Around the world. According to our day one cab driver, the convention business is picking back up. He eagerly showed us a list of upcoming groups to prove it. As we walk through the casino, we spot hard-core Star Trek fans here for their annual get-together at the Hilton. These people are committed – costumes and everything.
We were then distracted by some Amazing Race slot machines and, because of our love of travel, couldn’t resist putting some money in to see what it was all about. A lot of time – but very little money – later, we had to pull ourselves away to stretch. It’s fun to play a machine that’s allowing you to win at least just enough to keep playing.
It was a blast. Aria’s casino has the feel of a cocktail lounge; it’s dark and sexy. As an added bonus, they have a grandmotherly woman walking around to periodically check in on you. So sweet – and very clever on Aria’s part. If granny is here, all must be well.
Please, make it go away.
We decide to walk, bags and all, from Aria on up to Encore. This is when it hits us. Vegas can - if you’re not it the right mindset - seem very sad. On our early morning walk, things were still coming to life, so we witnessed a lot of the remnants of what had gone on the night before. Bachelorette party attendees stumbling back to their hotels, trash and dirt swirling around everywhere in the wind and those porn pushers still peddling their leaflets. All in the bright, hot light of day. Not good for the soul.
The reality of Vegas is a bit of a balloon popper. You quickly get a handle on how the luxury hotels provide a welcome oasis that is in stark contrast to the gritty side of the city. We should have gone easy on ourselves and jumped on The Deuce for three bucks.
Wynn does it again with Encore.
Simply walking into Encore is incredible. As was the case with his flagship property, Steve Wynn wanted to do something grand, yet intimate with, as he says, “lots of surprises” around every corner.
It works. And, somehow you feel as though it’s not too standoffish (like when you walk ino someone’s house and feel badly for sitting on the couch). Encore is at once luxurious and approachable.
Navigating the swirl of people, we dart past Tucker Carlson and dudes that look as though they are from the cast of Jersey Shore. We’re determined to get settled in, so we longingly stride past windows overlooking one of the pools. Waiting in line, we hear the moans and groans of people who are told to come back at check-in time (remember “the check-in chill” from our Aria post). We, on the other hand, are directed to head up to our room on the 33rd floor. Yes!
Oohing and awing all along our path up to the room, we land on 33 and walk into what is likely the coolest room we’ve ever stayed in. Details will have to wait, because we have to get down to that pool.