10 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
We wont return, here's why:
"Warning: this is a long review. If you want to read a short review with a lot of exclamation points look elsewhere. But this review will tell you everything you need to know about Encore, both good and bad. You should also know that I'm not too easily impressed and stay in a lot of nicer hotels, so keep my perspective in mind when reading this review. With that in mind....
Encore is a beautiful hotel. The furnishings are tasteful, even by gaudy Vegas standards. It looks very nice. The casino and shops have much the same feel as The Wynn: upscale, well thought out, and polished.
The rooms are all suites, also very attractive, with a very upscale and modern feel. The bathrooms are spacious, double sinks, separate shower stall and deep tub, a small television, and I suspect radiant heat in the marble floors (though I'm not sure about that). The beds are big and puffy. The living section of the room has a nice couch and desk. The large flatscreen tv swivels so you can watch it both in bed and from the couch. The front of the room is all glass and looks out onto either The Strip or the old strip. The spa is absolutely magnificent.
Sounds pretty good, right? Well if that was all there is I would think so, too, but we won't be returning to Encore and here's why:
Location: Encore is technically on The Strip, but it is also waaaaay on the end of the strip. If you don't plan on going anywhere then this shouldn't be an issue, but, let's face it, part of the fun of Vegas is walking down the strip, visiting other hotels, and people watching. It is much harder to do this at Encore than at other hotels. The closest hotel is Wynn, and after that is Palazzo and Treasure Island, a solid 10-15 min walk at a fast pace. Belaggio is at least a 30-40 min walk at a very fast pace, and that's without crowds getting in your way. Complicating things is that if you want to catch a cab and avoid a very long walk you are going to have a hard time catching one from Encore. Cabs go there infrequently because, as one cabbie told us, taking their fares back to the other hotels on the strip is a pain because there is no place for them to turn around; when a cab leaves Encore it can't go straight to the other hotels - it has to travel all the way up Las Vegas Boulevard in the opposite direction to Circus Circus Hotel to find a place to finally turn around. As a result cabs try to avoid Encore. If you have tickets to a show you might get lucky and get a cab right away, or you might also end up waiting 20-30 min in a line just 10 parties deep, desperately hoping that cabs show. The cab line at Wynn is a bit better, but trust me when I say that the walk to Wynn from Encore gets very old very fast. It is very inconvenient.
One of our experiences involved trying to get a cab so we could get to see "Love" at The Mirage. We waited in the Encore cab line for 20 min along with other guests who were grumbling about how they had the same issue the previous night. When the line stalled and no cabs showed for 10 min we eventually gave up and walked. If you are dressed up and don't have comfy walking shoes this isn't a great experience. When we arrived at The Mirage there were tons of cabs there waiting to take passengers everywhere they wanted to go. On the way back was when our cabbie told us about the issue that cabs have with Encore.
The casino at Encore is very smokey. Maybe they were still calibrating their ventilation system when we were there, or maybe we were just unlucky, but the casino was noticeably smokier than Wynn's. After a night in the Encore casino, the following morning my throat was raw and sore. Another guest we met in the elevator said that he and his wife were also having some difficulty with the Encore ventilation and had met other people who were displeased. We solved the issue by gambling at Wynn or other hotels.
Oh, and the windows in the Encore hotel rooms do not open, so if you want any fresh air in your room you are out of luck. This might not be a big deal to some people, but if it is important to you that you get to breathe non-recycled air then carefully consider this. Our room was still off-gassing new construction/carpet/furniture fumes and we missed the fresh air. I developed a sore and scratchy throat that disappeared whenever I was out of Encore for more than about an hour, and would faithfully return shortly after we got back.
Much to their credit the hotel operators have set up the hotel to run smoothly. Things worked fairly well for a hotel that, when we visited, had only been open for a about a week. This is no small feat. The bellhop staff is top-notch.
But in my book careful planning only gets you three stars. What gets a hotel the fifth star is how they deal with problems. The staff at Encore was unfailingly polite and professional, but frankly, in my book you don't get extra points for that any more than an auto mechanic gets extra points for changing your oil without incident.
