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The hardest reservation to book in Vegas right now might be the buffet

June 19 2020
4 min read
Wynn Las Vegas atrium
The hardest reservation to book in Vegas right now might be the buffet
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Right now, reservations for The Buffet at Wynn Las Vegas are fully booked until 8:45 p.m. — tomorrow. The story was the same yesterday, June 18, when the buffet reopened to unexpected demand.

Despite it being a blisteringly hot June day in Nevada, with no conventions, conferences or major events to speak of, one of the hardest reservations to book in town might well be a seat at the newly reopened buffet. It's just the latest example of how vacationers this summer should expect to plan their fun far in advance.

Related: As travel resumes, sticker shock and overwhelming demand follows for some destinations

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Wynn's buffet is the first to reopen on the Strip, but instead of diners filing into a buffet line and filling their plate with Alaskan king crab legs, they must grab a seat at a table and order "well-portioned" dishes from a waiter.

If that sounds like, well, a normal restaurant, you're not wrong, though travelers will be able to order an unlimited number of plates from a menu featuring more than 90 items. You can order as much as you can consume within two hours. Reservations are not technically required, but they are suggested.

The buffet interior at Wynn Las Vegas
The Buffet at Wynn Las Vegas. (Photo by Barbara Kraft)

Related: Getting to Las Vegas on points and miles

Diners can choose from a chili-marinated lamb T-bone with spicy cilantro sauce; seafood paella with tiger shrimp, crawfish, scallops and pork chorizo; prime rib with Yorkshire pudding and nearly two dozen desserts. Yes, even the chilled crab legs with drawn butter and lemon are back on the table. The dinner buffet costs $59.99 per person on weekdays and $65.99 on weekends, not including alcoholic beverages or gratuities.

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The brunch "buffet" is also back for $39.99 per person on weekdays and $48.99 on the weekend (think: lobster eggs Benedict, lemon-ricotta cheese blintzes and congee with pork and preserved egg).

Related: The best times to visit Las Vegas

In addition to table service, guests will notice other changes at Wynn's buffet, such as more space between tables, waiters wearing masks and disposable menus. And while you can still stuff yourself silly, that undeniable thrill of judgment-free plate-piling at the self-serve buffet is gone, at least for now.

"Half the fun of a buffet is pacing back and forth, glancing at all your options," said TPG's executive editorial director, Scott Mayerowitz, who has made 19 trips to Vegas in his life — plus countless refills at most of the big-name buffets on the Strip.

And while that might be a necessary sacrifice to restore consumer confidence in the concept of buffets in a post-pandemic era, it's a big change.

“In a focus group about dining, several of the people mentioned they no longer feel comfortable going to buffets,” Henry H. Harteveldt, an airline, hotel and travel industry analyst, told TPG in March. “They don’t feel comfortable in the current environment that the hygiene is as safe as it needs to be ... The question is: Once health conditions return to a more normal state, will people feel more comfortable going to buffets in the future, or will these concerns be longer lasting?”

Related: Las Vegas hotel deals starting at just $10

Elsewhere, at airport lounges and hotel restaurants, buffets are taking on all different forms. Some are relying on prepackaged, grab-and-go meals, while others are switching to cafeteria-style dining. And even if a more traditional buffet service returns, travelers should expect to see staff members serving food, plenty of plexiglass and single-serve condiments.

The good news? When you need to order by the plate from a waiter, it may be easier than ever to visit a buffet without completely overdoing it.

Feature photo of The Buffet at Wynn Las Vegas by Barbara Kraft.

Featured photo by The Buffet at Wynn Las Vegas. Photo by Barbara Kraft

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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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6X6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
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    Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.

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Why We Chose It

The Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex is a stacked card with a rewards rate that will help you earn bonus points on everyday and business-related purchases. You'll earn 15 elite night credits each calendar year, and receive automatic Gold elite status. Finally, the free night award certificate with a redemption level of 35,000 points or less can get you hundreds of dollars in potential value each year.

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  • Receive 15 elite night credits to jump-start status
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  • Must spend $60,000 in a year for second free-night award
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.
  • 6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
  • 4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a 7% discount off standard rates for reservations of standard guest rooms at hotels that participate in the Marriott Bonvoy program when you book directly. Terms and Conditions Apply.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Awards can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy® points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Enjoy Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status with your Card.
  • Terms apply.
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