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flashback: mirage, vegas, labor day weekend 2001

2004-05-16 - 12:34 p.m.

view from mirage casino, vegas
all photos © 2004 by Elaine Radford and Roger Williams

Note: Another in a series of reviews originally published on my Rockin' High Roller website, this review is based on our RFB junket over Labor Day weekend in September 2001. We stacked our RFBs so that when we checked out of Treasure Island, we rolled our suitcases across to the Mirage next door for a couple extra days of VIP pampering. Playing blackjack may be a bore, but I have to admit that it had its benefits.

white tiger exhibit at mirage, vegas

That white tiger at the entrance to the Mirage in Las Vegas isn't just a mascot. It's an attitude. Customer service is just not a priority at the Mirage. My favorite quote from a Mirage host: "He hung up? Why did he hang up? He was only on hold for 20 minutes!"

mirage hotel facade, las vegas

I promise you folks a tour of one of the "lettered" penthouse suites in a few weeks. (It will be longer than that, as I seem to have misplaced my "lettered" suites photographs in the Tropical Storm Bill take-down of my home office.) Unfortunately, when I stayed there, I didn't have my digital camera. Another casino gave me a regular 35mm camera, and I got some pretty decent pictures, but they've got to be scanned. Until then, let's look at a smaller suite, one that doesn't require a special key for the elevator.

bedroom of mirage suite

The bedroom had one of those pop-up TVs, which is always interesting. There was also another TV in the living room. There were 4 telephones, including one by each toilet. Yes, there were the usual "his" and "her" bathrooms, which were spacious and well-appointed, but...the hot tub is only half the size of the one at Treasure Island. Boo!

if it sits beside a mirror, the hot tub looks bigger supposedly

Here's a peek at the small kitchenette area:

kitchenette at mirage

Here's the living room:

mirage suite living room

OK, so we've established that you're unlikely to develop claustrophobia in a suite at the Mirage (although their standard guest rooms are another matter entirely). Besides its 15 minutes of fame in Chevy Chase's Las Vegas Vacation, its volcano that pops off regularly between twilight and midnight, and the notorious Sigfried and Roy, self-proclaimed magicians of the millenium, Mirage is known for its fine pool area and its excellent restaurants. A taster's dinner for two at Renoir with wine and perhaps before-dinner cocktail and after-dinner drink shouldn't set your host back more than $350, and, hey, I never really appreciated Renoir's work until I viewed it through a drunken impressionistic haze. Supposedly that's $10 million worth of Renoirs in there, in case you digest better in the presence of rare art objects.

So what's not to like? Attitude, people. Mirage needs to lose the attitude. As I've already hinted, getting a host on the phone can be a major operation. Once, it took me an hour to check out because even the hotel staff couldn't get a host on the phone to approve my room charges. But don't get the idea that it's only the hosts who are goofing off on the job. In the above suite, the housekeeper walked off in the middle of cleaning the bathroom mumbling something about lunch and was never seen again.

But, hey, the gift basket from the host was a nice touch...even though I still don't know who he is, 'cuz he ain't taking calls.

mirage gift basket from the ghost host

UN-DATED UPDATE: Since I wrote this page, Mirage has instituted a major crackdown on card counters and anyone else who has been winning through good luck or simple observation at their games. What a pitiful display of bad sportsmanship! I still contend that, until their attitude changes, they are never going to regain the ground they have lost over the years to the newer resorts.

Final Note: In a tragic turn of events, Roy was severely injured by one of his beloved tigers during a show, and the Mirage has cancelled all future performances. I hear that Roy is slowly recovering, and I wish him a full recovery. We're told his first thought was for the tiger and to insist that it not be destroyed; his wish was honored.

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