If you haven’t already noticed, I love to travel. Whenever I get the chance to travel, I’m on the road and I never look back. I was ecstatic when my husband informed me that he was going to attend a conference in Las Vegas. I hadn’t been to Las Vegas in a few years and so this was going to be the perfect opportunity to get back to Sin City. My husband’s conference was going to take place at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino and we were excited to stay at a newer resort. Formerly the new Aladdin resort, Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino opened in 2007. I love the location being central to everything including the other resorts like Paris, the new Cosmopolitan, and Caesar’s.
After our uneventful non-stop flight from Boston on JetBlue, we arrived at McCarran International Airport and headed toward baggage claim. Normally I bring carry on luggage only, but as my husband was checking his bag, I decided to check mine as well. I do believe our bags were some of the last ones off the plane and it took forever to retrieve them. From there we took the quick shuttle bus over to the rental car center and we thought we would be out of the airport in just a few minutes, but was I wrong. Apparently, everyone coming to Las Vegas found the same great deal I did on the Dollar car rental web site. I was able to book a mid-size car for $13 per day and although a great deal, the one hour wait in line was pure torture. When I finally go to the counter I asked if it was always this bad with the lines. I was told that four employees called in sick that day and as a result, long lines. Part of it might have been the short staffing issue, but the other part was that people would engage in long conversations with the counter person. Renting a car is simple and goes like this:
1. Reserve your car before you arrive at the airport.
2. Say “Hi” and at the same time present your driver’s license and credit card.
3. Provide a reservation number that you have handy and not one that you have to dig through your bag to retrieve.
4. Understand all of the insurance options available prior to renting a car. If you have auto insurance, will it cover you if you rent a car? Not sure what is covered and what isn’t? Check out this great article.
5. Know what you want and stick with it. Don’t be persuaded to upgrade your car and then spend 10 minutes trying to decide between a full size and a mid-size car. It doesn’t really matter does it? Don’t be persuaded to get a GPS if you don’t really need one. The car rental companies love to push the upgrades at the counter and if you are easily persuaded, you’ll be spending more money than you wanted.
6. Gas: If you aren’t going to drive that much, don’t choose the fuel option where you return the car and they charge you to fill it up. I ended up only needing to put in $5 worth of gas, which was significantly less than what I would have paid if I let them refill the tank. If you plan to drive a lot, then return it empty to take advantage of this option.
After getting the car, I easily made my way out of the rental car garage and to the hotel. If you are staying at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, they have free self-parking as well as valet parking. If you decide to park the car in the garage, you’ll need to walk through the Miracle Mile Shops to the resort, which isn’t too far unless, of course, you have lots of luggage. Otherwise, considering dropping your car off at the valet and taking advantage of the easy access to the registration desk and elevators. The line to check in wasn’t terribly long and when we checked in, I inquired if there were any upgrades available, which there were and we were upgraded. We took the south elevator to the eleventh floor and to room 1150. A nice sized room of approximately 560 square feet, this resort room didn’t overlook the strip, but we had a nice view of the mountains in the background. The room is outfitted with two queen beds, two cushy chairs, a desk area, and a wall unit containing a closet, drawers, and a wall mounted television.
The bathroom was large with a huge bathtub, a toilet area behind the door to the left of the tub, a shower area, and two large vanities with sinks at either side of the bathroom. This was probably one of the largest bathrooms I have had in a standard hotel room. Overall, the room appeared to be a great one upon first inspection. It was the Ali Baba room with memorabilia from the film by the same name. However, the more we looked over the room, the more issues we found. The biggest issue was that the wall unit had one door missing and another that came completely off its hinges while we were there. All of the furniture had dings, dents, and chips and the hardware in the bathroom was truly on its last legs. They were moving easily and I felt if I touched a handle, it could very well fall off. We did have an issue with two things at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino. The first is that the resort’s fitness center is not free, but $25 per day to use. That’s just crazy! The second item to note is that Internet access is $13.99 per day. That doesn’t sound so crazy at first considering what most hotels these days charge, but wait. This is per computer per room per day. We had two laptops and were charged $13.99 per day per laptop. That’s just greedy! Considering it’s WiFi, I’m not sure why anyone has to charge for it at all. When we checked out, I mentioned the issues with the wall unit’s doors (or lack thereof) and was told that “Yes, we are going through a renovation.” What? I guess apologies are never in order when providing an inferior product at this resort. I wasn’t expecting anything from them when I mentioned it, but to sound like it was no big deal and we should have known that the product was not up to par, but oh well, it is what it is? Disappointing to say the least.
The resort itself was stylish and modern and I do prefer the look of this type of resort over the old school resorts like the Bellagio, Caesar’s, or even the MGM Grand. Speaking of which, we went over to see the lions and guess what? They’re gone! Yes, as of January 31st, the lion habitat is no longer there as they are making changes to the resort. But back to Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino. Their casino floor is modern and they have just about everything you need right there. With multiple bars and lounges as well as restaurants, including the best buffet in Las Vegas (Spice Market), and Starbuck’s. Expect a long wait in line at Starbuck’s and if you pay with a credit or debit card, make sure you have your ID handy as they won’t let you pay without one. Consider a show like one at Planet Hollywood like Peepshow or a performance in the famous Pussycat Dolls Burlesque Saloon, or buy a ticket on the casino floor for one of the many shows in Vegas. There’s something for everyone in Las Vegas and with so much to do, you won’t get bored any time soon.
In my next post I’ll cover more of the fun I had in Las Vegas including entertainment and dining so bookmark this page and don’t forget to come back!