Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog

Yesterday, as I was waiting in an interminable airport line, I got a call that came up as 'Wynn Las Vegas' on caller ID. That could have meant one of two things - someone was calling to yell at me about something I wrote or there was some problem with one of my hotel reservations - as many of my readers know, I'm booked at Encore for opening night and will be at WLV before that.

Well, it was the latter...

The call was from an Assistant Hotel Manager who told me that the room I had booked at Encore, a Tower Suites room, was not available and I would have to be downgraded. The explanation was that a 'computer glitch' had made the rooms available for sale when they should not have been. The manager said they 'just figured it out' and were making calls to people. Well, I booked Encore the first moment it became available (someone told me I was the second person to book online, after our friend Brian Fey). That was October 31st.

So, for a month and a half, these rooms (as well as the larger suites) were incorrectly available to book online and apparently no one noticed until December 15th. Uh-huh.

My currently unsubstantiated guess is that they got a better-than-expected RSVP from invited guests and didn't have the rooms to put them in, so they started to bump regular bookings down from the Tower to Resort side of the hotel. I'm working on getting a confirmation on my theory.

Now, I understand the casino is a VIP business and this can happen. Such is life. My first issue would be if I was lied to about the computer glitch in order to get me to 'go quietly' and accept the lesser room. I suggested upgrading to a larger, more expensive room but those were also not available. I wanted to have access to a few types of different rooms for photos and commentary for you fine people, hence my protests when the call came in.

My disappointment will subside. Life will go on.

What's interesting though is that as of now, it seems like people that booked through Wynn's Web site got short shrift compared to other methods. For instance, another reader here had booked through the American Express Travel Agency and thus far has not received a similar phone call about adjusting the reservation. Will he keep his more deluxe rooms?

If this turns out to be true, customers need to be careful who they choose to book with. The advice I've handed out to hundreds of thousands of site visitors - that booking with the hotel directly is often the best route - may no longer hold true in all cases.

Did other readers get the same call? If so, how did it go? What did they tell you? Did they offer you any compensation? I know that at least Brian was able to negotiate a dining credit as part of this downgrade so it's not a total loss.


Read archived comments (21 so far)
December 16, 2008 9:48 AM Posted by motoman

Hunter, I spent countless hours searching both the Encore/Wynn site and various travel sites on the off-chance that I might be able to make the opening. (Of note, Expedia and, which appear to use the same technology, allow you to book two different hotels within one trip--useful since I planned to be there prior to Encore's opening.)

Those travel sites showed availability at Encore long after the Encore site itself showed "Unavailable." I have no idea if these sites had negotiated a block of rooms for themselves and thus had some after Encore had "sold out," or if they were behind the curve in updating their availability. If it's the former, then that's a good Plan B strategy for those who don't mind a standard Resort room. They'll have some angry users as well if the latter is true.

December 16, 2008 9:51 AM Posted by motoman

Interesting....I don't know when this happened to you Hunter, but as of this moment, the Encore site is down....

December 16, 2008 12:09 PM Posted by mattk

I was booted too. Very disappointing. They offered me a downgrade at a discount and I'm still deciding if I want it. No dining discount though.

December 16, 2008 12:40 PM Posted by Aaron_b

Hunter, I’m disappointed to hear that Encore has bumped you! On the first day Encore was accepting reservations on their website I came very close to booking a Parlor Suite for the 23rd and 24th but decided I couldn’t justify the cost for this trip. I’m glad that I held off on booking now as I probably would have been bumped.

December 16, 2008 1:06 PM Posted by Mike E

For those that got bumped, did you all receive the call yesterday and if so, around what time? I have yet to receive any calls and am worried about confirming and giving myself away.

December 16, 2008 3:20 PM Posted by LeoNYC

Wow... that kind of sucks. I had a reservation for a parlor suite on 12/23 and 12/24, but I decided to cancel to avoid changing hotels (I now am staying at the Wynn from 12/21 to 12/25). I'll be checking the common areas and eating in a few restaurants this time. I'll be staying in one of their suites in a near future though.
BTW, last week a few people were planning to meet up at the Wynn/Encore. Who will be there? And what is the best way to set something up?

December 16, 2008 3:20 PM Posted by LeoNYC

Wow... that kind of sucks. I had a reservation for a parlor suite on 12/23 and 12/24, but I decided to cancel to avoid changing hotels (I now am staying at the Wynn from 12/21 to 12/25). I'll be checking the common areas and eating in a few restaurants this time. I'll be staying in one of their suites in a near future though.
BTW, last week a few people were planning to meet up at the Wynn/Encore. Who will be there? And what is the best way to set something up?

December 16, 2008 3:23 PM Posted by Hunter

Yes, we should arrange some kind of informal get-together.

The evening of the 21st could work, or on the 22nd but it would have to be later, perhaps 11pm due to previous dinner commitments.

December 16, 2008 4:15 PM Posted by Brian Fey

I vote for the 21st. I know 11 PM might not be a big deal to most of you. But that's 1AM where I come from.

December 16, 2008 4:50 PM Posted by mike_ch

I was going to book a room at Mirage for the 22nd but I have no idea what's going on so I'm going to wait until things are finalized before I see.

I was planning to drop in the afternoon of the 22nd. Then, word dropped said the place won't open to anyone but hotel guests and so it was in doubt whether I'd be able to enter on the afternoon of the 22nd.

So, I thought I'd buy a Mirage room on the 22nd so I could spend the night to see the place once us peons are allowed to see it, and also check out the volcano that I haven't seen yet. But now we're talking the 21st.

I'm just going to wait and let these plans flesh out, since I could go see Encore any day of the week, but you guys are only all in town for a little while.

