Iun Hockley shares his thoughts on the Bellagio’s Junior Suite
Ah, The Bellagio, featured in so many movies; the iconic fountains; the palatial exterior; the famous gardens; the luxurious restaurants and the broad, sprawling casino where no-one seems to be winning very much at all. Every Vegas trip, I like to have a “treat” for myself – an overpriced meal in luxurious surroundings; a spa treatment with all the extra trimmings; front-row seats in the theatre; $20 bets on blackjack… As Mrs. Iun was joining me for this particular trip, our treat was a King Room in the Bellagio. Or so we thought.
We had visited the Bellagio before and were charmed by the mushroom-like glass ceiling in the lobby, we loved the gardens (especially with the aquarium tunnel) and of course, we spent plenty of time filming the fountains. This time was different: as guests, we felt a certain thrill in that we were to be accommodated here among the Glitterati in such a famous setting. Our expectations were soon drowned in disappointment.
A 45-minute wait a check-in was trying, but manageable, given the fact that we arrived almost exactly on time for 3:00 pm. When we arrived at the front desk, the lady was polite, but firm: You booked a run-of-the-house room; therefore you can have a smoking queen room, not the non-smoking king you requested. Was there any way around this, I asked? The response was: upgrade for an extra $50 a night. Numbers ran through my head: Already paid $200 for the room, $45 dollars for resort fee, an extra $50 a night brought the total to just under $300 a night. I was about to say no, but then I saw the pleading look in Mrs. Iun’s eyes, and for a moment, my ice-cold heart melted. Instead of saying “No, that’s outrageous” I responded with “Yes, that will be fine.” I wish I hadn’t.
Our room was at the far end of the farthest tower, so it entailed quite a long walk past the gardens, the café, the Jean Pierre patisserie, the pool, the gift shop. It was a great location if we wanted to take the monorail; which we did, once. In fact, our room had a lovely view of the monorail, the backside of the Cosmopolitan and the freeway. I was already cursing under my breath.
The room itself absolutely put the “Junior” into the phrase “Junior Suite”: The room itself certainly felt no bigger than the standard rooms at the Mirage, Monte Carlo and the Luxor. The two floor-to-ceiling windows would have been wonderful, if it had not been for the appalling views. Furniture was dinged, scratched and the carpet needed replacing – moss green doesn’t evoke the jungle, it makes you want to watch your step. I have traveled to many hotels in Asia that are ranked 4-star and their rooms are in much, much better condition.
The bed for me was incredibly uncomfortable, and no amount of pillows could position my head correctly to prevent pain. I did not sleep well for three nights. Automatic drapes were a nice touch, yet they could not be closed independently – if one window was covered, both were.
The “suite” part of the room was most certainly the bathroom: his and hers vanities, separate shower and tub – the tub itself was a Whirlpool model that I had a lot of fun with. Shower pressure was good, it even had a seating ledge inside and the toiletries were top-notch. Individually lit mirrors were a nice touch, too.
Where the “suite life” ended was with the service. From the slightly huffy service at the front desk to the bartender with his gruff “get you something?” nobody seemed to be pleased to see or serve us. Our room was not made up every day until well after 5:00 pm, despite requests to have it made up ASAP when we were out. Replacement sheets were stained, obviously dirty glasses were not replaced and the bins were only cleaned in one instance. The bellmen were shockingly rude when collecting and delivering our luggage. I had three dollars in coins, and the gentleman just looked at it, sniffed and walked away. When we collected our luggage on checkout, I proffered $3 in notes and $5 in quarters. The response: “I’m not a piggy bank”. This left something of a sour taste in my mouth and more or less capped the stay off for us. We had never felt truly welcome at The Bellagio, and that was more than enough confirmation.
[Photos: Iun Hockley and LasVegasJunkie]