After being on an extensive familiarization trip to Las Vegas, we review some of the extravagant and the not so extravagant hotels that Sin City has to offer. Buckle up!
Our host in Vegas was the gorgeous Encore by Wynn. As soon as you walk through the revolving doors you are wowed by the bold red colouring, along with massive blue, green and purple butterflies on the ceilings, in the carpets, on the walls, all specifically there for luck. After an easy check-in, we headed upstairs to the nicest 'lead-in' room I have ever stayed in. It was huge, decorated in blacks, creams and whites. Very elegant and chic. The floor to ceiling windows boasted a gorgeous view of the flashing lights on the strip.
After a great night sleep, day one started with breakfast at the Pallazzo, followed with a tour of both Pallazzo and the Venetian. The rooms are richly decorated and have a sunken living area. The pool area is also very nice. We had a long day of travelling from hotel to hotel ahead of us but getting around is easily done with a mixture of taxis, the Deuce (the double-deck Las Vegas Blvd city bus) and lots of walking. Let's roll!
First up was Treasure Island, geared towards fun, relaxation and even a little luxury. There are quite a few different restaurants as well as the nightly 'theatrical' show put on at the hotel's pirate ship. The buffet at Treasure Island is fantastic!
The Wynn and Encore are definitely for the 'see and be seen' crowd. These resorts are the ultimate in chic luxury, evident from the casino floor, the hallways connecting the two hotels, the elevators and every single room category. Needless to say, we were wined and dined graciously.
After dinner we were treated to the show playing nightly at the Wynn, La Reve. It was beautiful and breathtaking. The stage was made of water. The show featured lizard-like creatures slithering through the water, sending an occasional wave into the 'Splash Zone seating' of the audience. The colours, the music, the acrobatics and the characters were what made me end the evening saying "wow!".
Day two was dedicated to the Harrah's group of hotels: Imperial Palace, Bally's, The Flamingo, Buffalo Bill's, Paris and Caesars Palace. Although we didn't get to see the rooms at Imperial Palace (they have just recently undergone renovations), The Flamingo's 'Go' rooms impressed with a fun, funky, Neapolitan palette.
The pool and outdoor area is gorgeous; very lush with tropical birds (you guessed it, flamingos!) and immaculate landscaping. Overall, The Flamingo is a very nice 3-star property.
Paris was a lot of fun; they have some newly renovated rooms, with a warm, red and brown colour scheme. The older rooms have new bedding which makes a big difference. The buffet offered a fun atmosphere with the feeling of old-world France.
The last stop of the day was Planet Hollywood (formerly the Aladdin) and it immediately impressed. It is young, chic, clean and smaller than most but still has some great options for food and entertainment. It's also a part of the Starwood family of hotels, a nice perk for point collectors with membership. The rooms are great - each uniquely themed after a Hollywood feature film. I saw a Rambo room, complete with pictures of good ol' Rambo as well as a glass covered table with knives from the actual movie on display. The Strip Suites are amazing with gorgeous, unobstructed views of The Strip from both the bedroom and bathroom - with a HUGE soaker tub. We had a delicious dinner at the Spice Market Buffet, feasting on an eclectic mix of world inspired cuisine.
Days three and four were dedicated to the MGM/Mirage group of hotels (Mandalay Bay, New York New York, Luxor, Monte Carlo, Mirage, MGM Grand, Circus Circus, Excalibur and Bellagio). The highlight was Mandalay Bay, a gorgeous hotel and elegant in every way. The hotel has a wave-pool beach area and some great outdoor spaces. The Excalibur has great 'Widescreen Rooms' which are definitely worth the upgrade.
MGM is HUGE - if you like walking it is fantastic. The rooms are great and there is a buzz in the air with always so much going on. If you move over to Signature by MGM - about a 10 minute walk from The Strip, you are suddenly in a tranquil sanctuary in Las Vegas. Bellagio is everything you would hope and dream it to be; posh with high ceilings and classic Victorian elegance. Each room is like a breath of fresh air and could easily be home. The hotel's buffet is utter perfection and the desserts were WAY TOO good. The variety and quality of this buffet is worth the wait and every penny.
Circus Circus overall, blew away the low expectations I had of it. The exterior and the casino floor definitely lived up to my expectations of cheesy, old-school Vegas but the rest was fine. I was floored by the average tenure of the staff too - a whopping 17 years! The hotel rooms are simple and comfortable, comparable to those of a Best Western/Holiday Inn style hotel. The corridors and common areas are kept up to date and clean. Another classic and solid 3-star property.
And there you have it - our quick guide to the hotels and resorts of Las Vegas. See you on The Strip!