As a Southern California resident, Las Vegas is just one of those go-to locations to go on for a quick weekend trip. I went there three times over the last few months and took the opportunity to review a few of the mega-hotels that they have, so I’ll combine them into a 6-part series.
- Caesar’s Palace – Palace Tower Room
- THEhotel – Amex Fine Hotels and Resorts (FHR) Rate
- THEhotel – Amex FHR Breakfast and Bathhouse Spa
- Aria Resort & Casino – Deluxe King Room
- The Palazzo – Amex Fine Hotels and Resorts (FHR) Rate
- The Mirage – Resort Queen Room
- New York-New York Las Vegas Review
The first trip was a quick, two-night weekend stay that was booked somewhat last-minute. My cousin came to town unexpectedly, and he had never been to America before and really wanted to see Vegas. I wanted to make sure to stay at one of the “big” casinos on the strip so that he’d get the full Vegas experience, so I picked the cheapest option available at the time.
You’ve probably heard that nearly every Vegas hotel/resort is now charging daily “Resort Fees” in addition to the nightly hotel rate, which I think is outrageous, but there’s nothing we can do about that anymore. Thankfully my first stay was at Caesar’s Palace before they started charging Resort Fees, and that’s pretty much the only reason it was the cheapest option at the time. My Friday night rate was $164 plus tax, and my Saturday night rate was $184 plus tax. Internet was not included in these rates without Resort Fees at the time.
First things first – at check-in, I tried the famed “twenty dollar trick” once again after my last failure. For those that don’t know, you essentially hand the check-in employee a $20 bill sandwiched between your ID and credit card and ask if there are any complimentary upgrades. This “bribe” or tip can get you upgraded accommodations and other perks like free buffet passes, things that are typically valued at much higher than the $20 you hand over.
I handed her the sandwich with cash in the middle, but unfortunately the Manager came over to stand right over her shoulder at the time. She promptly asked “do you need change?” I was caught a little off guard with this response after my last experience, so I just said “um…yes please.” It was a little embarrassing once again, but it will not deter me in my hunt to be upgraded with the $20 trick! I have so many friends and coworkers that have been upgraded, plus all the reviews and stats on the “official” website, that I will continue to ask on future trips.
Caesar’s Palace has a lot of land on the strip, and they’ve used it to build several towers of accommodations that are essentially different tiers of rooms, from standard to luxurious. I booked the cheapest and oldest – the Roman Tower with 2 Queen beds. After I asked for the complimentary upgrade and was given change for my $20, the receptionist said “I’ve upgraded you to the Palace Tower” even though she didn’t take my $20. Works for me!
I’ll apologize now for some of the blurry pictures below. I was in a hurry in trying to maximize my time during the weekend and didn’t realize that apparently I had a shaky hand.
The room was actually very comfortable. It was nothing special compared to some of the suite upgrades I’ve received at normal hotels, but when you’re traveling you generally don’t spend much time in your room anyway. The bed and bedding were very comfortable and you could tell that they’ve renovated this building not too long ago. My only gripe was that internet was $15 at the time, but that’s no longer an issue with the new Resort Fees (which are more in the $25 range btw).
I was a fan of the bathroom, and I’ll explain why after you see some pictures.
Notice anything different about this bathroom? I sure did. This type of bathroom (two sinks, separate tub/shower, toilet room) is generally reserved for rooms that are considered suites, or at least upgraded rooms of some sort. I did not expect a room like this to have a bathroom this large, so I was pleasantly surprised. If you think this is standard, then wait until you see the bathroom in part 3 of this series at The Mirage!
Another thing that stands out to me is the Jacuzzi style tub with the jets. These type of jets are generally not installed in most of hotels that do happen to have separate tubs and showers. I didn’t have a chance to make use of it, but if that’s your thing then I’m sure you’d appreciate having the option in your room.
In regards to the bathroom itself, it was pretty much what you’d expect, except for the water pressure in the shower. Compared to some of the other hotels I’ve stayed at on the strip, the pressure here seemed to be lacking a bit. It wasn’t anything to make a fuss about and is definitely a first world problem, but it was noticeable to me which is why I’m mentioning it. The only other note is that there was no TV in the bathroom, which there usually is in Vegas hotels with bathrooms of this size.
The only gripe I have is with the resort itself and not the room. This place is really huge, and the signage in the casino is poorly labeled compared to some of the other mega-resorts. It’s easy to get turned around a few times and end up in the wrong spot, which very well might be by design if they’re trying to get you to gamble more or see more of the casino.
Aside from that, the one notable thing that I must bring up is the relatively new buffet called Bacchanal. It’s pretty pricey at $55 (or $50 with a free player’s club card), but boy did I enjoy it. I’ve had it twice, and quality was top notch on both occasions. They have one of the best meat carving stations I’ve seen, with no less than 7 options. The beef brisket was some of the best I’ve had and the lamb chops were my favorite lamb chops ever. They also have a mile-long line for pre-sliced crab legs (cold or warm), but they are extremely delicious. Service is typical of other buffets with a slow drink service, but I never came back to my table to find old plates there. If you can squeeze it into your budget, I highly recommend this place! Just make sure to budget enough time to stand in line, as the wait can get up to 1.5 hours.
Caesar’s Palace is also home to the Forum Shops, which is like a mall with high-end stores and some restaurants. My favorite food place here is Max Brenner, where nearly every dish has some form of chocolate on it (cocoa powder was on my french fries). If you come here, make sure you order the Hazelnut Chocolate Cream Milkshake. It is absolutely delicious, and I sometimes get random cravings for it. It’s kind of heavy, so share it with another person or make sure you exercise it off!
Would I stay here again? Sure, if it was one of the cheapest options. It’s right in the middle of the strip and has lots of good restaurants, so I’d probably end up stopping here on a future trip anyway. Just be prepared to do a lot of walking since the Caesar’s resort area is huge!