Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog

April 21, 2008

A Stay at Trump International Tower - Las Vegas, NV

Posted by Hunter

For my first stay in a condo-hotel, I picked the Trump International Tower, right off the Strip in Las Vegas. This is a short write up of our experience this past weekend.

Continue after the jump for more...


Sometimes the opportunity just sort of jumps out at you and you have to take it. That was the case this past weekend - the stars aligned and the wife and I headed to the Great State of Nevada in an effort to provide you, noble reader, with a look at the latest work of the world's most available billionaire, Mr. Donald Trump.

I have some familiarity with his work - I've visited Atlantic City and seen the Taj Mahal and Marina properties. To give you an idea of my pre-dispositions, I can say that after visiting those miserable excuses for greatness I had a remarkably low set of expectations for anything else he would ever build. Of course, we all watched the Trump International Tower #1 (from here on, 'Trump LV') go up on the site that was once a parking lot for another gem - the New Frontier. I find the outside of the building to be incredibly uninspired and boring. Anyway, I was expecting next to nothing but never having stayed in a condo-hotel I wanted to give it a try. I booked just a few days before we left and that's where we start...

BOOKING: Booked on a Wednesday. The process was done on the Web site and it was painless and quick. It was a fight weekend and other rates in the Valley were quite high - $490 for The Mirage gives you an example of just how high. The rate at Trump for Saturday - $279 - was low by comparison. I'm assuming that many folks have no clue the place exists.

PRE-ARRIVAL: I got a call from the Trump concierge on Thursday. I didn't answer but she did leave a message indicating that if we needed any show tickets or dinner reservations, they were happy to help. Also, she offered to go shopping to stock the in-room refrigerator if we would so require. Since I did not require any shopping service, I didn't call back but I certainly did note the effort.

CHECK-IN: We actually stayed the night before at Monte Carlo (still as ghetto as I remembered, though they did replace the signage and carpet in the hotel). I wanted to check in earlier than the stated 3pm time so we headed over around noon to see what we could do... We pulled up and the valet guys literally jumped at the car in full attention mode. We were the only people around but the amount of attention would be a common theme during our stay. Everyone was extremely friendly with the check-in clerk greeting us and walking me over to deal with the details. It turns out our room was not yet ready but they happily stored our stuff and I left my cell number in case something opened up before 3. The staff offered to drive us anywhere in one of their cars - we politely declined as we were just walking over to Wynn Las Vegas.

THE LOBBY: I'm generally not a fan of Trump's design sensibility - he's big on gold everything - very 'Versailles'-esque. Not my thing. If you can get past the gold, there are some things to like about Trump's lobby. He's also big on marble, which in this case looks pretty good. My favorite part of the Trump LV lobby is the use of some gorgeous floor-to-ceiling chandeliers, which you can sorta make out in this photo:

LOCATION: Trump LV is located next to the Fashion Show Mall, roughly across the street from Wynn Las Vegas. The walk to and from WLV is short but after a few trips it gets a little annoying. You can walk through the mall to avoid the elements if you wish. You won't find any taxis waiting at Trump so the bell desk will have to call one for you if you don't like to walk, or, if available, they can drive you.

POOL / GYM: The pool is located on the third floor, along with a small gym and the spa. There's a small little refreshments bar next to the pool. If our trip was any indication, you won't have any problems finding a place to sit - it was empty in the middle of the afternoon. The pool is a standard issue rectangular job, nothing to write home about. It looked like they were building some cabanas over in the corner.

CHECK-IN, PART 2: We took off to have some lunch and play some video poker... We didn't get a call before 3pm so we just headed back over to check in then. The attendant met me in the middle of the lobby, documents in hand and ready to go. About 2 minutes later, we were heading up to our room on the 34th floor... More on the room in a second - first, just a note that the bellman was in the room about 5 minutes after we got there with our bags. He offered to show us how the stuff in the room worked such as the TV, as well as to get us ice. We declined but he was willing to do anything we needed. Very helpful and courteous.

Trump Room Photos Here:

THE ROOM: We were booked into a 'studio', which in many respects looked like a traditional hotel room yet it did contain a kitchenette consisting of a set of burners, a fridge and all the cooking materials you'd need to actually prep a meal. You could easily cook here.

The room looked like a modern, well appointed Las Vegas hotel room. I would guess it was about 700 square feet and fortunately the design is MUCH more mellow than the lobby. No gold stuff everywhere - lots of wood, marble and high end fixtures. Comparing with other rooms, I would say it is just as nice as what you'd find at Wynn Las Vegas or Palazzo.

