This article is part of our Trip Report – It’s Vegas Week at Middle Age Miles!
Everyone should stay at the Bellagio once, in a Fountain View room.
The Bellagio fountain show is beautiful and captivating. A variety of shows run every 30 minutes in the late afternoon and evening, and then every 15 minutes from 8:00 pm until midnight. It’s set to music, which you can tune in using the TV in your room. The lights of the Eiffel Tower and the rest of the Paris casino and the Strip make for a spectacular backdrop. And watching the shows one after another from the comfort of your Fountain View room? It’s an excellent experience – and as we say, one that everyone should enjoy once.
Beyond that, the Bellagio is a mega-casino hotel that’s nice enough, but not at the very top of our list of preferred Vegas hotels. So, stay at the Bellagio sometime, use our tips and tricks to score a Fountain View room, and enjoy the show!
Background Information About the Bellagio
The Bellagio originally opened in 1998, and at that time it was the new crown jewel of the Las Vegas Strip. It has 2 towers with almost 4,000 rooms total. It includes 14 restaurants, the iconic fountains, the gorgeous Chihuly Fiori di Como hand-blown glass flower artwork on the ceiling of the lobby, and a beautiful seasonally-decorated conservatory adjacent to the lobby.
To the extent the Bellagio wasn’t famous already because of the promotion surrounding its construction and opening, it became part of the American pop culture mainstream as the main setting of the popular 2001 movie, Ocean’s Eleven.
The Bellagio is operated by MGM Resorts and participates in the MLife loyalty program.
Booking and Rate
The Bellagio is marketed as one of the most glamorous casino hotels, and not surprisingly, room rates at the Bellagio are on the high end.
Philly and I stayed at the Bellagio for one night, checking in mid-afternoon on Sunday, December 16, and checking out very early on the morning of Monday, December 17 to catch our flight back to DFW. This was the last night of our end-of-semester trip to celebrate the recent 21st birthdays of some of the Middle Age Miles kids. You may recall from our earlier reviews that we hotel-hopped on this trip to help us score some great deals and get content for Middle Age Miles.
We booked a standard room at the Bellagio through the Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts (FHR) program. Our base room rate was $159, which became about $224 all-in, including the resort fee and taxes. I believe this is about the lowest room rate you’ll find at the Bellagio through FHR. Booking through FHR gave us a room upgrade subject to availability, a breakfast credit of up to $60 per night, and an on-property food & beverage credit of up to $100 per stay. This made for an outstanding deal.
A couple of notes about the booking are in order here:
- As of now (January 2019), the $100 food & beverage credit is no longer available as a benefit of using Amex FHR at the Bellagio. The food & beverage credit has been replaced by a $100 spa credit, which is far less useful to the vast majority of hotel guests. This is part of the myriad of issues with FHR at the present time, which we reported on at length in our recent article, Amex FHR Is a Hot Mess These Days.
- Fortunately for all of us, the Bellagio also participates in the Chase Luxury Hotels & Resorts Collection program (LHRC). By booking through Chase LHRC, we can still get a room upgrade if available, up to $60 per day in breakfast credit, and a $100 food & beverage credit per stay. (See our recent article, How to Use the Chase Luxury Hotels & Resorts Program to Score Great Deals in Vegas (and earn points & status too)!) Going forward, we definitely recommend using Chase LHRC to book stays at the Bellagio!
Also on this trip, we booked Middle Age Miles kids Katie Beth and Andrew into the Bellagio for a 4-night stay. (They didn’t hotel-hop with us because we made their reservations several weeks after ours; within that time the Delano had completely filled for one night and rates overall had increased throughout Vegas.) We made their bookings through a special promotion offered by MGM/MLife. Their base room rate was $164/night, which comes to $230/night all-in. And their promotional rate included a food & beverage credit of $240 that could be used at any MGM property on the Strip, which definitely helped offset the cost of their Vegas visit.
We were able to use 2 MGM Amex Offers when paying for Katie Beth and Andrew’s room, for an additional $100 in savings. One card in each of their names had an offer for $50 back after $250+ spend at an MGM Resorts property. At check-out, they split the payment to obtain the credit on both cards.
In addition, prior to the stay we enrolled Andrew in the MLife and World of Hyatt loyalty programs and registered him for a promotion then in effect where he would earn double Hyatt points during his MLife stay. (Along these lines, be sure to check out our article, Vegas Prep and Tips – Maximizing MLife and World of Hyatt Benefits.) Just during this stay, Andrew earned enough MLife points to advance to Pearl elite status, which we then matched to Hyatt Discoverist status. And he also earned more than 8,000 Hyatt points, enough for a free night at a Hyatt Category 1 or 2 hotel that he’s looking forward to using!
One failed experiment at the Bellagio was paying for part of our bills with a Chase Ink Preferred (CIP) card, in hopes of earning statement credit under the Visa SavingsEdge (VSE) program. Business cards registered with VSE earn 4% statement credit at many of the MGM Las Vegas properties, including the Aria, Mandalay Bay, the MGM Grand, and several others. The Bellagio is not specifically listed by VSE, but we thought we’d take a shot and see if we’d get 4% back. Unfortunately, we didn’t. But nothing was really lost by this experiment; we still earned 3x Chase Ultimate Rewards (UR) points under the Travel bonus category on the CIP card, which is best-in-class for general hotel spend.
