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Earlier this week, I asked for suggestions on what to do in Vegas for a couple days. I got an overwhelming amount of suggestions, so I unfortunately didn’t get a chance to do even a small fraction of them. Ultimately my trip ended up being:
Monday: Landed at 6:30pm, Checked in at the Palazzo Hotel as an Intercontinental Hotel Royal Ambassador – Fortuna Suite, dinner at Cut by Wolfgang Puck at the Venetian, after dinner drinks at the Cosmopolitan hotel and all-night partying at Marquee at the Cosmopolitan.
Tuesday: Slow motion recovery day- had original plans for a helicopter tour of Grand Canyon, but ended up sleeping in and shopping at the Forum shops at Caesars, spa time at the Mandarin Oriental Spa, late lunch at Bouchon at the Venetian, round 2 of raiding the free mini-bar at the Palazzo, near front row seats at the Celine Dion concert at Caesars and dinner at Il Mulino.
Wednesday: Had all intentions of going to Lotus of Siam for lunch, but had to deal with my website meltdown and just ended up lunching at Morels at the Palazzo before going to the airport for my flight home.
Palazzo Review: Two days before check-in the Palazzo hotel called me to confirm my stay and my arrival time and let me know they were anticipating my arrival as a Royal Ambassador. As a relatively new hotel to the Intercontinental Hotel Group, I was worried that my Royal Ambassador status would be ignored and I’d have to fight for benefits. I was wrong.
Upon arrival, Royal Ambassadors can avoid the long check-in lines and use the private VIP lounge entrance to the right of check-in. I was greeted by a friendly agent and they checked me in, confirmed my upgrade to the Fortuna suite and explained that the entire mini-bar and snacks above it were complimentary. Score!
My suite was on the 43rd floor and had the typical Palazzo sunken living room (I stayed at the hotel once before it was an IHG hotel), but the master bedroom had extended living space and a huge walk-in closet. Overall, the suite was large and comfortable, with a non-strip view (to be honest, I could care less about strip views).
The greatest part of the suite was the free minibar. I’ve only stayed at a handful of IHG hotels as a Royal Ambassador and this mini-bar blew the others away. Mini bottles of Moet champagne, Belevedere vodka, mini-bottle of white wine, 8 minis of hard alcohol, Corona, Heineken, Amstel Light, Redbull, Coke Zero and some water and juices. And it was restocked after it was raided the first night! Considering my room rate was about $150, I think the value of what was consumed from the mini-bar just about equaled that each night! I am really starting to get used to Royal Ambassador benefits!
After getting settled in, we went to Cut for a nice steak dinner. The most unique part of the dining experience was having the sommelier hand me an iPad so I could browse the wine list and actually order what I wanted.
Dinner was good and pretty pricey, but that’s to be expected when dining at a celebrity chef steakhouse in Vegas. Two bottles of decent Cabernet, some starters, sides and desserts for 4 people came out to $1,250 (including 20% tip). Granted, I got the $135 steak sampler cooked rare and it was simple and delicious. The sampler included choice cuts of:
American “Kobe Style” From Snake River Farms 4 Oz*
U.S.D.A. PRIME Dry Aged 35 Days 4 Oz*
Australian Wagyu From Oakleigh Ranch 2 Oz*
The steaks came with a bunch of side sauces and we got creamed spinach and mac and cheese (which was amazing).
After dinner, we headed to the Cosmopolitan for drinks and got a nice couch at the second level bar. We befriended the cocktail waitress and she gave us a tip for avoiding the line at Marquee, which was pretty long- we entered the pool area by dropping her cocktail waitress friend’s name and before I knew it we were walking along the pool area and headed into the club via a back entrance. When we went in, we even got free drink coupons. Score.
Marquee reminded me of NY’s Marquee a la 2006. You would have never known the stock market dropped 600+ points that very day – packed club with lots of bottle service, girls dancing on tables and lots of athletes, rappers and wannabe investment bankers. It was pretty crowded inside, so we ended up hanging in the rooftop outdoor area, which was nice.
Overall, day 1 in Vegas was a lot of fun. Good hotel upgrade, good food, good drinks and scene. While this premium card has one of the highest annual fees on the market, it has several valuable perks that could make it worthwhile, depending on your travel patterns. These include a $200 annual airline rebate, lounge access, free Hilton Gold status and free Starwood Preferred Guest Gold status.
While this premium card has one of the highest annual fees on the market, it has several valuable perks that could make it worthwhile, depending on your travel patterns. These include a $200 annual airline rebate, lounge access, free Hilton Gold status and free Starwood Preferred Guest Gold status.