The bathroom was spacious with a TV actually built into the mirror, which was a nice touch. The jacuzzi tub was HUGE - and not just big but very deep.

Our view looked over the Echelon site so until more is built over on that side, we didn't have much to look at. Also, the gold glass that the tower is clad in makes all the light coming from the window look very strange. You can see it in some of the photos but it's hard to explain how strange it makes people look when they are standing in it. It is quite pronounced - I've never noticed anything as hardcore in other gold-glass hotels like The Mirage and Mandalay Bay.

The room had a lot of closet space and a large-enough safe. Still not as cool as the safe at Palazzo that featured outlets but still better than the uber-small models in some hotels.

Generally there were not enough outlets in the room. This is something WLV does well and I can't tell you how much I appreciate that when a room as the right setup. We had two computers, a WiFi base station, two phones, three cameras and more - lots to charge.

Generally, I thought the room was very nice and was impressed. It can hold its own with any other standard room I've seen in Las Vegas and is 'future-proof' enough for some time.

THE SERVICE: A recurring theme throughout the trip was the service. It was impossible to miss the friendly and helpful attitude of all employees. While many hotels strive for good service, you can separate those that are merely offering lip-service and those that are not by the overall culture of service in a facility - you can tell at Trump it is something that is emphasized top to bottom as part of the culture. We did not encounter anyone that let us down and frequently they were offering to do more. Both my wife and I remarked to each other several times that we were impressed by how attentive they were. This sets them apart in my opinion.

LACK OF CASINO: Trump LV has no casino and the closest one is over at Wynn Las Vegas. While it's just a few minutes away, this was a big enough of an issue for me that I probably would not stay here again because of it. I do gamble but I'm far from a hardcore player... The thing is, I just love casinos. I love the energy. That feeling of the roller coaster of chance that washes over you as you walk from table to table. That excitement is infectious and its one of the things I love about Las Vegas. I love waking up and taking the elevator down to the casino - the sounds, the smells. It's a huge part of enjoying my vacation. Anyway, since Trump doesn't have one, I constantly felt like I was missing out on that aspect. Maybe not a big deal to some but it was a big minus for me.

CONCLUSION: Would I recommend Trump to others? Yes, absolutely. For a certain customer, those that maybe don't like casinos, want something a bit quieter or like being just off the Strip, it's a home run. Even for people that can't find a good room on the Strip for a busy weekend, it's a possibility. I don't know if I would stay there again, given the lack of a casino but we were so impressed by the service I would feel comfortable sending just about anyone to Trump LV, including my parents.

Once again, photos here:


Read archived comments (17 so far)
April 21, 2008 11:41 PM Posted by mike_ch

This is the kind of place that I wish existed when I was visiting town. I didn't like casinos then and while I don't really have much against them now, I would prefer to only visit them and not have one between my hotel room and the entrance/exit if at all possible.

Can you elaborate on the driving service?

April 21, 2008 11:47 PM Posted by Hunter

The offered to give us a ride if we needed one and based on availability of a car.

I don't think it is a formal service in that it's something that's on the list of amenities offered with your stay. They were offering just in case we needed it and since they might have been able to do it. This isn't an uncommon thing for boutique hotels in other cities. I don't know if they would have charged me if I had taken them up on it. Certainly a gratuity would have been involved.

April 22, 2008 12:03 AM Posted by Dr. B

Great write-up... Your attention to detail is impeccable.

I'd never considered how the light might change the room given the color glass of the exterior. Very interesting. That has to be taken into account during the design process, yes?

Thanks for the report and the pics!

April 22, 2008 2:38 AM Posted by Joey

Trump Hallway-

Palazzo Hallway-

Trump Pool-

Palazzo Pool-

Trump Room-

Palazzo Room-

Trump Location vs Palazzo Location

When stacking all this up it seems like Palazzo was unjustly lambasted if Trump is going to get a somewhat glowing review based on photographs.

From Hunter's photos the only thing that looked to me like it stacked up vs Palazzo was the bathrooms.

I find the way they opened Palazzo disgraceful but if we are comparing apples to apples I'd stay at Palazzo over Trump Las Vegas any day.

