Why The Mirage?
In the weeks leading up to our recent Las Vegas adventure, I was hit with this question many times but in two opposing contexts. Most were curious from a general knowledge standpoint - assuming that given my typically, shall I say, selective taste in hotels, there must be a good reason why The Mirage made the cut. On the other hand, the Las Vegas pros asked the question from a confused, even disappointed, point of view - what they really meant was "Of all the places in Vegas, you're staying at The-said-good-bye-to-its-prime-in-1991 Mirage?"
Despite the misgivings from the Vegas pros, who I knew had a very valid point, I never once doubted my reasons for choosing The Mirage. For starters, Las Vegas can sort of be an intimidating place - even for a somewhat seasoned traveler like yours truly. The Mirage was comfortable, MJ and I had stayed there on our last visit, and there is something to be said for a little familiarity in a big, in your face, destination like Las Vegas. I also knew that The Mirage put us within a short walk of the resorts where we'd be burning most of our cash - Wynn, Bellagio, Venetian, and Cosmopolitan - but at a fraction of the price.
The real question was would these reasons be enough to solidify The Mirage as our go-to Vegas resort, or would we finally succumb to the flashier, newer, and more expensive counterparts down the street.
By Vegas standards, the first impression of The Mirage is sort of a dud. There's no Chihuly glass or Sistine Chapel-esqe frescoes on the ceiling - just a huge fish tank behind the front desk and a glass atrium lobby filled with lush foliage. It all feels very 1980's. I'm normally a fan of atrium style lobbies, but this one is an overcrowded human traffic jam between the hours of 7am and 4am. Plus, it's not a "sit back and stay a while" kind of spot as much as a "follow your ears and the smell of stale tobacco into the casino" which lay just on the other side.
As with our last visit to The Mirage, we reserved a Tower King room, all of which are located on the 24th and 25th floors of the resort. These rooms even share an elevator bank with those dedicated to suites, so you can feel like a Vegas big shot even if you're really just going to a glorified standard room. Because, for lack of a better description, that's exactly what the Tower rooms are. The main added amenities are a jacuzzi tub and double sinks in the bathroom, otherwise there isn't much to set the Tower rooms apart from a standard...except the view.
When we stayed at The Mirage in 2011, the resort was about 18 months off a complete renovation of its guestrooms. Fast forward two more years, and it seemed turn-and-burn Las Vegas had taken its toll on our room. The desktop power strip was completely dislodged from its mount, the door lock took the touch of a master safe cracker to get the key to work, and the room didn't appear to have been dusted since Bush 41 was President. But the bed? Yeah, it was like a giant ball of cotton and we both slept like a rock all four nights.
The general wear and tear wasn't just confined to our guestroom. Most notably, the hallway was so beat up it resembled something out of 1945 Stalingrad and the carpet throughout the casino is in desperate need of changing. The biggest, yet also the smallest, sign that things were on the decline at The Mirage had to be the handprints above the elevator doors which were present throughout our entire stay. The idea that the numerous staff members I shared an elevator with either didn't notice them, or didn't take the initiative to notify someone, was enough to drive this former hotel manager bat-you-know-what-crazy.
Alright, so maybe I've been a little hard on The Mirage until now. I mean, yes, all of the criticism is deserved, but that doesn't mean our stay was without a few bright spots. For starters, we paid about 30% less than a similar quality room at the Bellagio or Wynn - savings I was more than happy to reallocate to the roulette table. Also, since we took in a performance of The Beatles Love by Cirque du Soleil, it was nice being able to simply ride the elevator back to the room as opposed to doing battle with the madhouse out on The Strip. Oh, and speaking of roulette, I had my best luck in The Mirage, which is always good for glossing over some of the pitfalls.
But was it enough to keep The Mirage's place as our preferred hotel in Las Vegas? Sadly, I don't think so. The savings was nice and no one can argue against the convenience of its location, however that can only carry a place so far. There are simply too many of the newer, flashier, and more expensive resorts in Las Vegas, and given that we spend most of our time there anyway, it only makes sense to choose one of those next time.
We had a good run at The Mirage. So did Sigfried and Roy. Sadly, all good things must come to an end.
Enjoy Your Stay