A December 2003 trip
to Las Vegas by smmmarti guide
Quote: Analytical visitors view Vegas as a source for philosophical pondering. Lost in the midst of man’s most glorious tribute to escapism and hedonism, they examine the basic human desires that bring the disparate together in a universal quest to fulfill primal yearnings.
Just kidding. Roll the dice, baby! It’s Vegas!
From the down-and-out to the gray-haired grannies, from the rich and famous to everyday citizens from the Heartland, Vegas represents all things human and the chance to escape from life’s responsibilities and worries. Whether the elaborate costumes, giant hotels and casinos, or outrageous special effects, everything seems (and often is) larger than life. This is imagination's ground zero: a wild ride that offers to take you on a journey not only through time and space but also into the recesses of your personal fantasy world.
While the Luxor immerses you into exotic Egypt, Caesar’s Palace transports you to ancient Rome. A gondola ride at the Venetian replicates Old World Venice and the street scene and Tour Eiffel of Paris will leave you consulting your Berlitz phrase book. The Bellagio offers a rarefied vision of Italy’s finest, tosses in Chihuly's glass ceiling, and rare masterpieces of art and dining.
All the outrageous spectacle of Vegas is tucked neatly into a broad dry pocket of earth surrounded by nature’s glories. When you’ve had your fill of decadence, or your money's gone dry, head out of town and regain your sense of dignity by visiting the Red Rock Canyon. Driving or hiking the 13-mile loop presents beauty born of nature, a commodity sorely lacking in the man-made, manufactured, sculpted, and scalpel-ed world of Vegas. Two honest wonders of the world, the Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon are purposeful day trips. Here you may even regain some perspective on what matters most in your life in contrast to the hedonistic visions of happiness common to Vegas.
Additional trams connect the following:
Bally’s to the MGM
Bellagio to Monte Carlo
Mirage to Treasure Island
For further explorations, free shuttles run between the following:
· Fremont Hotel to Sam's Town
· Sam's Town to the Stardust and the Fashion Show Mall
· Tropicana Hotel to the Hard Rock and Palace Station
· Hard Rock to the Stardust
· Barbary Coast to the Gold Coast and the Orleans
· Rio to Harrah's
· Stratosphere to the Starbuck's shopping center and Convention Center Drive
Driving down the Strip is often very slow. Cabbies advise taking the outer loop highway and returning to the Strip only at the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th exits.
Hotel | "Mandalay Bay"
Home to Vegas’ best pool, with its six-foot waves and lazy river ride, the Mandalay carefully restricts admission to ensure the pool remains the exclusive domain of hotel guests. Shark Reef, the infamous House of Blues and its Gospel Brunch, and the ultra-luxurious spa all draw visitors from other hotels, but these attractions have enough sophistication to deter random pedestrian traffic.
In the evening, things at Mandalay heat up just enough to make the scene exciting. Rum Jungle, one of Vegas’ hottest spots, and Aureole, where harnessed waitresses retrieve wine from a four-story glass "cellar," infuse the mega-resort with a particular panache. Shanghi Lily’s excellent Chinese cuisine and Wolfgang Puck’s friendly Tratorria del Lupa are but two of a broad range of exotic dining choices. Red Square, a sort of incongruous Moscow on the Mandalay, dishes up caviar and vodka with its borscht, while the bar in the hyper-chic 3950 displays a web cam view of Shark Reef’s inner sanctum on a plasma screen TV, adding a techno touch to the eatery’s unique ambiance.
The casino at Mandalay is one of Vegas’ best versions of what can otherwise seem a dreadful den of smoke-filled iniquities. Cleaner, classier, more spacious, and less trafficked than many of the others, we found adequate company but plenty of breathing space. Each night soulful entertainers rocked the main floor lounge belting out tunes so impressive they actually drew people away from the gaming tables and machines.