April 22, 2008 6:40 AM Posted by detroit1051

Hunter, thanks for the insights. Have you stayed at The Residences at MGM Grand? Friends have told me they enjoy the quality of the rooms and the separation from the MGM Grand casino and crowds, but they appreciate the close proximity and convenience of the enclosed walkway.
I noticed the shower did not have clear glass walls and door like Wynn and Bellagio. I'm not sure I like the textured glass as well as the clear, especially since I don't have to clean it. Clear glass looks better, imo.
Do you know what the occupancy was when you were there? I'm suprised your room wasn't ready early unless Trump lowered rates to ensure full occupancy. The pool and gym looked totally empty. There's something about the entire casino/resort.vacation experience which make pools, spas and gyms popular. Will Trump get this momentum? We've talked about Trump's target market before; it may be months before we know who is choosing this property and what rate they will pay.
When Echelon is completed, will it be closer to Trump than Wynn is?
Regarding the glass, wasn't there a story somewhere about special layers of gold glass being used to eliminate any difference in coloration between panels, a la The Mirage?

April 22, 2008 7:06 AM Posted by doc_al

Excellent writeup, thanks!

But... Monte Carlo is "ghetto"?? Dude.

April 22, 2008 8:44 AM Posted by Hunter

Honestly, I didn't feel like I lambasted The Palazzo, especially if you do an apples-to-apples comparison of the room and lobby areas - the only parts of Trump LV that compare since there's no casino or shopping mall.

While I think Trump's taste is way too gaudy, the whole place seems to be built out of first class materials which is often not the case with The Palazzo.

Would I rather stay at Trump or Palazzo? Probably the latter, due to the casino issue I mention above. That's just impossible for me to forget.

Detroit - I haven't stayed at Signature, no. This was my first time in a condo hotel. The place seemed VERY quiet while I was there. One tourist couple that stopped me in the lobby asked me where the casino was.

Echelon is probably a bit closer but I don't know about easy access with roads, etc... between Trump and Echelon.

Re: the glass - there was a story about Wynn rejecting blue glass at one of his properties (WLV?) because it made people in the rooms look freakish. As you can see from the photos, this was pretty extreme. It looked very strange.

April 22, 2008 1:18 PM Posted by Joey

I thought I remember you doing a audio podcast of your walkthrough of Palazzo in which you had some strongly negative comments, picking the place apart.

Maybe I have it confused with something else. If that's the case I apologize.

April 22, 2008 1:22 PM Posted by Hunter

Nah, I did do some audio where I was critical and those comments stand. Certainly no need to apologize.

But, as I said before, the only parts you can reasonably compare are the room and the lobby. Palazzo's casino is my main gripe and I still think it is a major let-down.

If Trump had a casino this would be a very different set of comparisons.

If you have a contrasting view, feel free to add a comment or if you have a long form piece, we're always happy to publish stuff.

April 22, 2008 3:24 PM Posted by Phil

Very insightful comments. I kinda reminds me of the last days of the Desert Inn. It was a boutique hotel kinda feel. Very quiet, good quality and peaceful. I love the vibe a casino puts off too, but I also love the threshold you cross at Mandalay Bay for example when you hear the noise of the hustle and bustle and then cross the divide into the Four Seasons Hotel there. Its like a different world. There is a market for the hotel only concept like Trump, good reviews like this will keep it afloat.

April 22, 2008 5:16 PM Posted by socalduck

Does Trump have the land to eventually add a casino, or will he simply build an umbilical cord to Echelon?

From the photos, the room looks great, certainly on par with the top players in the market. The pool deck and fitness center are nothing special, appropriate for a condo tower, but a big let-down compared to what's available at Wynn, Mirage, MB, etc. I would see Trump as more of a competitor to the Renaissance or Hilton Grand Vacations properties than to the top-end casino resorts. Personnaly, I don't see any compelling reason to stay there, unless there is simply nothing else available.

April 22, 2008 8:52 PM Posted by mike_ch

I believe Trump does not want to deal with regulation and all the other hassles involved with running a Nevada casino. This property is, IIRC, operated under a different umbrella than his AC properties. Trump International instead of Trump Casinos.

It's hard to keep 'em all straight because the big ego puts his name on all of 'em.

April 22, 2008 11:21 PM Posted by PeterF

Whenever The Plaza gets built it will be very close to Trump. That might make it palatable for people wanting the casino vibe close by. Of course, that is still years away.

April 23, 2008 2:34 AM Posted by Joey

According to The Strip Podcast, Steve Freiss reported that The Plaza Project was either off the table or in a holding pattern.

If memory serves me right he reported it a while back that the project was off, only to be corrected by someone within the organization that it was still a go. Then something like a week later the people behind the project confirmed what Steve had originally reported, that the project was off.

