February 2019: Valentine's Day in Paris! The Paris Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, that is...
The last time we were in Vegas it was ungodly hot with the sun all-ablazes. This time, it was overcast, cold and rained for an entire day. I actually liked it better this time! With a fully comped hotel stay at the Paris Hotel & Casino, we decided to try one of the recently renovated Burgandy rooms...
When it comes to Las Vegas, there are endless choices of where to stay and there are numerous hotels just clamoring to get you in their doors and spend money. Jason and I are members of the former Total Rewards, now Caesars Rewards program, that is the loyalty plan for all the Caesars properties: Caesar's Palace, Harrahs, The Flamingo, The Linq, The Cromwell, Bally's, Paris, Planet Hollywood, and the Rio. We've stayed at the Paris on our last three trips. Why Paris? Well for starters, our room is comped, meaning we don't have to pay for a room that would normally cost a minimum of $150 a night, and honestly, the location is great for us. Jason and I like to play 3 Card Poker at both the Paris and Planet Hollywood and with them both being centrally located on The Strip (and next door to one another) it just makes sense for us.
I realize that gambling isn't for everyone and some of you may be wondering how this can be a "family trip" yet Jason and I still go gambling. Well, seeing that Sarah is old enough (and MATURE enough) to be by herself in a fully secure hotel room for a few hours, Jason and I can have our "date night" which she chills out in the room watching TV, chatting with her friends on Instagram, doing some homework (since she was missing 2 days of school after all) and she'd be crashed out when we got back. If you know Sarah, you'd know that we're not bad parents, as she is one of the most responsible teenagers you would ever meet.
Our room this time was one of the renovated "Burgandy Rooms" with 2 double beds and a view of the Eiffel Tower from our room. You could see the fountains of the Bellagio from our room and boy, oh boy could you hear them when they first go off. It's like someone is setting off a huge series of water cannons right outside your window! You can see that it was overcast and gloomy and it stayed like this the entire time it wasn't raining. Rain and cold. The complete opposite of the sun and ungodly heat of last June. We were on the 14th floor (non-smoking) so that wasn't bad for me, as I hate being on a super high floor in a hotel. Especially when we are right next door to the former MGM Hotel (now Bally's) which was the location of the massive fire in 1980 that caused the death of 87 people. High rise fire's just scare the dickens out of me, so I like to be on the 15th floor or less. Crazy I know...With over 2900 rooms in the Paris Hotel, I just prefer to be in the lower half.
We arrived at the hotel a little after midnight on wednesday the 13th and when we got up to the room, OF COURSE our room keys did not work. We had done the express check in at the kiosk just to save time, but I had to head downstairs to get our room key cards redone, so Jason and Sarah just hung out on the sofas by the elevators while I went to deal with the front desk. That was quickly straightened out and it was a good thing because Sarah was ready to crash and Jason and I were ready to hit the tables for a few hours.
The room was clean, well appointed and comfortable. The beds were not too firm (a deal breaker for me) and the bathroom was spacious, had nice Gilchrist & Soames toiletries and plenty of room for both Sarah and I to both get ready at the same time. Our room included a safe (essential), an iron and ironing board, a mini-fridge and an easily controllable thermostat. Now back to what I was talking about earlier when I said there are a boatload of choices of where to stay while in Las Vegas. I would definitely book one of these rooms again if we wanted to stay at the Paris. They are much nicer that then red room we were in last time, which while clean and spacious, was showing a lot of wear.
In my next post, I will get more into the services at the Paris, such as the valet, the check in/check out process, the Caesars Rewards programme, the casino itself and a few of the restaurants.
Here are my thoughts on just SOME of the choices available on the strip:
Caesars Palace: TOO BIG!!!! Seriously, I have no desire to have to walk 3 country miles in order to hopefully find my room out of the nearly 4000 rooms they have on property.
Ballys: Nope...not staying in a hotel with bad juju. I know that was almost 40 years ago and shizz goes down in all hotels all over the world, but that is some bad mojo I don't want to be a part of.
The Flamingo: I'm sure it's a decent place, after all Olivia Newton John, my idol of all time, had her residency show there (and it was freaking AMAZING!) but it just doesn't have that certain je n'ais se quoi that makes me want to stay there. the casino, to me, has that VFW/American Legion stale beer and smoke feel to it. Notice I didn't say it smelled per se. It just had that I'm a little too young kind of vibe. I'm 47 and it was just a little to old for me.
Mandalay Bay: too far south on the strip to be convenient and see the above about Bally's. Too much sadness associated with that hotel.
Circus Circus: Dear God, just no. A circus themed casino. I'd rather have a root canal performed by Dr. Hannibal Lecter than set foot in there. Plus, it is supposed to be a total craphole, so that's a definite double no.
Excalibur: While not as craptacular as Circus Circus, this place is pretty dumpy. From the outside, it looks like a cheesy Putt Putt Mini-Golf Course building. I just don't get the desire to have a King Arthur themed casino experience. Plus, the interior of the casino looks and feels like it hasn't been cleaned in a long while.
Luxor: Placed between the Mandalay Bay and the Excalibur, the hotel seems to have gotten away from the initial egyptian theme, as much as they can considering their structural decor has monuments of Anubis and such and the hotel itself is a freakin' pyramid. You don't see King Tut walking around, for example. The casino floor is not overly memorable, but it is neat to look up and see up into the hotel itself to the top of the pyramid. Just as a heads up, the Luxor has an amazing steakhouse, however: Tender. Seriously, it is FABULOUS!
