Suite Vegas, Part Two, Six Months Later

In July of 2004, six months after writing part one, I revisited Las Vegas and stayed in suites at THEhotel (at Mandalay Bay), Venetian, and Bellagio. Corner suites, top floors, penthouses, and VIP lounges were my goal. Mission accomplished!


Suite Vegas, Part Two, Six Months Later

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by Fly_Girl on July 8, 2004

In July of 2004, six months after writing part one, I revisited Las Vegas and stayed in suites at THEhotel (at Mandalay Bay), Venetian, and Bellagio. Corner suites, top floors, penthouses, and VIP lounges were my goal. Mission accomplished!

My visit was timed so that I'd be watching the fireworks from my lake-view penthouse at the Bellagio, while still taking advantage of their fantastic promotional summer rates.

Some new shows, restaurants, and attractions had opened over the past year, and I wanted to make sure I had the opporunity to visit several of them, as well as the old favorites on my list. New shows included Zumanity by Cirque du Soleil (Warning: This show is geared to those over 18), new attractions on my list meant the Borg Invasion 4-D, and new restaurants had me dying to try N9ne Steakhouse.${QuickSuggestions} Every major Strip property has a website; most have promotional rates listed there. Some provide registration features which enable the hotels to send their specials directly to your inbox. I usually wait for my casino invitations to arrive, and then plan trips during those times. I was pleasantly surprised that those rates were available for the Independence Day holiday, which fell on a Sunday this year.

Find out if your destination of choice has a hotel check-in counter at the airport. This can save time allowing you to register for your room while others are waiting for their baggage to arrive at the carousel. Skipping the long lines at the hotel reception desk is a huge bonus. It can also mean that you get your room (for being the early bird) while other parties wait for availability because they've arrived at check-in long afterwards.

One of your first stops should be at the Slot Club desk. Getting a player's card not only lets the casino evaluate you for complimentaries (comps), but also means you'll probably be added to the mailing list and receive additional invitations to the property (at casino rates) not available to unregistered guests.${BestWay} As of July 15th, the long-awaited monorail will finally be up and running in Las Vegas! Part one will allow you to travel from the south end of the strip to the Las Vegas Hilton at the north end. The phase two expansion (opening later) will extend service from the strip to the downtown area and also to McCarran Airport, which will be great for everyone...except the taxi drivers. There are one-time ride tickets and all-day passes available. Although it wasn't ready during my visit, I believe it will soon be the best way to get around in the city.

THEhotel (at Mandalay Bay) Stinks -- Literally!

Member Rating 2 out of 5 by Fly_Girl on July 9, 2004

Pinch your nose closed, because THEhotel stinks...literally!

Upon getting out of the jaguar in the enclosed valet parking area, I was overcome by the vapors, so to speak. A tremendous stink made me check the car to see if the paint was peeling. Apparently, THEhotel was having some problems with sewer gas exhaust, which was really amplified by being trapped in the covered parking area.

Things didn't improve inside, either. The fumes were running through the entire building via the elevator shaft, so the lobby area reeked as well.

As if that wasn't bad enough, later on that night, the toilet in the powder room backed up and overflowed onto the floor. A call was placed to the front desk immediately. Maintenance did not arrive in the room for close to two hours. After the toilet was repaired, maintenance radioed housekeeping to inform them the suite needed cleaning. Housekeeping never arrived.

After several direct calls to housekeeping and several more hours, I called management. I was livid that the mess was not cleaned and that sewer gas stink had come up through the overflowed toilet and permeated the room. Management removed the room charge from the bill, provided a $60 food comp, and offered a larger, corner suite. (This was the same type suite I was upgraded to in my Vegas, Suite Vegas report.)

I do, however, still enjoy their shampoo and conditioner very much. On this visit I was glad to see large bottles for sale in the gift shop, although they are not available via the Mandalay website, which features only the Mandalay spa brands.

One downgrade I noticed is that their bed sheets are no longer Frette. The only Frette I noticed in the rooms was the robes.

THEhotel hasn't improved since my last visit. If anything, it appears service here has gotten worse! I was glad to leave and move to the Venetian.

THEhotel Tower Rooms and Suites at Mandalay Bay
3950 Las Vegas Blvd South
Las Vegas, Nevada, 89119
(702) 632-7777

The Venetian Hotel Resort & Casino -- Prima Suite

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by Fly_Girl on July 9, 2004

Checking in at the VIP desk, the reservation specialist (desk clerk) offered a complimentary upgrade from the Piazza Suite (floorplan) to the Prima Suite (floorplan). This was wonderful, as the Prima Suite was my first choice all along. The room was located on the top floor (36) of the Venetian tower.

The Prima description on the Venetian website reads, "Enjoy the amenities of home without ever leaving one of these elegant and flexible 1,500 sq. ft. suites, located on the 34th through 36th floors. Amenities and details abound to create the perfect working environment and the perfect stay: a 200 sq. ft. bath with double-head showers, separate jacuzzi tub, His and Her sinks, a separate powder room by the main entrance, a sitting area, dining table and bar with stools all just off the luxurious living room, a separate bedroom with doors, a king-sized bed, a full-sized sofa bed, walk-in closets and makeup room, a total of four televisions and a fully stocked refreshment center."

