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Quick Trip to Encore

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by duceiswild, Aug 10, 2020.

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  1. duceiswild

    duceiswild Low-Roller

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    My Trip Report

    Hey all,

    Long time lurker, first time poster. I know everyone here is itching to get back to Vegas, or trying to make a decision if it is worth going, so I wanted to share our experience this past weekend at Encore. We weren't sure what to expect, but needed to get out of Colorado and the price for flights and rooms was cheap, so we took a chance, and knew if anyone was going to get it right and make us feel safe, Wynncore would be the spot.

    First, a bit of background. My wife and are are late 30s, and got married at Bellagio in March right before the virus shut everything down. I've been hooked on Vegas since I was 21, usually going between 4 and 6 times per year since, generally at MGM properties. Over the past 5 years it has been almost exclusively Bellagio or Aria, usually comped. We both enjoy great food and don't mind paying for it, so we were looking forward to the good restaurants Encore and Wynn had to offer. I gamble, usually while she is either at the spa, shopping, or in bed. Generally stick to Blackjack or Craps.

    The plan for this trip was to have some good dinners (Sinatra and Lakeside), spend some time at the pool, and some time at the spa Saturday afternoon for her which would afford me some quality time in the casino.

    Getting there
    We flew Frontier from Denver late afternoon on Friday. The flight was full, but they took temperature checks prior to boarding and did a good job enforcing mask compliance on the flight. Once we landed, we had set up Presidential to get us over to Encore. The driver was on time and courteous, car was clean, and he offered to stop at the liquor store. No complaints, off to a good start.

    Settling In & the Room
    There was a short line at check in, but we had our room keys within 10 minutes and off to our 31st floor room. I had originally booked the Welcome Back offer, which was about $480 all in, and included $100 F&B. About a week before our stay I was looking on the Wynn website and stumbled across a Travel & Leisure offer, which ended up being about $520 all in, but included $200 of F&B. Score an extra $60 discount on the room, that should cover about 1 round of drinks at Wynncore prices.

    The room had one of those "Cleaned and Disinfected" stickers on the door, which was good for piece of mind. As expected, the room was spotless. Easily one of the cleanest hotel rooms I've ever been in. Our view was of the convention center, Resort's World, and downtown in the distance. The new Circa tower really sticks out down there. The wife had never stayed at Wynn or Encore and was really impressed. It had been about 5 years since I have been there, and after this trip it might become my new home on the strip.

    The minibar was emptied out, but there was a sign saying they would deliver anything you need with no delivery fee. We didn't use this, but I guess it is nice to know it is available.

    Housekeeping is happening normally daily, but turndown is discontinued for now. When I called down on Saturday morning to ask about the status of housekeeping, the phone agent not only told me that rooms were cleaned daily, but then asked if I would like to schedule a time for the room to be cleaned. Little questions like this set Wynncore apart from CET and MGM in my view.

    Never had an issue with elevator wait times, and they were pretty good about enforcing the 4 to a car limit on the elevator.

    Dining
    On Friday night, we had reservations at Sinatra. We shared the Panzanella Salad, Meatballs, Halibut, and Tiramisu and the first 3 were all really good. The salad was very fresh, crab was great. The meatballs were so flavorful, maybe the best I've had. And since we had ordered the Halibut to split, the kitchen split it for us so we each had our own plate. The Tiramisu was good, but not memorable. I had the Sinatra Smash to drink, and my wife had the Wynn Specialty Cocktail - Le Reve - and both were great. Overall, great space, great food, great service. We would come back for sure.

    My one knock on Sinatra was that they seemed to be a little lax on their dresscode. While their website states business casual, collard shirts required for guys, there were multiple people in non-collard shirts. The restaurant actually brought these people sport coats to wear so they met the dress code, but the guys took them and promptly hung them on the back of their chairs.

