A curmudgeon like me enjoys the finer things in life, but the most important thing is that the basic necessities are fulfilled first. I gave The Venetian grief yesterday for being too loud, hip, and garish. I wanted a quiet room, comfortable bed, simple and working fixtures, and an easily navigated layout. When my flight home was cancelled and I had to find a place for the night, I found all of these at the Hyatt Place Las Vegas.
Fun fact: this was actually the first hotel I ever stayed at in Las Vegas. Back when I was visiting with friends during my senior year of college, we slept eight to a room in what was then an Amerisuites. I remember dinner at the Hard Rock Hotel across the corner, and the very exciting experience of waiting for a light at Paradise and Harmon, only to realize when it was nearly too late that all of the cars on the other side were facing me. At this intersection, traffic changes from two-way to one-way since Paradise leads into the airport. Driving backwards at 40 miles an hour and into the parking lot makes for a good story but an experience I do NOT want to repeat!
Anyway, with my love of Hyatt, its proximity to the airport, and a touching memory of wild abandon, it was an easy decision to make. As usual, I did a search for rates on Hyatt.com using my AAA and Costco discounts and found that while the Daily Rate was $109 and the AAA rate was $93, there was a AAA Hot Deal for only $87.20. What does a Hot Deal consist of? A free bottle of wine! So I got to keep my 500 point welcome amenity, a bottle of tasty adult beverage, and an extra $5.80 discount. Who says there are no more deals in Vegas? 😛 This is why you always, always check every rate available because this Hot Deal was listed halfway down the search results.
Check-in was a bit confusing since the clerk was handling a few things at once and also happened to be underage, unable to hand over the bottle. So we dropped off our stuff, I showed Megan the Hard Rock, and then we went to the Hofbrauhaus adjacent to the hotel for dinner.
It was pretty crazy, even on a Sunday night, with a loud band and what appeared to be a lot of bachelor parties. Almost everyone had a full liter of beer in front of him or her, and every few minutes there would be hoots and hollers as someone bent over for another spanking from a dirndl-clad waitress. Our pretzel, currywurst, and schnitzel were enormous and tasty, but also expensive and not quite authentic from what I remember of my visits to Germany and Austria. That’s besides the point. You go here for the experience.
Back at the room, I found something very similar to our earlier stay at the Hyatt Place PDX. The room was slightly smaller since this was a renovated hotel and not new construction, but they still managed to keep the same design aesthetic and include some separation between the bed and living room. The sofa was more comfortable, and had a comfy ottoman to rest our feet.
I also loved the TV, which seemed larger and had a better channel selection than at The Venetian. (We watched Fast and Furious while enjoying a decent Pinot Noir.)
The bed we slept on that night was more comfortable, with a firm pillow top just the way I like it.
Even the sink and toilet were better lit and with softer towels–but The Venetian had set a low bar in this department.
Noticing a pattern? My one complaint was the noise of the air conditioner, which was not only loud by itself but seemed to have something wrong inside that caused a dripping or knocking sound every few moments. Here’s the review of ac’s conditions and how to deal with it. This was offset by the pool, which was very quiet (unlike the TAO Beach Club) and a very refreshing six feet deep. Megan’s flight left earlier than mine, so I took a short swim after sending her on her way the next morning. FYI: They just replaced the pool furniture, as I could see the old stuff out in the parking lot waiting for disposal.
If you plan on spending all your time gambling or watching shows on the Strip, just stay here and pay $20 for a cab. Heck, the hotel shuttle might even drop you off, or if you can tolerate the heat, it’s a strait shot down Harmon to the City Center complex. Dinner at the Hofbrauhaus wasn’t as tasty as at B&B or Bouchon, but it was still a lot of fun. We also met up with Jimmy and Prana, the duo behind Travel By Points and TravelWhimsy, who live in Las Vegas. They very kindly took us out for dim sum at one of the locals’ casinos, which was not only delicious but a great insight into the “real” Vegas. (Further reading: is sports betting legal in Virginia?)
There’s a ton to do if you look outside the flashing lights on Las Vegas Boulevard, something I had forgotten since my first trip to the city. I’m sure I’ll be visiting and staying on the Strip again in the future, but I was also very glad, in a way, that our flight was canceled and forced us to try something new. If you’re going to be stuck somewhere, there are far worse places to be!