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

Jun 19, 2020

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

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

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.

For more curated TPG travel tips and recommendations delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our free daily newsletter.

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.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at US restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
  • Accelerate your path to Medallion Status, with Status Boost®. Plus, in 2021 you can earn even more bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) to help you reach Medallion Status.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.