Our package included two for one breakfasts at the House of Blues and admission to the Mandalay Spa. We spent our first afternoon lounging in the 30,000 square ft. emporium of bliss. Admission includes a private locker, spa wear, and entrance to a
world class facility where no detail is spared. Fresh fruit, power bars, nuts, juices, and designer waters are piled in every public space and free for the taking.
Originally enticed by a $109/night promotion, we had been easily persuaded to upgrade to a suite. For not all that much more we had an upper floor room at the end of the hallway where not another soul or sound intruded upon our reverie. Marble baths, dual entertainment systems, and sumptuous bedding provided all the anticipated comfort sans the cheesy factor of some nouveau hotel suites with their round platform beds and mirrored ceilings (or so I‘ve heard).
For half the price of her sophisticated sister, the Four Seasons, we felt properly coddled at the Mandalay; at once in with the in crowd, yet sequestered from the Vegas hype when we wanted to make like Garbo and be all alone.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 20, 2003
Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino
3950 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, Nevada 89119
Attraction | "Aladdin Hotel and Casino"
Love Me Tender
If you are an Elvis fan, you already know he wed Priscilla at the old Aladdin Hotel, where guests were treated to a six-tier cake costing $3,500. The groom wore cowboy boots, the bride designed her own gown, and the couple danced to "Love Me Tender" (purportedly the song that caused Priscilla to fall in love with Elvis before she’d ever seen him).
There is history lurking under the Desert Passage’s 500,000 square feet of shopping in 140 shops and restaurants. Johnny Carson tried to buy the place once, and Wayne Newton actually succeeded in doing so. In the late ’90s, the hotel was imploded to make room for an all-new themed version of itself, hoping to join the ranks of Bellagio, Venetian, Mandalay Bay, and Paris as Vegas’ new image-makers.
Unfortunately, Aladdin’s carpet never took off after its ultimate makeover.
It didn’t make sense. We enjoyed our spacious room, loved the super-low rates ($69 to $109), and with the exception of the trickle-drip shower, found everything to our satisfaction. I polled some locals to get to the bottom of Aladdin’s bad rap. (It’s being redone again, owned now by Planet Hollywood.)
According to legend, Aladdin didn't fly due to bad timing. Opening shortly after 9/11 turned the Arabian theme sour, showing just how difficult it is for many people to sort out fantasy from reality. The other problem plaguing Aladdin was self-imposed.
No Good Deed Goes Unpunished
Aladdin boasts that, unlike the gargantuan layout of rival hotels, no guest room is more than seven doors from an elevator. Yet, the hotel’s main attraction, The Desert Passage, is a 1-mile circle loop filled with eye candy, thunderstorms, exotic bazaar clichés, changing light conditions, and entertainment. Hotel rooms may be convenient, but the large loop generates complaints since the only way back -- is all the way around. Geeky people-moving machines and pedi-taxis have been added to assist in the problem but to little avail. Ironically, the new Aladdin 2000 was intentionally designed in response to guests’ complaints against trekking through the casino to access shopping and rooms.
A Good Walk Unspoiled
Even though it lacks the sizzle of Caesar’s Forum Shops and the upscale drama of Bellagio, I like the Desert Passage. It's not crowded! I like that you can take a calculated 1-mile power walk/power shopping, multitasking session before entering the beautiful, tranquil, exotic Elemis spa. Usually encountered only on luxury cruise ships, Elemis at Aladdin offers a refreshingly upscale oasis in the Vegas desert.
Who would complain? We got lucky in Aladdin’s casino, enjoyed Elements and Tremezzo restaurants, and found the staff, including waiters and hosts, to be ultra-accommodating. Overall, for $69/night, we thoroughly enjoyed our 4 Arabian nights. In fact, we’ll miss this little oasis in the desert when it turns itself over to Plant Hollywood’s image-makers.
I wonder what Elvis would say?
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 14, 2005
Aladdin Hotel Casino
3667 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Las Vegas, Nevada 89109
Restaurant | "N9ne"
To my husband, nothing declares decadence, Vegas-style, like dining in a sophisticated steak and chop joint. To satisfy his craving, we decided to take a gamble on the new kids in town, N9ne.
