The Tropicana: The VegasTripping Review 2010

They're Changing Everything, But Is It Enough?

Posted by Chuckmonster

Tropicana Las Vegas Review 2010

A helluva lot has happened since the last time we reviewed the Tropicana, and most of it wasn't pretty. Three (?) groups of owners, two bankruptcies, a dozen scandals, head fake implosion rumors and at least three bonafide sets of redesign plans later, the Tropicana landed in the hands of Onex Partners, headed up by former MGM Grand CEO and Kirk Kerkorian protege Alex Yemenidjian. Mr. Yemenidjian hit the ground running, hiring some of the best and brightest in the biz to redesign, rebuild, reposition and rebrand the long neglected Tiffany on the Strip.

$160 million dollhairs later, you'll barely recognize the place. The old dirty, threadbare stinky stanky stained casino has been completely renovated in glossy tropical motif with a number of new restaurants already open and a more on the way. The transformation is shocking, admittedly incomplete and some ways flawed (yet fixable.)

As anyone familiar with the Tropicana can attest, arriving via automobile has always been a pain in the ass. Thinking I was slick, I ducked into parking area on the airport side of the building hoping to find a way to get to the porte cochere. After being blocked in by "do not enter" signs, construction equipment and materials, I ended up back out on the Strip, swiveling down Tropicana and in the front entrance. Not slick. I parked the car, tossed the keys to the valet guy, grabbed our bags and made way up into the main entrance only to find I would have to carry luggage up a short staircase after entering the building. The ramp that used to be here is gone now. Not really a big problem for me, but if you can't pick up your luggage it could be a problem for you.

Check in took an eternity, even though there were only three guests on line in front of us. After running our credentials and noticing that our reservation was made via Expedia, the clerk asked us how we would like to pay the resort fee that was due now... swiped the card, they gave us the keys and off we headed towards room 762 in the Island Tower at the rear of the property. "Go through the casino, up the stairs, over the bridge and up the elevators." The same directions would work if they were sending us to Excalibur or MGM Grand.



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Comments & Discussion


I've got to say I am disappointed, perhaps the hype was more than they could handle, but to me this sounds like it's on par with an airport Holiday Inn.

From having to carry your luggage up 2 sets of stairs, to the overall look and feel of the room, plus the room service disgrace, I just see them as another lower-tier property, which maybe isn't a bad thing, but are they charging rates like a lower-tier property.

Massive room service failure, and $47 to boot. The room remodel does look nice, given what they had to work with. However, call out the Truth in Advertising squad: the sign out front says "plasma" TVs, but what I saw in the picture looks more like "LCD."

Nice room. I like the simplicity, the clean lines and warm tones, and believe it or not, really like the idea of a room that allows you the option of having a little bit of light trickle in.

Cons. Obviously the casino needs better wayfinding, something that can be fixed with some well placed signs, flooring changes, or hell even better lighting. And the room service, abysmal. 9.95 for a pot of coffee? What's the mark up on that? 1000%?

Nice review, in my opinion the room renovations look a lot like the IP when they remodeled their rooms (albeit with better beds). Definitely needed and very welcome, but it's not going to scream luxury. I do think they've done more on the floor for renovations then other resorts at their level, but then again it was coming from a pretty bad period and the public areas were in shambles.

I like that the Trop is aspiring to deliver a high end experience, I just hope they don't get caught up in thinking they are a high end experience. If they can manage that, I think they'll capture a good portion of that old Vegas charm everyone always talks about and I think they'll be able to build some strong brand loyalty. Maybe not from those that are usually at Wynn, Palms/HR, Aria, or Bellagio. But from a class on the strip that is begging for some recognition other then from Harrahs.

This place has made a big turn around. Obviously, still some room to grow. . I have already booked a trip here in Feb for 7 days. Last year I stayed at the Mirage, so we'll see how this stay goes. Thanks for the heads up about getting room service...I'll just go to McDonalds right by there. I feel I got a good rate through Nichole on Facebook. Booking the room was easy, she messaged me and I had her call me and set it up. She took care of the resort fee saving me about 75 bucks and the rate was good. Can't wait for Feb.

I giggled at the (cc: @brianfey)

1

When ordering I asked what the oatmeal came with and was told raisins and brown sugar. No raisins in sight when it arrived. Also, Chuck was mistaken in that there was no cinnamon on those oats.