    Lunch on Saturday after the pool was from Wazuzu. We picked up some beef drunken noodles and a tuna avocado roll to take back to the room. Both were ok, but like many things at Wynncore, a little overpriced for what they were, but you know that going in, right? The drunken noodles were certainly not "the best thing we ever ate" as they are advertised. Overall fine, not rushing to go back.

    Prior to dinner on Saturday, we wanted to grab a cocktail. With all of the bars being closed, you couldn't just grab a drink and walk around. I suggested Parasol Down, as I like the lake and waterfall over there. So we trekked from Encore to Parasol, got seated on the patio, and then sat for 10 minutes without a server even acknowledging us. We took this as a sign, and took continued our journey to find a beverage.

    We decided to try La Cave, as we could have both gone for a glass of wine. Mistake. Place was dead, service was still slow. Wine pours were not generous, and we both felt the wines were over priced. For being a wine bar, our server was certainly not knowledgeable about the wines on their menu and offered no help in selecting something we would enjoy. $55 for two glass of mediocre wine.

    Earlier in the day we had decided that we had gotten enough fine dining at Sinatra, and were more interested in something a little more casual. We move our reservation to Jardin. Overall, very solid. We split the Tuna Tartare, and then she got the Seafood Pasta and I had crabcakes. The tuna and crabcakes were very good, the seafood pasta was better than average. We both had wine, she had Chardonnay and I had Cabernet, and both were excellent, generous pours in nice stemware. Much better wines and knowledge here than at La Cave earlier.

    Our last meal in Vegas for this trip was Chica over at Venetian. The wife likes South American food and saw the menu. This was the only time we left the resort this trip. We both got egg dishes, and then split the Churro tower at the end. We had been looking forward to the Churros (we both have a sweet tooth), but they were pretty disappointing. The egg dishes were good, and so were the margaritas. We would definitely come back.

    Gambling
    The Encore Casino was DEAD for most of the trip. Probably half of their tables open at their busiest time. I was able to play a $25 3:2 table with no plexiglass all night on Friday night after the wife went to bed. During the day, craps (with plexiglass) was a $10 min, but went to $25 in the evening. Looked like they were playing 4 to a side, and never saw 2 full tables going.

    Side note - I never play the bonus bets when I'm playing BJ, but for some reason on Friday night I was playing Encore's $5 777 bet. $10 for any 7 between your first two cards and the dealers up card, going up from there to three 7 of diamonds paying the jackpot of $300k. I hit a couple 7's Friday and ended up ahead on the bonus game. I only bring this up because Saturday morning I wandered over to Wynn to pick up coffee at Urth Caffe, and was there a little before they opened, so sat down at a $15 table at Wynn where I opted to NOT play the bonus. Well, about 5 hands in, my two red 7's matched up with the dealer's also red 7, which would have turned my $5 into $2500 and been a nice way to start Saturday. Hindsight.....

    We were out at the pool on Saturday morning, and they had their gaming pit open out there. So I played some $15 6:5 (I know, I know). There is just something about being able to gamble outside that I like, and no MGM properties currently offer it. After the wife went to the spa at 2pm, I ended up going back out to that outside pit and about tripled my money in the 4 hours she was getting her treatments.

    Saturday after dinner, more $25 3:2 at Encore. Overall gambling for the trip was a few hundred to the good, which always feels good.

    I will say that the Wynn casino when we walked through it on Saturday evening was A LOT busier than Encore. It was $50+ for 3:2, and most were $100. Craps was all $25. All tables in the Wynn Casino appeared to have plexiglass, while only 75% at Encore did.

    I am hoping that playing 8 hours of $25 BJ will get me some sort of teaser offers, with at least discounted weekend rooms, as I think the product Wynncore is putting out is just that much better than top tier MGM (outside of Sky Suites, Mansion, Sky Lofts, etc...).

