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I usually go to Las Vegas once or twice a year and I try to stay at a new hotel each time. I don’t have a favorite, but I like the Palazzo (IHG, big rooms and great views) and Mandarin Oriental (a sanctuary in the center of craziness that is non-smoking and non-gambling). But, I am a Starwood Platinum member, so naturally I wanted to test out its new(ish) partnership with Caesars. Last May, Starwood announced that SPG Platinum members would enjoy significantly more perks at Caesars properties including VIP line access, preferred entry into participating Vegas nightclubs and VIP line access for taxis and entertainment venues, in addition to the points-earning bonus.
Last month, TPGtv took off for the Sundance Film Festival — subscribe to the TPG YouTube channel to be notified when each new episode is released. Because flights were so exorbitantly expensive to fly nonstop from New York to Salt Lake City, we (my camera crew and I) decided to make a pitstop in Las Vegas for a night before continuing our journey to Park City. It worked out perfectly for us because it happened to be J.Lo’s opening night of her residency at Planet Hollywood (which was awesome).
For this trip to Vegas, I decided I wanted to stay at the Nobu Hotel at Caesars Palace. I’d never stayed at a Nobu Hotel, but I do like a good Nobu dinner (my favorite is Matsuhisa in Los Angeles, but the Cape Town Nobu is pretty swanky with South African flair). It was designed by New York-based designer David Rockwell and opened in 2013, becoming the 26th Nobu hotel and restaurant.
You can book your stay at a Caesars property with Starpoints by visiting this website. However, I had a ton of credit in my Hotel Tonight account that was about to expire (you can help me refill that account and earn a $25 credit by using the promo code BKELLY99 at time of purchase!). If you’ve never tried it before, it’s a great way to book last-minute hotels. Tip: Even though you’re not supposed to, I often earn SPG credit on Hotel Tonight stays — just add your SPG number after you book or at check-in.
I booked a Sake Suite with credits from Hotel Tonight, which was going for $1,575 per night, and earned 4,561 Total Rewards points from Caesars for my one-night stay at the Nobu Hotel. I haven’t received any SPG night credits to my account as of this writing, but according to SPG’s terms, each night of an eligible stay at a participating Caesars hotel is eligible to receive reward credits. However, the credits take 4-6 weeks to post to an account.
When we arrived at Las Vegas’ McCarran Airport (LAS), there was a very friendly driver waiting for us right next to baggage claim. As part of booking a Sake Suite at the Nobu Hotel, you get complimentary limo service from the airport to the hotel. Limos are kinda tacky, but hey, it was free and what better way to arrive in Vegas?
Note: There was no alcohol stocked in the limo — so don’t expect to get your Vegas partying started in the free Caesars limo, though I think it would make sense for them to get you liquored up so you’re ready to gamble the minute you arrive. Just a suggestion!
When we got to the Caesars complex, it was hard to find the actual Nobu Hotel. It’s kind of tucked away off the gaming floor of the building and you have to trek a long way before you get to anything that resembles a hotel check-in desk and lobby. When we were finally able to find it, the check-in process went relatively smoothly — nothing of note here and I added my SPG number to the reservations.
From there, we were on our way to the Sake Suite. My anticipation for the suite was building and I couldn’t wait to see what was inside. Our room number was 7703, so we got on the elevator heading up and within a couple seconds we arrived and the doors opened. I thought to myself “Wow, that was the fastest elevator I’ve ever been on in my life!” but instead, the doors opened and we were on the seventh floor.
When we finally got to the suite, there were a few things right away that caught me — quite literally — off guard. I’m tall — I know I’m tall, so I’m used to having to watch out for obstacles, however I don’t remember ever having to duck to get through the door frame in a hotel, let alone a suite. When I got inside, things didn’t get much taller — all the ceilings seemed to be unreasonably low, which definitely cramps up the space.
I was thoroughly looking forward to a beautiful view of the Strip with people out and about and all lit up at night. When I made it over to the window to look out, I was greeted with the view … of another building. We had absolutely zero views, which I think isn’t that great if you’re paying top dollar for a really nice suite.
In the Sake Suite’s defense, it did have a very nice Japanese chic aesthetic, which I like — none of the usual Vegas glitz and glam.
The plan for our one night in Vegas was to invite a bunch of friends over to our suite to pregame and order room service for dinner before heading over to Planet Hollywood for the J.Lo show. When we saw the Sake Suite and how spacious it was, I thought it was going to be perfect. Right when you enter the door, there’s a large living room area with a massive table — a huge amount of room for everyone to eat before leaving and a kitchen/bar area. Prefect for a pregame!
