Pros:Near the airport and university. Smaller casino. Nice suites in the newer HRH Tower.
Cons:Off the strip. Didn't deliver as promised. Smokey. Felt nickle and dimed.
The Bottom Line: Though the beds were nice and the suite attractive, the overall experience fell quite short of a 5-star experience. So based on other 5-star hotels it's below everage.
My Vegas stay at the Hard Rock through Bookit.com was a mixed bag. The HRH All-Suite Tower is a new add-on to the older and well-established Las Vegas Hard Rock Hotel and is located about three miles from the strip near the university and airport.
A short walk past the slots and gaming tables takes you through the older Hard Rock Hotel to the HRH Tower and its seperate check-in area. It's quieter there and feels more upscale than the older part of the hotel.
I like the size of this hotel. It's not too big so it's easy to get around. For a Vegas hotel that says a lot, since many of the strip hotels require hiking shoes just to get to breakfast.
The HRH Tower is rated by some, like Bookit.com, as a 5-star hotel, and this is where the trouble starts. What does it mean to be a 5-star hotel? Well, let's see.
Check in - I began my vacation experience checking in at the wrong desk. There are two desks, neither clearly marked. One is for the Hard Rock and one in a different location for the Tower.
As I started the check-in process, I discovered that the "All-Suite" in the name can mean whatever they want it to mean. I thought I was going to get a suite as my deal stated. What I got instead was a 'junior suite," which is really just a room. (By that definition, whenever I stay at a Motel 6 I'm really staying in a junior suite. Who knew?) They wanted $40/night more for the full suite. I said no. Then I remembered that there was another check-in desk specific to the HRH Tower, so I went there and surprise, they sold me an 'upgrade' for an additional $20/night. Who want's an arguement on day one, right? I took the deal.
The room was actually quite nice. Comphy beds, feather pillows, 2 big flat (hard to operate) HDTVs, and a huge bathroom. The downside: this was a non-smoking room that smelled like smoke in the bathroom. It seemed that smoke was actually seeping into the room through the ventilation system from a different floor.
Resort Fee: My biggest bone to pick with hotels these days is their "Resort Fee." An additional $18 per night at this hotel gives you things that you shouldn't have to pay for in any hotel, let alone a 5-star hotel." Among other things you probably won't use, the fee give you access to the fitness room, WIFI, access to the pool, a daily newspaper and shuttle service to the strip.
Let's examine these for a moment: We never used the fitness center (We're on vacation, for God's sake). The shuttle service to the strip stops at 5pm. That doesn't even give you enough time to have dinner and return. They claim to offer daily newspapers as part of the fee. We never got one. It's my understanding that there's a nice outdoor pool that I was paying for, but since I'm visiting in January, I discover it's closed till March. It was 72 degrees both days I was there and thought - crazy me - that I could hang outside by the pool for a bit. Wrong. Refund? Don't even think about it.
WIFI Note: This was an international first. I paid the $18/day resort fee which includes WIFI, right? Then I find out only one of our computers will work at a time. If you want 2 WIFI connections you'll need to pay an additional $6/day. What?! Deep breath. I'm on vacation. Moving on.
Breakfast: I love breakfast. It's my favorate meal when I'm on vacation. So how could the Hard Rock screw that up? I'll tell you. The breakfast area at 8 in the morning is playing loud rock music through the PA. The lines are long because there's no where else to eat. The furniture is beat up. Overall, it's like your basic IHOP experience with rock music and loud chatter at 8am. Of course, some people like that. Since I'm not on any medication, I didn't. Though the food was pricey it was tasty. I will give them that.
There is no shuttle to the airport which is two miles away (A $13 taxie ride, but who's counting). Shouldn't a 5-star hotel offer shuttle rides, or is that just me?
SPA: Not surprisingly, though disappointing nevertheless, the resort fee doesn't cover the spa. So that's another $20-$25 day/pp depending upon who you ask. If you ask the spa attendent, she'll say $25. If you ask the front desk they'll say $20.
But parking is free, so there's that.
Conclusion: Perhaps the HRH Tower qualifies as a 4-star hotel because the rooms are quite nice, but the overall experience is a far cry from 5-star treatment. To me 5-star means I check in and I'm done worrying about my comfort. There is no friction. There are few if any mistakes. I get what I think I'm paying for, and if there's a mistake the hotel bends over backwards to correct it. Sadly, none of that was true at the Hard Rock HRH.
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