Friday, March 20, 2009

Las Vegas Hilton Room Review and Pics

We started our trip at the Las Vegas Hilton. On the way into town, we saw signs that it was NASCAR weekend at the Speedway so we knew it would be busy. We rolled into the valet at about 5PM and the wait at check-in was about 10 minutes. The Hilton has a few different room types so we reserved a "Grand" room because it is larger than a standard with a seating area that we like to have. At the desk I ask for my usual; smoking, high-floor, good view if possible. She tells me they are very busy with NASCAR in town and all she has is a smoking on the 3rd floor with no view. Ok, no problem, we aren't picky. We hoof our stuff all the way to the last room on a very long hallway, open the door and it is not only a non-smoking room with no view, it is not even a Grand room like we paid for. Back down to the front desk, where I am told the only other room in the entire hotel is also on the 3rd floor. I ask if it a Grand room, "No but its smoking." is the response. So I look at him for a few seconds before he asks "Is there anything else?" Ummm yeah, the 20 bucks I paid for the "upgraded" room! It is not a lot of money just the point that they were perfectly intent on screwing me had I not said anything. He goes in the back and comes back a few minutes later and tells me he credited my account with a surly look on his face. A very frustrating start to the vacation...

The rest of the stay wasn't too bad. The "premium" room that we ended up in was fairly nice. It has been recently remodeled and everything was in decent shape. There is a good-sized flat panel TV, marble counter-tops in the bath and it was definitely larger than a regular room. The only real problem was the amount of noise in the room. The door was so thin that I thought someone has having a conversation in my room! The AC also rattled, the mini-bar had a persistant hum and the elevator "ding" was awfully loud! It all made it a little tough to get to sleep.

The only food we ate at the Hilton was a quick snack of nachos and a pretzel at the Sports Book Deli, both of which were good. This is the 24 hour dining option at the Hilton as yet another casino coffee shop is no longer open all night. Fortunately, they do have an extensive menu. The coffee/wine bar in the lobby has snacks and pastries 24 hours as well. We played just a short time in the casino which has very little to note except the "Space Quest" casino still exists which makes it even more out of place now that the Star Trek attraction is gone. There are a decent amount of good single line video poker machines near the giant sports book that I spent some time playing without any luck!

All in all, the stay at the Hilton was slightly above average. It is definitely a long way from it's glory days as one the high roller joints in town but a decent option for an inexpensive room if being a block off-strip doesn't bother you. If you are attending an event at the Convention Center next door, its a no-brainer and the monorail station somewhat offsets a less than ideal location.

Check Out the Room Pics Here

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Sunday, March 8, 2009

Encore Review and Rooms Pics

Last weekend, we got to spend a night at the newly-opened Encore at Wynn Las Vegas. It was the second night of our trip after spending the first night at the Las Vegas Hilton. A review the LVH will get posted tomorrow. We arrived pretty early on a Sunday and were greeted by not oen but two valets as we arrived. The first thing you notice is RED. They introduced the theme at Wynn and boldly extended it, particularly the chandeliers in the casino, big and 100% red.
The other "big" difference between Encore and Wynn is butterflies as the background element instead of flowers.

There was only a small crowd in the lobby. A nice touch is there isn't a queue line but actual person directing you to the shortest check-in line. After only about 5 minute wait,
we were checked in. We were offered a room on the 20th floor with a north strip view immediately or we could wait for a south facing view.We choose not to wait and were up to the rooms in a few minutes. The room, in a word, awesome. Much like the rooms at Wynn but much more intimate feel with the divide between the rooms. Though not a true suite, the wall is sufficient to achieve the result. The room is loaded with the latest whiz bang features. Flat Screen TV with multiple inputs, automated drapes even a fax machine/printer if you have a USB cable. The lights, drapes and even the "Do not disturb" sign are automated and controlled by a little box next to the bed. The bathroom is huge with dual sinks, large bath tub and a stand-up shower. Other amenities in the room are a safe, mini-bar, robes and a scale. The room just feels top-notch through and through. The north facing view did not disappoint either. From the 20th floor, we had a great view of Fontainebleu going up as well as out to downtown and beyond. It was definitely good enough to stare at for more than a few minutes.

The best part about the room was the price... $159 on NASCAR Sunday and I could have gotten Monday free if we were staying the extra day. As a result, both Encore and Wynn seemed to be pretty busy the entire time we were there. By contrast, we walked over to Palazzo for dinner and it did not have nearly the same action. Steve Wynn apparently gets it. In the new economic world, you better offer value or you are going perish and that is what he is doing. For that same night, we could have stayed at Luxor for $109 or get Encore for $50 more. Where are you going to stay? We felt like high-rollers just sitting in that room and after all, isn't that what Vegas is supposed to be about? For 24 hours, I didn't even think about my 401K balance!

The one draw back to the 5-star luxury is a lack of comfort amenities that we enjoy; no quick eat places even a coffee joint. All of the restaurants are high-end, including the "coffee shop" and room service prices are through the roof. So while it was certainly an great experience staying at Encore, it will never be a place I can stay at and not leave for an entire weekend like I have done at the Palms and South Point. But definitely something everyone should experience especially now that it is such a deal.

Check Out the Room Pics Here

Visit for the complete guide to Las Vegas Hotels and Casinos. Property maps of every major casino, 100s of pictures and a ton of other info all without annoying ads!