Restauranteurs Michael Kornick and Scott DeGraff have recreated their exceptionally popular Chicago signature establishment in Vegas and given it a trendy single word title. Like Cher or Oprah, some things need no explanation, right?
Surely you understand the significance in the name N9ne? Well, neither did I.
I learned that nine represents the age at which the two life-long friends met and seemed destined to open some of America’s best eateries. It’s likely in the genes, as Michael’s father, Arnie Morton, is synonymous with sizzling steaks, while his brother achieved fame by presenting Hard Rock Cafes to the world.
Expect great meat at N9ne, but don’t expect the deep, plush booths; dark lighting; and heavy draperies found at your father’s dinner club. Instead, hipsters lolligag amid haute-Zen decor, walls of water, ultra-suede seating, subdued indirect lighting, and precisely spaced tables. The result is a surprisingly comfortable ambiance.
A touch of Vegas sits smack in the middle of the minimalist dining room with a champagne and caviar bar fashioned from gleaming stainless steel and glowing with 300 colors of computerized neon lighting. It is as much a work of art as the paintings or decked out 30-something’s who prowl the room dressed to the N9nes.
On the bar menu is a unique appetizer of cones served in a specially constructed stainless steel holder; one filled with lobster salad and the other with tuna tartar. Although the presentation and flavors were stunning, eating a cone of seafood while drinking a cocktail proved perilous to my attempts at being cool. I’d suggest ordering one of the more staid offerings, a shrimp cocktail perhaps.
A glance at the main menu left little doubt that we’d get what we came for-great steaks.
Although the menu boasts temptations from lobster to chops, try the giant rib eyes, so delectable you may find yourself recollecting the meal weeks later as you try to button your mini-skirt. Served on a sizzling platter swimming with natural juices, they are easily the most mouth-watering steaks ever served outside a Texas patio. Side orders of mushrooms, onions, and wilted spinach round out the classic bill of fare, with portions so large you will wish you’d have brought along a friend or five.
Perhaps you’ll want to invite a few of the ladies sipping martinis at the bar. In classic beauty scale rating alone, N9ne is definitely a ten.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Tremezzo, located on the mezzanine level of the Aladdin Resort, claims to be the sort of restaurant little old Italian ladies would recommend. Those same ladies would also be appalled to learn that we had to rush our lovely meal, having barely left ourselves enough time to savor the flavors of the Old Country, before being required to scurry off to our promised evening‘s entertainment . (The type of entertainment, the reasons why we’d left ourselves with so little time, and the manner in which we acquired the $50 dining certificate at Tremezzo is another matter altogether; the explanation of which is sworn to secrecy since what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas and it’s really no one else’s concern.) Suffice to say, good service would be the deciding factor in whether or not Tremezzo garnered a favorable review.
Looking at the menu put us in a real Vegas-style bind. Our polished wait staff had greeted us enthusiastically, ignored our breathlessness, and offered a promise for a meal in 30 minutes without hesitation. Would we be pushing the point to order three courses? We accomplished the task readily by agreeing to split portions, to which the wait staff blinked no eye.
They forgave us, realizing that few patrons could pass on the tempting assortment of classic appetizers, pastas, and entrées. The first sharing course was a tough call between the pumpkin-stuffed tortelloni and the carpaccio de manza. The latter won out since any dish that combines four favorites -- thinly sliced beef drizzled with fig balsamic oil, heirloom tomatoes, and mozzarella -- will always emerge victorious. The refreshing second platte greeted us with a generous portion (large even when divided) of baby arugula, pear, and gorgonzola salad. Last but not least, we managed to make short work of a dreamy baked lasagna with remarkably light and creamy ricotta fondue. The little old ladies would be leaning back in the chairs about now, gossiping and laughing.