The Bellagio has a good location near the middle of the Las Vegas Strip. Caesars Palace is immediately to the south, followed by the Aria, Cosmopolitan and Vdara. The Mirage is just to the north, and Paris is right across the street. If you’re looking to shop, the Via Bellagio shops are right there, and the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace are right next door.
Here is a map showing the location of the Bellagio with respect to other hotels and casinos along the Strip:
Arrival, Check-In and Service
We arrived at the Bellagio by taxi, around 2:15 pm on Sunday afternoon. The check-in line was quite lengthy, and it took us about 15 minutes to work our way up to the front of the line to check in.
Once we reached the front of the line, our check-in agent was excellent. She understood the FHR program and benefits, and she attached our MLife and World of Hyatt numbers to both rooms. And most importantly, she upgraded both of our FHR rooms to Fountain View rooms, ours on the 18th floor and Maria & Alicia’s on the 15th floor.
Here is the letter we received at check-in, outlining our Amex FHR benefits at the Bellagio (remember that the food & beverage credit is no longer offered as a FHR benefit, as of January 2019):
Note that the Amex FHR food & beverage credit was only available at restaurants located on-property at the Bellagio (and not at other MGM-affiliated properties). The same is true of Chase LHRC food & beverage credits. Fortunately, there are plenty of restaurant choices at the Bellagio – just make sure that the place where you want to use your credit is included!
Notes About Check-Out, Credits and Points Posting
In our experience, getting credits like those from FHR to apply correctly and getting points to post correctly is always a challenge with MGM/MLife stays.
Here, true to form, we had an issue with getting our FHR credits properly applied – although truthfully, we were pushing things a bit so this wasn’t a huge surprise.
To set up this story, understand that Philly & I left very early on Monday morning to catch a flight, so we wouldn’t have time to use our breakfast benefit. However, Katie Beth & Andrew were staying for an extra day, so we wanted them to use the Monday breakfast credit if we could make this work. As we left for the airport, I stopped by the front desk and had them add Andrew’s name to our room as a guest who could make charges to the room. Then when Andrew & Katie Beth ate breakfast later that morning, they simply charged it to our room. And finally, once we were back in Dallas after our flight, I called the Bellagio to let them know we were gone and ask them to check us out.
This seemed like a decent plan, but it didn’t work out correctly in the first instance. The Bellagio (a) charged us for the breakfast; and (b) charged us for an extra day resort fee + tax (about $44). Also, the Bellagio never emailed me a copy of the folio for our room. Thus, it took a couple of days for this situation to fully reveal itself. First, the Bellagio charges had to post, and second, I had to realize that the charge seemed too high.
Fortunately, when I called back in later that week, everything was resolved, and we received a credit back to our card for the overcharge.
In any event, please take our story as a solid reminder to make sure that you check your bills, your credits and your points during and after your stays in Las Vegas.
And a Couple of Notes on Service at the Bellagio
Maybe this was to be expected on the heels of our stays at the much smaller Delano and non-casino high-end Waldorf Astoria – but aside from our pleasant interaction with our check-in agent, we found our entire experience at the Bellagio to feel rather impersonal. We felt like we were just a cog being processed in a huge machine, as opposed to individual, valued guests. This started from the moment we walked in at the Bellagio to a crowded lobby and long check-in line, and it persisted throughout our stay.
This feeling was reinforced a few weeks later when we stayed at the Aria, which is another mega-casino hotel. Service at the front desk at the Aria was excellent, and service throughout the rest of the hotel was pleasant and personal. Our positive experience at the massive Aria hotel certainly reflected in hindsight on our impersonal experience at the Bellagio, to show us that it’s possible to be huge and still deliver good service with a personal touch.
That said, Katie Beth & Andrew did have one excellent experience with a maintenance engineer who came up to fix an issue with their room at the Bellagio. I wish I knew his name so I could give him proper kudos. But he took care of their problem, he was friendly, and he went out of his way to make our young-twenties kids feel important and well taken care of. To that unnamed maintenance engineer at the Bellagio, please accept our warmest thanks from Middle Age Miles.
We were assigned to Room 18-036, a Fountain View room on the 18th floor. This was a good-sized 510-square-foot room that had plenty of space. And most importantly, it had a terrific view of the Bellagio fountains out of its windows!
The room itself was plenty nice, well-furnished with a dark wood and blue-and-white colored theme reminiscent of Italy. When you entered the room, the bathroom was immediately on the left. Then the room opened up into the main area with the bed to the left, followed by two large sitting chairs with a table in between. The fountain-view windows were straight ahead. Along the right wall were the wall-mounted TV situated above a counter with drawers and the mini-bar below, then a mirror-fronted closet, and finally a frosted-glass work desk with chair closest to the windows.
