September 2, 2011

Plaza Grand (Re)Opening

The Plaza was home to Frank and I for two weeks while we waited on our condo to close back in 2003. Friendly employees and cheap options all around won us over. We loved the property under Jackie's reign. I have such fond memories eating Klondike bars at our favorite machines, creating a stir while celebrating my final hours bachelorettedom (surveillance felt the the 3ft phallus I was carrying was a major distraction), and on our wedding night the staff celebrated our newly wedded bliss just as if they were included on the guestlist. It was that level of personal connection that made us feel special. When Jackie sold we saw a friends vanish and as the property was never quite the same. We still enjoyed it on drunken nights with friends, but the luster was lost when they replaced the carpeting. A complete remodel was planned back then, but financing fell through and they weren't able to get it together until last year when it closed.

We anxiously awaited its transformation hoping it'd become a place we'd learn to love once again.

We didn't check out any of the soft opening hubbub, I wanted to wait until the grand opening for first impressions. Last night was the night. My mom is usually comped at Plaza/LVC, the best they'd offer her was $25/night post-remodel. She took it to see the new rooms. In short, they are definitely still working out kinks. My first impression is lipstick on a pig. It looks great on the surface, but as you look more closely things aren't quite what they appear.

Hotel lobby

Apparently, hotel rooms in the north tower are not ready for their debut. Rooms are only available in the south tower. Check in was slow, like they haven't quite gotten their bearings yet. Even bellboys commented how the check in process was lengthy.

HHAGG is open for business as is the new sushi/hawaiian restaurant. Island Sushi is directly across from the three craps tables.

Swinger's Club was open for business. Dueling pianos were singing tunes. I was much too sober to find it enjoyable.

The casino floor has a far better layout with new slots, gaming tables (a couple $5 BJ, remainder $10/$25) and majority chairs have been reupholstered (those on the back wall are old with cigarette burns). The casino cage is considerably smaller which makes the floor far more spacious. The smell is more fresh, the carpet is cushy, but smoke still lingers. Air filtration is the same old. The cleanliness was terrible. Empty glasses were strewn about, ashtrays were overflowing, saw garbage around the floor, chairs knocked over. Service was unfriendly it's like they've all been beaten down with complaints, but they are quick to offer unsympathetic apologies. New waitress uniforms are very unflattering on the mature ladies that dominated the floor... Great for those perky twenty somethings, not so great for sagging sixty somethings. The sportsbook is untouched, it looks like it will run as is until Cantor comes in and handles the remodel under their operation which is set to commence in 2012.

South Tower rooms have a guard out front checking room keys. Elevators appear to be refurbished. My mom's room was on the 7th floor. There are no directional arrows coming off the elevator to notify you which way your room might be. New carpet and paint throughout the original doors remain.

The room my mom was assigned was only partially made. Cigarettes were in the ashtray, garbage was also laying around. The bedding and towels were clean but left disorderly. When she called the front desk she was told she could only be moved to a non-smoking room, which she did not want. Instead, they would send housekeeping up to finish cleaning the room. I haven't yet heard how that turned out. I had heard reports of no soap or bed skirts during the soft opening and this was still the case. I even asked other hotel guests and they did not have them either. The new tvs are nice and they do have HD programming. The beds are worlds better than those they had before, and I liked the vintage Plaza print that decorated the wall. Views were of the Performing Arts, New City Hall, etc. but they were hard to enjoy through the filthy windows.

These issues would be more forgivable with a soft opening, but on the official opening night? I'd expect better. The potential is there. I'm just not confident that they can deliver.

Also, it's worth a mention work has hardly begun on the second floor. New escalators and fresh Bingo boards are the highlight. The rest is desperately awaiting its overhaul.

I'm not in love. Maybe once they actually reach completion they will woo me?


Jay said...

Thanks for sharing. Reading lvrj or the sun, one would be lead to believe it's completely refurbished, clean and new. Good to know the truth.

Too bad, as I love downtown. The Nugget and El Cortez remain my favorites. Sounds like the Plaza is still doomed.

Kellee said...

The Plaza has been spruced up, but it did not live up to the media's hype. I hope they work out the kinks and find a way to provide a quality property that will have people eager to stay and play.