Trip Report: Downtown and Las Vegas Strip

My wife and I decided to take a short staycation. At first, we planned on staying one night at Caesars Palace and another at Wynn. Too many of our favorite restaurants were closed on the Strip so we decided to split it up between downtown and the Strip.

We called our Plaza host on Monday and asked for a room the following night. We ended up with a new Luxe suite. While we always get an upgraded room at Plaza, this is only the second time we got the suite.

These rooms are at the top of the North Tower at Plaza. There is a complete view of Fremont Street. The South Tower, where we often get a mini-suite or cabana room, does not reopen until the weekend of July 4.

The room is exceptional. Some may think it is too loud from the Fremont Street music and partiers. However, there is a setting on the air conditioning with continuous fan that drowns most of this out.

We played our typical Joker Poker. I won a few hundred after catching what I call five shamrocks. We tried to play video poker in the couple’s section at the Omaha bar. It was full each time we walked by, mostly with single men.

The dining options were limited as Hash Hash a Go Go is closed Tuesday and Wednesday. Oscar’s is closed Monday through Wednesday. We ended up eating Subway and pizza between gambling and drinking sessions.

We also ventured onto Fremont Street a few times. We noticed that there was no security at the entry gates, though the temperature check machines are still there. This allowed anyone, including kids, to enter. We wondered if this was abandoned during the week with it being so slow or if Fremont Street Experience decided it was not worth the trouble. After seeing pictures this weekend, it seems it is enforced at busier times. 

I think Fremont Street is best left to adults. Circa will be 21 and up when it opens in October. 

We enjoy Whiskey Liquor Bar at Binion’s but could not figure out a way to get seated. We were willing to sit outside. However, every other seat is blocked off. It is as if they only expect singles to show up. The indoor section upstairs has the same problem. I get the social distancing, but make it so couples can hang out, too.

Wynn Corner Panoramic

The next night was in a corner panoramic room at Wynn. It was on the 52nd floor and faced north and west. The view was not as great as we expected for the upgrade. The only Las Vegas Strip view we had was of the vacant Frontier parcel and Resorts World construction site. Encore obstructed anything north. We could see the golf course to the east. It was still a fantastic room with multiple angles from high in the tower.

We did not gamble at all at Wynn. That was not the point. We walked around the property to see what is different.

The Encore poker room is not open yet. However, there was a clue that may change soon. A plexiglass divider was installed at a table. It looks like six seats would be available. This is what Bellagio did to get over the five-player table limit.

That part of the casino is entirely dead. The players lounge was roped off. The pit with double deck blackjack, Pai Gow and baccarat was closed. That is the first time I have ever seen it that way in all my visits there. Most of the table games were idle at Encore. It was a bit busier at Wynn. However, it was clear this was a slow night, as we expected from the low room rate.

We preferred it being this way. Nobody wants crowds right now. 

We had appetizers and drinks in the late afternoon at Allegro. We were one of just a few tables running at that time. The pit closest to it was closed, though that is typical for a weekday.

We then headed up to the room to enjoy it. Each room comes with two plush bathrobes and controls for the blinds. There is a large TV on the wall. We ordered room service and enjoyed a bottle of wine before calling it a night.

Thoughts about crowds

I have seen many tweets about the current Las Vegas visitor. The first thing we noticed at both locations is that there are not many tourists. The fact we received a free suite on a day’s notice at one property and got a large upgraded room at Wynn for about $200 confirms that. 

There were more families than we noticed. There were also more gamblers as a percentage of patrons. Suits and conventioneers were missing. I figure the number of gamblers and families is probably close to a normal level. The groups just stick out more when there are large segments of the market almost entirely missing.

I imagine gaming numbers will not be down as much as amenities will be when the June numbers come out. The gamblers are still playing. There are just fewer. Promotions used to lure players eat away at the dining and hotel revenues. At the same time, convention space is not being utilized and entertainment is nearly non-existent.

Las Vegas is more like the old days where gamblers are courted and more valuable to a casino than have been for decades. I hope this focus on customer service stays well past the start of normal times.

 

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