on September 22, 2011
On trying to pick a hotel to stay in several factors came into play - I wanted to stay on the Strip just for the experience, my budget was small, and I wasn't really interested in staying in one of the mega-resorts. So given a very good offer, as well as the knowledge of a recent renovation, my pick was the Tropicana.I arrived about 9am, and the bell-hop was on me as soon as the taxi arrived and it was clear I had luggage, he check-in my luggage. Now there was no way on a Sunday morning I was going to be able to check in early, especially as their had been a major fight at the MGM Grand next door on Saturday, so I headed out shopping instead, arriving back about 2.30pm, when check-in was quick and effiecient, the lady at the desk was polite.So I headed up to the room...14th floor in the back tower...I had been kind of hoping for a strip view but no luck...airport view it was. Its quite a walk through the hotel...but its in a long corridor with windows looking out over the garden and pool and a few small concession stalls - so you're not walking through too much of the casino. Six lifts meant I never waited long for one.The room itself was bright and pleasant. Crisp white bed linen with just a long cushion for colour on the bed. A comfy chair, floor lamp and small table by the window. A huge flat screen TV. A safe. The bathroom had a corner bath, a modern sink unit and worktop, with coconut scented toiletries. The room was quiet enough. Big heavy door cut much of the noise from the corridor too.The bed was so comfy! I could have just stayed there all day! I had a lovely hot bath to relax. I had some issues with adjusting the water temperature on the shower...but got it just right in the end.Like so many hotels in LV, there is no fridge or coffee maker in the room...they want you to go downstairs and spend money preferably gambling. There aren't too many food options in the hotel. A Starbucks. A pizza/deli sort of place for a grease snack. Two restaurants - an Italian which is closed Sunday and Monday nights (the two nights I was there) and a steakhouse place - which to me staying on my own looked like somewhere I may not be comfortable. There is also Cafe Nikki which is open all day serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. This I did try for breakfast - I hadn't had pancakes during my entire trip...and just felt I couldn't leave without them, so on the morning of my flight I decided to give Cafe Nikki a whirl - so I had the choice of a table inside or outside. Since it was a nice morning and the patio was in the shade I chose outside...a pleasant choice! The only downside was the numerous sparrows that were flocking round - they were quite happy to land on chairs and tables that were empty...mmm. Anyway, ordered my pancakes and hot tea with milk (and didn't get a strange look for this request which was good). Pancakes arrived - good first bite...second was okay too as it was from the edge...third bite didn't seem quite right...fourth bite...doughy...took a closer look at the pancakes...still raw in the middle...not good...struggling to cook a pancake? Anyway, one of the managers came over...re-ordered my pancakes...brought me fresh tea...second batch were good...just one thing I couldn't manage all three on the plate:). They also didn't charge me for the pancakes...so I didn't make a fuss...but I would have otherwise. My other food experience in the hotel was the second night I stayed...I was so tired, I didn't want to go out and have to sit at a table and wait for dinner. So first plan was room service...I looked high and low for the menu...no sign...looked in the guest folder which just referred you to the menu...mmm. Gave up...thought I'd try the pizza place downstairs...too long a queue and the pizzas looked dried out...too weary to walk across to MGM/NYNY so decided a sandwich from Starbucks was going to have to suffice. I found the room service menu later- it had been on the back of the welcome card that had been on the bed when I arrived...not the most obvious place...oh well.The hotel has this tropical theme- so its all white and palm trees. So it looks fresh and clean. This even went for the casino. I don't gamble...but walking through a lot of the other hotels most casino areas were dark and dimly lit...not so here...even white tiled pathways brighten the place. The pool was fine...its shaded by the back tower in the early morning though. Part of the space has now been taken over by Club Nikki, but the main pool is still open to all. Its nicely surrounded by grassy areas, palm trees and plants - you can even move the loungers onto the lawns. Loungers - a few too many of them were broken...so that there only position was flat and you couldn't adjust them to sit up. I spent a little time in the hot tub and sitting in the sun to dry off...but I'm not really a pool person, I get bored within an hour...so I can't really comment too much on the qualities of the pool as I didn't spend too much time there.The hotel is at one end of the main strip but is on one of major intersections with walkway bridges to MGM Grand, NYNY and EXCalibur, and just off the Excalibur walkway is the free tram to Luxor and Mandalay Bay. Just outside on the strip is a bus stop to catch the Deuce which runs up and down the strip and onto Downtown, stopping at the main hotel casinos. Also at Excalibur is southbound stop and at MGM the northbound stop for the SDX, which is an express service which runs along the strip and to downtown but has limited stops making it quicker. The SDX route also extends further to both the north and the south outlets...which I had shopping trips to. Just make sure to buy your ticket at the machine at the stop.All in all...there are signs that this is an older hotel that was renovated. But its not as fancy or glitz as some of the other Strip hotels. But is comfy and pleasant to stay in. Reasonably clean. Even the casino didn't come across as smoky. It felt light and fresh. Whether it can maintain the fresh feeling will be interesting. But I liked staying here...I felt relaxed. It was good value for money with the room rate I got. Just expect to eat elsewhere.
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