April 23, 2008 2:50 AM Posted by Joey

Here is the link to the Steve Freiss blog entry about The Plaza story-

April 28, 2008 4:02 PM Posted by derek marlowe

The $279 rate is alot lower than the listed which means that they were not heavily booked. From your description of the lack of patrons this confirmed that the hotel was slow. Not a good sign for future return on investment. It sounds like it will be a dud like MGM Signature, as far as rental return. If an owner uses it, I guesss it probably doesnt matter. I believe that the prospects are much better for Cosmopolitan to return a higher cap. rate.

May 8, 2008 2:22 PM Posted by Pete Reeve

We visited the Trump Hotel in Las Vegas, NV April 18-21 and I was blown away by how amazing everything was!!!

First off, we booked the hotel stay directly through the hotel website. I found that this way had the best rates advertised, and the easiest reservations process.

We were able to reserve our weekend stay with a great special. Buy 2 nights, get the third free. Which was awesome because when booking your reservation, 33 percent of the total price was discounted. So instead of Sunday (being the cheapest night) being discounted, we received the 33 percent off, which was a huge savings. Also included in our reservation package was a $25 dollar per night room credit. Which we were told could be used toward any spa service, or food service. Apparently when I went to check out, I was informed that this was not to be used toward room service, which was what we did everyday. I explained that we were told by the front desk that if we wanted to use our credit toward room service we would need to place our order prior to 2am. Thankfully they allowed us to do that, due to the misunderstanding.

From the moment we arrived at the Trump Hotel, everything was spectacular.

The Best thing about this hotel was the Staff and Hotel

* The staff-
They were so courteous, polite, attentive and respectful of all our needs, concerns and wants. I found this especially helpful being my girlfriend and I are 2 young adults from Minnesota. I especially liked that they were able to help us decide on places to see and go. Many people in Vegas will recommend a place or two that they think you should see or visit when all they are doing is "selling you" to go there so they can make money on you like promoters. The Trump staff was not like that in any way. They were honest people and we appreciated that very much. Upon arriving, we were greeted with warm wet towels, and bottles of water. At the hotel, there is a fleet of Cadillac escalades which are available to cater to the high end guests staying at the hotel. Being the hotel recently opened, there were not a lot of guests visiting. This was very nice, because we were able to be driven around by a bellboy in one of the SUVs every night we were there. When leaving a nightclub or casino, all we had to do was call the bell desk and request to be picked up by if a car was a available. Sure enough they said it was no problem, and they picked us up with in 5mins every time.

The Hotel Common Areas and location-
The hotel lobby is very impressive. It is the trump hotel so every detail is Grand! The hallways are very quiet, and clean. The pool area is located on the 7th floor of the building so on a windy day, (like the day we were out there) it can be very windy. The hotel has a spa area, workout/fitness area and they do require you to purchase a pass. When we arrived we were told that this was not necessary and that hotel guests could use the spa facilities at no charge but that was not true, This was a bit disappointing but the spa worker stated that we could use it because we were told that but we didn�t. The hotel is located at the top of the Vegas strip. So it is very close to the Wynn, Venetian and the fashion mall. The hotel is a non-gaming, non smoking hotel which I liked very much.

The Hotel Room-
The hotel room we had was the studio suite with the strip view. We reserved the cheapest room which had mountain views but they upgraded us for free to the better view room which was great. We were the first people to stay in our room.
When we entered the room, truffles and water were on our bed, along with a letter greeting and thanking us for our stay.
Each room has a king sized bed and a pull out couch. Me and my friend initially were planning on sleeping separately but decided to share the king bed which was great. It was a sterns and foster pillow top with high threat count sheets. The room also had a small kitchenette. With a 2 burner cook top, a microwave, full kitchen sink with garbage disposal, lots of cabinets full of dishes, cups, eating utensils and cookware. They also had a coffeepot, a large plasma TV, 2 upright clothes closets, a desk area, and night stands. The bathroom had a dual vanity sink, separate Jacuzzi tub and marble tiled shower and a TV built into the mirror in the bathroom.

Room Service-
The room service was delightful. After we ordered our meals, it was no more than 10 minutes and it was at our room. It was the fastest room service I have ever had! The menu was a large array of selections and options. We ordered chicken tenders off the late night menu and we pleasantly surprised by the large portions. For $9 dollars we received 5 breaded full chicken breast fillets and plate of potato wedges. Very delicious.

All around, this hotel was beyond amazing in every way! I would recommend this to anyone thinking of visiting. The best part of all was that this hotel was only $100 dollars more, for the whole 3 day stay than Luxury, which had reports of bedbugs and bad staff. So I now a true believer in paying a little bit more for pure luxury!