Vegas, Suite Vegas!

While they're not "home sweet home", the suites in Las Vegas are quite comfortable indeed. This journal compares suites available at Harrah's, The Venetian, and THEhotel (Mandalay Bay's newest tower that opened 12/17/03). So even if you're not a high roller, take a glimpse inside Vegas--Suite Vegas!

Vegas, Suite Vegas!

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by Fly_Girl on December 28, 2003

So maybe you're not a high roller . . . perhaps you've never stayed in a suite on the Las Vegas Strip. But if you've ever wondered what's behind the double doors at the end of the hall, then you're in the right place! This report will compare suites at Harrah's, the Venetian, and THE Hotel, (Mandalay Bay's newest tower). It's then up to you to choose your favorite!

(See mine in The verdict is in!)

While this is a great journal, I visited Las Vegas six months later, in July of 2004. Read Suite Vegas, Part Two for more up-to-date information (includes a visit to the Venetian's top-floor Prima Suite and the Penthouse at Bellagio)!${QuickSuggestions} 1. Plan to visit Las Vegas during the off-season . . . when the rates are low and the value is high. Off-season is generally during the warmer summer months, and during certain holidays, like Christmas. If you can't go then, try to visit when there are no major conventions in town. Conventions mean demand for rooms is high, so the prices are, too! Also, avoid major sporting events (like boxing matches, Superbowl weekend, and NASCAR races) and certain holidays (New Year’s Eve and the Chinese New Year).

2. If you choose to gamble, sign up for the slot clubs. Based on your play, casinos will send various offers and invitations throughout the year. The slot club cards aren't just for slot machine players -- they can be used for ratings at table games, too. Just present your card when you buy in.

3. Don't be shy. Ask for what you want, especially if you'd like a suite. When these rooms aren't booked, low cost (or even complimentary) upgrades are often available. Asking the hotel clerk for an upgrade with a $20 bill folded discreetly in your hand can sometimes help secure your suite. ${BestWay} Visitors to Sin City often like to walk along Las Vegas Boulevard, but distances can be quite deceiving, due to the enormous size of the casino properties. What's "just next door" can easily be a mile or more away, which is something to keep in mind . . . especially during the hot, summer months!

Cabs are plentiful in town, but rates can be high, and traffic is often gridlocked. Taxi queues can often be quite long, as well.

Since you're staying in a suite, why not rent a limousine? Vegas has some of the least expensive limo rates in the country, often only $30/hr. for a nice stretch.

However, if the suite has stretched your budget, relief should be available July 15, 2004. That's when the Las Vegas Monorail is scheduled to begin operating.

Harrah's Las Vegas

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by Fly_Girl on December 28, 2003

I was invited to play in Harrah's Winterfest Slot Tournament the weekend of 12-20-03. The casino graciously paid for my room, and two entries into the tournament. (NOTE: If you're a slot machine enthusiast, consider Harrah's. The company is known for treating their slot players very well, inviting them to tournaments and other special events year-round. Rooms are often comped and player rates are available outside of promotional dates.)

At the reception desk, I was given the key to a Junior Suite. When I reached the room and opened the door, it was obvious that the room was not ready for occupancy. I saw an unmade bed, heard water running in the bathroom, and saw toilet paper wrapped around the phone receiver. I quickly backed out and returned to the desk. I alerted the clerk to the situation, she apologized, and booked me into a proper suite for the inconvenience.

Having stayed at the property previously, I was expecting to see the usual, garish Mardi Gras color scheme carried over into the decor of my room, but I was pleasantly surprised; this tower had recently undergone renovations, and the gold, purple, and green had been replaced by a very tasteful, neutral color palette.

The one bedroom suite offered a living area, dining area, wet bar, refrigerator, king bed, chaise lounge sitting area, and a beautiful bathroom -- complete with Jacuzzi tub. The potted plants, contemporary furnishings, and decorator artwork made this room comparable to other Strip suites -- which is an opinion I hadn't held in the past.

The casino is in a great location, mid-strip, and the usual facilites found at most other casinos can be found here, including Harrah's spa. Dining options are numerous, and include a buffet, asian and italian restaurants, a coffee shop, and a top-rated steakhouse called The Range. On July 15, 2004, the Las Vegas Monorail will open, and Harrah's will be a stop along its route, making it even more attractive for those visitors who choose not to rent a car.

Harrah's really needed an update, but now that they've completed it, I would not hesitate to stay there again, whether my visit was complimentary or not!

While this is a great journal, I visited Las Vegas six months later, in July of 2004. Read Suite Vegas, Part Two for more up-to-date information (includes a visit to the Venetian's top-floor Prima Suite and the Penthouse at Bellagio)!
Harrahs Las Vegas
3475 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, Nevada, 89109
(702) 369-5000

The Venetian Hotel Resort & Casino

Member Rating 2 out of 5 by Fly_Girl on December 29, 2003

When the Venetian first opened, it earned a listing in the Guinness Book of World Records for having the largest standard hotel rooms in the world. At 650 sq. ft., the suites were the most luxurious in Las Vegas, although they were not proper suites because they had doors between the living and sleeping areas.

Sadly, four and a half years later, the original tower is showing its age. Thankfully, the Venetian is aware of this, and renovations are underway.

Unfortunately, my suite had chipped furnishings and gum embedded in a sofa cushion. Very unimpressive. Even worse was their lack of adherence to their own housekeeping policies. A card located next to the bed explained that in an effort to save environmental resources, the housekeeping staff would change bed linens unless that card was placed on the bed. I DID NOT place that card on the bed, yet my linens (including a threadbare in spots blanket) went unchanged. I had a feeling this was the case, so I marked the bottom sheet. Sure enough, my mark was still there after the room was serviced by housekeeping. Shoddy housekeeping like this makes me wonder if the staff changes linens for new guests. Totally unacceptable!