Additionally, we were told it would take 40 minutes for the food to arrive. It took over an hour. Had we known that Baccio turned into the buffet in the mornings, we would have passed on the in-room dining and grabbed our own.

Also, while I felt the room was fine, I was rather disappointed in the bathroom. It was just not appealing and really stood out as being dated due to the tile.

The clean bright casino should bring in many new patrons to the Trop. I think I'll start there. The level of play should be reasonable to get comped rooms. It's nice to see some investment in older properties instead of tearing them down.

miss monkay, I think you will agree the only way a pot of that coffee should cost 9.95 is if it comes with a side of bailey's...

I've been so impressed with the Trop since renovations began. I wandered through and played a bit in mid-November. A few years ago I couldn't imagine staying there, but now the place is a contender for my vacation dollars.

The timeshare/show ticket sleaze encounter is unfortunate. I luckily did not see any while I was there. I'd like to see all of them disappear from casinos.

This review renews my suspicions that the new Trop owners may be in over their heads. They seem committed to providing the new experience and may be able to successfully move up to the Luxor or NYNY level, but business-wise I'm not sure that is the right direction. The 3 1/2 star market probably has the narrowest margins in the business these days, with customers expecting a near 4-star experience for $40/nt. Without Total Rewards to keep the place full every night, Trop is going to have an uphill battle just to get back their investment.

blackjacker1979 - You know it

ANYTHING is better than what the Tropicana was. This room looks way nicer than what the place was. You can't compare Tropicana to Wynn at all no matter how much money got sunk into the place it will never be a luxury hotel.

It reminds me of an upscale Hooters Hotel now. They're both right next door to each other so, maybe they're taking design advice from each other. Wood....wood....orange...wood...tropical...wood. Good.

When I was there I also stayed in the Island Tower and that walk was a pain in the ass that I got used to. i didnt run into the timeshare people so that was a plus. I enjoyed my stay but during the six days I was there I never got food there or even considered it so they do need to work on the dining experience. i do wish they had placed a ramp at the entrance because carrying ny bag up those three steps was also a pain even though the doorman opened the doors outside and when i got to the casino level. I wouldnt hesitate to stay at the Trop again especially if they killed the resort fee that doesnt provide anything.

No minibar, no blackout shades, room service delivered like "take out" food (with an hour wait), construction work in progress...

Exactly how did this get a Top 5 Trippies nomination? That is really cool that they are pimping the voting, but if they win... naming them best hotel will cast a serious credibility doubt on the awards as everyone knows they aren't the top joint in town. Tripping prides itself on telling it like it is and bowing to no one. Putting an unfinished, mid-level property in the top 5 in exchange for the hotel's promotion of the awards (which is at least how it appears) isn't quite the maverick approach we expect from Tripping!

Don't get me wrong: I'm rooting for The Trop big-time. I believe they will do well and very much be best in class. But The Trop is not any more of a Top 5 Vegas hotel than the Cosmopolitin is. Neither is fully operational or has proved itself once all the construction dust has settled. If hotels under construction are eligible, it seems like Cosmo would have deserved that fifth spot.

Plus, I honestly thought the island tower rooms would be a tad worse then this. Sure, the Paradise tower rooms needed renovations too, but those Island tower rooms were RUN DOWN and looked fresh from the 80's. I'm surprised they were able to improve those as much as they did. I remember when I stayed before the renovation they didn't even have the Island tower in use..

The Tropicana is one of my favorite hotels in town for the historic side, and Im glad current ownership fixing the place up, but its very sad that the South Beach Cafe, which I assume is contracted out to another operator, will make the whole place look bad to anyone who happens to deal with them.... helping themselves to a $6 tip AND a $5 'service fee' is a disgrace. That $11 wasted right there would have gotten you a much better breakfast by itself at Denny's.

By the way, your presentation of the Onex Partners is quite misleading. Onex Partners is a multi-billion dollar Canadian operation of which the Tropicana is a small part of it s overall portfolio.

With respect to the room, the bath/shower enlosure looks to be the smallest in town. Strange. And what's with the no name amenities in the bath room. Must be the ugliest presentaton ever.

Dan

@DShort i don't think its misleading at all. i purposefully opted to not go any further into the details. this is a hotel review, not a business class... in truth I think I actually went too far into the business side of things at the outset.

I got a chuckle out of the fact that the Tropicana was serving Ocean Spray orange juice...

The Tropicana serves OCEANSPRAY O.J.? Does anyone else see the irony?

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