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TR: 04-08 june 2009: THEhotel, a quick visit to Las Vegas

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by Bralo20, Jul 4, 2009.

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  1. Bralo20

    Bralo20 Low-Roller

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    My Trip Report

    Thursday June 4, 2009 I left Brussels for a quick visit to Las Vegas. Wanting to enjoy the trip to the fullest I decided to go for it and upgraded my United Airlines flights to business class to make it a real Vegas Experience.

    After stopping at the ticketdesk in Brussels I managed to upgrade my flights from BRU to LAS to business and economy plus (since the IAD-LAS route is flown by old TED planes without a F/C section). And this for a very reasonable price. Since I was a bit early I needed to wait till the checkin opened to drop my bag. After a while the counters opened and I could give my bag to the staff. Off to the Star Alliance lounge in BRU. Since I only flew business with British Airways before I never visited the Star Alliance lounge. Apparently United Airlines, and the other Star Alliance carriers, are using the BMI lounge. The BMI lounge is located next to the British Airways / OpenWorld lounge and it was a big disappointing experience compared to other lounges... Only a small offering on food (at least if you can call some crackers and other stuff food), limited selection of beverages and not a decent view. I took myself a can of coke read some mails (used my own connection, don't know if there is free WiFi available). After a while it was time to go to the gate where boarding was going to start. United Airlines is using the Boeing 777-222 on the BRU-IAD route in a 3 (actually 4) class configuration. First, Business, Economy Plus and Economy are available on this flight. I was guided to my chosen seat (13J, a window seat) and was happy to see that the seat next to me remained empty. While United is still using the old configuration (the 777 is the last series that will be upgraded) I can tell that the business seats are very comfortable for the flight. As i'm not that fond about airline food I skipped meals and enjoyed working on my netbook and watching some series.

    The flight from Brussels to Washington by UA went very smooth and staff was great! After boarding the connecting flight to LAS we received notice that there were some issues with some fuelindicators leaving the plane grounded untill repaired. After about 4 hours of waiting the replacement aircraft arrived to take of to LAS. Since I didn't wanted to take a risk I called ahead to THEhotel mentioning that my plane was grounded and that I'll be checking in after midnight. This wasn't a problem and the remarks were noted in the system so that I wouldn't lose my room. After arrival in LAS I took a cab to THEhotel and enjoyed the time talking with the driver. It was a couple of years since being in Vegas but people are still friendly.

    The entrance of THEhotel is located inside Mandalay Bay or inside the parking space. A bit strange but no problem for me. Due the late arrival there weren't any lines at check-in and a room was issued very quick. I requested a room with some view on the airfield and got a room on the 17th floor from where I could see planes taking off. The room was a pleasant surprise. While some hotels make extremely good pictures and deliver extremely poor rooms THEhotel delivered the room (a suite) just like in the pictures. I was a very nice and spacious room with a large bathroom containing a huge bathtub and a nice shower. I loved it on first sight! The 42" Philips tv in the living room was actually a bit to big to be enjoyable from the couch. It would be better in the bedroom were you are a bit farther from the tv (which is a regular CRT screen). Also the tv in the bathroom is a nice addition. Small but enjoyable. I spend a lot of time on the desk writing some reports, surfing on the internet (expensive, it would be better if compimentary but faster then many other hotels) or doing some research. It was enjoyable to have a nice desk to work from.

    Although the bed was very nice and big I actually didn't sleep well in it. I'm used to sleep on a hard bed instead of a soft one and this bed was one of the softest In ever slept in. Enjoyable to relax a bit but I couldn't get any sleep, due this I only slept about 3 hours a night at most. Not the fault of the hotel since probably there aren't to much customers who enjoy a hard bed but it kept me awake ;)

    One smaller issue is the airconditiong, there are 2 units in the room which can probably cool to a freezing point. Although they AC unit could be set on a specific temperature it seemed to cool when it was not necessary, especially during the night. But this could be fixed by turning them off ;)

    I've ordered a couple of times through roomservice and although not cheap the food was actually very good! Never had an issue that it was allready cold or something, everything was just fine and the portions are huge (at least to European standards).

    During my stay in Vegas I didn't do to much except for gambling, gambling and yes some gambling. Played slots and poker at Mandalay and videopoker and slots at Excalibur. I walked a couple of times from one end to the other end of the strip (which is not that far if you take your time for it) and enjoyed the quiet streets... I've been in Vegas about 3 years ago and compared to then Vegas was nearly death at the time I was in town. Also in the casino's it was clearly visible that it was slow... Much less staff on the floor, empty tables, a lott of empty slots and other games, etc...

    I enjoyed multiple hours of videopoker at Excalibur where I met some very friendly bartenders. Every single drink was comped during my play (played at mex bet every time) and service was great. I gave them a couple of tips (between 40 to 60 USD depending the time of playing) and had some nice chats with them about Vegas... They told me that it was actually a bit slow in Vegas and a lot of staff was laid off and that they hoped to see economics go up again. I told them that I would agree with this but that I was sorry that I had to tell that the bad economic had also some advantages for us, European travellers. Due the bad economics prices dropped very hard and also the exchange rate of the USD was in our favour and that I "enjoyed" it because it made my travel much cheaper then originally calculated (hell, I could even spend the difference in upgraded flights to business class).

    I actually feld sorry about that but I hoped that my rather generous tips would make things a bit better for them.

    Anyway, I enjoyed them (especially Tim) a lot and had a very good time playing...

    I also enjoyed the Shark Reef in Mandalay which was lovely to see. Not as big as I thought it would be but definately a nice visit!

