Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog

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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A few buddies, my parents, my girlfriend and I headed down to Las Vegas last week. We flew out of Detroit on Monday evening, and took the red-eye back home on Friday night. One of these days I will stay over a weekend, but right now it is a much better deal during the week. I’m not sure why saving $200 on a flight is of much concern when it can be easily blown in one hand of blackjack, but it is.

By the time my buddies and I cleared through the mess that is baggage claim at McCarran airport and arrived at The Mirage, it was close to midnight. We didn’t arrive at the main valet, so we had to fight our way through the line-ups for Jet, which seemed to be hopping, especially for a Monday. Unfortunately, they had no more non-smoking rooms, so we had to settle for 2 smoking rooms, but they were both facing the Volcano, and, even better, Wynn.

My parents and girlfriend arrived an hour later. I checked my parents in at the Flamingo, because I had received a comp for two nights, and two additional nights at $55 each. I used the $20 trick to get them an upgrade to a junior suite. The bed looked all dishevelled and not terribly comfortable, but my parents enjoyed it nontheless! I would probably only stay at flamingo if all the other places I like to stay were sold out or really expensive. But, they do have a nice pool area, if not a little loud and raucous.

The Mirage rooms are fine, but the whole place just seems a bit tired. The bedding needs updating, and the carpet-like comforter is not terribly nice. I’m a bit of a hotel snob, I must admit. But the rooms are nice, not too small, fairly comfortable, and well cleaned. Here are some impressions I have about The Mirage:

We got a cabana on the Tuesday, and it was the best $200 I have ever spent. It was private, spacious with a nice terrace, and the service was great. We ordered breakfast down there, and the fruit and cheese platters were excellent. It was a fantastic way to spend the day, and I would do it in a second. Ironically enough, looking at the cabanas at Wynn Las Vegas did not impress me as much as The Mirage. They look less private, and quite frankly, less comfortable.

The entrance to LOVE is absolutely fantastic. It really catches your eye. Also, listening to all the Beatles music while playing pai gow is a nice way to keep awake at 5am in the morning!

I DESPISE walking through the casino in order to get anywhere. Enough said. But now I can truly appreciate the design of WLV because it is so easy to get anywhere. I always felt like I was stuck behind slow traffic at The Mirage.

Continuing on, my girlfriend and I had our 1-year anniversary dinner at Daniel Boulud Brasserie at Wynn Las Vegas. When we were in NY in April we ate at Daniel’s flagship restaurant, and it was spectacular. I thought this would be nice because of the view, and, having been there before, I knew the food would be solid. The atmosphere is stellar. That Lake of Dreams is a “Wynner”. I particularly like the frog that sings “What a Wonderful World”. The service was very professional, but quite relaxed. I think that this is the type of service that Daniel and Wynn are trying to achieve at the Brasserie. Food-wise, the entrée selection is quite ordinary, and the prix fixe menu is quite boring. The appetizers and desserts on the other hand are more interesting. Amie and I decided to have 3 appetizers each, and then move on to dessert. Amie is a slow eater, and they mistakenly brought out the second set of appetizers way before she was done the first. However, it was a great way to share the evening. I would recommend this restaurant to people who are looking for standard food prepared very well in a relaxed atmosphere with a great mood. I think that is basically what chef Daniel says in his little voice intro on the Wynn Las Vegas website.

(gambling wise, I was down a little bit by this point, but was starting to recover some of my earlier losses. I didn’t gamble nearly as much as I would have liked because I had the little lady with me. Oh well…the trade-off is worth it I guess)

On Wednesday we moved to Wynn Las Vegas. I was very excited to show Amie the place because she is a bit of a hotel snob too!!! She loved it there because it was so easy to navigate, and she loved the shopping. On Wednesday evening my buddies, Amie and I ate at Okada. Only two of us in the group of 5 knew what to expect at this place—but not I. We ordered a bunch of food, and did it family style. Unfortunately, I was not able to appreciate the food to its fullest extent, but I am sure that it was prepared in a first-class manner. I’m not sure that I enjoyed the food, but what I did enjoy was the experience. We had a fantastic round table in front of the big windows that looked out onto one of Wynn’s many waterfalls. The service at Okada was very good. We appreciated that our waitress helped us newbies, understood that we had no idea what we were doing, and she catered to our preferences. I felt bad that she had to put up with us, but she seemed to have a good time helping us out.

Because some of us felt a little weird after Okada, we went to Sugar & Ice to enjoy a banana split for dessert, and to gawk at another one of Wynn’s waterfalls. Following that we headed up to Bally’s to see Jubilee. I wanted to take Amie to see a classic show, and we loved it. The concierge at Wynn got us the closest table to the front, in the middle. I thought these seats would be no good because of their proximity to the stage, but as it turns out, they were great. I felt like I was in “perverts row” at Roxxane’s, the local gentleman’s club though. The jugglers and those little Asian contortionists were all amazing.

On Thursday afternoon we met as a full group to have lunch at the Country Club Grill. What a great place for lunch. The menu and the quality of the food was extremely impressive. The value was also spectacular. The service was very professional and relaxed, but it was perfect for the atmosphere. The uniforms are kind of ugly, but that’s not very important. We had a magnificent view of the golf course, and I would go there again in a heartbeat. There seems to be a general trend at Wynn as far as service goes. They all pour water the same way, put the napkins on the lap the same way, etc etc. They all also paid attention to the “ladies served first” rule, except for the Country Club, which I thought was a bit odd. The service across all of Wynn’s restaurants is very consistent.

