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Flush Me Las Vegas
By Michael Wallace

The Bellagio is known as one of the premier first class resorts in Las Vegas. Most would agree, in fact, most do agree according to local surveys by the local rags, from Best Las Vegas Hotel to Best Las Vegas Lounge, the Bellagio often strikes a positive chord. 

The Bellagio is now owned by the MGM-Mirage corporation, but seems relatively unchanged to the untrained eye. Service standards have remained relatively unchanged, however on a few recent occasions at the Bellagio since the change in power, the public restroom experience had been dumped on by bean counters.  The sinks spit out cool water, and upon previous outings to the Bellagio before the closing of the sale to MGM, the water had always flowed very warm. That's when I decided to take a more in-depth look at the hotel's public restrooms. As a matter of fact, I went to each one of the Bellagio's restrooms and tested out the faucets throughout the night, and sure enough, DAMN COLD. 

Then I took a look at the mirrors. Mirrors are another factor I enjoy testing in a restroom, due to the testing I performed at the Golden Nugget a few years ago, also now an MGM-Mirage property, formerly of the Steve Wynn saga.  The mirrors at the Bellagio had spots or markings, and to give it a real test, I put my fingerprint in a location for further review a couple hours later. Sure enough, the bean counters were at it again with decreasing the standards (read labor) to be upheld at the public restrooms.  My fingerprint was in fact  there a couple hours later. 

Finally, a test that the bathroom attendant chose for me was to mop around my feet for general maintenance, not to wipe up a spill. One of the number one service standards in my opinion is whether or not the service staff can keep the facility clean without interfering with the guest or customer.  Let me be clear.  Interfering means within 3-4 feet of a person in a restroom facility, and 5-6 feet in any other hotel area except a restaurant.

Why the restrooms you say? The restroom test is reserved only for high-end resorts.  These are the resorts that pride themselves on being able to charge upwards of $250 per night.  These are the resorts that are supposed to maintain a specific standard that they decided to market. This is one area of the Bellagio resort that should be at its best because every casino and hotel executive knows that almost everyone entering the hotel whether for an hour or for a few days, is most likely to use the public restroom at least once, and that may be that one chance to leave a first impression.

Check rates at Bellagio

Downtown Las Vegas travel Bliss
by The Cadillac of Las Vegas

Americans often say that Las Vegas has no culture.  The rest of the world often says America has no culture. Those of us who appreciate the country we live can empathize with what others say, as can those of us who truly understand what people say about Las Vegas. But we know different. First, define culture for yourself.  Second, define it how you think others would define culture. Third, look it up in the dictionary. And when you've done all that, go to Downtown Las Vegas.

Go to Downtown Las Vegas Nevada, and see what type of culture you can find for yourself. True, Downtown has no museums, per say. True, no urban or arts center, per say.

Per say, I call Binions Horseshoe a museum?  Per say, I call Fremont street an arts center? Will you go downtown now?  Will you immerse yourself in what most people are afraid to even sniff?

Let me point out some specific must see's and do's if you have the courage.

    1. Take a rental car and drive north up Las Vegas Boulevard past the Stratosphere. You can then either take 4th Street, Main Street, or stay on the Strip, which veers right.

    2. Park your car at Main Street Station or the Golden Nugget, both free with validation.

    3. Walk around, and for safety sake, please stay on Main Street and Fremont Street, and any other well lit street off of Fremont.

    4. Gamble at Binion's Horseshoe

    5. Drink at the Golden Nugget

    6. Eat at the Golden Gate

    7. Gamble at one of the other casinos on Fremont

    8. Dine at Hugo's Cellar

    9. Walk up and down Fremont Street and imagine the light dome is not there. Stop and really look.

    10. Talk to some street performers, retail workers and hotel staff

Check out Downtown Hotels

Bar None)
By The Cadillac of Las Vegas

The Fontana Bar and Lounge at the Bellagio is the only lounge in Las Vegas where there may be a wait in line to be seated. Heck, it is the only lounge that requires a hostess staff of at least 2.  Centrally located within the casino, Fontana is a plush, dark lounge with candled table lamps, big, comfortable chairs, and a priceless view of the fountains at the front of Bellagio.

Even though some Las Vegas nights there may be a line at Fontana to see the fountains and enjoy the live entertainment, admission is gratis.  Drinks are generous, and the service staff is attentive most of the time. The Bellagio hotel's management continually under-staff's the Fontana, but the servers work extra hard to make up for the seemingly slower service. Having been to Fontana about a dozen times, I am confident that this may be the best place to take a date in Las Vegas.

Recently the Jimmy Hopper crew and Dian Diaz's group alternate sets throughout the night and belt out crowd-pleasing cover tunes as well as original numbers. They also take ample breaks to allow the crowd to go outside on the veranda and enjoy the Bellagio Las Vegas hotel's fountain show. By the way, if you haven't taken time to watch the fountain show, the water is choreographed to music about 2-3 times per hour.

So when travel to Las Vegas is in your future, be sure and visit the Fontana Bar to enjoy gourmet imported cheeses, fine cocktails, and live Las Vegas entertainment.

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