    Since I don't like the sun to much I didn't spend time at the pool, but from what I've seen during my stay it wasn't to crowded.

    After a while it was time to leave Vegas and heading back to Belgium. The day before I grabbed a cab to the airport to see if I was able to upgrade my flights back to Belgium and it was nice to see that it worked out just fine for a limited fee.

    Check out went also very fine, due the fact I was on irregular hours on my room the minibar was never checked upon so I gave them a list with everything I took from the minibar and they thanked me for my honesty (since I didn't leave a credit card they wouldn't be able to charge it afterwards). Lovely and friendly service!

    I spend a lot of time gambling but losses where reasonable. I had calculated a certain amount that I could lose with a smile and I ended with a loss of only about 500 USD, far below the limit I had calculated. When you cash out on the right time and stop when you are losing a bunch of money it seems that you can easily limit the losses ;)

    After a quick cabride to the airport I could take my flight back home to Belgium. The flight to IAD was smooth and we landed ahead of schedule in IAD. After some time in the Red Carpet Club it was time to board the plane. Again a B777-222 that would take me to BRU again. This time I had chosen aisle seat 15D with again the seat next to me empty. Since I was a bit hungry I ordered some meal and to my surprise it was better then expected. After the meal I slept for several hours and woke up an hour prior to landing in Brussels on Tuesday, June 9, 2009. After collecting my car from the car hotel it was a short ride to home to grab a quick shower and heading to my office to start a new working day.

    It was a very nice stay at THEhotel and I certainly will stay there again in the future, maybe in one of the more expensive suites.

    Flights were good although I didn't liked the delay in IAD due the broken plane, but in the end I arrived on my destination and that was the most important ;) I like UA since you can upgrade rather cheap on the airport and even when that's not possible there is always economy plus for a limited fee. A bid advantage for people like me who are more then 2 meters tall.

    Can't wait to go back ;)


    Some pictures:

    http:[email protected]/sets/72157619453003707/
     
  2. jgates8

    jgates8 VIP Whale

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    Fantastic!
     
  3. marcianofan

    marcianofan Low-Roller

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    When you cash out on the right time and stop when you are losing a bunch of money it seems that you can easily limit the losses
    So true, but easier said than done for most of us!!!!! Nice TR, tks for posting....
     
  4. breanna61

    breanna61 Super Moderator

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    Thanks for posting; the room at THEhotel looks very nice...I always have a hard time sleeping in Vegas no matter how hard or soft the bed is......afraid I'll waste valuable time sleeping I guess!:eek:
     
  5. rowEn

    rowEn Tourist

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    Great TR, thanks for posting! We've booked a V-suite at THEHotel for NYE this year and hope it is as fantastic as everyone says it is :)
     
  6. Bralo20

    Bralo20 Low-Roller

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    Thx ;)

    Hehehe, maybe you are right. :) thx & np

    It was very nice indeed, I was a bit affraid due some report's I've read but it was great. During my previous stay in Vegas I've slept like a baby (stayed in TI back then) but that was after a week of staying with the Oakland Fire Department which we visited for training & observation purposes, after that week most of us were very tired (one week 24/24h on duty) so we could use the sleep :D

    But you could be right... Here in Belgium we do say sometimes if someone is tired or hasn't slept to much: "Sleeping is something you can do when you're dead, plenty of time then to sleep, now it's time to work" :evillaugh

    You won't be sorry... THEhotel is really fantastic, maybe a bit dark in the lobby due the chosen colors but I like it. I think my next stay in Vegas will be again in THEhotel (although the Four Seasons, Signature @ MGM or even Green Valley are hotels I would like to stay).
     
  7. gotavegasjones

    gotavegasjones VIP Whale

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    Thanks for your post. Enjoyable read.

    later, GVJ
     
  8. pebbles

    pebbles VIP Whale

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    Bralo, thanks very much for your report. As a fellow European, it's good to hear a different perspective on the transatlantic flights we have to endure to get to our favourite vacation place.

    Thanks again,

    pebbles.
     
    First trip of 2017.
  9. VegasDiva

    VegasDiva VIP Whale

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    Great Trip report wow at coming such a long way for a few nights!! good for you
     
  10. sailor53

    sailor53 Tourist

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    Great report. Great looking room. Enjoyed the details and thanks for posting!
     
  11. Bralo20

    Bralo20 Low-Roller

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    That's the bad part about getting to Vegas... The long flights :( Fortunately I was able to upgrade myself to business class so this reliefed some pain but the flight from IAD to LAS was completely packed and this is one thing I defintately hate... But looking to the different bookingmachines it seemed that the flights from IAD to LAS will be operated in the future with a plane that got the first class section.

    Since i'm +2m tall I hate flying in cramped seats, but on the other hand I hate to spend to much money on flights (nasty habbit, always looking for the cheapest way). Thanks to UA you can upgrade for a fairly "limited" amount on the airport ;)

    I can't wait for the next trip... :D
     
  12. Bralo20

    Bralo20 Low-Roller

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    It was the second time this year I flew a bunch of miles for just a couple of days ;) In February it was Montréal, in June it was Las Vegas and in December it will be Vegas again. Always for a day or 5 at the most. Only in december I'll be staying for 2 weeks in the US where I'll be guiding a group of Belgian firefighters during a trip i've organised. We'll be staying at the Dallas FD for a week followed by 1 week of tourism. ;)

    It's good for my mileage account and to gain status with UA ;) At the end of the year I'll be having enough miles for a free rountrip to Hawaii or so, so flying a bit has some benefits, even if it's just for a couple of days :D
     
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