Later that afternoon, I took Amie to get a tandem massage at the spa at Wynn. It is top-notch. The natural sunlight is a blessing from the heavens. It was well decorated and had everything that would be expected of a spa of that calibre. The treatment room was very nice. It had a fireplace and fresh flowers, and was beautifully decorated. Amie said that she thinks the massage tables had 720 thread count sheets on them. I believe her! We had very good massage therapists and felt all loose and limber after that. The amenities offered at the spa were not as nice as some other places I’ve been, particularly the St. Regis in New York. They had everything that might be needed, but the quality of the stuff wasn’t first-class. Apparently the women had special, individual dressing rooms in the spa. I don’t recall that being the case in the men’s portion of the spa. It sure sounded nice, the way that Amie described it to me.

On Thursday night we went for dinner to Bartolotta. I can’t say this enough: FANTASTIC! The 4 of us had the chef’s tasting menu with a very fine bottle of wine. There was plenty of food to go around among the 4 of us, and it was all top notch. The first course came with a traditional salad, scallops with some sort of aged yet odd cheese, langoustines (french crayfish), rabbit loin (which was to die for), and clams. The second course was lobster penne, seafood risotto, and a cheese ravioli. Everything in this course was fantastic. I’m a lobster fanatic, but I have to say that the ravioli kicked the crap out of anything else I ate the entire trip. The main course was a whole John Dory fish, filleted and garnished at our table. It was heaven on a plate. Finally, we had four desserts served with five different kinds of ice cream and gelato. What a meal, what a meal. The service was professional but relaxed, friendly, attentive, and the sommelier and wine list were VERY impressive. I made a joke that I saw our fish the other day at The Mirage aquarium, and our waiter knew the fish that I was talking about… The atmosphere at Bartolotta is also fantastic. We wanted to eat outside, but because it was so damn windy the whole trip, the terrace was closed. Crap!

(On Thursday I won a few hundred playing craps and pai gow)

On Thursday night we saw The Beatles show, LOVE. It was very fun. The music sounded great. And the stage/set was fantastic. It was just fun! We were seated in the third row, and the seats were perfect. It’s a bit of a cluster when the show gets out, but I suppose that is par for the course for any show. The fake British accents from all the staff was getting a bit tired. The best scenes are the bedroom scene, Octopus’ Garden, and Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.

On Friday morning, Amie and I went to Tableau for breakfast. What a fantastic spot for breakfast. Amie had the cream of wheat, while I had the granola. We also shared a fresh fruit tray. The view is great, the service was fantastic, and the food was delicious. Aside from the loud and obnoxious New Yorker who refused to get off his cell-phone the whole time, it was quite a lovely experience.

After returning from the Star Trek we went to the pool. The little lady drank gin and tonics, and I played poolside Black Jack. I turned $200 into $1000! Add to that the $250 I won at craps earlier that day in about 10 minutes, and you have a fantastic day. After that it was time to go home. Too bad. I will return in December…hopefully.

All of our smaller meals were at Zoozacrackers, and they were all fantastic. The soup is always a slam dunk. I just love Wynn Las Vegas. After spending lots of time at Wynn, and not having been through Bellagio on the last few trips, once I did finally return to Bellagio, it was chaotic, loud, confusing, and smoky. If the rooms aren’t even as nice as Wynn’s, I see no reason to stay there.

I’m looking forward to answering any questions that any of you readers may have.

Respectfully submitted,


Read archived comments (4 so far)
September 7, 2006 12:38 AM Posted by Mike E

Excellent report Sean! I think my stomach actually growled a few times with your restaurant reviews. Congrats on winning and looking forward to your December report!

September 7, 2006 7:57 AM Posted by Brian Fey

Sean - Nice report. Yeah Wynn's full of great places to eat, the only problem is trying to sqeeze them all in, on each trip. I agree with you, Wynn is the new Bellagio. And I look for business to only get better and better there over the next several years. And he is doing all this is a slow part of the strip. Once he is surrounded by great hotels, Echelon Place, Mont. and Palazzo, Encore, its just going to increase. More Traffice, equals more money for Wynn!

September 7, 2006 7:20 PM Posted by DLO

Great report Sean. I recently split a trip between Wynn and Mirage as well... unfortunately we ended at Mirage & started at Wynn. I too thought Mirage was a bit tired. Could they please hire some dealers that actually will hold a conversation? What you mentioned about getting stuck behind people everywhere you walk... so true! It drove us crazy! That & the detereorating rooms. Glad to hear another positive review for Bartolotta & Tableau. Both are excellent. If you ever go back to Tableu for breakfast, the poached eggs & duck hash are unbelievably good! I still love the B, but do give Wynn the slight edge!

September 8, 2006 1:01 PM Posted by socalduck

I would agree that I prefer the cabanas at the Mirage over those at Wynn, only because you do have a bit more room. I also prefer the tropical feel of the Mirage pool, although it tends to get a bit crowded. Cabanas at the Wynn are a bit cramped, and the furnishings are not particularly comfortable. I actually think the best cabanas in town are at the Venetian: lots of room, reasonable amount of privacy, very comfortable furniture and they have AC.