Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by MikeOPensacola, Sep 27, 2020.
Thank you for taking the time to write and post the photos!
Came to this report kind of late - lots of reading!
What a fantastic report. I miss Vegas! So glad you took the time to share with us.
Wow! Great trip, thanks for taking us along!
A+ your words your pic were fantastic... thanks!
Not going to lie...have been having some withdrawals missing your Vegas adventures so I’m looking forward to your recap.
How did your girlfriend like the beautiful shoes?
They were a big hit Bre. I'm quarantining myself for 21 days so I'll have to wait until November to see how big of a hit....
Finally finished this fantastic report. The Wynn/Encore photo journey was epic. I walked by a lot of that my last trip but never stopped to really look at stuff. I hope your quarantine goes by fast with a special prize at the end. Thank you for the report and can’t wait for the recap.
This TR made me cancel Bellagio reservations for next month and book at Encore! Thanks for the entertaining read. Currently living vicariously through you and many others.
Wow, I've probably slept 24 out of the last 36 hours!! Those beds at Wynn are great but its good to get a "good weekend’s sleep" at home. On a side note, I was pleased to see that I lost 6.5 pounds in Vegas (weighed myself upon Wynn arrival and departure) and I managed to walk just shy of 210,000 steps.
Just started my trip recap and it probably won't get posted until tomorrow. It will be very long as I'm trying to provide as much useful information to as many VMBers as possible. If anyone has anything that you would like me to address drop me a line here and I'll see what I can do.
Please don't forget the part about @Richard Alpert having chiseled features!
I'm looking forward to your recap, @MikeOPensacola!
(***This is will be a long post. My intent is not to ramble on about how much fun I had on my recent trip, but, rather to give an honest accounting of how I perceived certain aspects of my vacation with hopes that it might provide some useful information for those VMBers who are contemplating a visit to Las Vegas in the near future.***)
What a memorable, in a good way, 12 days in Las Vegas. I really wasn’t sure what to expect this time around. In fact, I almost cancelled the entire trip within 24 hours before my departure. As I mentioned in my initial post, I scheduled this trip on a whim and I have to say it was one of those rare snap decisions that worked out well beyond any reasonable expectations I had going into it. Actually, this was one of the best times I’ve had on the strip in the last five, or so, years.
I’ll try to keep this as organized as I can, but out of necessity I’ll probably have to go off on the odd tangent or two.
Where to start?
I flew out on Delta First and returned home via Delta Comfort +. ATL was a ghost town on a Tuesday morning and most people were adhering to mask protocols. My flight from ATL to LAS was about half full. I do not think anyone who wanted empty spaces on either side of them had any problem. Same thing on my return flight.
LAS to ATL was on a 767-300ER and it could not have been more than 30% full. However, LAS had very little in the way of COVID sanitation stations; they were especially lacking in antibacterial soap. I’d say you’ll definitely want to keep some soap/wipes in your carry on as you depart Las Vegas. Mask compliance was pretty poor. Lots of no maskers and below-the-nose maskers walking about as if they had no cares in the world. This was on a Friday morning.
Presidential Limo was spot on. On arrival, the limo driver was at my carousel and I could easily spot him from about 100 yards away as the entire baggage claim area was, in effect, void of people wandering about. On the return leg to LAS I came down to the bell desk about 15 minutes before my scheduled departure time and the doorman told me that the limo had already arrived. Presidential has never let me down and I’ll continue to use them in the future. When I landed at LAS I tipped the driver $30, at the carousel, and mentioned to him I needed to stop off at Walgreens to pick up some items. He told me to take my time and there was no need to rush. I’ve always found that tipping beforehand results in no hassles about stopping off at Walgreens or CVS.
Uber was Uber. Wait times were not long whatsoever. My usual wait time was about 5 minutes. Even at M Resort and Spinettis the wait times were surprisingly short. The fares were ridiculously cheap. In fact, on one trip from Wynn to MB my fare was less than $5. When I later got the email confirming my fare I gave it a double and then a triple take. Each and every Uber driver that I encountered were wearing masks. Several of them had even jury-rigged plastic dividers, ala taxi cabs, separating the front and back seats.