Thinking back on the meal and the attentive, efficient, and cheerful service, recalling the explosion of light and dancing waters through the floor-to-ceiling windows, causes me now to regret even more our limited time in the homey, Tuscan-style ambience. Especially given that the evening’s entertainment, which had seemed so important at the time, turned out to include scantily clothed magicians, a really bad Cher impersonator, and a midget.
As I said earlier, what happens in Vegas remains there. The lesson in all this? Never rush a gorgeous meal for the promise of cheap entertainment…
3667 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, Nevada 89109
My husband had stayed at THEhotel before; thus, he knew about the dark, secret elevators tucked into an alcove just left of the oh-so-cool reception desk. THEhotel, the latest entry into Vegas’ luxury accommodations, is at the end of the Strip atop the Mandalay Bay.
Arriving within moments at the 64th floor enclave of cool, we stepped from the elevators and were greeted by the maitre ‘d as if he’d been expecting us.
"May I help you?" he inquired.
"Just nosing around," Sweetie replied. "We‘re eating here tonight -- very late -- and didn‘t want to miss the view."
"Indeed, Monsieur," he smiled and proceeded to take us on a guided tour of the kitchen, dining room, and lounge as if we were VIPs.
Feeling as if we’d made new friends with someone in power, we were satisfied with our dining choice. After all, I later learned that tickets are sold online to eager people hoping to move quickly past Mix’s velvet ropes without embarrassment. The popular lounge is as dark, red and black as the dining room is all crystal and white but every bit as hot.
Mix’s sky-high daytime views are spectacular but the nighttime views, 360 degrees of neon and flash exploding nightly in the middle of the desert, are unbelievable. A glass sculpture of over 15,000 mouth-blown glass "bubbles" encircles the dining area giving the illusion of being under the sea in a futuristic vision. Fellow diners decked out in the latest fashions and style statements added to the sizzle. Our afternoon appearance paid off handsomely -- we were awarded one of the ubiquitous egg shaped booths that serves to create a dining ambiance that is other-worldly. If the Fairy Godmother had only dressed me for the occasion!
We expected to pay handsomely for beautiful décor and gastronomical pleasures served up by chefs under the tutelage of Alain Ducasse and did. It may have been a mistake to forgo the very popular tuna tartare but no one, not even Msr. Ducasse could possibly serve better than Gerard’s in Maui. Fearing disappointment, I opted instead for a highly touted, and correspondingly priced, lobster salad which may have been more appropriately called an amuse bouche. However, I didn’t find the teeny portion all that amusing.
I was more impressed with a delicate grouper entrée which obviously benefited from great care taken in its preparation. My husband’s rack of lamb, proportioned like everything served at Mix for a delicate appetite, was reportedly tasty but "not as good as we make at home."
If I were young and hip I’d return to Mix - but I’d likely forgo the dining and hangout instead on the patio 64 floors above the Vegas skyline sipping a Bellini wearing the designer dress I bought instead of dinner.
Las Vegas, Nevada 89119
Restaurant | "Elements"
Elements’ theme reflects the earth’s primary elements: fire, water, stone, wood, and metal. One side of the restaurant reveals chefs searing meat and flaming seafood specialties while the entire back wall of the restaurant is made up of a liquid curtain fountain enhanced by Vegas-style mood lighting. Metal sconces, wood trims, and stone highlights round out the stylish venue. The results are comforting, confirming the importance of feng-shui design. The overall effect would be considered grand in your hometown (yes, even in New York), but the restaurant’s location on the mezzanine level of the casino leaves no doubt you are most definitely still in Vegas. Just beyond the hostess stand the garish sights and sounds of the casino on the level below, reminding diners that temptations of another sort are only a glance away.
Where most urban supper clubs would cater to a healthy number of romantic couples out on the town, after being seated in a romantic booth with my date, I quickly realized I was the only yin in a sea of yang. Businessmen, conventioneers, and bachelor party groups of males dominated the scene. I was not put off by this. In the same way that an overflowing gravel parking lot in a truck stop signals good food, I surmised that a sea of suits signals succulent steaks. Or some such similar suspicion.