December 16, 2008 8:33 PM Posted by Mike E

I vote 6pm or 11pm on the 22nd as several of my own friends who'd love to join won't be in until the 22nd.

December 16, 2008 8:38 PM Posted by Hunter

6pm on the 22nd sounds fine to me though depending on the Encore opening madness timeline, we may end up on the WLV side instead of the Encore side. I guess that would be fine.

December 16, 2008 9:18 PM Posted by TC from Boston

Hunter and other people who got downgraded...what sort of room did you have reserved and what sort of room are you going to be getting? Did they tell you you would be at WLV instead or just a different level of room at Encore?

December 16, 2008 9:25 PM Posted by Hunter

I'm still at Encore - if not, I would have literally gone ballistic given all the planning that's gone into the coverage.

I'm now in a regular room at Encore, from a Tower Suites room. Granted, the actual room is probably pretty much the same, though the TS rooms have higher end amenities.

It's worse for folks that were in large suites and made plans to match. They're now downgraded from 2000+ square feet to ~700 square feet.

It's just a lame thing to do a week before arrival... to find out all of your long standing plans were thrown out is not the best news you can get...

On the other hand, I was interviewed for a major publication doing a story on Wynn. Not sure if anything I said will make it in but it was fun anyway.

Yesterday I was pretty upset about it. While I still think that lying to customers (still not substantiated - working on more details, though it sounds like I was right so far) is pretty lame, I am excited about Encore even if my plans were changed by the almighty WYNN.

I'm gonna be there, I'm gonna get to meet more people from this fine blog and I'm gonna have fun. I got even more info from insiders on the resort today and it sounds spectacular.

After over three years of waiting, it's hard to imagine that time is almost up.

December 16, 2008 9:35 PM Posted by Mike E

Sounds good. How about 6pm, December 22nd, Parasol Up?

December 16, 2008 9:44 PM Posted by Tom M.

Sorry to hear about the downgrades. It really sucks to have the wind knocked out of your sail like that. But, I am really excited to see the coverage that you guys are planning. I won't be able to even get to Las Vegas in 2009 much less stay at Encore. But I can't wait to watch the new information age coverage that you guys are planning. One thing I found odd about the Encore website is that there is zero discussion of the gaming offerings. They don't even refer to it in the resort writup section. Kind of shocking considering that this is a casino resort hotel.

December 16, 2008 9:52 PM Posted by Hunter

That is notable but not unique. While WLV's site did have a 'Gaming' tab before opening, the photo was of a 5x5 section of the roof and the copy basically confirmed there would indeed be a casino.

Encore, while certainly a gaming resort, is less biased in favor of casino square footage than WLV.

Those that have seen the gaming floor have confirmed that it looks just like Wynn Macau which means small-ish, partially segmented 'chambers' (separated by curtains that are pulled back). The idea is to create more intimate segments while still feeling like a contiguous gaming floor.

Supposedly the Switch restaurant change actually is cool and the Sinatra restaurant is more old-school Italian. Keep your eyes open for photos of the Chairman and the chairman together.

Unlike WLV, there are supposedly two fairly different layouts for Resort rooms. Perhaps North and South facing? When I was downgraded, I was told the pool facing rooms (like the golf course rooms at WLV) are noticeably larger due to the way the building curves.

Despite being slightly dissed, I'd be lying to say I'm not excited. Trying to get a room overlooking Encore at WLV the night before to get the photo party started early.

December 17, 2008 6:35 AM Posted by xpedior

Hunter wrote:

"I am excited about Encore even if my plans were changed by the almighty WYNN."

If this were an Sands property I doubt he would be nearly as forgiving - at least we can throw objectivity out the window.

December 17, 2008 8:31 AM Posted by Hunter

You might be right about LVS. I don't think anyone would be surprised to hear me say I'm a bigger fan of Wynn Resorts than Las Vegas Sands.

I'm a blogger, not a journalist.

With Palazzo, I was not nearly as excited about it opening so if something like this had happened, I probably would have been more inclined to care less about the opening, sure.

That's why I love having comments - everyone can throw in their $0.02.

December 17, 2008 6:23 PM Posted by Tom M.

And let me throw in my point zero two dollars worth!! I think there will be a significant difference between the resort quality and level of expectation for Encore than there was for Palazzo. In the numerous interviews I saw with Sheldon, he came off as a self centered guy who was very interested in being one of the richest guys in the universe. Steve comes off much more passionately about the customer experience. Also, his long history of successful properties gives him alot more cache than Sheldon. I don't hate on the Venetian as some here do, but I recognize that Steve is the KING of resorts in Las Vegas and that makes his new openings a major event that will be covered by a much larger media than anything Sheldon does.

December 18, 2008 8:23 AM Posted by Bill

Hunter, your post reminded me of a certain day in 2005 when WLV opened. Like you, we were “early bookers” and held a Fairway Villa for April 29 – May 3 (I’ll never forget those dates). The room was held manually, and later booked into the reservation system. Around a week prior to opening, I received a call from WLV guest relations “asking” me to downgrade to a lesser value room to make way for “preferred hotel guests”. As you might imagine, that didn’t set very well with me (or my traveling companions). Luckily, I have an excellent attorney who was with me (literally in my office) during the call, and he spoke with the woman for a few minutes. He told her that we would be there, as planned, and that we would not accept a change. He also contacted AMEX’s Platinum Concierge service (we did not book through them, but did use the card to hold the room – that was also helpful). When we arrived, it took 8 hours to check in to the Tower Suites, and ultimately; we were assigned the Fairway Villa, as reserved. I recognize that every situation is unique, but obviously Encore needs business and it would be ill-advised to affect a downgrade on a customer who is providing millions of people with insight into both “what” Encore will reveal, as well as “how” the hotel will behave.