Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Mirage Review: Part 2: Rooms!

Welcome to part two of my review on the Mirage in 2008. This part will be on the rooms, and part three will be on views. I'll mainly elaborate on just the room features for this part of the review.

The Mirage 2008 series:

Mirage Part 1: Public Spaces
Mirage Cravings Buffet (Photo and Review)
Mirage Cravings Buffet (Videos)

After the short ride on the elevator, we went to our rooms. The Mirage has three wings, and so you will need to look at the signs near the above to see where your room will be. In the center of each level, there is a round area, with some tables and chairs, similar to this photo:

A noticeable pattern will pop up to you as you walk down the hallways. There are lots of "cherry blossom" patterns; it's not only on the doors, but also the carpet! It feels very bold especially with the red.

Room keys are fitted so that you put it in and out. Many hotels use this type of system, and the handles won't have a feeling to them (swing as wished) when the key is not allowed for entry. However, after you are allowed entry, there is a noticeable heft to the handle. Smart! Some cars have systems like this as well (Mercedes Benz Comand for example; the dial just moves left and right when off, but when on each movement you will feel a drag to it).

Our rooms were up on the 7th floor, and we were near the end of the hallway. If you can, get a room that is ODD numbered and last 2 digits are 0-45 if you want a strip view (this is just approximate; ask the check in person and they will know better! We had ones that were near the end of the hallway, and both were views of the strip as well as the casino. You'll see ti, Palazzo, Wynn, Encore, Harrahs, and Venetian, as well as Trump. It's a great view and you'll hear the volcano! Which can also mean a distraction...

Our sets of rooms were also themed as "Mulberry" for the 2 queen room, and "Ruby" for the king room. There's also 2 other types of rooms which we didn't get, but I do know that every theme had their own personality; VERY VERY different from each other. Even the carpeting and marble is different when just looking at both of our rooms.

Do you see the differences?
King room is the bottom photo, queen room is on the top. Personally I like the queen room better as the marble looks better and the carpet doesn't look as wacky. Whenever I entered the king room I thought I was like in a wacky, bold hotel. The mulberry design is more refined for my taste.

Each theme also brings in different photos and bedding sets as you can see. The "Ruby" room had more flowers and nature tones as well as lots of reds, while mulberry had lots of circular/stripes drawings and purple all over.

Those are two photos of the Mulberry room. This circle theme and stripe theme is basically all over in the queen room. And the purple is not just on the photos, but also on the headboards of the beds as well as the bedding set.

This is the King room, and notice the blind. Big, bold red stripe and thick white. Also, there is the sitting area which is a couch that is very fat (probably could sit 2 kids at least).

And here is the queen room! Notice the WAY different blind. This is translucent, and then in the back of the blind is a blackout blind which is thick like what the king room's color blind looked like. No sitting area in the queen room, but there are 2 chairs, which the king room also has.

Impressions, you ask?

The first impression we had for the rooms were DARK. The lights were dim, and you had to wait for the lights to get brighter. I would have taken a photo from the door, but the lights were just WAY too dim.

Second thought? Wow, this room is small! You can't walk further down the room, and the space is used OKAY. The bathroom could have been bigger, but that is what they did for the "Tower Deluxe". These regular rooms would have one big marble area where it is just space! They should have made the bathrooms bigger, as they are pretty small (no access to bathtub unless the door is closed! Space though otherwise is used pretty efficiently, and there is enough space to move around freely. Remember, regular rooms are only about 400 or so square feet.

The Bathroom:

Very modern here too! Pretty much ALMOST everything has been renovated, except for showerhead and shower area. Faucets and everything else has been renovated too. It's small though; but bigger than say Hyatt Regency Boston. Much smaller though compared to MGM Grand.

As you can see, lots of marble is used, and the big mirror has a lighted border which is nice for some light.

The faucets in the rooms pretty much look like the ones above. Slightly curved which is nice. I like this design- it's modern, simple, and clean.

There's even this mirror too which also lights up on the sides. It's attached to the wall as you can see.
Even the tissue boxes and the glassware is themed with the modern feeling in mind. Bonus points for the same style of glasses in the entire room. All the other types of glasses have this circle pattern on it.Many hotels have this, and so does the Mirage. A curved shower rod!

