You know what’s weird? Going to Las Vegas, losing money at the blackjack tables, and still really enjoying your experience at the hotel. That is what has happened to me three times now at the Bellagio Las Vegas. It helps, of course, if you have a Penthouse Suite.
First, let’s start with the problems with this property. On balance, I really, really like it, so to be fair I want to acknowledge the limitations. The first is cost: Rooms at this place are not cheap. That is particularly true given that last two times I booked a penthouse suite. Second, the table rules in the casino are not particularly favorable. This Summer, every Blackjack table $50 and under was, for example, paying 6/5 rather than the more traditional 3/2 for players who hit 21 on the first two cards. Finally, this place can be absolutely packed with tourists walking through to see the gorgeous facilities. On balance, however, I still strongly recommend this place. The cost can be ameliorated by joining their MLife casino programs and getting discounts, and by and large you get what you pay for. Rooms during the middle of the week, even premium rooms, are also pretty reasonably priced. What I am going to focus on here is the service prior to arrival, the spa, the room, and the restaurants.
Let’s start with the service prior to arrival: Easily the best thing to do is to book your room directly with the hotel or through MLife. I have yet to see one of the third party sites work out to be a better deal once you figure through everything. When I was staying in a regular room and had a question prior to arrival, it was really, really easy to call the hotel and deal with it. Booking the penthouse, of course, took that up another notch.
When you book a penthouse suite, a VIP service representative will contact you prior to arrival and send a form asking what you require. If you are in a two bedroom Penthouse, that will include complimentary limo transport to and from the hotel. In a one bedroom Penthouse, they will still be happy to help you arrange a car- as of January 2017, a sedan was about $81 from the airport and $75 to the airport, and a 6 passenger limo was about $25 more than that. Any Penthouse allows access to the Chairman’s Lounge and a pre-arrival concierge. The concierge is also quite easy to work with for shows, meal reservations, or anything else you might need while in Vegas. The Chairman’s Lounge was a great facility during my stay, as well, anytime I had a question about my account or simply wanted a quick cup of complimentary coffee.
The spa may be my favorite spot to relax in the world. That is saying something, because I have also been to places like the spa at the Westin in Bali, Indonesia. While the treatments are too expensive at the Bellagio, a day pass is around $40 and includes an indoor lounge area, outdoor lounge area (I believe the outdoor lounge area is uniquely available in the men’s spa. Forgive me for not investigating in the women’s spa.), great robes, lovely facilities for getting ready for a night out, hot tubs, a cold plunge pool, a steam room, and a dry sauna. Really, until you get hungry there is no reason to leave. It also includes views like this:
At some point, of course, you have to leave the spa and go up to your own room. I have stayed in both a Salone Suite and a two bedroom Penthouse. The Penthouse is my favorite- those rooms have a private elevator bank, plenty of space, and come with their own bar. There were three of us staying in this room, and we also invited a couple (OK, my sister and her husband) up to the room to hang out with us at one point. The room easily swallowed that number of people for entertaining. The only difference between the one and two bedroom penthouse is the second bedroom, which comes with two additional bathrooms. Our two bedroom suite had a total of four and a half bathrooms, which seemed like enough for three
In sum, the room was amazing. If you are an MLife member, you can sometimes stay in a Penthouse for less than $400 a night. I understand that is a lot of money, and even that requires things like staying in the middle of the week. Split between multiple people, however, it really isn’t all that bad for an over-the-top premium experience.
I could write about this hotel for quite a while, and I suspect I will write about it again at some point. However, for now the last thing I want to mention are the restaurants. If you are looking for a cheap place to eat, this isn’t your spot. You will be better served by walking out onto the Strip and finding what you are looking for. On the other hand, if you have a little bit of money to spend the restaurants are fantastic. The buffet is no longer the best in Vegas, but it is a solid choice- particularly if you score a line pass to walk around the line. The Cafe has corned beef hash and eggs which have nursed me through many a final morning in Vegas. Noodles, the Chinese place, has excellent, if overpriced, dimsum, and I have a hazy memory of one night going to a diner type place by the sports bar which seemed to meet whatever need I thought I had late at night in Vegas. I also ate Sunday brunch once at Jasmine, their Chinese restaurant, and had a phenomenal experience. Their centerpiece restaurant, however, is a place called Le Cirque.
I will review Le Cirque separately, because it deserves that. In summary, however, I can pay $300 for my dinner and wine pairings there and be perfectly happy that I did so. The food here is phenomenal, and they do a better job of pairing it with wine than anywhere else I have been. The waitstaff is also exceptional. I have eaten there in a group of five, in a group of two (with a buddy each time, rather than a romantic pairing) and by myself. Every time I felt welcomed, and every time the experience was amazing.
The saying is that you get what you pay for, and at the Bellagio in Las Vegas you most certainly do. Those of us who work for a living may have to save up for a bit to enjoy the nicer things this hotel has to offer, but even then there are workarounds- join MLife, come midweek, stay in a standard room, etc. This is my favorite hotel in Vegas, and I can’t wait to go back.