Be forewarned, many of your favorite, and not so favorite, restaurants will be closed, have limited days/hours of operation along with limited menus. This was the case at Wynn/Encore and virtually every casino I visited on the strip. The good news is that all the restaurants that I visited, or took a peek at, really did a nice job spacing out tables. QR codes seem to be the norm, with most restaurants placing a coaster type paper mat to place your masks on. All the employees – hosts, wait-staff, cooks/chefs were completely masked up. Some restaurants will allow you to take off your mask immediately after you sit down, others will ask you to keep it on until you receive your drink. Service was generally fast but not rushed. IMHO, perfect spacing between drinks and courses.
This was one of those all too rare trips that I visited each and every restaurant that I had mentioned in my initial TR post. Here’s the rundown:
LAVO: Simply my favorite restaurant in Las Vegas. I was so fortunate to enjoy a fine evening with @Flowers, @eliza and @spdandpwr. We dined al fresco and could not have picked a better night to do so. The weather was perfect as was the view and service. The drinks, appetizers, main courses & desserts were fantastic. I really like the ambiance inside the restaurant, but if the weather is right and you can arrange for a table on the patio I’d highly recommend it. Thank you so much @Flowers to treating us to a splendid dinner!!
Mizumi Teppan: @spdandpwr and I met up for a drink and then headed over to Mizumi Teppan for dinner. I have to admit that I have heard and read about Mizumi but I had no clear idea where it was located at the Wynn. (Very front of the property tucked away between the front desk and Intrigue. Image you are looking at the Wynn waterfalls near the Esplanade and it is directly behind them.) Our tableside chef was entertaining as he was accomplished at his craft. The food was absolutely incredible and on my next visit to Vegas I plan to go there very early in my trip and really soak up the atmosphere and enjoy another superb dining experience. It is not inexpensive, by any means, but for a special occasion or “just one of those Vegas things” I can’t recommend it enough. As they say in the Navy for a job well done, “Bravo Zulu”!!!
Wazuzu: Yet another Asian restaurant that I visited for the first time. Unlike Mizumi, this restaurant is more mid-range, as far as prices are concerned, but no less impressive. As I mentioned earlier in my report, I do not have much experience in dining on Asian food so this was a somewhat new experience for me. When I was waiting to be seated I commented to the host that I had never been there before and asked him what he would recommend. His immediate reply was “You can never go wrong with the Drunken Noodles.” I had the same response with my waiter, who repeatedly referred to me as Michael-san, which I thought was a great, and unique, touch. I had a really nice ringside view of the Encore casino and the Drunken Noodles were delicious and, definitely more than enough for this very hungry VMBer. The service was, once again, spot-on. I realize that this is starting to sound redundant, but I will also be coming here many more times in the future.
Charlies: I’ve been here many times, and, for the most part, have rarely been disappointed. Their menu is vastly pared down, but I was still able to have a great burger, enormous number of fries and even more enormous chocolate shake. The bill was a little steep for this kind of fare but “While in Vegas do as the….” Service was crisp and the view of the Wynn sports book makes Charlie’s one of my go-to spots for lunch on the north end of the strip.
Terrace Pointe Café: Christ, I had some awesome breakfasts there. Several times on the terrace, a few times at a table and twice at the bar. The spacing at the bar was fine but I would avoid either extreme end of the bar if having wait staff linger there waiting for the bartender to settle up drink bills etc. bothers you. (This did irritate me, health wise, so I asked to be seated at a table about half way through my meal with absolutely no problem or eyerolls) I would recommend the terrace, as it overlooks the north end of the “barbell pool” but if there isn’t room the main dining rooms are more than fine alternatives. They have a great breakfast menu and you’ll be guaranteed to find something that suits you. The quantity of food served is impressive so be prepared to strap on the ol’ feedbag.
Tableau: This restaurant serves eats at the pool. While the food is good, and the restaurant inside is very well appointed, I wish that Terrace Pointe served the pool. Tableau sits poolside, thus their pool service, but I’d love it if pool goers could order off the Terrace Pointe menu. For example, the fruit plates from TP are infinitely larger and, IMHO, better than those from Tableau. Nevertheless, complaining about poolside dining is essentially pointless. On the plus side, they have great burgers, massive hot dogs and nice pastry plates for all day dining.