    Pool
    Masks were not required if you were in the pool or at your lounge chair. The were required everywhere else. We got to the pool about 9:15 and seating was wide open. Around lunchtime things started to fill in, and by the time I got back there to gamble about 2:30 it would have been tough to get a chair that wasn't 4 rows from the pool. When I left the Encore pool about 5, they were at capacity and putting people on a waitlist.

    I did walk over to the Wynn pool to check out their gaming situation around 2:00, and was told that they were at capacity. Even when I said I was just going to gamble, which sometimes can get you around capacity issues, was told that I could be placed on a waitlist.

    But overall, drink service was good. Drinks pricey, as expected, but servers were around. Also it was easy to get free drinks while gambling, as they only had 3 people per table, and 5 tables open, so 15 people max and a server dedicated to that area.

    Spa
    The wife did 3 treatments at the spa - a 50 minute custom massage, the Encore Foot Surrender foot massage, and a hydrofacial. Now, we knew going in that Encore's spa was pricey, and also that the amenities were closed. But we also figured that if the rest of the trip was an indication, Encore would figure out a way to make it "normal". WRONG.

    The wife said the massage was average at best. The Foot Surrender was really good. The facial was just ok. She did have to wear a mask the whole massage and foot massage, obviously not during the facial. During the facial, she said that they weren't even allowed to use steam, which she felt detracted from the overall result. She also underestimated how much not being able to use the amenities between treatments negatively impacted her overall relaxation. She said that she would not do a spa again until things get back to "normal".

    Final Thoughts
    Encore did a fantastic job with what they are working with right now. Mask usage is 100% at Encore, and if you aren't drinking or smoking (not many people smoking), if you don't have a mask covering your mouth and nose, expect to be reminded in short order by the dealer, pit, or security. You can tell that the staff is very on it, likely because they don't want to risk getting shut down again.

    The overall clientele is a step or two down from what you would normally expect at Wynncore. While we didn't have the issue with scooters, the overall customer base wasn't quite as "polished" as I remember it being last time I was in to gamble. A dealer brought this up to, that they had dropped rates so low just trying to get people in the door, that sometimes the people coming in the door aren't the people you want. But it sounds like they will take what they can get at this point.

    At the end of the day, is Vegas the Vegas we all knew it to be prior to March? No. Is it still a great place to go gamble, relax, have some great meals and maybe a few too many cocktails? Absolutely. My wife is in no hurry to go back, but she doesn't love Vegas like I do. While I would go back to Encore in a heartbeat, my next trip will probably be in January, which is always a guys trip where we stay downtown. Normally I would try to take a fall trip, but I think I will skip that this year and save the bankroll for hopefully a closer to normal experience in January.

    Thanks for reading, look forward to being a more active participant moving forward!
     
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  2. rooster42000

    rooster42000 Brady, The Goat of all Goats. repeat LVI- #8

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    Nice report.:peace:
     
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  3. Flowers

    Flowers VIP Whale

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    First of all, welcome to VMB!!

    And second, thank you so much for this report!!!! It's the first detailed Encore report I've read in a while and your very detailed observations were great to read.

    I am a big Wynncore fan and I'm disappointed with the service you received at La Cave and the non-service at Parasol Down but glad to know the rest of your dining and drinking experiences were good to great. Jardin had some challenges early on but in my last few trips to Vegas it has been one of my mainstays as I love looking out at the pool. The food was always great and a bit unusual but I feel as if the service has gotten a lot better.

    I'm a huge spa person and I'll miss the regular "water" amenities as well but will plan to get a message and facial. REALLY bummed that all of your wife's treatments were NOT fantastic as the Encore spa is my favorite. It's a long time away but whenever you go back, I'd be glad to share the names of the persons I request for my treatments there though anyone should be giving you top notch Wynncore service.

    Thank you again for the super informative report. I'm leaning more and more towards taking my late September/early October trip.

