So You’re Looking for a Little R&R?

This is a little departure from the usual political fare on this site, but for me, it’s about getting it right.  One can find many places that will offer you a little time to get away, and maybe, if you’re a bit like me, a weekend in Las Vegas makes for a nice break.  I had a business conference to attend during the week, but I decided also to take a few days break in Las Vegas afterward.  There are many very nice resorts in Vegas, and nearly all have their virtues.  Location, budget, and what you’re after are all considerations in choosing a destination.  Nightlife, accommodations, and atmosphere can contribute mightily to whether you finish your break feeling refreshed.  I try to stay away from doing reviews, because this is not a commercial website inasmuch as it is supported solely by me, and I’m nobody’s ad-man or patsy, but in this case,  I’m going to make an exception because of one of my firmly-held beliefs demands that I give full credit where and when it’s due, and having completed my weekend as refreshed as I’m apt to be, I think justice demands it.

You see, all too often, when we have had a bad experience, we’ve gotten lousy service, or something we’ve experienced at an establishment has left us in a foul mood, we don’t have any problem seeking out a manager and giving them the full measure of our wrath, but conversely, when we have had a good time, and when the service had been spectacular, we often don’t bother letting anybody know unless it’s on a customer comment card we can fill out and drop off on the way out the door.  I believe that’s a mistake, because just as we want to be sure to let folks know when they need to pick up their game to keep us as customers, or they’ve failed so miserably as to have lost us for good, we also really ought to take the time to tell people when they have treated us right.

Business takes me to Las Vegas on a semi-regular basis, as many of the big conferences and conventions in my field happen there annually.  It was business that brought me to Las Vegas for the first time, and it was the primary reason for my most recent trip.  Gambling a little has earned me a few comps, and I had some offers from some of the resorts in the MGM family through their Mlife rewards program, so I decided I’d use one after business had concluded. I had a number of choices, but I decided to stay where I’ve stayed twice before, the place that claims “We’re All VIPs,” and so it was that I checked in again at the Monte Carlo Resort and Casino.

The Monte Carlo isn’t nearly the newest resort on the Vegas strip, but that’s just fine by me.  Opened in 1996, the Monte Carlo has aged well, in part due to good maintenance generally, and even now, the facade on the strip is being updated as part of a larger project by MGM Resorts International that will include substantial changes to both the Monte Carlo and the New York-New York.  Even with the refacing going on, inside the casino and the resort, one would hardly know there was any sort of work underway because they seem to be taking great care to ensure that the ongoing work won’t hamper the good times inside, particularly where noise is concerned.  The noisiest thing that happens in the Monte Carlo occurs daily as the Blue Man Group procession marches though the casino in preparation for their 7pm show, offering a small preview of what awaits show-goers.  It’s good fun, people happily clear a path, and the whole spectacle of it is a nice albeit percussive diversion. (Several Youtube videos are available here.)

Some enjoy the rooms, the pool, or the shopping in the mall they call “Street of Dreams” that also serves to connect through to the Aria, as well as the tram station, serving Crystals and Bellagio.  This interconnected aspect of the Monte Carlo is one of the reasons it makes for a great location, and I think the interconnection is the driving reason for the updates to the face of it along with that of the New York-New York.  Essentially, the ability to move among MGM properties is improving, but even now,  it’s only a short walk on the strip between the two as it is, and I don’t mind, although temperatures did soar above 110°F on this most recent trip.  Speaking of heat, if you like relaxing beside a pool, the Monte Carlo will accommodate you quite nicely.  Being a guy who already has some skin issues due to the “farmer’s tan” aspect of work on my farm, I try to stay out of the sun when I can, but you can definitely find a refreshing environment poolside if that’s your thing.  The Monte Carlo offers a number of dining possibilities, including the buffet, and a food court with a number of your favorite fast-food outlets, along with some finer dining if you choose.

I stayed at the Monte Carlo because it’s a great place to relax, and get in a little gambling.  I’m certainly no high roller, but what keeps me coming back to the Monte Carlo’s casino is the service.  I was checked-in within two minutes, and checked out within one.  The environment is warm and pleasant.  The staff is very helpful, and for those of you who are interested in learning how to play craps, they even have a lesson available on the subject.  What impresses me most is the speed and reliability of the wait staff.  Almost without exception, if you sit down at a slot machine, or a table game, somebody is going to be along in very short order to ask you if you’d like a beverage.  In my favorite section of the casino, between the hotel lobby and the table games, I’ve found the air conditioning is particularly efficient even with the high temperatures outside, and the service is relentlessly spectacular.  The staff there does an extraordinary job even when the place is packed, one server  remembering my particular choice of beverages from my last visit.

That’s amazing, but some would contend that it owes simply to the fact that I’m not a deadbeat on tips.  On the other hand, with the tens or hundreds of thousands of faces that must have passed through in the intervening time, I know that there must be a little more to it than that.  I think it’s good staffing, and great staff.  I know the folks in my audience aren’t of the frame of mind that expects something for nothing, but you’d be shocked at how many people really are.  It’s a bit flabbergasting to watch somebody hit a decent payoff on a machine and then take the drink from the hand of the server without so much as a simple”thank you,” never mind a gratuity for the hustling that goes on to make that service as fast and friendly as it seems always to be at the Monte Carlo.  Backing off my soapbox, I’ll simply say that it’s a pet peeve of mine to see hard-working people stiffed on the tips their exertions deserve, but the ladies at the Monte Carlo manage to soldier on with a smile despite the less-than-generous temperaments of a few of of their guests.  One server was so fast and efficient even during a busy weekend that it seemed at times there must have been two of her, and yet even at such a pace, she never failed to be warm and engaging.

I don’t get or take many days off from my hectic work schedule, so for me, efficient service is important. I’m prone to being called away from recreation because in systems as complex as the ones with which I contend, something is always in need of some attention.  It’s nice to know that when the work is complete, and I am able to return to my recreation time, with this kind of service, I can make the most of it, which has become all the more important to me of late.  I will go back to the Monte Carlo if life somehow finds me again in Las Vegas.  It’s not the newest resort on the Vegas strip, but the consistently fantastic service I have experienced there, along with very reasonable nightly rates means the Monte Carlo is a superior value.  If you want to relax and have a good time while playing the slots or table games, its top-notch service staff will likely bring you back.  After all, their claim is that “we’re all VIPs”, and at the Monte Carlo, they seem actually to mean it.

If you’re looking for a little rest and relaxation mixed with some gaming in Las Vegas, with overall superior service that amounts to pampering, the Monte Carlo remains the best bet.



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5 Responses to So You’re Looking for a Little R&R?

  1. the unit says:

    Glad you’re refreshed. And glad you’re still around. :)

  2. CC says:

    Can’t wait to hear what your thoughts are on Snowden?

  3. Guest says:

    Thank you for the review, I will keep it for next time we go to Vegas. Last time we were there we stayed in the Hilton- considering that it was a spur of the moment trip – I did not think the Hiltons was a bad deal. We decided next time to try Paris Las Vegas – we spent some time there and was impressed – on the strip and reasonable price.

    You just can’t go by internet reviews – We have learnt not to book accommodation in advance, we go to our destination – look around and then decide. Luckily for us, we always end up finding excellent accommodation, reasonable price and never had to sacrifice quality.

    In Mauritius we had a problem, they did not want to do business with US citizens, finally we found a place at the east coast that was willing to do business with us – it ended up being one of the greatest and best places on the island. My advice, PRAY and ask the Lord’s favor, when you travel always!