We had significant issues during our stay, some of which the hotel addressed and others they didn't. They mistakenly first gave us a room that was not yet ready for the public, and we spent a good amount of time out of our limited vacation trying to figure what was going on before they said that the room was not yet completed. They moved us the next day and took care of us by sending us champagne, giving us Wynn buffet tickets, and some meal credits. Very nice.
Unfortunately, things got much worse. They happened to move us into another room next to some people who wanted to party all night. We were kept up the entire night. We called the front desk three times, and to our knowledge the front desk either (1) never called security, or (2) security never responded. Our final call to the front desk was at 5:30am. At that point the party quieted down, and I suspect it was because the partiers next door went to sleep, rather than anything the front desk or security did.
The next morning I spoke to someone who i believe was the hotel manager or vice-president about how it shouldn't take three calls over a period of two hours to get something done. He agreed and was very apologetic, but also clearly had a "so what" attitude. He expressed that they had already screwed up previously with our visit and had made amends, and didn't feel that there was anything else they could do for us, despite the fact that we were, literally, up all night because they failed to quiet down a loud party. He took my contact inormation and promised to contact me, but he never did. I think he just hoped that we would just go away. He's going to get his wish granted.
That was my first time ever complaining in a hotel, and I had to do it twice on the same visit. Trust me, it's not fun.
The Encore staff are very nice, but a funny thing happens when something goes wrong. They seem paralyzed, as though then never imagined that with all their careful planning anything could go wrong. They genuinely seem shocked. This, in my mind, is what separates a three-star hotel from a five-star hotel: taking care of the issues that will inevitably arise in a competent and straightforward manner. Encore still has a very long way to go.
As of the writing of this review, Encore was full. I believe they significantly lowered the rates as a grand-opening special. But this also means that they likely have a different crowd now than their actual target market. The people partying in the room next to us was part of the Los Angeles hairspray-and-gel crowd that usually stays at Planet Hollywood or Hard Rock. Maybe when the rates at the Encore go up the clientele will also shift. I know that probably sounds snobbish, but try expressing patience after being kept up all night with constant toasts of "woooooooooooooo!!!" It's hard to be nice with a scratchy throat and a half-hour of sleep in two days.
To recap: pretty hotel and nice staff, but disorganized under the surface and definitely not 5 stars. But even if they fix the service issues, they still have problems with ventilation and location that can't be addressed so easily. We won't be returning."
- Travel date: Sat 3rd of January 2009
When stuck in Vegas
"On a ski trip to Idaho, we experienced a layover in Vegas that turned into a cancellation until the next day- thanks Southwest.
Therefore, we booked the new Encore in Vegas. Ironically, I had just read about this in the LA Times the day before and thought "It sounds interesting, but I'll never go since I HATE Vegas." But, here I was checking in to the very red registration desk in the lobby. Gawdy? Surprisingly not. In fact, the red seems inviting and fresh with the tile mosaics.
But the best part was our room. It was spacious, had a terrific view of the strip, and was tastefully appointed from the robes to the bath accessories. The media is awesome with a swiveling flat screen TV. One exception though, if you remove the food goodies to examine them longer than 60 seconds, you're charged for them. Come on!
We then went exploring the property. Lots to see and never had to go off property. Perfect! The Encore definitely made the loss of a beautiful skiing day in Idaho more bearable, and I might even go back in the Spring. That's surprising."
- Travel date: Sat 3rd of January 2009
"We had a number of problems during our stay at the new Encore hotel. We had to move twice due to the first being unclean and the second being a downgrade in view. We eventually got a nice room on the 28th floor but the door would not close and lock properly which meant we returned from our day out to find the door unlocked following a day out. We called the front desk but it took 3 hours to get someone to come and fix the door. The staff were far from helpful and we ended up spending a great deal of our vacation waiting around for lazy staff to call us back and resolve the issues with our rooms. If I were to write about all the phone calls we made this review would be about 2 pages long!