Staying in this suite really made me feel like I was at home. One thing left out of the description, yet truly appreciated, was the refrigerator behind the bar (separate from the beverage center). There was also a fax machine and a high-speed internet connection. I would not describe the closet as a walk-in; it was only slightly deeper than the depth of my checked bag. Once the bag was opened on the stand, the closet was full and only left room for hanging garments to the sides of the case.

I also loved the gorgeous windows in both the bedroom and living room. They afforded views of the Mirage volcano, a bit of the Bellagio fountain show, a direct view of the Venezia (the newest, six-month-old tower at the Venetian), and the Venezia pool area.

Everything in the room was clean and in good condition, unlike my last visit to the Venetian. I was concerned about service as this was also a holiday weekend.

A definite negative was being told over the phone that the package center was open, taking the package downstairs, and finding the center closed early. The next day, the same thing happened; I was told the center was open, then found it closed for the entire day. After a discussion with management, the center was opened to receive and ship the package. (Unfortunately, it was supposed to arrive at its destination yesterday, but today I found out it was never shipped!)

Following that experience, I was concerned about a Versace purchase that was being delivered to the hotel when alterations were completed, but that arrived with no problems. I was notified immediately when it arrived and the staff offered to deliver it to the room.

One other issue...I think it's tacky to have to call and request turndown service in a Prima suite. It's obvious this isn't the Bellagio.
Venetian Resort Hotel Casino
3355 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, Nevada, 89109
(702) 414-1000

Bellagio -- Penthouse

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by Fly_Girl on July 9, 2004

It should be spelled Bell-ahhh-gio. As a guest here, I can totally relax; the service will be excellent, the accommodations outstanding, the housekeeping immaculate.

I always stay at the Penthouse (floorplan) here. I'd booked at the regular rate plus lakeview upgrade when I received a promotional offer from the Bell. For $499/night, I'd receive limousine pick-up, fresh flowers in-room, and VIP lounge access. There was an additional charge of $50/night for the lake view. Since the room can book for about $800/night, this was a great offer! The promotional rate was booked online, lakeview upgrade requested, and the original reservation cancelled.

While confirming the new reservation, I learned it was not showing up as lakeview due to lack of availability. This was an issue. I enjoy watching the fountains, but on July 4th, I wanted to see the fireworks on the strip, too! Amy-Jo, the reservations manager, was able to get my lake view confirmed before arrival. She received wonderful chocolate-covered strawberries in return for doing the impossible.

VIP check in was excellent, and although it was early, a rush was put on the room. In the meantime, I asked for a line pass to enjoy Sunday champagne brunch without waiting. The agent extended the pass for my entire stay, valid at the buffet and 24-hour cafe.

After brunch, I returned to the Lounge for my key and a complimentary beverage, then used the private, express elevator to reach my suite. The agent called ahead so the bellman was waiting with my bags. He started the ice maker in the room, got some ice to use in the meantime, stowed my bags, and offered to unpack. A maintenance person also stopped in to replace a lightbulb that I hadn't yet discovered was out. This is superior, 5-star service!

The room was amazing -- large, open, and perfect for entertaining. The fountain view was superb, and the show music could be heard by tuning to the proper TV channel. In fact, the view was so stunning I ordered room service and watched the fountains and fireworks over dinner.

The rest of my stay was just as perfect. I love the his (with steam shower) & hers (with jacuzzi tub & bidet) bathrooms, plus the additional powder room. The other features, like the refrigerator/freezer and electric curtains, add modern conveniences without overpowering the suite's charm.

The one missing touch is a high-speed internet connection in the suites. All regular rooms have been remodeled to match rooms in the new spa tower (scheduled to open in December), and since February, all feature broadband internet access. As a conciliation, invited guests can borrow complimentary laptops for use in the VIP lounge. Those machines are connected to the internet via wireless cards.

The Penthouse at the Bellagio is my top choice for luxury accommodations and the ultimate in service in Las Vegas.
Bellagio
3600 S. Las Vegas Blvd.
Las Vegas, Nevada, 89109
(702) 693-7111

Bellagio In-Room Dining

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by Fly_Girl on July 9, 2004

Since it was the Fourth of July and I had a fantastic view from my Penthouse windows, I couldn't resist Bellagio's in-room dining option.

At 8:00pm, I ordered my meal -- pasta bolognese ($18), garlic bread ($5), and key lime pie (I don't recall the price) for dessert. The order-taker said I should have my food within 30 minutes.

When nothing arrived by 8:45, I called back. I was told the name of my server and that he was on his way up.

I let the server in, and he immediately set up the linens on the dining room table, which I had moved up against the large windows. He offered to switch the large round table with his rectangular shaped dining cart as I might have a better view closer to the window, but I declined.

In addition to my order, he brought water, lemon wedges, and a beautiful basket filled with assorted loaves, rolls, flatbreads, breadsticks, and butter. Had I known about the bread basket, I would not have ordered the garlic bread!

I was disappointed with my entree. Instead of being a true bolognese (which is very meaty and prepared with tomato cream sauce, minced celery, onions, & carrots), it was actually spaghetti with meat sauce (red sauce, bits of meat, no cream, just onions & garlic). The garlic bread was average.

The pie was an interesting variation on an old standard. The crust had no edges, the pie filling was molded and set atop the crust, a marshmallow meringue was layered on top of the filling, a white and green-striped chocolate accent set on top. The dessert was surrounded by a mango fruit sauce on the plate. It was excellent and saved the meal!
Bellagio Buffet
3600 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, Nevada, 89109
(702) 650-9459

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