However, not all of the service at the property was bad. Robert, on the guest services staff, did a great job handling bags and other things. When he asked about my stay, I mentioned the housekeeping. He then went out of his way to pick up a comment card from the front desk for me and see that my car came out first from the valet (after I was told I’d have a wait of up to 20 minutes for my vehicle).

While not a bad place to stay, especially because guests are guaranteed a suite, the Venetian has some catching up to do. Housekeeping needs an overhaul, and the size and condition of the suites lowered my opinion. It used to be the largest, but was actually now the smallest of the three.

Also, a fire, which I was told was caused by electricians, broke out and caused the evacuation of the ninth and tenth floors of my tower. It damaged five rooms. This wasn't very comforting for me as a guest.

While this is a great journal, I visited Las Vegas six months later, in July of 2004. Read Suite Vegas, Part Two for more up-to-date information (includes a visit to the Venetian's top-floor Prima Suite and the Penthouse at Bellagio)!
Venetian Resort Hotel Casino
3355 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, Nevada, 89109
(702) 414-1000

THEhotel (at Mandalay Bay)

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by Fly_Girl on December 29, 2003

While the name sounds rather generic, THEhotel is anything but! This new tower, which opened December 17, 2003, has "trendy" written all over it. Think "W", as in W Hotels, and you'll begin to understand the inspiration for this property.

Each of 1120 rooms is a suite, and at 750 sq. ft., THEhotel bumps the Venetian from the top of the "largest standard rooms in Vegas" list.

The amenities in each suite can't be found anywhere else in Vegas. Every room has a wet bar, a fully-stocked honor bar refrigerator, and, the piece de resistance, a 42" plasma television with DVD player. The waterfall fixture Roman tubs are also a nice touch.

As for service, I have to cut THEhotel some slack since I checked in barely a week after it opened. The clerk kept the driver’s license she was handed, which became misplaced. Arriving early, my only option was to check into a vacant, but not yet cleaned room. I was told it would be three hours before housekeeping could service it. A gratuity to the right person solved that issue. However, it didn't solve the problem of the non-functional A/C.

Later that night, between the license and A/C issues, I spoke to Sandy, the operations director, who offered a complimentary room upgrade to a V Suite. She sent up a new key with the bellwoman, who helped with the move. After trying the wrong door, all was well. For a little while, anyway.

At about 1am, I heard a noise so loud, it sounded like a gunshot. It would repeat at random intervals. I looked out the window, and saw a very thick steel cable was loose and striking the building. Unusually high winds had ripped it free. (I later found out it was used by the window washers to support their platform.) I called the front desk. Spent 10 minutes on hold. Hung up. Called again. Waited another 10 or 15 minutes until someone answered. Apparently, many people in the tower had also called not knowing what was making this horrendously loud noise. The night manager, who offered another room change and reversed the charges for the night’s stay, notified engineers who actually cut the cable down before 2am.

The rest of my stay was wonderful. Kimberly in housekeeping was very efficient and thorough. She even taught me how to make those origami-like towel folds and made sure I had enough of those incredible Gilchrist & Soames private-label amenities. The sheets, towels, robes, and slippers provided were great. I ended up buying a robe ($130 for the deluxe version) at the gift store to take home.

I visited Las Vegas six months later, in July of 2004. Read Suite Vegas, Part Two for more up-to-date information on THEhotel!
THEhotel Tower Rooms and Suites at Mandalay Bay
3950 Las Vegas Blvd South
Las Vegas, Nevada, 89119
(702) 632-7777

The verdict is in!

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by Fly_Girl on December 29, 2003

Even in its incomplete form, THEhotel definitely ranks first among its counterparts, Harrah's (suite) is second, and The Venetian, third.

THEhotel's furnishings were nothing short of exquisite, the decor tasteful, and the housekeeping immaculate. The features of the standard room cannot be topped. It's worth noting that this was also the only suite which had high-speed internet access available in the room. Additionally, it was the only room with an extra half-bath that came standard. In fact, all of the photos in the entry are from the standard room, not the V Suite. Incredibly, the V Suite also had a second plasma TV in the bedroom, and the same LCD screen TV that was in the full bath in the standard suite.

Yes, THEhotel had its problems, but so did Harrah's check-in and the Venetian's unacceptable housekeeping. (The housekeeping issue alone at the Venetian is enough to not make me want to stay there again.) Harrah's addressed their problems with an upgrade, as did THEhotel. It's interesting to note that when I tried to email the Venetian with my comments, the email bounced! I've since forwarded it through the webmaster and am anxious to see if I receive a response. The Venetian comment card did not have a mailing address and since I received it on my way out, it didn't help.

UPDATE: It's been months and I never did hear back from the Venetian. Other items worth mentioning are the bath amenities at THEhotel. I don't usually get excited over these things, but they really did an amazing job with all of the products, so I'm including photos of them here.

The desk also had an incredible leather blotter with very expensive stationery. Even the desk pens were metal and very high quality. THEhotel just exudes class and opulence while remaining trendy at the same time.

They might be taking the "THE" thing a tad too far, though. For instance, THElounge, THEgym, THEbathhouse . . . the phone directory is marked "THEdigits" . . . the writing instrument is "THEpen". Yes, I get it. However, it's difficult not to fall into emphasizing the "THE". I caught myself saying, "I'll meet you in THE lobby" and "Please hand me THE glass."

So, there you have it. THEhotel is number one. That's THEverdict!

I visited Las Vegas six months later, in July of 2004. Read Suite Vegas, Part Two for more up-to-date information (includes a visit to the Venetian's top-floor Prima Suite, the Penthouse at Bellagio, and bad news about THEhotel)!

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