But, AH HA! Did they completely renovate the bathroom? Answer is NO. Look at that faucet for the tub. That doesn't match with the decor! The showerhead was also old, and had green stuff (calcium etc...?) on it, which happens when showerheads get used for several years. However, the pressure from the showerhead was still strong and functioning. Toiletries:

I personally liked these toiletries. They are made by Gilchrist and Soames, which is a pretty good company in my opinion. They make toiletries for hotels like the Ritz (in London, which is a very expensive and beautiful place!). In the past, Mandalay Bay used their "spa therapy" series (just renamed as "l'oceano") as well before the transition of changing the theme. Mirage was smart enough to also have full sized bottles for sale, which cost about 13+ for one bottle. So...this is not cheap!

The Aqua Lime toiletries had a scent that I remember from somewhere, and each of the items were designed with something in mind. Do you see it? The liquids and one of the soaps are all circular (matches the GLASS!!!), and the oatmeal soap is curved which conforms to your hands. Plus the oatmeal adds some scratchiness as well, which one doesn't usually see in soaps. Mirage somehow likes oatmeal soaps. Our past stay from about 6 years ago also had lots of oatmeal soap!

And right next to the bathroom is this gray colored area. In fact, the area with this and the bathroom are all one theme. I find this unusual, as the inside of the rooms have only the wood and glass tone of this area, and not the silver and grey. Since those colors are so robust (mulberry and ruby), this area kind of feels out of place. But if I were the designer I would like everything to be the same :).
And this is how the "grey" area looks when looking from the bed. See the unefficient use of space there? That closet makes the bathroom much smaller, but in the tower deluxe rooms the wall for the bathroom is made to go near to the end of the width of the closet (so it is much bigger). Also notice the different looks; the silver color suddenly becomes this pop of color (purple, et cetera).

Next most interesting part of the room? This built in TV/table area. Both rooms have this abeit in different styles- the headboard for the TV in the Queen room was of a multicolored color, while the King room had a red backboard.
The minibar, refreshment area, storage, and a table with 2 chairs are also located here. They put a wavy feel to this area, and they curved the built in too! Mainly they curved it so the table could be put. As you can see, the wood is light color with some blue glass (matches a cabinet near the front).

Both TV's are Philips 42 inches LCD TV and they have DirecTV on them. You can even see Asian channels on the TV too, which is good for the people who like to watch those channels.

And during the day with the window open, this area looks like this:
(See the wavy pattern and the table?) (Pillow put there on purpose)

There is lot of connectivity in this room. Power ports and connections to the TV are made accessible by this thing up above. This is very new and very interesting; not many hotels have these things yet!

Like many of the minibars in Las Vegas, this minibar has a weight sensor which will detect if you put things into it and take things out for it. We didn't use it, but if you aren't careful, you might not close this properly. Bad design flaw I guess.
(see the multicolored headboard???)

They also have 4 cups as well, but this is where cleaniness is not so great. See where the cups are on? (red paper) The bottom of it was DIRTY. These should be spotless, not dirty! Even MGM has clean paper holders for these cups. This was not just disapointing, but disgusting. Cups though were clean.

Another problem here? The plastic bag for the ice doesn't even fit. It's too narrow and tall. When one goes to the ice machine, putting ice in is a challenge. Also, you have to fill the ice bucket up yourself (not bad, but shows that this isn't a five star place, nor do they care...).

Nightstands are also themed with the glass and wood feel. For both rooms, the nightstands had a writing pad and pen, telephone, iHome, and a sign that said they would not clean linens during your stay unless you ask them to. The king bed has two nightstands, but in the queen room, there is only just one.

They are smart enough to put both the telephone and the writing pad together :). As usual. But there isn't a pad next to the other telephone at the table (for the queen room at least). We also noticed that after we finished using one pad, they didn't replace it, which is a sign of so-so service.

