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» Encore Hotel – Las Vegas

Encore Hotel – Las Vegas

Reviewer: anon
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November 22nd 2009. First up, you should know that I love Las Vegas. It’s hard to convince non-gamblers just why they have to go there, and until you have you’ll probably never understand just what it is about the place. The vibe of the Strip, the sheer extravagance, the architecture and the lights. Lots of lights! This was my second trip to Las Vegas and after staying downtown the first time, this time I chose to stay at the Encore Hotel, sister casino and look-a-like to the Wynn to which it is adjoined via an up-market shopping arcade.

I get excited just looking out the window on the plane as you land – the runway we came in on at Las Vegas (flying from LHR with BA) ran parallel to the Strip and at night it’s just an incredible sight. It doesn’t matter how long your flight was, the sight just puts you in the mood! You can see the Wynn and Encore to the North of the Strip as you come in, both looking identical and, by Vegas standards, understated. It’s a 15 minute cab ride to the hotel – $20, or $25 if they go via the Interstate.

Had a bit of an issue checking in at Encore as they had mis-spelled my name and couldn’t find my booking, but that was eventually cleared up with the help of a Host. One other thing to watch for here: when you present your credit card, Encore slap the bill through on “reserve” so it has an immediate effect on your card balance even though the money isn’t actually collected until you check out. What’s more, I discovered (by having my card rejected at an ATM the next day!) that they also put through $150 “incidentals” for each day you are staying! Very cheeky IMO especially as they don’t tell you this up front or ask you. It could have been very embarassing. Obviously they only authorise collection for what you spend, but because the amount is “reserved” on your card it will restrict what you can use it for.

Once these issues were cleared up, I was issued a card key and allocated a room on the 50th floor. I would suggest asking for a high room personally because even at 50 floors up, you still get a hint of traffic noise. I had room 5047 which looked out to the North over the Stratosphere to the desert and although this is the side where most construction is going on, I heard nothing during my week there. I suspect if you have lower floors this could affect some of them.

The room was a standard room but was very, very nice. A decent hallway with plenty of storage space, safe deposut box, big bathroom with seperate shower and bath and marble effect + a seperate toilet. Big mirrors and very bright. A nice touch was a knee-high step on one side of the shower so you could reach feet easily when you showered.

You walk through the hall into a bedroom area which in turn leads to a lounge area with large sofa, desk, fax and phone. Floor to ceiling windows give a fantastic view but perhaps not ideal for people with vertigo! Internet is wi-fi and costs $13 a day – you just fire up a browser, search for the Encore/Wynn unsecured network, enter your room number and surname and you are off and running. Bed was big enough for 3 people and very comfortable with lots of pillows. All the lights, drapes nd curtains were controlled from a bedside remote. There was a 32inch flatscreen TV which could be rotated to serve bedroom or lounge. Neat. All very modern and very comfortable with enough space that you felt like you could spend quality time there.

Downstairs, the Encore hotel is very similar to the Wynn with interlinked, upmarket shopping arcades joining the two. Think Channel handbags and Gucci watches and stuff that most of us will never get past looking at, although I have no doubt many Wynn/Encore guests will show interest as it is, overall, a pretty expensive hotel. A lunch will typically be upward of $20 (but check out the Lobster Benedict in the Terrace Pointe Cafe in the Wynn – awesome!) and an evening meal won’t see much change, if any, from $50 a head. And that’s at the cheap end. But this is what Encore is all about – it’s luxury, extravagence and deliberately upmarket. Some example prices: beer $7, coffee $5, international phone calls around $4 a minute, croisant $7, Internet $13 a day, lobster benedict $20.

The Encore casino itself is particularly nice. It seems far more relaxed and spacious compared to many in Vegas – even the Wynn casino seems crowded by comparison. There are a lot of slot machines (Cleopatra, Zeus II, Bruce Lee, Star Wars, Wizard of Oz and Survivor were the ones that stood out for me), plenty of video pokers (Spin Poker, Multistrike and multihand 50 + 100 feature heavily) and around 20 tables at a rough estimate. The waitresses, apart from being stunning on the whole, were very attentive and smiley – in fact, the staff in Encore really stood out for me – very friendly everywhere you went.

There are 3 bars off the main casino floor - two are smoking walk-up bars and one is a non-smoking lounge bar that also does food. There is an excellent Sushi/Thai restaurant at one end which I can vouch for but be warned, the Thai food is Thai spicy! Go above 3 on the 1-5 scale and you’ll want some water too! Also the portions are big – we had rice, noodles and two meat dishes between the 2 of us and couldn’t finish it all!

Would I recommend the Encore hotel? Well it’s very clean, very upmarket, very friendly and very relaxed. The Wynn has apparently very nice rooms and there’s not much between them although the latter is 10 minutes less walking distance to the Strip! But the Encore casino is lovely. If you like luxury, like gambling in a more relaxed environment and don’t mind the somewhat excessive up-front “reserve” charge then yes, Encore is fantastic. If you just want to see Las Vegas and don’t really need expensive 5* luxury, then there are much better deals around – the fantatsic “Royale” rooms at the Venetian are arguably better than Encore’s for example.

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