Security was a real. Aside from the door not locking properly we overheard someone else who had the same problem and had their cellphone stolen. Also there was rarely anyone by the elevators checking room keys, and when someone was there they were not checking everyone.
We were so angry at the lack of help and support from the staff and the reluctance to help us that I got in contact with the assistant hotel manager who comped us show tickets for the trouble.
All in all, a dissapointing stay. It's a beautiful hotel but it was let down badly by the staff. Hopefully it is just teething trouble. I never complain during my stay at hotels but I really could not sit by and ignore this hotels shortcomings."
- Travel date: Fri 2nd of January 2009
It was a treat!
"This place is brand new and gorgeous! We went opening week and expected some problems, but fortunately, we didn't have a single one.
We checked in late and the customer service was very polite, offering to make us dinner reservations. The key cards they give you have your name on it, but our cards would stick, so you have to insert several times until your door opens. (The key card also works to lock your jewelry in your closet safe.)
This was my first stay at a five-star hotel, and the spacious room lived up to my expectations. The marble and limestone in the huge bath took me aback; my husband even said, "Holy [-]" as he walked in. The shampoo/conditioner/soaps were citrus lemongrass -- I personally loved them. (Ladies -- the soap may be a bit drying for your face.) The robe and slippers are a nice touch, and the maid service twice a day was a bonus. We wish they left an envelope for a gratuity for the maid, but there was none in our room...and boom, out of sight, out of mind, we regret that we forgot to tip this very hard-working woman! :(
The view from the 29th floor was awesome, but the mini-bar is expensive. My husband was also dismayed to hook up the ethernet cord to our lap-top, only to find out there's a $13+ charge per day to use Encore's internet service...guess we kind of thought that should be included, but that's our only gripe. We were so excited about the remote-controlled drapes that we didn't whine for long.
Go down to the floor below the lobby -- check out the spa/salon area -- gorgeous!
The Buffet was expensive ($75 for two for brunch) but worth it -- as was all the food. Truly five-star quality.
The casino was beautiful, but I won't play a dime in their slots again -- these were the tightest slot machines we had ever encountered. :( :( :( Even the Indian casino by our house pays more consistently than these slots. I presume these are the kind of machines that pay out well under 94%.
Take your tennis shoes -- it's a long walk up the strip from the Encore. We felt comfortable in the Encore itself with jeans on, but only when paired with a more upscale shirt & good shoes. You'll want your best duds for the fine dining, but you can get away with good jeans at the more casual eateries in the Encore.
There's no shuttle provided from the airport specifically by Encore, so you've gotta get yourself a taxi or one of the airport shuttles. For travel up the strip, we walked during rush hour because traffic was insane. We bought passes for the bus ($5 each) to go up the strip during the day, when traffic was less of a nightmare.
Everyone was excessively pleasant to us -- I would hazard to guess that any bad service anyone experiences at the Encore would be the exception to the rule. Hopefully they can keep up the smiling faces once the Encore's been open for a year!"
- Travel date: Thu 1st of January 2009
one of the best hotels in vegas
"We stayed at Encore during Christmas week. The hotel only opened to the public December 22nd and everything is new. The hallways going to the rooms smell like new carpet, which smells good. Hotel is beautifully decorated and is an extension of the Wynn's beautiful taste. We stayed in a room that had a separate sitting area. The room was large for hotel standards. We had a 42" plasma in the room. There was a smaller wall mounted TV in the bathroom. Bed was comfortable and the linens were soft. Highly recommend the hotel."
- Travel date: Wed 31st of December 2008
Hopefully it was because it just opened...
