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Part Two - Returning To Las Vegas After Seven+ Years

Started by detroit1051 on Thursday, 6th March 2014 10:57 am
Last response by motoman 24th March 12:34am

Part Two
Returning to Las Vegas After Seven+ Years
Continuing with Wynncore: Since I had never been in Encore, I took John Hallís advice and had my first meal at Wazuzu. Enjoyed wine and Drunken Noodles, so I thank John for his suggestion.
Iím not sure what to think of Encore. I stayed at Wynn five or six times in í05 and í06, so maybe Iím just comfortable with the layout, rooms, casino and restaurants. I got a totally different vibe at Encore. It didnít excite me. The red chandeliers didnít do it for me. Donít get me wrong, you know youíre in a Steve Wynn property with the same excellent service and amenities. This was a short trip, but I wanted to try one restaurant for an early dinner. I chose Botero and walked over from Wynn at 5:20PM. It was closed, and no one was at the bar. I asked the restaurant host if the bar was open. She said they would open at 5:30, and I told her I would return in ten minutes. She said I should make it 20 minutes. I returned at 5:45 and still no one there. She said I could sit at the bar, but the bartender was busy cutting up the fruit. I sat five minutes, got bad vibes and walked out. I went back to Wynn and walked into SW where the place was busy and the two bartenders friendly. I actually remembered them from my last trip. SW is a very welcoming place, and the food is excellent. Iím so glad I went there and ate at the bar. Botero was the only questionable experience at Wynncore, and that may have been an isolated experience. I did enjoy breakfast at Tableau. A wonderful room and terrific service and food. Reminded me of the time Mike E and I first met over breakfast at the old Tableau.

Drove downtown early one morning, so I didnít experience the nighttime crowds, but I had been to Fremont Street Experience some years ago. The number of new buildings, both corporate and government, along with lofts and apartments made the area seem more like a real downtown center of the city. I wanted to pay homage to my old hometown, Detroit, so headed for The D. I parked in the self-park garage which is an unnerving experience, especially when driving a Dodge Caravan. I parked on the 11th level. Yikes. Not the most user friendly experience, but I toured the casino, saw Andiamo, the D Grill and American Coney Island. Since it was before 7 Am on Sunday, the casino was empty. What impressed me was how thorough the cleaning crews were in the casino. They were cleaning the LONGBAR, right down to the foot rail at the bottom of the bar. Impressive.
Drove back north on Main Street to Charleston. Main looked a lot more gentrified to me than it did ten years or so ago.
Repeating myself, driving north on the Strip, Fontainebleau is unbelievable. How could that huge block of ugly ever have gotten approved in the first place. I guess in the early years of the 21st Century, anything went and everything was going to be successful beyond what anyone could ever imagine. Then, the bubble burst...

Drove through the entire Circus Circus property from the Strip to Industrial. I was surprised to see that the RV Park was still open and almost full with motor homes and 5th wheels. Circus looked pretty good.
Monday, drove to Bellagio and parked on the roof of the self-park garage where Iíve always parked since 1998. In the old days, youíd look over Jockey Club and down toward Monte Carlo. Now, wow. CityCenter overpowers everything. Walked through the casino and paused at Petrossian where Gerry and I met Hunter for drinks about ten years ago. Bellagio looks great, but I think it misses Steveís personal touch. Maybe itís my imagination. Iím still of the opinion that Bellagioís mosaic floors in the lobby and conservatory are the finest that Iíll ever see. Steve outdid himself, and as nice as the floors are at Wynn, nothing will equal what he did at Bellagio. The Conservatoryís Chinese New Year exhibit was being dismantled, and the new spring display will probably be completed before this weekend.

Walked past Sensi, where I had good memories and then into Spa Tower to take the tram. I guessed correctly and didnít get off until the last stop, Monte Carlo Ė Aria. Convenient walk into Aria which looked new and contemporary, but it doesnít have the Wow factor that Wynn and Bellagio have. Aria is a little too dark and monochromatic for me. Iím sure if I stayed there, Iíd enjoy the rooms and restaurants. I didnít walk into Crystals or down to the Strip. I had walked enough. Iím really disappointed I never got to Cosmopolitan. Next time!