The writing pad is normal, but there is again the wave theme and Mirage logo on it. It's weird, as outside it says "The Mirage", but then everything inside just says "Mirage". See the old and new? They should really fix the sign up there.

Pen is made by BIC, and MGM Mirage hotels typically use this style of pen which will have a clear outside. They used to use a yellowish plastic but now they use this.

The iHome was your usual iHome; it had an alarm, radio, and speakers, like what you would expect. However, I think they did do something special to it for the stand area. Typical iHomes (at least the one we have) have special plastic things for each type of iPod. Here, the plastic thing moves front and back to accomdate pretty much any iPod. However, it was DISGUSTING as they had never wiped this area before, and when we moved the plastic thing back we found tons of dust. Again, not so careful housekeeping. Many say ti has good housekeeping; why not here? (There's other oversights here too which I will talk later).

And lastly, lets move onto the beds and linens as well as lastly the window.

(bedside)Closeup of the pillow and the picture.

For each bed, four pillows come with it, which is a little bit different than some hotels who just give two. Down blankets and pillows are used (Pacific Coast I think), and then a throw and rectangular pillow are put on top. This though is where things can get spotty. We put the pillows next to the TV after the first night, and the housekeeping person didn't put them back at all, nor store them.

For the matress itself, they use the Sealy Posturpedic bed which for the queen bed was supportive and also cushy. However, somehow the king bed felt a little bit more "mushy" and not as comfy. We all had mixed views on it, but if you like a soft but not way too soft bed this would be a good place.

And the headboard? Wood, and plastic. The purple part was vinyl.

Only great negative? Cleanliness. The king bed had BLOOD stains on it! And the microfleece throw for the king bed was dusty. I know the housekeeper would have seen it, but he/she didn't care at all.

I found the Mirage lacking in cleanliness. One party member said the linens weren't really clean, and plus those linens were pretty dirty with lots of spots and stains. It's what happens when a hotel uses a white linen!

It wasn't just the bed though. In the Mulberry Queen room, the lampshade (the inside part, not outside) for the table had red liquid stains on it. And not only that, the window had lipstick on it. EWW! And again, the housekeeper didn't care.

And on the windows, due to the fact it can open and close, there was some condensation, and in the morning the window area was wet, even on the inside. That could hurt the drapery :(, and you would have to be careful if you didn't want to get wet. Obviously though, it was the winter and it was a cold day.

The Verdict???

For only 79 dollars a night and 89 for the next, this was a VERY good deal. After all, many hotels in other parts of the US and the world charge more for things like this. You're getting a room that can be better than most hotels 189 dollar rooms (Hyatt). The decor is pretty modern, but there are some old parts too, and there are lots of tech and well laid out design in the room. However, there are some cons:

For one, you may consider noise to be a factor. Planes will fly over the Mirage (as well as the other nearby hotels) as one of their routes to land/depart the airport, which for some people can be distracting, although it does pretty much stop around 10. In addition, the volcano might be annoying to some as the noise is loud (you'll hear deep booms when the volcano is on).

Cleanliness in the Mirage is really bad at least for our experience. The linen and towel problems were not acceptable, especially for even a four star hotel. I wouldn't be that strict if it were a 2 or 3 star, but this was 4. The lampshade and the windows were also a problem; I've never seen lipstick ever on a window before!

So, basically it is just the housekeeping which made my visit not as great. Otherwise, it was a very good deal and a very good stay overall!


Novy said...

after years and years of staying at TI and being witness to its deteriorating service we were seriously considering staying here. after reading your comprehensive review, not so much. i was so grossed out. i'm sorr to hear you came across that. i hope you made mention of it to mgmnt.

EatTravelEat said...

Things seems to have changed with the housekeeping now from what I have heard. Or maybe it's because I looked very carefully! I didn't mention it directly to management but maybe I might. I usually let the hotels themselves find me, with the exception of the Palazzo which asked me to take a survey when I arrived back home- and so I linked them to the blog. Nothing happened though!

I thought TI was still very good. Many say their housekeeping is good and the rooms don't look bad either. Almost wanted to stay there- they had a great deal when we found it but it was already within 48 hours of our visit so we couldn't cancel.