To say that that I was excited about my upcoming stay at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas would be an understatement. I have been to Vegas more times than I can count, but had never stayed at the Bellagio.
My family was traveling to LV for a family reunion and we decided to fly in a day earlier so my infant daughter could adjust to the 3-hour time difference. We would be staying at The Bellagio for one night and The Mirage for three nights.
OOHHH…THE BELLAGIO…WHERE DO I START?
Let me be candid…I made a rookie mistake before I arrived (blog coming soon) so I was already disappointed in myself, but the disappointment was compounded once I arrived at the hotel.
I booked our one-night stay at the Bellagio for $148 through American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts (FHR). I chose to pay cash because the “value” of the required points were worth more than paying the ~$150. Additionally, booking through FHR included several other perks such as free breakfast, room upgrade (if available) and a 4PM late checkout – which is essential for a trip to Las Vegas.
The Las Vegas strip is interesting because you can book most of the hotels (e.g. Aria, Bellagio, MGM, etc.) through major hotel sites like Hyatt or Marriott. I have status with both hotel chains but I’ve been so busy with other travel plans that I completely forgot to “status match” to the M Life – the loyalty program of MGM properties. I was reminded of my failure when I arrived in the lobby of the Bellagio and saw two options for check-in…a “priority line” with 1 person checking in and this zoo for other guests…
We arrived at the hotel at 8pm and check-in took a little more than an hour. I was also surprised during check-in that upgrades were not available because the hotel was completely sold out (~4000 rooms and completely sold out on a weekeday? In Vegas? Very interesting!)
This information took the wind out of my sails and set the tone for my stay. By the time we arrived in our room, it was nearly 9:30pm (12:30am EST).
Fortunately (or unfortunately) my daughter slept through all of this and was ready to explore the city at 5am (8am EST) the next morning. Perhaps, we should’ve arrived 2 days earlier?
RESORT KING ROOM
I was hoping to, at least, have a room facing the Bellagio Fountains but we were directed to Room 16632 in a remote tower. Upon entering the room, we immediately encountered peanuts scattered on the floor, a dirty wash cloth on the vanity below the television, and another dirty wash cloth, literally, in the middle of the bedroom floor.
The room itself was tastefully decorated and overlooked a large parking garage with the fountains in the distance.
While discussing whether we should request to change rooms, we ventured into the bathroom and found (for lack of a better word) “goop” all over the bathroom sink and immediately called the front desk to request a room change. Fortunately, the keys were able to be reformatted remotely, so I didn’t have to take the long journey back to the front desk.
The front desk apologized and, immediately, assigned the same exact room on the 24thfloor (Room 24632). It had a bit of a cookie-cutter feel but that’s hard to avoid in Las Vegas where most hotels, literally, have thousands of rooms.
FUN FACT: The Bellagio has nearly 4,000 rooms. That’s A LOT!!
Still, there were a couple of sitting chairs by the window, a spacious desk, and a comfortable bed.
The mini bar and snack bar were well stocked (and similar to most things in Las Vegas…expensive).
The bathroom was surprisingly large, however, when you’ve stayed in other luxury hotels, you begin to take notice of the details. For example, the faucets looked like they could have been used at the Luxor (no shade but an observation. I’ve stayed at the Luxor many times). In fact, everything in the room seemed a bit haphazard. For example, I stepped out of the shower and noticed there was more water outside the shower than inside the shower and a “lake” had formed in the middle of bathroom.
The bath amenities were the Lanovera brand from Australia. Typically, the brands used in the hotel aren’t made for my skin so I have very little use for them but I did not recognize the brand and would’ve expected The Bellagio to have used a brand with a bit more brand recognition.
The next morning, at 5:30 AM, my daughter and I explored the hotel grounds – as one does in Vegas at that time. As you would expect, the hotel was significantly quieter.
The Bellagio changes the flowers in the lobby every day…
Given that it is July in Las Vegas and the temperature approaches 110 degrees (43 C) quickly after sunrise, I assumed I would be able to go for an early morning swim, however, the pool did not open until 7AM. That’s reasonable in life but unreasonable when faced with entertaining a toddler for another 90 minutes so we continued our “tour.”
Similar to most mega resorts in Las Vegas, the pool deck has multiple shallow pools surrounded by lounge chairs. There were a number of day beds and cabanas available to rent, and also a separate pool area with standard lounge chairs that required an admission fee.
The pool deck is a short walk from the room elevators regardless to if you are staying in the main building or remote tower.