The highlight of the trip, and the reason for choosing this weekend, was to attend the Jay Sarno panel discussion at UNLV on Sunday afternoon. Dr. Dave Schwartz was so great as moderator, and the best parts for me were listening to Oscar Goodmanís comments and seeing and hearing Jay Sarnoís two sons and two daughters. They gave real insights into their father. As unusual as their childhood may have been, it was clear that they all loved their father and they all knew that he loved them. I keep wondering what would have happened in Vegas had Jay Sarno lived to be 80 or 90 years old. A delightful afternoon, and I finally got to meet Jeff in OKC and his beautiful wife. If you love Vegas, and you havenít read ďGrandissimo, The First Emperor of Las VegasĒ, read it now!

The three days in Vegas have become a blur. Thatís another reason Iím coming back in May for VT10.

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 Chuckmonster responded on Thursday, 6th March 2014

Great! Eagerly looking forward to Part III !!!! and to seeing you at VT10.

 Dave702 responded on Thursday, 6th March 2014

Thanks for the kind words. I'm looking forward to seeing you again at VT10!

 jimmybond responded on Thursday, 6th March 2014

Great trip report of a different style, thanks for posting. +1, count me as another vote for "Grandissimo", picked up a signed copy as my recent trip's souvenir while at the Neon Boneyard. I have been working my way through it as bedtime reading.
Halfway through so far and it is definitely recommended!

 Ricogreen responded on Thursday, 6th March 2014

Wow, what a great trip report. I wish I was able to go the Dr. Dave's Sarno Family event at UNLV. Can't wait to stay at the Wynn in early June. I'm also a fan of your twitter feed, great source of Vegas and Gambling news.

 hail2skins responded on Thursday, 6th March 2014

Great to see a post of a well-overdue Vegas trip from one of the great posters from the Yahoo finance boards. Detroit, even though I've been to Vegas at least every year during your Sin City hiatus, it almost seems like its been just as long since I've enjoyed the Strip, since many of my trips since 2007 have been concentrated downtown. You're right, there's something still magical about Steve Wynn's former and current properties....Wynncore is in great shape. Does anyone know how far along they are on construction of Wynn Palace in Macau? I also read Dr. Dave's book a few months ago and it is a fun one.

 Malibugolfer responded on Friday, 7th March 2014

What a well described and insightful overview. I also happen to agree with virtually all of your takes Detroit.
Thanks for posting.

 motoman responded on Saturday, 8th March 2014

My God, detroit....

... it's so good to read your stuff again. Seemed you disappeared along with TWHT. Figured you for another Twitter victim!

 motoman responded on Monday, 10th March 2014

your posts have always emphasized service and ambiance. On the latter, did you happen to notice the piped-in music?

I agree with JohnH's observations one thousand percent. That first step into Wynn's entrance in summer '05, it was a combination of the sights, the piped-in scents, and most especially that easy-going bossa nova background music -- not at all what I listen to at home, but so fitting and so unlike any other casino at the time -- that inspired love at first sight and literally had us staying nowhere else for the next six years.

We were mildly annoyed by the considerably harder music pumped into Society Cafe via separate speakers to, what, appeal to day clubbers queuing up for the Beach Club? Hopefully Andrea's has helped siphon off that crowd, unless the whole place has gone that way.

 detroit1051 replied on Thursday, 13th March 2014

Wow. This is either generational, or I was oblivious. I don't recall any of the piped-in music. I'll pay attention next time.

 motoman replied on Monday, 24th March 2014

JohnH's article nailed it. The whole, holistic Wynn brand package.

Way back when, someone else mentioned on TWHT that Bellagio's soundtrack changed after Steve left the building. Said the shift to Top 40's pop along with other service-related issues left the place dead to them. A bit extreme, maybe -- for sure Italian tenors and Rat Pack can only go so far. But there was that period where MGM let the B coast on reputation, until Wynn opened his new joint.

I remember from you previous reports that you felt the B was holding up well.

 wpsteel66 responded on Wednesday, 12th March 2014

Thanks for the informative trip report.

You provided good details and interesting comments.