Lesley and I just returned from Las Vegas. It’s such an interesting place. I’ve experienced Vegas so many different ways. I’ve been a resident there. A student there. A bachelor party attendee there. It’s been an Angel Flight destination for me as a pilot. And so on.
Vegas can be the most fun you’ll ever have. It can also be a truly unpleasant experience. For the occasional visitor, the two biggest factors that affect your enjoyment of Sin City are a) your hotel, and b) the time of week you visit.
In this case, we really did it right. We spent three days and two nights at the Bellagio. Now, the last time I was in Vegas it was for my friend Rich’s bachelor party. We stayed at the Imperial Palace, which is just about as polar opposite to the Bellagio as you can get! On a Sunday, it can take 30 minutes or more before an elevator reaches your floor at the Imperial Palace! I’m not kidding. For a bachelor party it’s fine since you’re never in the room anyway. But if you can stay at the Bellagio, do it.
Our room was freshly renovated. It had high definition flat screen TV, high speed internet access, the best view on the Strip, and the finest amenities. When you picked up the phone, an operator answered “How may I help you, Mr. Rapp?” When we heard some construction noise on our floor, the Bellagio responded by insisting we eat at one of the hotel’s restaurants–on them. Everyone was pleasant and friendly, right down to the valet who parked our car. And when it comes to the aforementioned elevators, the Bellagio has seperate elevators for each block of floors. So you virtually never wait more than 20 seconds for an elevator, if that.
I’ve put up a bunch of photos that tell the story pretty well.
Lesley had never gambled before, so I showed her how to play video poker. She won–as did I at the blackjack table. On Monday we both spent several hours at the Bellagio Spa. And that evening we had drinks at the Baccarat Bar. We ate far too much gelato, had coffee on the edge of the canal at the Venitian, and watched the fountains do their thing.
Every time we stay at the Bellagio I discover some new bit of service they provide. This time I realized the housekeeping stops by the room more than once a day! They do the mid-day stuff you’ll find any any hotel, but they return later to turn down the beds, tidy up, and leave mints on the pillows.
I mentioned “time of the week” as a factor in how enjoyable your Las Vegas visit will be. We arrived on a Sunday and left mid-week, so traffic on I-15 was minimal and the table limits in the casinos were low. The room prices were, too.
If you get on the mailing lists for the top hotels like the Bellagio, Venitian, Paris, etc. you’ll find they have respectable deals from time to time. That’s about the only way we were able to afford an extended stay at the Bellagio. Maybe it’s just because I’m getting older or something, but I’d prefer to spend one day there than a week at a lesser hotel. Despite the high cost, I always come away feeling that it was well worth the price. And I always look forward to returning.
The rumor on the street in Vegas is that the new Steve Wynn hotel is going to outshine even the Bellagio. I find that hard to imagine, but we’ll see. If nothing else, the competition will be healthy. Since Wynn sold the Bellagio and other Mirage Resorts properties to MGM, I’ve been waiting for the high quality of service at the Bellagio to decline. So far, I’m happy to report that it hasn’t happened.