A few notes on the features of the room:
- Our bed was comfortable
- Wi-Fi seemed good and easy to connect to, although we didn’t use it much
- I did not notice a coffee maker in the room. Either there isn’t one, or it was hidden such that we didn’t come across it. We don’t make coffee in our hotel rooms, but I know this is important to many people.
- There is a potential issue with going to sleep in the room. The fountain show generates lots of light and a good bit of noise including some loud booms. Because the show runs every 15 minutes at night, this could definitely keep people awake for a long time. Even if you close the blackout curtains to shut out the lights, you’d still hear the booms of the fountains. At least the show stops at midnight so it wouldn’t be a problem at all if you stay up that late. I actually fell asleep between shows before midnight, but I’d be willing to be that not everyone can.
- Unlike the other hotels we reviewed in this Vegas Trip Report (Aria, Delano, Waldorf Astoria), the bathroom has only a single sink.
- Otherwise, the bathroom was good-sized and nice, with a tub, and a separate nice-sized shower stall with good hot water and pressure; however, the potty was in the main bathroom area and was not separate or enclosed.
- Toiletries were private-branded “Lanovera” and they were advertised as being “infused with aloe vera and lanolin.” They were definitely fine for me.
Overall, our room at the Bellagio was perfectly fine – but it wasn’t as nice as the other 3 Vegas hotel rooms we’ve reviewed at the Aria, Delano, and Waldorf Astoria. Given that the Bellagio is generally a higher price point than the Delano, about the same as the Aria, and equal to or perhaps slightly lower than the Waldorf Astoria, I’d say that overall, those other properties present a better value proposition for the room (save for the experiencing the fountain view once!).
Here’s a tour of the room in pictures:
And finally, the highlight of the room was the fountain show at night. It was very cool to be able to tune the TV to the special channel for the fountain show music and watch the show from above, in the comfort of our room. There were multiple shows, each with different music, so you could watch several in a row without seeing or hearing the same thing twice. The whole show is very impressive, fascinating, captivating, and very, very cool.
Here are a few pictures from our room of the fountain show at night:
Lobby and Common Areas
The Bellagio’s lobby and common areas are beautiful, but they seem to be perpetually crowded (except at 5:30 am), which diminishes the enjoyment a bit.
Definitely don’t forget to look up and enjoy the Chihuly Fiori di Como hand-blown ceiling art, consisting of more than 2,000 individual pieces.
The Conservatory and indoor botanical garden, adjacent to the lobby, was also beautifully decorated. Here’s our crew when we visited in December, with all of the holiday decorations:
And when Philly and I returned to Vegas in January, the room was entirely redecorated, this time for Chinese New Year, celebrating the Year of the Pig!
As we mentioned earlier, the Bellagio has 14 restaurants. However, we were only able to sample two (we didn’t even get to have breakfast since we had to leave so early to catch our flight, although Katie Beth & Andrew reported that it was very good):
Lago by Julian Serrano – Lago is a dressy-casual Italian restaurant, located near the front of the casino area. Plates were served tapas-style, and we ordered a large variety. Our favorites were the cheese plate and the “filettino” beef tenderloin. Some of us liked drinking a little limoncello at the end of our meal, but not everyone loved it.
We booked ahead of time through the main MGM phone concierge service and let them know that we had some birthdays in our group. The phone concierge was nice enough to ask and arrange for us to have a table by the window so we could watch the fountain show while we ate. This made for a very nice addition to a good meal, and I highly recommend calling ahead and asking for a table on or near the windows.
In addition, the restaurant staff was very kind to deliver our desserts with Happy Birthday decorations, to help our birthday kids feel very special.
Snacks – Yes, there is a small quick-eats place in the Bellagio called “Snacks.” We stopped for, you guessed it, late-afternoon snacks. Snacks had a variety of things, including burgers, hot dogs, pizza and wings. It was a little pricey, but the food was solid and it hit the spot. Snacks is located toward the north end of the casino, near the Race & Sports Book.
Other Features of the Bellagio
Because our stay at the Bellagio was so short, we barely scratched the surface of what it had to offer. We didn’t get to use the fitness facilities, we didn’t get to spend time in the Race & Sports book, we certainly didn’t get to visit the Hyde night club, and as we mentioned, we only sampled one restaurant and one quick-eats place.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our review of the Bellagio Las Vegas. Certainly the highlight for us was getting to stay in a Fountain View room and enjoy the fountain show several times throughout the evening, both from our dinner table at Lago and from the comfort of our own hotel room. We highly recommend staying at the Bellagio in a Fountain View room once for this terrific experience.
Beyond that, though, we’d say that the Bellagio is fine, but we find more value and a better, more personal stay at some other Las Vegas properties, like the Aria, Delano, and Waldorf Astoria that we’ve previously reviewed.
We did get a great deal at the Bellagio using a few tricks, and we highly recommend that you use Chase LHRC rates or MGM/MLife promotional rates if you’re planning to stay at the Bellagio.
What are your thoughts on the Bellagio Las Vegas and your experiences there? Please share with us and other Middle Age Miles readers in the Comments!
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