have moved over to Wynn Las Vegas - in fact, there were dealers I recognized from all over town!
I don't play poker but I did give the room a look - pretty much what you would expect. 27 tables, nice digs, etc...
The sportsbook reminded me of a cross between The Mirage and Bellagio, with each seat featuring an LCD TV as well as giant screens.
For many, the pool is one of the most important parts of the Vegas experience. Wynn's pools are European looking, as at Bellagio. Wynn's pool is also much better designed than the pool at Bellagio.
First off, Suite Tower guests have two pools all to themselves. This pool includes a casino where you can play some blackjack. It's also just great looking. I'm not a pool guy but this was a spot I could see myself hanging out.
Some folks were worried that the hotel tower would shade the pool area. I checked several times during the day and good sun was to be had every time.
Wynn Las Vegas has so many interesting restaurants to try and I can't wait to head back and try some more! Here's a breakdown of what we ate this time...
All of the food we tried at Wynn Las Vegas was either great or fantastic. I look forward to trying Alex, Okada and Daniel Boloud on my next trip out there.
By now anyone interested in Wynn Las Vegas has seen many pictures of the rooms. We were in the 'Suite Tower', which basically just means you get to use separate check-in and have access to the restaurant Tableau.
The first thing you notice about the room is that the ceilings are very high and the windows are huge. One thing that is nice is that the bed faces those windows - you get a great view.
The hotel is very high-tech - the TVs are all LCD HDTVs, the phones are IP based and feature all sorts of information about the property on a large LCD screen.
The beds are to die for - and if you really like it, they will sell it to you.
The bathrooms are well setup and include a TV visible from the bathtub. The included products are from Desert Bambu and seem very high quality.
Overall, the rooms are very comfortable. Things are where you expect them to be. Everything I needed, I found in the room.
I think it is the best standard room in Las Vegas... Yes, better than the Venetian. I'm not comparing the standard room to THEHotel since it's an all-suite hotel. Wynn's rooms just feel great.
The Spa is located on the second floor of the hotel tower and in many respects, is similar to all of the other 'nice' spas in town. There were a couple of design features I haven't seen in other setups, mainly glass ceilings and natural light in many of the rooms. Beyond that, it is exactly what you would expect in a high end hotel.
The Wynn Esplanade is located at the South corner of the hotel and is where the bulk of the shops are located. Most of the retail offerings are very high end. Think Dior, Chanel, Cartier, and more to get an idea... It's Bellagio type shopping.
Beyond that, the resort sells Wynn branded everything, from mugs to pens to shirts to chocolate. Honestly, everything is for sale.
The service was mostly excellent. The few places I saw some problems could easily be chalked up to opening jitters.
Employees were friendly and willing to help. I did have some long hold times on the phone when talking to the concierge.
How Does it "Feel"?
To me this is the real measure of the property.
Before I visited Wynn Las Vegas, my favorite property was The Mirage. Even though the Bellagio was snazzier, there is a certain magic to The Mirage that I didn't think was captured at Bellagio.
That magic has been captured at Wynn Las Vegas and it has been expanded. I can honestly say that I think Wynn delivers the best luxury experience in Las Vegas at this point. If you can afford it, Wynn Las Vegas has a lot to offer.
So, those are my thoughts based on my first visit. I'll be back on property tomorrow, though this time not as a guest.
If you have any questions, feel free to post them below.
Just returned from a three night adventure at THEHotel... Yes, I realize that I lambasted Mandalay in my last 'Stripping' article and I stand by what I wrote (actually, I believe it even more now)... You'll also remember that I really like THEHotel and that was home base for this trip, which included some great food, terrible gambling, back to the room at 5am and a great time with friends.
Most trip reports are usually quite boring so I'll just re-cap a few highlights here.
Also, *some* of the photos I took have been posted to flickr. The rest will be up in a week (ran out of space for this month). See the photos here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lasvegas/tags/march2005/.
Some Highlights and Observations
That's it for now. I am most of the way through the next 'Stripping' installment and we're prepping for live coverage of the opening of Wynn Las Vegas coming very soon!