DINING AND ENTERTAINMENT
My wife soon joined us as we ventured from the pool to breakfast at The Buffet. I was excited about breakfast because, again, it was one of the included perks from booking through FHR. However, the breakfast was lackluster. There was no natural light in the breakfast area, the walls were painted a drab vanilla color, and the food was far from what I expected from a five star, luxury hotel. The Buffet is $26 per person and although there were quite a few food options, we felt that the meal was “meh” at best.
…”fresh orange juice” from a machine?
We considered dinner reservations at some of the other nicer Bellagio restaurants overlooking the fountains but after the experience at breakfast, we chose to frequent other Las Vegas establishments.
My wife and I have seen “O”, one of Cirque Du Soleil’s flagship shows in Las Vegas, and it is amazing. I highly recommend it if you have time. However, because we were moving from The Bellagio to The Mirage, we did not see it this time.
Note for “O”: There is no bad seat in the house, so feel free to buy the cheaper ticket. We were seated in the “nosebleeds” but were happy because we could see everything that was happening where as the people that had spent hundreds of dollars for first row seats were constantly looking up and around to capture everything. The plot is more difficult to follow than other Cirque Du Soleil shows but if you’re just looking to be entertained, I highly recommend it.
Although we had requested late check-out, we decided not to utilize the 4PM FHR check-out time. Our immediate family was coming into town so we assumed we would have a better chance at an upgrade if we arrived at The Mirage earlier than other guests.
We gathered our bags, took a final look at our view…
…and returned to the reception desk only to find a line that was longer than the queue we had stood in the night before.
There was a check-out / key drop machine near the queue, however, when I attempted to check-out, the machine said “unable to process your request, please see front desk for assistance.”
Taking a look at the queue and slowly wishing this nightmare would end, I attempted to circumnavigate the check-in desk and made a beeline directly to the concierge desk.
A few steps before I arrived at the concierge desk, an attendant intercepted me and asked if she could help me. I told her about the challenges that I had with the key drop machine and simply wanted to check-out. She attempted to assist me by using the checkout machine but after going through the same steps, she received the same results. She advised me to visit the concierge, which now had 5 people standing in line.
After standing in the concierge line for another 10 minutes, another attendant asked to assist me. I told her about my personal challenge with the key drop machine, that another attendant was unsuccessful in her attempts to assist me, and that I did not want to get out of line. She insisted (and was rather rude) in saying “maybe the other girl did not know what she was doing.”
Against my own instinct, I moved out of line with the attendant, and received the exact same results as the other two attempts. Fortunately, she fast-tracked me back to the front of the line and the concierge was able to finalize my bill.
You may be asking yourself “why didn’t you just leave? If you didn’t charge anything to the room, your bill should be ok.”
That’s a good point and typically I do that, however, I booked through FHR and was skeptical about my final bill…and I was correct in my assumption. I had been charged a “late check out fee,” the cost of breakfast was still on my bill, and I had been charged a resort fee for two nights despite staying only one night.
Under the hood, The Bellagio is a disaster of a hotel with a beautiful façade.
The Bellagio is one of the most expensive properties on the Las Vegas strip and I wish The Bellagio put as much effort in customer care as they did replacing the flowers daily in the lobby. Fortunately, I was staying on a weekday so it was considerably cheaper than their standard, weekend rate.
Admittedly, most people do not go to Las Vegas with plans to stay in their room however, among most luxury hotels, I don’t think The Bellagio would rank favorably.
On a scale of 1-10…
- Location Score – 9 – The Bellagio is located in the middle of the strip and is surrounded by many venues.
- Check-In Score – 5 – Check-in took more than an hour. That is unacceptable. Are we at a theme park waiting on a rollercoaster?
- Service Score – 6 – Although, intentions were great, the service was disappointing for a luxury hotel. I also called the front desk twice to request a crib and it never arrived.
- Vibe Score – 8 – The hotel was comfortable, quiet, and had a laid-back vibe.
- Restaurant / Food Score – 5 – Eating breakfast at The Buffet was the only experience of eating at the hotel. Unfortuantely, that experince was extremely uninspiring so we did not utilize the hotel restaurants but ventured to others hotels for our meals.
- Amenities Score – 5 – Many outdoor pools, however, the $40+ daily “resort fee” is expensive and extremely frustrating.
- Check-Out Score – 4 – Checkout was horrendous.
Overall, I would give The Bellagio a 6.0!
Hotel Recommendation: If you’re hoping for a fountain view at The Bellagio, I would recommend paying the premium for the fountain view room, or perhaps staying at Paris Las Vegas (across the street.)
Have you ever stayed at The Bellagio? What was your experience?