The master bedroom was nice — it had the Japanese theme, which I again found appealing. It was also very spacious with a couch, desk, TV and plenty of room to walk around.
The kitchen was also full of all the basic amenities — a refrigerator, microwave, coffee maker and a mini bar. The bar seating in the kitchen was a great area for entertaining and there were plenty of seats.
The suite continued to expand — offering more and more space for entertaining and roaming around the room. The pool table was a nice touch, although we didn’t make any use of it.
The bathroom was nice. There were two huge sinks and a massive bathtub.
The products offered in the bathroom were pretty standard for a hotel — nothing too special.
Overall, the Sake Suite was fine. There was also a media room inside the suite but we didn’t end up using that at all. Although there was no view whatsoever and the ceilings were low, I don’t have many negative things to say about the room itself.
Where everything went downhill is with the service. Full disclosure: When I knew we were staying at the Nobu Hotel, I contacted management and asked them to film inside the hotel for a TPGtv episode, and they approved and couldn’t have been more accommodating — meeting us when we arrived and making sure we had what we needed.
As I stated before, the plan for the one night we were in Vegas was to invite some friends over to the suite before making the 10-minute walk to Planet Hollywood for the J. Lo concert. We called room service to order sushi from Nobu’s restaurant, but there was no answer — weird. So we tried again … and again … and again. Still no answer.
Frustrated at this point, I called down to the front desk and was finally able to get a hold of someone — who, unfortunately, could not have been less interested in what was going on. The front desk person told me that it was simply a busy night. Because I had someone who works at the hotel on the line, I asked if I could just place my order with them and have them send the order to the restaurant — which I figured would be a completely reasonable solution to the issue. The answer? “No, sorry. If you can’t get through, neither can we — try again.”
It was ridiculous. Not only were we in a suite — a Sake Suite, one of the hotel’s nicest, and filming our experience — but I’ve never been at a hotel where you cannot order room service. Especially a hotel named after a restaurant.
The front desk did call saying that they had a table waiting if we went down right at that second. So, I had to cancel the plans with my friends (making the point of the suite useless) and we scrambled to get ready and get down there before the table they had saved for us was gone. When we got down there, it was packed and the snooty hostess told us that they’d get to us soon. We had just rushed down there for this table that we were told was waiting for us and now we had to stress about being late to the concert and find out it’s not, in fact, ready?
We ended up waiting about 15 minutes before we were finally seated. The food was fine, but the whole point of staying at the Nobu Hotel was to get Nobu room service. If you can actually get someone on the room service line, the Vegas location is the only Nobu Hotel in the world where you can get room service for breakfast, which is highly recommended.
@thepointsguy or when your tweet goes unanswered
— Ferry D’Charlotte (@ferrydclt) January 21, 2016
Admittedly, I did send an aggressive tweet and tagged both Nobu and Caesars — in my opinion, it was mean but constructive. It went unanswered and they had been answering others in that timeframe. Overall, the entire situation could have been handled better by all parties involved — from the room service to the front desk and the restaurant staff to the social media team. It was a very mediocre experience for a supposed five-star hotel.
Amazingly, the room service drama didn’t stop there. The next day when we were scheduled to leave, we woke up really late and decided to order lunch at 3pm, giving the room service team a chance to redeem itself. As it was an off time for lunch, we thought it would be pretty quick service — while someone did pick up this time, it ended up taking a full 90 minutes to get our lunch. By the time we finally got our food, it was 4:30pm and we had to check out at 5pm, so we were rushing to eat our food again.
I chose to book the Nobu Hotel because I was a fan of its other properties, so naturally I wanted to try the Vegas location. But my one-night stay was enough for me. If we — myself, a blogger, and my camera crew for TPGtv — have horrible service when we were welcomed by hotel management and even tweeted them about the issues and got zero response, I can’t imagine what an average person might face here.
A photo posted by Brian Kelly (@thepointsguy) on
That being said, after the hotel saw my passive aggressive Instagram photo, someone in management did reach out to us. The hotel offered to bring me back to the Nobu, but that’s not how I do things. The whole point of my reviews — hotel, flight and everything in between — is to give TPG readers an honest opinion. Therefore, I never accept any freebies because I want to be able to report back to you openly about my experiences.
So, instead of me getting in on the experience, I want to give it to our readers and then they can report back to me on their experience — hopefully better than mine. Be sure to check TPG later today for an exclusive — and extremely valuable — Thursday Giveaway for a stay at the Nobu.
Based on my experience alone, I probably won’t be back to the Nobu Hotel at Caesars any time soon — but at least the sushi was good when I finally got it!
Know before you go.
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