Sinatra: What can I say that I didn’t say earlier in my TR. I can’t think of a nicer restaurant to enjoy my 58th birthday than Sinatra. I had an outside table which was a real treat. I’ve only eaten there a few times and each time it has been wonderful. Previously, I had always had the lamb chops which were superb. This last time the waiter told me that they have done away with the chops and are now going with medallions. No biggie whatsoever. Everything was perfect. In every possible way. I think @rooster42000 was more excited than I was in re to the chocolate fedora dessert. We had been PMing each other, over the previous week, and he constantly reminded me about their famous dessert. So glad he was able to live vicariously through me. It was as good as the pics I took looked. In fact, each time I have had this truly unique dessert it almost feels like a crime to cut into such a piece of culinary art. They play a continuous loop of Frank’s songs, some old standbys and others not, which really make for a nice backdrop. Sinatra is right there with LAVO among my favorite restaurants in Las Vegas, and I hope to return there many, many times in the future.
Allegro: Oops, I thought I had eaten at all the Wynn restaurants that I intended to, but I never made it there. On the upside I dined at ……
House of Blues: Having spent way, way, way too little time at Mandalay Bay, over the course of two decades, I had never had the pleasure of eating there. I know that some people say that it is overhyped and overpriced, and that may be true. However, I really enjoyed the ambiance and the massive blackened chicken salad. I had a really good waiter and the décor at HOB is pretty cool. When I stay at MB next summer I’ll definitely return, probably multiple times.
The Café at Wynn: Open 24/7 this is a very abbreviated version of a coffee shop. If pastries are your thing then this is the place. I had both a prime rib sandwich and a couple of slices of pizza. Both were okay.
Room Service at Wynn. Nice presentation, excellent service but food was rather meh. I’ll probably skip it next time and get off my lazy butt and get downstairs for some better fare.
Grimaldi’s: I’ve eaten here multiple times with mixed results. The pizza and salads are usually very good, and the cannoli are “real and spectacular”, as they say on Seinfeld. Normally the service is slow, but the night I was there the service was perfect. Considering this was my first night in town, and tired as well as grumpy, this was a most welcome exception.
Tacos el Pastor: Forever to remembered as the El Jefe!! El Jefe!! restaurant to me. (BTW, the nickname was approved by my GF, she told me “That’s cute” and liked the backstory) The tacos were incredibly good and incredibly spicy. Great chips and salsa as well. The cook carved off a small piece of pork from a spit served with some extra, extra, extra spicy salsa, another nice touch. The seating is limited inside, but there is plenty of dining outside. There are also a few umbrellas to make things a little more bearable when the sun is shining from the west. The other nice attribute to this eatery is that it is no more than a five-minute walk from Encore. A definite repeater for sure!!!
Lindo Michoacán: This restaurant is way off the beaten path of the strip but what it lacks in convenience it makes up for in pretty damn good food. What I’ll remember about this lunch though is getting to spend a couple of hours with a VMB friend that I haven’t seen in all too long, @FormallyTD.
Gordon Ramsay at Caesars: Great, great burger and fries. I really like the interior of the restaurant and my server, Sara, was spunky and excellent. I’ll definitely come back here for a burger. It’s not inexpensive, but it’s Vegas……
Those are the highlights from the restaurants I ate at. There were some others….but the above were the ones that were most memorable. BTW, mask compliance, both from staff and patrons, was very well respected at each establishment I visited. I never felt crowded, except that one time at the Terrace Pointe bar, or unsafe. There were also plenty of masks and antibacterial soap available at most entrances to the restaurants. Overall, I really could not have hoped for a better outcome with all the meals I had. Be sure to make reservations for breakfast and dinner.
Wynn Tower Suites and Wynn/Encore in general:
From the moment I pulled up to the Tower Suites and entered their enormous and elaborate lobby I pretty much knew I was in for one helluva stay. What I really enjoy about the Tower Suites is that even though it has that boutique feel it is a very small portion of an otherwise enormous resort.
