Review: Bellagio Hotel, Las Vegas

The check in at the Bellagio Hotel Las Vegas is a zoo. A velvet rope makes the queue snake back and forth and while it’s less than half occupied it’s still a good 10 to 15 minutes before we reach the front.

It’s not through lack of personnel: the lengthy front desk has plenty of staff, so much so that I almost get whiplash trying to keep track of which staff member might be becoming available next. You almost needed one of those automated voices announcing the next teller that they have in chemists and supermarkets.

But this is the five star Bellagio, not a chemist or supermarket. And so it proves at check in when the lady behind the desk asks me if I’d like to upgrade to the penthouse, with 2000 square feet for an extra $100.

I laugh, thinking of the money I’d already spent on the room, and ask if it comes with a tiger (as in the movie The Hangover), to which she takes offence, retorting that it’s really good value as it’s a $700 per night room. Seeing as I wasn’t going to take the bait, she asks if instead I’d be interested in a suite, with views of the fountain.

Ange perks up: one of our reasons for choosing the Bellagio was because of the iconic fountains (they featured in the opening titles of Married With Children). Oh, I say, how much extra is that one? “An extra $50” she says. “And is it ready now?” I ask trying to be casual-like. “Yes” she says, and just like that we’ve upgraded to a suite with a view. I went online afterward and found that the normal difference in price was $60, so bargain!

Getting to the lifts involved walking through the middle of the gaming floor: a truly disorientating trek. If we hadn’t received clear instructions we’d still be walking around trying to find them.

The room was huge: being right at the end of the southern arm of the three pronged building meant we actually also had views away from the strip, but apart from a car park and other skyscrapers, there wasn’t anything of more in that direction.

Nope, all the action was on the strip. In the immediate foreground was the fountain, opposite us was the Eiffel Tower and in the distance was the Ferris wheel: their answer to the London Eye.

A huge comfortable bed was overlooked by a window pointing away from the strip, perfect for keeping away from the lights and noise. Electronic curtains and blinds helped achieve total darkness at night.

A cute little desk was against one wall and the imposing dresser and cupboards stood opposite, a big screen tv sitting above the minibar. I shuddered to think how much the Fiji water and peanuts would cost. In the dresser were a couple of robes and ample coat hangers.

The bathroom was also of an impressive size, with a full sized bath and his and hers vanities. The seperate high power shower was tucked behind the door and the toilet was squirrelled away in its own room. Plenty of privacy!

Having settled in we headed out for some lunch. On the way back we attempted to find the pool area and instead discovered an enormous foyer under a glass canopy decorated in exhibits with Indian animals. Almost as if a fleet of Macy’s parade floats had collided. Mists of water sprayed from the elephants trunks and crowds of tourists took photos.

We eventually extricated ourselves from the crowds and made our way back past the guests lifts to a shopping boulevard, dodging lanyard wearing conference attendees until we came to the doors to the pool area. Loungers and umbrellas clustered around an empty pool, people more interested in the poolside life rather than getting into the water.

Bored lifeguards slumped on their high chairs. We found a gelato shop and shared a tub. I was confused by the options. You got two scoops for a “single” and three for a “double”. Tasted good though!

With our view of the fountains there wasn’t really much reason to go out at night. The lady at check in had told us that the music they played was on the TV on channel 22 so we got some room service, moved the chairs close to the window and opened the curtains.

I thought that the same show and same music would play for each of the sessions, but no, a brand new dance of water and light accompanied each new song.

The music varied widely, certainly something for everybody (that likes MOR/Adult Contemporary), and the fountains themselves were really well choreographed: mesmerising! We actually started watching before it got dark, but the sessions after the sun went down were my favourites: the addition of the lights brought another dimension to the show.

Would I Go Back?

Like everywhere else in Vegas, it’s expensive, and they try and gouge you left and right, but if they offered the $700 room for an extra $100 I would be tempted to take it: as long as he had a view of the fountain though….