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Bellagio: Testing One's Love

By MikeE on Monday, 12th January 2015 2:39pm
  » filed under Las Vegas  comments: 10

   

There's a certain level of expectation I adopt when a Vegas vacation includes a major holiday. In this case, I was fully anticipating an understaffed, overcrowded Christmas Day arrival. My beloved Bellagio, who I've been loyal to since the spring of last year, would surely have its share of problems.

So after five hours of traffic, I sat idling on the main driveway of the resort for 45 minutes as my windshield wipers cleared off the mist of the second fountain show I had seen while waiting to valet. I'm hungry, I have to pee, and I've lost a good amount of circulation in my legs. But I won't let it get to me because I know the valet personnel would have rather been with their families this Christmas than hauling ass and making my arrival as pleasurable as possible.

Now some people would describe Bellagio's lobby as a zoo. Sure. But today, the gorillas had escaped and were flinging feces at one another. I looked forward to the respite of the VIP lounge, but the numerous stations dedicated to checking guests in and out were occupied by only two personnel. That's perfectly fine. I hoped that the receptionists who had the holiday off were thoroughly enjoying what was anticipated to be a rare, white Christmas in Vegas. As for me, I must apologize to the seated old lady who got a direct view of my ass for 10 minutes as the check-in line awkwardly bled into the crowded lounging areas.

I finally checked in and got up to my one-bedroom penthouse suite. It felt incredibly spacious. Like, almost empty. Oh yeah, because the dining room table was missing.

Fuck it, I'm having a shot. I deserve it.

So now I'm sitting on the sofa chasing the shot with a cocktail in hand and convincing myself that I shouldn't be irked. A master complainer I am not.

Forgive them, Mike. It's Christmas... but what does a missing table have to do with Christmas?!"
Forgive them, Mike. They're currently going through suite renovations in the main tower... but isn't that their problem?!"
You're probably never going to use the table, Mike... but you're also paying nearly $2000 for a three-night stay. Get what you paid for."

So I called down to inform them about the missing furniture, went and grabbed a bite, and came back to the room to see a dining table. Excellent. Shortly after, the doorbell rang. It was the hotel manager personally apologizing for the inconvenience. He insisted on sending up a fruit plate. Maybe this stay is going to be awesome after all.

More and more crowds rolled in as the year's end approached, and with the lack of staff, the stay wasn't perfect, but with a constant stream of alcohol running through me for the next 72 hours, I enjoyed it regardless.

The eve before departure, I ran through the room bill via television and discovered a $66 food and beverage charge that I didn't recognize. So the next morning I went down to the understaffed VIP lounge, waited in a line that spilled into the seating areas, gave yet another old lady a full moon, and inquired about the charge. Remember that apology fruit plate for the missing dining table? It mistakenly got billed to the room. This took half an hour to resolve and I left Bellagio realizing that I've had more enjoyable stays in a regular room with regular check-in than a penthouse with a Tower Suites Beta arrangement that my host had set me up in. Maybe my love affair with Bellagio had run its course. Maybe I should be a schlub at Wynncore again. Or maybe feel very appreciated at Mirage.

Shortly after my trip, I got an e-mail to fill out a survey regarding my stay. I always fill these out so I can give recognition to specific, memorable employees, especially the bartenders who keep me company for hours at a time. I didn't want to fill out this particular survey, though. I was already coming in with slightly lowered expectations and those weren't met. Giving a glowing review on a survey is fairly quick and easy, but outlining the particulars of the issues one faces in a previous stay takes time. Regardless, there was still key staff that I felt deserved recognition and I took the time to fill out my thoughts, good and bad.

48 hours later, I get a form letter from guest relations offering one complimentary night in a one-bedroom penthouse valid for a year. Whoa.

They say that good customer service is best measured in the way an establishment resolves inevitable problems. In this case, Bellagio captured my fleeting loyalty.



Tagged: bellagio   customer service   





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Comments & Discussion:

MikeE,

Based on your thoughts (and an offer) I actually gave Bellagio a try for a few nights at the start of the year. After doing WynnCore and Aria in previous trips I didn't know what to expect. My wife and I really enjoyed Bellagio. Good customer service. A couple of very nice bars and the casual dining spots we tried (Noodles and the Buffet) were good. We are actually considering it for our annual summer trip to Vegas. One question, you said you did the penthouse. We are thinking of something like a Salon Suite. Do you find the higher level rooms (penthouse, salon, whatever) at the Bellagio to be worth the money?

- Adam

Adam, I'd say weekday rates on higher end rooms are a pretty good value and an even better value with MLife status. That said, I also feel that after the renovations (expected to be completed in February I was told), the main tower will be a far better value than the spa tower. The latter just feels so far removed from everything.