"Before I booked my reservation on travelocity It didnt specify the type of beds. Being a meticulous person I hate not seeing what I reserved on paper so I called BOTH travelocity and encore resort to verify that I had two queen beds and not one king. I requested a verification number to make sure and they both assured me that they were queen beds. I was somewhat still worried and I wasn't wrong. On the day of check in they told me that there were no more two queens suites. Of course I was upset and had a good reason to since I checked with both companies after the reservation. Travelocity will get their share of my review as well. I explained to Bryan the situation and he politely apologized and offered a complimentary rollaway bed. Because he was extremely nice and such a gentleman I decided it was better than nothing. I got to my room and everything was new and nice. The dÃ©cor was very modern and classic. Their linen and bed are fantastic! One of the best I've seen in Vegas. I called the front desk to ask when the rollaway bed would be here and told me in 15 minutes. I had to leave the hotel so they told me it would be taken care of. I left at 3pm and returned to the hotel at 9pm and found that the rollaway bed was still not here. The first thing my friend asked was "you sure this is a five star hotel?" Not likely. I called front desk and an amazingly rude girl named Laura told me that she will call housekeeping. When I ask her how soon it can me done she says "I am not gonna tell you in case it(bed not being here) happens again." Dumbfounded I asked her if she's referring to the possibility that this absurd situation could happen again. She answers "do you want me to tell you that it'll get there in 15 mintues and it'll get there in 25?" Wow. Excellent customer service. Good job front desk. I expected Wynn to be different. Although the such grandeur and beauty can be well seen in other fancy resorts I expected wynn to be superior in customer service. It has miserably failed my expectation in that aspect. I was willing to pay extra if it was worth it in customer service and not I realize wynn just isn't worth the extra money. You would have to give me a better front desk than a snapping girl. Encore Wynn is not worth the extra money out of your pocket. Go visit this beautiful hotel but stay elsewhere. I highly recommend Palazzo and Venetian in it's pricing and luxury. And only believe what is on the paper on your reservation. If it's not there they could make changes. Honestly one time for experience is worth it if they continue the discount. However, usually they are roughly 100-200 dollars more expensive than other great hotels such as Palazzo. In this case it really isn't worth it. I personally have been to many Vegas hotels and Palazzo will be my favorite. As for me and my family we won't be returning to encore to pay meaningless extra bucks."
- Travel date: Wed 31st of December 2008
"Modern and ultra chic done with great taste.
Have stayed at Bellagio, Palazzo etc but Encore took my breath away!!"
- Travel date: Wed 31st of December 2008
Encore is hands down the nicest hotel in Las Vegas
"At ages 37, this was our first trip to Vegas. You can't beat the vacation packages offered during/before Christmas, so we thought we'd check it out. First of all, Vegas isn't for everyone. To me, it was a lot like Orlando. Everything is over the top and way too expensive. If that's your sort of thing, you've come to the right place. For us, it was more of a foreigner tourist trap. For a non-smoker, the entire city is almost unbearable, especially in the casinos. By our third day, our sinuses had all they could stand. We found that it was faster to walk pretty much anywhere than to catch a cab simply because traffic was complete gridlock pretty much all of the time. I would strongly advise a comfortable pair of walking shoes, as you'll be hoofing it no matter where you go. All in all, we were glad we finally checked it out but I can say with much certainty that we'll never go back. Just not our thing.
That being said, our trip was originally booked to stay at The Wynn. It's a very nice property and came highly recommended. Upon arrival, we were offered to upgrade to the Encore for their opening week. We decided to check it out and were not disappointed. It is by far, the most beautiful stay we could have hoped for and I would seriously doubt there's another hotel that even compares. The rooms were nothing short of amazing. Automatic lighting and drapes, a fantastic bed, service, and a huge flat screen that swivels 180 degrees between the living room and bedroom. Did I mention that the room is 100 square ft. larger than The Wynn? I'd say the only down side is that The Wynn blocks most of the view of the Strip, but an amazing view nonetheless. We didn't really realize just how nice it was until we checked out many other hotels on the strip, Bellagio, Venetian, Palazzo, Treasure Island, Mirage, Ceasar's, etc. Not only is the hotel superior, the casinos at The Wynn and Encore are much nicer. Plus, we found the dealers to be much friendlier and younger/prettier. Every other casino seemed dated in comparison and their dealers were unfriendly, old, and jaded. If you're going to take my money, you can at least make me feel like I enjoyed it, right? If we'd known better, we would have never left The Encore.
However, I was disappointed that we were charged $1.25 a call for local calls from our hotel room. $5 for 1/2 a liter of water? That's just silly and cheap to me."