    Edited to add: When I had brunch at La Cave last year it was fantastic. It is NOT an excuse but I am reminded that Le Cave is one of the few "independent" restaurants at Wynncore. It should always be up to Wynncore standards as it is on property but I know it has a different status as that is I think just one of the three restaurants (Cipriani and the new Mexican restaurant) that my host can't comp. I so enjoyed my brunch at La Cave, however, that I'd visit again.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2020
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  4. rm22

    rm22 High-Roller

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    Thanks so much for the report with all the info you provided. Since i dont think i will be going in Sept most likely as planned, reading the reports is a different way to get some LV.
     
  5. ddj1x1

    ddj1x1 Well-Known Member

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    thanks for the wynn/encore report. will be there this weekend. have wynn booked now but your encore report has me reconsidering
     
  6. smerrian

    smerrian View from Bally's

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    Wow.
     
    PHX >> LAS
    PHX >> LAS
  7. Wallew

    Wallew VIP Whale

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    Enjoyed the TR. thanks for sharing.
     
  8. nonahs

    nonahs Low-Roller

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    Welcome. Great trip report, I thoroughly enjoyed the read.
     
  9. Jer

    Jer I kinda did a thing...

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    Love the report. I have the Encore Tower Suite booked but I keep yo-yo’ing back and forth between that and Aria. It’s the location thing that I’m hung up because deep down I LOVE to be in the middle of the strip. Guess even more indecision! :thumbsup:
     
  10. sybgal

    sybgal VIP Whale

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    Welcome! Glad you've joined in!! Really enjoyed your report & the status of the current environment....Glad you had a nice get-a-way....
     
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  11. aspenq

    aspenq Low-Roller

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    Thanks for the very detailed report. Glad to hear you can get a spot at the pool even around noon - arriving there tomorrow :)
     
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  12. BoVegas

    BoVegas Low-Roller

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    Thanks for the TR. Welcome.
     
  13. duceiswild

    duceiswild Low-Roller

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    Aria certainly has a leg up on location, and as I said it is my usual homebase. We went into this trip with the idea that we wouldn't be leaving the property, in an attempt to best control the environment. I don't think you can go wrong with your decision, and if you are debating between Sky Suites and Encore Tower Suites it becomes even tougher. My experience was that I wouldn't hesitate going back to Encore right now, but can't directly compare to what is happening in the Center Strip.
     
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  14. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

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    A great, detailed report! Welcome to the forum!
     
  15. MikeOPensacola

    MikeOPensacola El Jefe

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    Welcome to VMB. Very nice TR. Thats pretty sweet having a $25 3/2 BJ table all to yourself at Encore and coming out ahead on the gambling. :clap::clap::clap:

    :peace: :beer:
     
    Dec 23rd - Dec 26th
    Last Solo Trip of my bachelorhood. Wedding is set for June 2022.
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  16. MaryVegas

    MaryVegas Low-Roller

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    Sweet trip report. I especially appreciate your wife's review of the Wynncore spa.

    Also the reviews of the tables. Thanks so much!!!!
     
  17. VegasBhoy67

    VegasBhoy67 Low-Roller

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    thanks for sharing
     
    This time it is gonna happen !!!
  18. chef

    chef Resident Buffetologist

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    I'm with you on the outdoor gaming pit at the Wynn. It might be my happy spot in all of Vegas.
     
  19. Dean Martin

    Dean Martin VIP Whale

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    Thanks for the great detail in your TR! We love Wynncore and keep waffling on whether to go but the more I read, the more I'm getting used to the idea of gambling and masking at the same time. My wife is still apprehensive about it and is struggling with the "fun factor" or lack of while playing all masked up.
     
  20. ddj1x1

    ddj1x1 Well-Known Member

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    if you aren't a hardcore masker, consider a bandana for long periods. makes it bearable. no ear straps and your face doesnt sweat quite as bad, especially chin. 20x20, cut in half, wrap and tie. wore for 3 days this past weekend and really didn't get bad until 3rd day.
     
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