Y'know they did the same thing to me. After a relatively minor screw up with the room (checked in and had rooms assigned but weren't cleaned yet, no problem it's partay time anyway... then went back a few hours later to same clerk to get keys and she realized she had never actually assigned the rooms and promptly checked us in to another set) I got an apology from the manager and a box of chocolate truffles. Getting on the plane at the airport I checked my billing email to discover a mysterious $50 room service fee. But I never had room service! Once I got back I promprtly called Bellagio and they had made the same mistake - The truffles should've been billed to the manager's account but were instead billed to the room and it was promptly removed.

Aside from that, I still love the Bellagio and it's my home base when I can do so.

Stayed at the Encore Tower Suites Christmas week. Service was superb, everything well staffed. Really enjoyed it. Wynn has their game back on.

I disagree with some of MikeE's opinions on which tower to choose, but my priorities might be different than his are.

I've stayed in both Bellagio towers, but only once in anything more than a standard floorplan (it was almost 7 years ago in a pre-renovations 1-bedroom suite with 2.5 bathrooms and a separate living room ... and it was an excellent room, albeit in need of updates at the time).

If you're going to stay at Bellagio for its resort aspects, the Spa tower is better. The spa tower has hotel-room-elevator access to the pool and is close to the monorail as well as the salon/fitness/spa (natch) facilities. It's also closer to many of the convention spaces and has easy access to two gift shops, that breakfast place people freak out about, and a semi-open Asian restaurant.

If you're going to stay at Bellagio for its gaming/dining/drinking aspects, take a room in the main tower and be sure to get a one with a fountain view, as the spa tower's fountain views suck from most of the floors. Also take this tower if you're more likely to explore Caesars/Cromwell/Mirage than Aria/Mandarin/Cosmo. Just remember that you'll have to drag your luggage through the casino floor to get to your room, or pay someone accordingly.

No matter which tower you choose, MikeE is correct about the service. Bellagio rarely screws up, and they are great about fixing things when they do. It's truly a great property.

Hi Mike. I was one of those Bellagio employees working Christmas day thru that weekend. Christmas morning, all of Las Vegas woke up and said "Let's all go see the Bellagio Christmas display today and have the buffet!" Never have I seen our lobby so full of people not intending to make their visit interrupt our check-in process. But yes they were there, coming and going ALL WEEKEND LONG!
I am glad to see the Bellagio responded to your concerns. Most of my coworkers take customer service very seriously and dealt with the huge crowds with patience, concern, and a genuine desire to help. I work at an amazing property, not a perfect one, though. Hopefully, your next visit will be the perfect one.

To me, the Spa tower killed Bellagio. It was always a busy, buzzy property, but in a manageable way. Adding another 1000+ rooms with no additional lobby, pool, valet etc was a disaster.
No way on earth that the B can ever match a Tower Suites experience now.

In the end, it sounds like a good service recovery effort, but I would agree that if you are paying $1000+ per night, expectations deserve to high. In that situation, even the most minor issues can be pretty irritating.

Good point about the Spa Tower, Professor. Dropping an additional tower into the mix does make very a crowded and hectic experience.

Always good to do the survey in the hopes that someone addresses your issues or helps prevent it for next time.

This last trip I made a point of doing the survey and telling the Mirage that their 6:5 blackjack everywhere in the casino stunk (except $25min by high limit, see below), and was the reason that my friend and I enjoyed staying at Mirage but walked across to Harrahs daily where we at least had the OPTION of playing a cheaper 3:2 game than $25 min.

On that blackjack note: since this site is usually curious, yes - as of mid December 2014 the Mirage still offered multiple tables of "Stand on any 17" games at $25 or higher, across from the high limit room, both in shoe and double deck form. And these games were 3:2 payouts too. But good luck finding 3:2 games literally anywhere else in the casino for any limit, we certainly couldn't find any so headed out the door since we weren't in the mood for $25 minimum.

Also: a couple 'doors' down, Bellagio offers decent limit 3:2 shoe games, $10 or $15 as long as you are there by late morning since their limits all go up around lunch time.

Hey surf rat;
You know me we are a Dtown bunch of heathens. Our stay back over yonder at the glorious "B" was a treat for me and whats her name. Ive relegated the almost-dead-guy still in our room on early check in. The mac nuts/coffee bribes; nothing beats the customer service there. Coming to the FD after dicovery of said almost-dead guy, the FD full and conceierge assisting guests in line came up asking to help - upon explaining to her....with out a skip of a beat..."Welcome to the Bellagio Mr. Marciel, come this way"

We got perks; we got loot. We are and always will have the utmost love for her highness the "B"



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