Monday, October 11, 2010

The FABULOUS Bellagio

The FABULOUS Bellagio.

Yes, it is that sumptuous. This past week, I had the remarkable opportunity due to a client visit and conference to stay at the property, attend a conference and dine several times. I could write reviews of all of the components individually, but that would take up far too much time. Instead, I will write in aggregate about many of the features.

1. Hotel rooms - four stars. They have delightful rooms with vast glass showers, soothing bed sheets, beautiful views, a simple but elegant turn down service and all that you should need in the room. They don't get five stars because I had to pay for wireless access - seriously? $15 a day simply for access seems silly. Also, don't bother with the minibar or snack selections - they are a fortune. The room sizes are really ample. I live in 550 sq. ft and I think the room (including bathroom) was bigger than my condo.

2. Convention services - three stars. Because of the size of the facility, it takes forever to walk to your venue. There were multiple AV issues for both presenters and the audience and networking connectivity varied over time. On the plus side, the food was remarkable at lunch and in the cocktail hour one evening, kind of meh at breakfast. Not much to enjoy if you don't do carbs.

3. The Bellagio Buffet - four stars. They don't get five because the wait to get in can be as long as an hour, the place is usually packed to the gills and the service can be hit or miss on the drinks. In terms of the food, it is unbelievable, particularly in terms of both depth and breadth of choice. You don't want to go on the weekend if you can avoid it as the buffet becomes "deluxe" which jacks the price up $7 (29.95 to 36.95) and the "normal" buffet still is amazing. Make sure you go after the high protein items. My friend Aron and I grubbed deeply on crab legs, shrimp, prime rib, NY strip, lamb, Chateaubriand, etc...that was the value. The Friday night "deluxe" buffet did include quite a few exotics - quail, ostrich, carved duck breast, etc...Oh, and to the four service people who ignored my friend Aron's request for Thousand Island dressing refill - BAD CALL / EPIC FAIL. How hard is it to refill the dressing container? It cost part of the tip and prevented me from giving it five stars for the entire review.

4. The Bellagio Fountains - five stars. Watch from the elevated veranda roundelay in front of the hotel so as not to be overwhelmed by all the plebes not staying at the FABULOUS Bellagio. (That was for you Aron!) The best part - it is FREE!

5. The FIX restaurant - two stars. Overpriced, loud and without alcohol, two people was over $160. I know I am an epicurean, but I expect all components of dining, including environment to be amazing and in this case, deeply disappointing.

5. The Fitness Center and Spa - FIVE stars. Originally off put by the $25 a day (which runs from 6 am to 8 pm), we decided to go down on Friday morning early 6:30 am to get our workout on before the conference. What a GREAT decision! As a long term weightlifter who has now looked to CrossFit and HIIT, they had ample equipment and machinery for everyone. Loved their cardio equipment and because there was so much of it, I never had to wait a second. The crowing glory however was the spa. Three jacuzzi spas (102, 104, 106 F, respectively), a cool (room temp) plunge, eucalyptus steam room, dry sauna, complementary beverages, ice towels, fluffy & silky robes, luxurious large, enclosed rain showers (with primo soap, shampoo & conditioner), full on grooming with razors, qtips, etc... and shorts you can borrow, it was THE best part of the trip. After doing a 45 minute workout, having a steam and sauna, not to mention the luxurious shower, I was fully focused and centered for a day of sitting and doing the mental work the convention required. It was such a delight, since our day pass was still good, at 6 pm, where were we for another hour and a half? Yep, the spa! Totally worth it.

Overall, if I was going to hit Vegas again for vacation or a business trip, I would definitely go back to this property. Some minor lessons learned, but mostly remarkable. No kidding about the Spa. I would go back just for that!

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