A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about my experience at the Palazzo. I wrote that it was disappointing to see a brand new 5-star hotel on the strip get o much wrong. The sheets already had holes in them, the service was so-so, and the rooms were clearly not being maintained. Worst of all, when I brought this to the attention of the hotel, they didn’t seem to care. My complaints were met with a free upgrade coupon, which really wasn’t the response I would like to see.
Well now there is an even newer 5-Star hotel on the strip, Encore, the follow up to the Steve Wynn’s eponymous hotel. And it looks like once again, Steve Wynn is going to show the strip how it’s supposed to be done.
I should say that I have never stayed in the Wynn here in Las Vegas. I did stay at the Wynn in Macau, which was fantastic. But my experience with the Wynn here was limited to eating meals, shopping and gambling.
I had a little time finding the entry to the Wynn, it’s a little further down the strip than you might expect. But once I pulled in, I was greeted by the fastest, and friendliest valets I haver ever experienced.
I was immediately offered help with my luggage and escorted inside. The registration area was a little crowded, but there was a luggage attendant who held my luggage for me while I checked in, and I was even offered up a bottle of water while I waited!
Check-in was quick and easy, and within a few minutes I was heading to my room. How I was tempted to go with the highest end Salon Suite, I decided to try being a little frugal and went with the Resort Suite.
The room was very well laid out, and everything was of course brand new. They made good use of space by having a swivel flat screen television that rotates from the sleeping area to the sitting area. The bathroom was spotless and had all the features you would expect in a brand new 5-Star, including a small television.
I settled in, and found a very nice closet, complete with a small dresser. The couch was comfy, and then bed even more so. There was a wide selection of goodies on the mini-bar, and even a couple free bottles of water.
We were going out to a Cirque show later, so we decided to order in. Room service was quick and very accommodating. I asked for a substitution, and was immediately obliged. I was told room service was running about 30 minutes, so I clocked it. The doorbell (yes, the Wynn and Encore have doorbells, which is nice) rang at 34 minutes after. Pretty darn good for room service at dinner time.
Our room service dinner was by far the best I have ever experienced from in-room dinning, with the possibly exception of the late-night junk food at the Hard Rock Hotel. Everything was cooked perfectly, and everything from the napkins to the plates were top quality.
We called down to let them know they could grab the cart while we were out at the show. When we came back, the cart was gone and the room was tidied.
The bed was little small, although they swear it’s a king, it felt like a queen. But it’s very comfy, especially the linens and pillows, which I’m very seriously considering for purchase. The shower worked well, but nothing exceptional there. The bathtub was a little small, but not any more than an average size tub.
One note on the phone system. The Encore is using brand new phones from Avaya, which sport a great big LCD with all the extensions you could possibly want, making things much easier when you need to call the front desk or room service.
The television take a second to turn on, it looks like the are running some complicated software that takes a few seconds to load up. but they offer a great selection of programing, much of it in HD. I didn’t get a chance to try the Wi-Fi, since I was able to just get by on my 3G iPhone.
The next afternoon, I headed down to get a shave at the barbershop in the Wynn. The shop has two chairs and seems to use all Truefitt & Hill products. The barber did a good job, but wasn’t as friendly as what I have come to expect from The Art of Shaving. He just didn’t seem like he wanted to be there and was in real contrast to the rest of the staff. Overall the shave was good, but did fall a little short to Art of Shaving.
Overall, the Encore has proven to the best, most luxiours hotel on the strip. If there is a downside, it’s of course the price. I paid about 4x the price for a room on Encore than I would have at Monte Carlo. The difference between the two hotels are huge, but whether or not it’s a 4x difference is up to you. I will say that when compared to the Palazzo, the Encore wins for best value. Others I have talked to have agreed that Palazzo has gotten a little “ghetto” since it’s opening. Perhaps it’s gone a little crazy with the coupons, but the type of customers at the Palazzo differ quite a bit from Encore. Let’s be honest, you pay a premium in part to not have to be elbow-to-elbow with the riff-raff that really belongs on Freemont, but got a good deal at the Palazzo. By Wynn and Encore keeping their prices only about 5% higher than those competitors, they keep the riff-raff out. Good thinking. So if you’re considering Bellagio, Palazzo or Venetian, I would strongly recommend that you pay the few dollars more to experience true luxury while in Las Vegas.
I do have one little negative note to add to this though. When we headed out to the show, we decided to just grab a taxi. There seemed to be a problem with the flow of taxis, it took a little while. This is not a problem at the Wynn. Cab drivers love Wynn customers, we usually tip well. I even heard the Encore valet mention to the cab driver to keep coming back because they always have fares.