And I was right.
From the appetizer menu, Sweetie chose his favorites, which were amply paired together on one plate - a duet of tuna tartare and carpaccio. I’m not one to resist the ubiquitous sin city specialty, shrimp cocktail on ice, for nowhere else will one find more perfectly plump, sweet, and crispy representations of the pink crustacean. Elements’ version of the classic was so huge that I took a picture as proof for the folks back home. (That's a full-sized fork placed next to the "shrimp" in the photo just to give some perspective to their enormity.)
Following our opening feasting course, all I needed to be fully satiated and nutritionally balanced (a feng shui essential) was a side order of jumbo baked potato and sautéed spinach. Sweetie gallantly offered me a taste of his New York bone-in rib eye grilled expertly on the wood stoked fire. It was one of the better (and bigger) cuts one encounters in a city that thrives on the steak and martini trade.
What more would one expect from a venue that urges, "Put a little meat on your bones," in its advertising? After dining at Elements, there’s a good chance you’ll have something to show for it later, which is likely more than you’ll have playing roulette.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 24, 2005
Spice Market Buffet
3667 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, Nevada 89109
Attraction | "Ka"
Faith was happily restored during my recent visit to Vegas after receiving an invitation to Ka, the Cirque du Soliel show staged at the MGM Grand. I feared I’d never say this again and am therefore thrilled to report that KA is nothing short of spectacular.
The story is built on ancient legend whereby twins, a boy, and a girl are separated and taken from their peaceful home after the king of the underworld sends his minions to wreak havoc. Orphaned during the battle, one child is carried away by the most acrobatic guardian ever known to myth and legend, while the other is ushered to safety by an adorably plump, rosy-cheeked nursemaid, the quintessential nurturer.
Each is carried to exotic worlds, the boy to a tropical deserted island, where a force of native birdlike creatures joins the battle to reunite him with his sister. Meanwhile, we follow the journey of the sister as she is carried to the north, where a society of snow dwellers nurse her and her guardian back to health before being carried off in a magnificent birdlike vessel five stories above the audience.
The costumes, pageantry, dance, and acrobatics would be enough to put this production in the ranks of best ever, but the mechanical theatrics, specifically the stage platform that moves, turns, and provides a parallel universe, requiring performers to climb, slide, dive, roll, and even fight the final battle while scaling it, are the most remarkable I’ve ever seen.
When the players, suspended by flying cords, rappel off the sides of the parallel stage, they seem to float above the audience. The opening scene gymnastics prove that video game antics are not beyond belief, as they manage to mimic the unreal acrobatics of that genre a la Matrix without the benefit of distortion or special effects. The show closes with onstage pyrotechnics, an elaborate fireworks display typically reserved for outdoor venues.
Ka is a performance not to be missed. The story is told without words, as most Cirque du Soliel performances are. The reason is simple: with such outstanding theatrics and performances, words would only get in the way. Miming the story also commands close attention. Absence of dialogue intensifies the surreal effect, with everything happening so fast that it becomes like a dream. Afterward, it’s difficult to recall everything you saw, but you remember one thing with certainty. It was fabulous and you want to see it again.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 28, 2005
Cirque Du Soleil-KA
MGM Grand Hotel
Las Vegas, Nevada
2) Cabbies told us about the weather in Vegas. Summer temperatures soar typically over 110-degrees Fahrenheit. Locals will assure you it’s dry heat, but then, so is a sauna! Dehydration takes a serious toll on many visitors, especially after late-night party indulgences. We heard tales of daily collapses on the sidewalks, among other things. In contrast, winter nights can be downright cold in this desert climate. During our visit, we were greeted with a blast of 30-degree winds that warranted warm wraps and increased our taxi time--all the better for gathering stories.
3)Beware the flyers being handed out on the strip! They are not merely innocuous invitations to clubs and restaurants. More often they include photos inappropriate for younger and more sensitive viewers; worse yet, they litter the streets as they're discarded. Don’t take them, unless you are willing to stuff them into your pocket and hope they don't appear unexpectedly later . . . say at the dry-cleaners or your mother-in-law’s Sunday dinner!