- Travel date: Sun 28th of December 2008
Opening Day of Encore Las Vegas!!
"As loyal WynnResort customers and followers, we were able to stay at The Encore on opening day and beyond for two more nights. As reservation holders, we got to enjoy the hotel restaurants and ammenities all day before the casino and public areas were open to the public on Dec. 22nd at 8 pm. We were absolutely blown away by the magnificence of this property. We always thought the Wynn was gorgeous, but the Encore has raised the standard for elegance and customer service to a new level. The color scheme of the Encore is red, red, and more red, with beautiful chandeliers, mosaic tile floors, and gorgeous carpets. From the moment we checked in until the moment we left, we were treated like royalty. No pretension and no game playing by the staff. From security to gaming staff to the front desk staff, everyone was attentive and friendly. We ate lunch at Society and enjoyed its unusual menu before the crowds hit. We checked into our King suite, strip view, and were not disappointed. Wynn spent three-quarters of a million dollars per room, and the decor showed it. The color pallette is white, cream, black and a touch of red. The beds were to die for, and the bathrooms were roomy and beautifully apppointed. Guests receive their choice of 2 free newspapers per day. Unlike the pink of the Wynn hallways, the Encore hallways are black, white, and red. Very striking. The pool area and spa are fabulous, but the European style pool is easily accesible and may be a problem for families with children or casino guests looking through the windows into the pool area. Not as private as the Wynn pool. Encore and Wynn guests can use either resort pool. There are several other high end dinner restaurants at the Encore, but only one casual dining area for breakfast or lunch. It was a very long wait to get into Society for lunch; otherwise you can trek a long way to the Terrace Point cafe at the Wynn. This was our only complaint, a lack of casual dining options on site. We ordered a pot of coffee and three muffins for breakfast from room service, and paid $33 for 3 mini muffins!! We hated to leave the Encore on Christmas Eve, and have found our new favorite resort in Las Vegas."
- Travel date: Fri 26th of December 2008
"We stayed at the new Encore hotel in Las Vegas right before Christmas 2008. We wanted to see what Steve Wynn had done differently this time. It is a smaller hotel, more of boutique hotel I guess. It had just opened the day before so we got the first look at it. Check in was quick and they print your name on your room card for a nice memento. The hallways were decorated with nice reds and unique, but gorgeous chandeliers. All of the rooms are suites and we paid a few extra bucks to make sure we had a view of the strip lit up at night.
The rooms are great, as you would expect a brand new place to be. They had big bathrooms and the main room was split in 2 sections. They have a couch and work desk on one side and the bed on the other. There is a 42 inch HD tv that swivels so you can watch it from either room. The view was amazing and the curtains are opened and closed automatically from the control on the night stand, as are the lights.
The casino is smaller, but nice. They have a few restaurants to choose from. There is a Sinatra themed Italian place, an Asian place with a gajillion dollar crystal dragon in it (incredible!), a steak place which looks over the pool, a couple of cafes, and a place we ate at called Switch. It has wonderful food and the walls and ceiling change every 20 minutes! Very cool. We ordered the seafood tower, which was huge and delicious! We also had the bananas foster which was great.
We had lunch at the Society Cafe, which had good filet mignon sliders (kind of an oxymoron huh?). The bars are nice and we like to play video poker so that was great having new machines. They DO NOT comp drinks at the bar like some other places, so check that first!!!
The Encore is connected to the Wynn so it is nice to be able to wander without having to go outside. Like the Wynn, it is nice being so close to the Fashion Show Mall.
Lastly, I would like to say I was very impressed with the people working at Encore. They have obviously been trained to be very helpful and friendly. Every single person we met was pleasant and exceptionally nice. I also asked the concierge for flowers to be put in the room as surprise. The next day he remembered my name as I was walking by! Nice touch!
Vegas is full of nice themed hotels. Encore is just wonderful and the decor is very relaxing. I would highly recommend this as a "getaway" from typical Las Vegas."
- Travel date: Thu 25th of December 2008