VEGAS ‘08: Thoughts on the Wynn Hotel & Casino

image I got an invite for 3 nights at Wynn Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.  So I’m here and I’ve noticed a few things already.

ROOMS AT THE WYNN:
The rooms have shades/blinds that have motorized controllers that open and close them automatically.

Invitation/promo credit is not usable as match play.  It has to be cycled through the slots which is lousy but it did lead us to discover the conditions of their slot banks.

The hotel is entirely 21 and over.  People below 21 must have a minor accompanying them and there’s a big sign outside that says as much.

Internet access at the Wynn absolutely blows.  We’re talking suckage on a level not seen by man since the premiere of “Battlefield Earth”.  Neither the wireless or the wired connections will issue DHCP assigned IP addresses most of the time.  It’s a total crapshoot – as verified by the technician we had come up to check on our wired & wireless connections.  The only reason I can post this is because I’m using my Windows Mobile as a tethered wireless modem.

There are very few electrical outlets outside of the ones near the desk.  My wife noted that there’s an ironing board and an iron, but where the heck’s the iron?

The inkjet printer in the room is usable as a fax but there’s no USB cable to hook it up to your PC in case you want to print directions, show tickets, or poolside reading.  Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy. 

There’s a private taxi stand for guests of the west tower.  Otherwise the taxi line at the Wynn has a moderate wait of 5 minutes.

FREE BUFFET AT THE WYNN:
Wynn is running a promo at their Red Card stand:  Sign up for their player’s club “Red Card” and receive a “free spin of the Red Card wheel” which serves up primarily $10/free slot play credits and every so often gives 2 free Wynn Buffet passes that must be used within 24 hours.  (Other prizes that I didn’t see won included $1000/free slot credit & a free vacation – assumedly to the Wynn Las Vegas in the future.)

Oh by the way – folks cashing in a promo invite like myself are not eligible for the "Red Card wheel spin”, which to me seems a little nitpicky.  When the spin generally averages $10/slot play, isn’t that a little lame to invite someone to the property for 3 nights, hand him $50 in slot play, then tell him, “Oh no sir – we can’t afford to flip you $10/slot credit.  You’ve taken advantage of us already.”  WTF?

GAMBLING IN THE CASINO:
Note:  I may sound like I’ve been down on the Wynn so far, but it’s actually quite the opposite.  While there are challenges with this hotel, the casino is absolutely bitchin’.

150 points on your Red Card gives you 2 free Buffet passes at Wynn.  This is the equivalent of playing about $450 through a slot machine, or 150 plays of 3x Maxbet $1 slots.  After that it’s 500 points.  Needless to say, getting to 500 points for both my wife and I was a piece of cake.  Finished that in like 15 minutes of play, so we effectively earned 5 free couple’s Buffet passes.  We burned two for lunch… they’ve got great watermelon!

I can only speak to the $1 slots…  Top Dollar & Pinball in particular which is a favorite of my wife’s.  Boy, their machines are loose.  We played for a good hour plus on a single Benjamin each.  She came out ahead by $40, myself I was up $65.  Stay tuned for our review of the Palazzo slots.  Hint:  It wasn’t nearly as rosy.

The tables seem to have RFID in them.  How do I know?  Well, the cashier has an big black plate that they put the chips on to know how much to cash someone out of, instead of counting the chips.  Additionally, the corners of the blackjack tables are at times uncomfortably warm because of the RFID sensors.

My ‘playing partner’ at the table (a guy I’d just met who stuck around at the table for the same several hours that I had even while others came and left, discovered that we both came to the Wynn on the exact same 3-night comp-ed invitation and played at the exact same places.  The only difference between him and me was that he was a 50 some odd year old lawyer and I was a 30 some odd year old computer engineer.

And speaking of comps, my playing partner also had a comp across the street at the Palazzo just as I did but instead of taking the comp right after the Wynn like my wife and I did, he CHECKED IN.  See his brother in law needed a place to stay while he was staying at the Wynn so he checked into both places so that he could use both comp times at the same time.  Sneaky.  Probably frowned upon in a huge way but nonetheless sneaky.

The blackjack rules here aren’t as bad as I’d thought they’d be.  $25, 6 deck, 3-2, early surrender, double down on any two cards.  Split up to 4 times.  The penetration is 70-75% which is okay.  They do have double deck but the minimums are $100 during the day, $200 during the evenings, meaning I can play the day and then only the evenings if I’m grandfathered.

I’m seeing pretty wild variation right now because of the 6 deck shoes here.  I also played very disciplined blackjack on day 1 and was up a grand then for some reason lost a little of my discipline and ran into a horrific streak of bad hands and lost most of my winnings on day 2.

The dealers here are really nice.  I mean, they have a personality and they seem to actually avoid the “robotic stare” that so many other casinos have.  Note to dealers:  I toke dealers I like that enhance my gambling experience not those that sneer.  Yes, I’m talking to you MGM Grand.

THE ENVIRONMENT OF THE HOTEL:
The girls here at the Wynn – and I’m talking about the arm candy of the patrons – are amazing specimens of preserved youthful appearances.  There is more cosmetic surgery and face peels per capita here than in Beverly Hills.  The pit boss of my blackjack table was so utterly fascinated by one woman who was just bursting out of her evening dress that he spent his entire time over at her table, stopping by our table only to give us guys the report on what ‘her deal’ was.  Boobs fake… lips real… lipo on the tummy but not on the butt… timely, high quality information.  Thumbs up for the Wynn blackjack pit crew!

It’s 105 degrees here.  105.  And it feels like 105.  WTF?  You can basically cross the street and that’s about it before you start to seriously sweat. 

The pool.  It’s basically a long river with chairs and cabanas all along the path however at the very end is “Sunset Pool” which is basically topless with a casino poolside (no swim up blackjack though) and no children allowed.  I’m thinking of renaming it ‘paradise’.  Around 4:45PM the shadow of the Palazzo completely blocks out the sun for a half hour then sunlight resumes.

Country Club is one of Wynn’s restaurants.  We’d already been to Wing Lei, Okada, Alex, Terrace Pointe, and of course the Buffet.  We had a really nice candle lit meal with a view of the golf course and the view so so pleasant that my wife said, you really could forget that you were in the middle of Sin City.  The only thing that tarnished the experience was the fact that APPARENTLY, the maitre’ d doesn’t uphold the purported spirit of the required attire.  We were surrounded by two families with unrelenting screaming kids (one of which found themselves leaving after numerous evil stares) wearing t-shirts & blue jeans or Bermuda shorts.  The only reason I was annoyed by the attire bit was the host had made such a BFD about their dress code when I made reservations that it seemed a bit disingenuous to let this circus in after the fact.

SUMMARY:
While the hotel rooms themselves leave something to be desired relative to some other 4-5 star strip resorts, there’s no question that the Wynn restaurants, the Wynn comp system, the Wynn pool, and the Wynn casino rocks. 

I think this has instantly made one of my top 3 favorite resorts in Vegas.
(In case you’re wondering, the other two are the Venetian & the Hard Rock.  More on ‘why’ later.)

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