4) Drive, Taxi or Shuttle? From my hotel window I could ascertain traffic on the strip below. After hearing from a taxi-driver that he spent 45 minutes moving from the Bellagio to the Mandalay Bay, I realized that it was good to check beforehand. Traffic appeared light from my window, yet, in the time it took to get through the hotel (10 minutes) and retrieve my car from the valet (15 minutes), the Strip was totally backed up and took 45 minutes to cruise from end to end. I took pictures along the way, but I think it might always be wise to take the bypass loop, mentioned in my overview, and check the shuttle map I also have posted in my overview.
5) Parking, however, is usually free and all the big hotels have lots, though maneuvering in them can be tricky. Try not to get distracted (tough in Vegas) and watch carefully for the directional arrows and signs. If you valet-park your car (advised), just be sure to tip a few dollars. Speaking of tips . . .
6) Tips ($) are golden in Vegas, if you don’t already know that. Tip the dealer if you win at the tables (appropriate to your win). Also contribute to the bellmen, concierges, even the receptionist when you check in--they just may find you an upgrade in appreciation. Don’t forget the cocktail waitresses! The drinks are free, but those showgirl tights, manicures, haircuts, and waxing are expensive! You wouldn’t want an ill-kempt waitress would you?
7) Do at least one thing you’d never do at home. Or go for it and do everything on the Must-Do list.
Even if you go to Vegas to lose yourself to flash and bling with no interest in the business of Vegas beyond how much you hope to win , you can’t visit the town without learning that Steve Wynn is a major player on the Vegas strip. He literally carved a new image for the town with the construction of Bellagio and its high class art collection and décor. Talk to anyone, any cabbie and clerk on the strip, and they will have an opinion and proposed insights into Wynn. If you dig just a wee bit deeper you soon learn that Wynn is one of those amazing creatures who is bold, brilliant, a risk-taker, calculating, opportunistic and -- well, don’t all fellows like this have a tragic flaw? -- vengeful.
Isn’t vengeance one of the seven deadly sins? If not, it should be.
You see, apparently Kirk Kerkorian snatched the Mirage from Wynn’s grip not unlike the way Steve himself had orchestrated financing for some of his past coups. Although he’d already topped himself by building the Mirage, Treasure Island and Bellagio (still the most beautiful hotel on the strip) Wynn needed to get back at the MGM boss who broke up his empire. Or, so the story goes.
To do so, Wynn pledged to build yet another "dream" greater than the Bellagio (which cost a mere $1.6 billion in 1997). He would build a bigger - no scrap that - smaller, more luxurious - no forget that - almost as luxurious, more beautiful - well not quite - hotel as Bellagio and would call it Wynn. Because that’s his name and Wynn’s is the only hotel that actually carries his name AND because the name "Wynn" shows you just how much Steve intends to live up to his moniker. He needs to fight back and Wynn against Kerkorian, see? Yeah, you get it.
Wall street was betting on Wynn last time I checked but I can’t say I am; not after spending the last five days nosing around and luxuriating in his newest product, trying desperately not to be overly critical. Yet, I couldn’t help myself.
Oh, there’s no arguing the resort is beautiful. All those flowers! That manmade lake! That golf course! Those suites! But nothing here is more beautiful than Bellagio or the Venetian nor as welcoming, friendly and fun as Ceasar’s and Paris. Even in Vegas there is nothing more sophisticated and classy as The Hotel, The Four Season’s and Mandalay Bay. Not even now. I’m really sorry to have to report this because I know it was so important to Steve that he spent $2.6 billion on his little "get back" hoping to make it the best and brightest. I sigh as I say it -- it’s not.