Aria & The Cosmopolitan: Totally reeks of perfume and I am majorly sensitive to perfumey scents. After 15 minutes of being in the casino, I was ready to hurl. I don't want to taste perfume while I gamble.
MGM Grand: Too Big. Not our style. It seems like it just wants to be super trendy and cool, but I am just like "Meh". Like Caesars Palace, it is just SO frickin big. You should need a GPS in a hotel to help find a restroom or your hotel room. Located at the corner or South Las Vegas Blvd and Tropicana Blvd, it shares a massive intersection with New York, New york, Excalibur and the Tropicana. It may LOOK like it's close to the Bellagio or Planet Hollywood, but trust me, make sure you aren't wearing stiletto heels. It's a LOT further than you think from the MGM to other central strip casinos.
The Tropicana: The first place Jason and I stayed when we went to Las Vegas. We didn't have an established record with the major player's clubs, so we went with something more low key. It is a smaller casino, with history, a lovely pool area and it is now a Doubletree Hilton property for those of you who are on the Hilton Honors program. Like the Aria & Cosmopolitan, it has a scent pumped into the hotel air vents (at least it did in 2013)....think Pina Coladas and Suntan Lotion, but is it VERY mild and didn't bother me at all.
The Rio: Built with the initial theme of Brazil's "Carnival", it became popular due to the (now discontinued) hourly"Masquerade in the Sky" show where dancers, light shows and sets traversed tracks high above the casino floor. Although we've not stayed at the Rio before, we've been there for the Penn & Teller show, went there for Kiss Mini-golf and had a good time as we played some Three Card Poker with a guy I am CONVINCED was Anthony Anderson (of "Law & Order" & "Black-ish"). It was back in 2013, so I recognized him from back when he was on L & O. When we went there on this recent trip to play Mini-Golf, it was nearly deserted. Granted it was 4:00 pm on a Thursday, but seriously, it was like a ghost town. Sad.
The Bellagio: This is one I would consider if I decided to stray from the Caesar Rewards Program and go with an M-Life hotel. It is so beautiful and tastefully done. The floral Conservatory is a sight to behold and the casino floor is a very nice one and well laid out. You definitely get what you pay for!
Planet Hollywood: Although I think that the initial Planet Hollywood concept was the ultimate in late 80's early 90's kitsch, I have to say that I DO like the vibe of this casino. The old Planet Hollywood restaurants were so cheesy. Who cares that you can eat at a place filled with supposed movie memorabilia and that was owned by aging movie stars? I'm sure for some that was neat, but I know that most people don't clamor to go there for the fine food. The Hotel & Casino, although they still have a Hollywood theme are fun, vibrant places to go. We actually plan on staying here in a comped room on our trip in August for our anniversary/birthday trim (mine), as the casino has the Three Card poker we love, the music we like, the floor plan that we can navigate even after a night of cards and cocktails. We will be staying in the King Ultra Resort room:
Also remember that the old Downtown Las Vegas area (Fremont Street) is still quite popular. Hotels like The Plaza, Golden Nugget, California, Main Street Station, Four Queens, The D and the El Cortez remain quite popular with the gambling crown and the Fremont Street experience with Slotzilla Zip Line and live music is quite the place to sightsee. I can't personally talk about their rooms or the quality of the hotel itself, as we have never stayed there overnight. Just know that it is isn't really a family friendly area after the sun goes down. It still gave a bit of a shock to our daughter when we were there in the late afternoon for the Zipline. Outfits are questionable, alcohol (and the smell of Mary Jane) is in abundance, the "street performers" may be nothing more than a dude holding up a sign offering you the option to "kick him in the nuts for $5.00" or really scantily dressed hoochie mama's and hoochie dudes looking to earn a little extra money. Make sure you watch your purse and your wallet because there are a number of panhandlers, homeless and junkie-types milling about.
Downtown Las Vegas Definitely not the place for the "Ned Flanders" of the world....but still a place that to visit while in Vegas. Plus, the tables have lower minimums, better odds, and there are actually some really great restaurants up there: Hugo's Cellar at the Four Queens and Vic & Anthony's at the Golden Nugget are fine dining, steakhouse staples of "old Vegas". In fact, we're probably going to do dinner at Vic & Anthonys for our anniversary/birthday dinner (yes, we got married on my 30th birthday!) in August.
For something more casual, and decidedly targeted to the plentiful Hawaiian visitors, the Main Street Station Hotel and Casino has a restaurant, the Triple Seven Brewery that is just great. Not fancy, great flights of beer and good food. The California Hotel and Casino is another one that is very popular with Asian and Hawaiian visitors and they have a really great noodle restaurant and a cafe that serve island cuisine: Korean Short ribs, Saimin, Oxtail Soup, Loco Moco and much more...My mouth is positively watering now that I think about it. Yummers!
So that's a brief rundown of our room at the Paris and the other options available while in Las Vegas. If you're not sure what might be your speed, read reviews on Trip Advisor and look at other people's pictures...not just what the hotel posts on their website. Feel free to contact me any time at firstname.lastname@example.org if you ever need help in picking the right hotel!