I can say without hesitation, or qualification, that the customer service here is not only the best I have received at a resort, but it is the best customer service I have ever received anywhere. Period. Everyone I encountered was so incredibly courteous and professional that it is hard to put into words how refreshing and exhilarating my visit there was.
The elevators there were really easy. There are three in the Tower Suites and the wait times were minimal, both in the lobby and on the 56th floor. I don’t recall ever stopping at more than two floors on my way up or down. They advise not to have more than four people per elevator car and this was never a problem.
Housekeeping was excellent. I tipped $10 per day and even that was a bargain. They left plenty of masks, antibacterial soap and loaded up the complimentary water each day. Funny note here: On the morning of my first day I left my usual Thank You note, with a smiley face, alongside my tip and asked for a few extra pens and stationary. For the rest of my trip the maid left me about five pens and an equal amount of stationary each day.
I’ve never really been into turndown service but this time I decided why the hell not. It was really nice coming back to my room each night with my bed made up and everything else looking pristine. Needless to say, I’m now a big fan of turndown service.
The only negative I really have to say about my room is that the shampoo and body wash were mediocre. Not the biggest issue, but I expected a bit more.
One more thing about the Tower Suites. When I came back to my room on Friday night the moment I stepped out of the elevator I could smell weed. Ditch weed. I made it about half way to my room when I could hear a lot of noise from one of the rooms close to mine. I decided to wait it out for a bit but after about an hour of yelling, screaming and general mayhem I got fed up with it and called the front desk. They sent up security and things got calm for about ten minutes and then it all started up again. After about 45 minutes I called down to the front desk again. This time security did something about it. I could hear a huge ruckus in the hallway so I peeked out my peephole and could see six purple-coated security men escorting 10-12 out of the room. For good. The next morning, I noticed there was some kind of fancy deodorizer plugged into a hallway socket. By midafternoon the smell was completely gone. Good for Wynn security.
The Wynn property as a whole was incredible. All the shops were open, they close at 7:00 pm, unlike the Canal Shoppes at Venetian. If window shopping is your thing, especially for some big-ticket splurges, then Wynn will be right up your alley. I really enjoy strolling through the Esplanade, and the connector between Wynn and Encore, wishing I could get just a sampling from each store. Even though the vast, vast, vast majority of those stores are well beyond affordability for me it’s still nice to look.
I never felt too at risk, CV-19 wise, at either Wynn or Encore. The crowds were not large so that certainly played into it. There were plenty of stations where you could get hand sanitizer and masks were readily available at every entrance. I swear to god that one could come to Vegas with only the mask they are wearing and not have to purchase another one. They were available at virtually every casino I visited. Each morning when I went to breakfast I walked by several roulette tables and they were washing all of their roulette chips, individually and by hand. I imagine they were probably washing all of their house chips behind the scenes.
Everything else I have to say about Wynn I already covered in my TR. Needless to say, I will be back, and back in spades. I briefly mentioned this several years ago in a TR where I noted that Wynn does everything better than everyone else. I still feel that way……
On a personal note this trip was really special. I stayed here during July of 2019. In April of that year I was hit by a drunk driver, while riding my bike, and as a result of that I had an aneurism shortly after my return home. I have absolutely no memory from April through October of 2019. Zilch. Nada. None. When I was getting ready for this trip I scrolled through my TR from that trip and it looked like I really had a good time but I could not remember one moment of that trip. It was like reading someone else’s TR. So, even though I had stayed in the Tower Suites before this visit was akin to staying there for the very first time. I had an absolutely fabulous time and I wouldn’t change a moment of it.
Special thanks to Johnny the doorman at the Tower Suites, Bella the concierge and Tia at the pool. These are but just a few of the incredible and guest-oriented employees at the Wynn.
Odds and ends:
I didn’t gamble too much, but I expected that going in. I thought I did pretty poor at the slots, but when I read through my TR on the plane ride home I was surprised to see some good hits. Roulette was excellent this trip and it saved my bacon on two different occasions. I didn’t make it to Fremont St., and thus no BJ, but that’ll just give me one more thing to look forward to for my June of 2021 trip.