To the disappointed Mr. Wynn I would offer this suggestion: if what you wanted was a draw so you could steal the "whales" and high-rollers from the MGM/Mirage group why not just build an all-suite enclave just for them? Why not construct a high-roller-only haven and leave the rest of us out of it? Put a helicopter landing pad on the roof, install butlers, doorman and chauffeurs at the ready and invite them gamble at $5-10,000 a hand while their beautiful escorts with million dollar faces and other extraordinarily expensive body parts stroll the catwalks called Dior, Chanel, and Gaultier. If you are going for exclusive why not make it a members-only deal?
Why let in the riff-raff who crowd the nickel and quarter slot machines clog up your casino? They can’t wager enough to make it worth it as their presence will not impress those big sharks you really are hoping to attract. Gawlers and rubberneckers stop in to see how the other half supposedly lives. It’s obvious as they press their noses against the glass of the Ferrari dealership. Since they are there to snap photos for the folks back home, I, for one, would not be buying my Ferrari in plain sight of them. As it’s unlikely the common folks are buying Ferrari‘s I must ask what is this all about? Who but show-offs and celebrities would actually invite those photo ops?
Even better than the real thing, baby. Bono and I share a magic moment at Madame Tussands!
What I learned in my short stint in the business retail/marketing world is that everything is about perceived value. Even for the filthy rich, unless they have a hole in their head and are destined to lose their fortunes fast, they want value for their money. So the way I figure it, if I want to luxuriate in an enclave of cool I do not want to dodge white tennis shoes or curiosity seekers in the casino. If I want the world’s best service and great linens I will stay at the Four Seasons, thank you very much.
It may have just been growing pains but the service at Wynn’s, although he reportedly lured away top talent from the other hotels, was the worse I’ve experienced in Vegas. Unforgivably long lines to get a taxi, impossible waits for a bellman that required we haul our own luggage through the casino. No sir, this sort of thing does not equate to value or luxury for me. So far no one has beaten the Four Season in these categories so as Mr. Wynn raises the rates on his hotel’s rooms to match the quintessential conciege, the later is where I will rest my head next time I‘m in town.
Admittedly, the most touted "value added" elements of the Wynn are wasted on me. Since we live in Hawaii, the Wynn’s desert pool scene is as much a bust on me as is the contrived middle of the arid wasteland golf course was on my husband.
For $400 a round, who cares that you’re golfing directly on the strip? My husband love-love-loved the Anthem course nearby for half the price. Wynn’s spa is delightful but no more so than the Mandalay Bay’s or Canyon Ranch at the Venetian which again turns my sights back to the opposite end of the strip for accommodations that are worth the high price tag.
To me the biggest mistake Wynn made was making the new hotel’s main attraction (ala Bellagio’s fountains and Treasure Island’s pirate show) so private that guests must make a special effort to nab a table and pay the drink minimum to watch the darned thing. As a result, hoards of curiosity seekers pour into the hotel wandering the walkway leading to the viewing platform that serves as nothing more than a giant peephole enticing them to take a table or book a restaurant reservation so that they may fully enjoy (or see) the show. The result? Clogged tables in the restaurant, crowds in the main walkways, and guests such as myself who miss the show entirely. I’d have loved to have seen the much touted spectacular in the way I’ve watched Wynn’s other attractions -- casually, in passing on my way to elsewhere. To be required to make an ordeal out of it? That wasn‘t going to happen.
Perhaps it’s just me. I still can’t see the value in a jeans priced over $50 when my butt looks just as good in Levi’s no matter what the fashion editors try to preach. So I’m not likely to get caught up in paying for anyone’s unsubstantiated "hype" without substance to back it up.
It seems to me that for $2.6 billion I would have been more impressed. I guess it’s like this - I have just as much fun sipping Moet as I do drinking Dom. It’s obvious that about $1.8 billion of the details lavished on Wynn’s new shrine will go unnoticed to the average Jane, which I heartily claim to be, and the rest of the dames will only be impressed as long as their friends claim to be. None of mine were.
I’ll be at the Mandalay Bay if anyone cares to debate the opinions expressed here …