The pool at the Tower Suites is almost heaven…and it ain’t West Virginia (John Denver reference). I spent about 4-5 hours out there each day soaking up the nice weather with the occasional boat drink. I absolutely love it out there and the pool is the main drawing card for many return visits to the Tower Suites.
I’m really digging what Resorts World is doing with their lightshow on the side of the West tower. It looks like it is going to be a game changer on that end of the strip and I can’t wait to see the finished product sometime in 2022.
Sorry I didn’t post too many pics when I was with my VMB friends. It’s just that I get so busy having fun that I forget to take pics of whatever we’re doing.
It was marvelous meeting up with all of the following VMBers:
(Please forgive me if I failed to mention any other VMBers that I met up with)
One of the many highlights of this trip was going to the wedding vow renewals of Kelly and Rob. They are two of my very favorite VMBers and it was special to see their big moment during an absolutely beautiful sunrise ceremony at the Fabulous Las Vegas sign.
Never drink with firefighters!!! Nuff said…
The shoes were a hit with my GF in a big way. BTW, she really liked the El Jefe, El Jefe story and it looks like I have a new nickname with her.
Thanks for hanging with me during this unabridged trip summary. It took me a few hours to put together but I really wanted to send out some useful information to those who are contemplating a trip to Las Vegas in the near future. If you would ask me “are you glad you went and would you do it again?” I wouldn’t hesitate to say yes. I never felt too at risk from CV-19 and I avoided the craziness on the strip, at night, as well as I could. (I'll be doing a 21 day self-imposed quarantine so time will tell) The only two things I would say about safety on the strip is that I noticed that the entire strip smelled of weed, which is completely different for me since they legalized it, and that I noticed that there was a big absence of uniformed policemen on LVB. I was really disappointed in that last point. Other than that, I have to say that the casinos and their security departments are doing everything they can to provide a healthy and safe environment for all of their guests and employees. Would I go again under these circumstances? I am a fairly conservative fellow and try to play it safe but all I can say is “Yes. Yes. Yes.”
As always, if anyone has any questions about any of this please feel free to post them here or shoot me a pm.
That’s it until next June when I’m going out for two weeks. That will be a fun trip because right at the start I’ll be attending the annual CCA, Casino Collectibles Association, convention and show. I’m a fairly avid chip collector and I’m really looking forward to attending and meeting up with some old friends. I’ll also be dipping my toes into the MLife pond once again, after about a 20-year hiatus. I’ve got a Sky View Penthouse suite at Mandalay Bay booked but it’s going to be really difficult not to rebook for the Wynn or Encore Tower Suites.
Awesome report , awesome pics , everything detailed , your the best, El Jefe.
We were so happy to have you there Mike!!!!
I've said it before and I'll say it again, but you are one of the most genuine and nicest people I have ever met on the planet.
I was beyond the moon excited that our trips managed to match up again this year and I hope we get to see each other again next year and many more to come.
From our chance meeting in the Venetian on Thursday.
Ended up going to Charlie’s but had a Custard instead of the milkshake. It had an Oreo cookie and that chocolate that hardens on ice cream. Yummers!
Great seeing you for our THIRD meet-up (and twice on this trip)!
Glad you enjoyed Charlie’s!! I’ll have to give their custard a shot. Lord knows that I’ll be back there again. It was cool seeing you guys thrice this trip!!
Hope you guys had a great trip and safe travels home. See ya next year, I hope.
Great stuff, M'OP - thanks for making the effort to keep your time utd and write a comprehensive post trip memoir.
@MikeOPensacola aka El Jefe thank you for the excellent TR. Through your pictures & words you took us on a fun filled ride. Well done sir!
Just wanted to chime in and echo what everyone else is saying. Thanks for the TR plus the amazing pictures. We've stayed at the Wynn/Encore dozens of times and while we always knew the properties are beautiful, your pictures illuminate their high level of detail that we never noticed.
El Jefe! Thank you so much for taking us along on your trip! Your pictures and write ups were much appreciated. It was like I was in Vegas with you!
I’m sorry to read about your accident in April 2019 and the memory loss, but I’m glad you’re still alive with us today.
Glad you made it home safely! Have a great rest of your year and I look forward to reading your a June 2021 trip report!
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