On August 16th, I turned 21 years old. On August 19th, I arrived at the Flamingo hotel in Las Vegas. I was about to spend nearly a week celebrating my 21st birthday with my mom and sister in the fabulous Las Vegas—and I couldn’t wait to get started.
When I walked in, my attention was immediately captured by the beautiful natural light illuminating the ivory and gold interior of the lobby. Soon after ascending the escalator, I headed to the check-in line. The check-in line had about 15 people in it, with 5 front desk employees checking guests in. When it was my turn, I stepped up.
Checking into our hotel was first on the agenda, of course. We arrived in Vegas around 12pm and decided that we would check into our hotel and then head to lunch—so we did. Unfortunately to check in early (regular check in is at 4pm) we had to pay $20. However, one very interesting—or “shady” depending on how you see it—detail we noticed about check in is that on the cab ride to the hotel from the airport, we received a notification encouraging us to check in early on our phones, rather than in person—for $30–but decided against it since we were almost there. When we got to the hotel, we were glad we waited to check in because we ended up saving $10 by doing it in person rather than by phone. Maybe it’s just me, but I think it’s strange that checking in to the hotel yourself is more expensive than doing it in person.
Another “interesting” quirk the hotel did was, instead of just holding a credit card on file for security purposes, they held $50 per day on our credit card which you end up getting back at the end of the trip. It made me a little weary because every other hotel or resort I’ve ever stayed at in my entire life never did that.
Bronte works at the front desk and checked us into our room. She was very nice and helpful through the process (her minor uncertainty about upgrades gave us the impression that she was a new employee). It only took about 5 minutes to go over everything. She even offered us maps and additional tourist pamphlets to help us navigate Vegas.
The check in process went just fine, but we were shocked that we received no upgrades whatsoever—even with an American Express gold card (which usually always leads to upgrades). None of us were really thrilled with the hospitality—they didn’t seem to go above and beyond like other hotels and resorts we’ve gone to—but we were fine with it because we picked this hotel based on the reputation of the pool parties anyway.
My sister and I had already gotten our Total Rewards card at home, so my mom just needed to pick hers up. Luckily, there is a Total Rewards Desk in the lobby. I enjoyed this because I liked how convenient it was to have one at our hotel.
The room that we got was the non-smoking Go Room with two queen beds that had a view of the Strip. The room looked just like the picture—petite, clean, and newly renovated. It had a television in the mirror of the bathroom too, which was very useful when we were getting ready to go out. The view was amazing; our room looked right out at Caesar’s and Omnia (as well as everything around it).
Here’s where the room gets weird: every single time we walked into our room, it smelt like pot. This was particularly strange to us because not only is our room a non-smoking one, but none of us do any type of drugs.
Side note: Prior coming to Vegas, we decided as a group to stay at the Flamingo over the Bellagio. Typically, the Bellagio would be an example of a hotel we would stay at. However, we decided that since we’re going to be in Vegas, finding a place to crash for the night and that had a pool was all we really needed—not the bells and whistles we usually go for. We figured we would be out most of the day and night anyway.
Anyway, back to the room…
So we called the front desk twice about our room smelling like pot constantly and the fact that our air didn’t seem to be working. For me, I’m always cold so I don’t really care if the air works or not, but it caused our room to feel very stuffy. I have allergies, so this ended up being a bit of a problem for me. What surprised me most was that no one came to do anything about the air or offered to move us to a room that didn’t smell like pot. The first time we called, we actually were told the manager would call us back (and no one did).
Shortly after checking in and dropping our belongings off in the room, we took a quick look around the hotel property before heading to lunch. We got turned around and a janitor named L’Tanya actually stopped to help us. She pointed us in the direction of the Strip and gave us another map (this one was more clear). She even told us what hotel the place we wanted to go for lunch was at. L’Tanya also shared a secret with us: no cabs stop on the Strip; you have to get a cab at a hotel. You don’t have to be staying at that hotel, but you won’t be able to just hail a cab on the street.
Besides the room, we liked our hotel. We especially liked the breakfast buffet. They had everything you could imagine; scrambled eggs, all-you-can-drink Mimosas and Bloody Mary’s, omelets, breakfast meats, chicken, biscuits, fruit, yogurt, cereal, granola—you name it. As far as buffet bartenders go, Chris is the guy to go to. He let us take our mimosas out to the pool and made the drinks perfectly. He was really funny and charming too. My favorite part about the buffet was the desert selection (yes, at breakfast). The not only had a large variety of sugar-free pastries, mini cheesecakes, chocolates, and Danishes—they had French pastries (including, my favorite,macarons!). We were all pretty impressed.
After breakfast, we decided to hit the pool. An important detail you need to know about the pool: it opens at 9am; you need to get in line at 8:30am so you can get chairs. Make sure you have your ID and room key ready so you don’t hold up the rest of the line.
On our first day at the pool, the three of us were standing in line. My mom and I had to use the restroom, so we set off to go find it. Within 30 seconds, a staff member named Daniel offered to take us to the restroom (we were lost). He was very kind and walked us all the way there (and back) while he gave us a mini tour of the shops in the hotel. He was even kind enough to stop by later while we were at the pool to make sure we were having a nice time.
The pool was pretty nice. It had nice chairs, cabanas, and beds. The DJ’s were very good and up-to-date as well. However, the pool didn’t have the “party” feel that we expected. We thought it was going to be full of lots of people in their 20’s and 30’s dancing and having a good time—like the pictures on the website would suggest—but in reality, there was a mix of people from 20’s to 70’s. Everyone was very nice though.
Our favorite pool bartender was Rock. He made us the perfect drinks and really seemed to care about us genuinely. He was awesome. There was also another bartender (unfortunately I forgot to write down his name) with dark hair who was very friendly and cared about our well-being too.
In the pool area, there are a few pool servers walking around to take orders. One morning was kind of a disaster with the servers. Several of them were just hanging out at the bar flirting with the bartenders instead of interacting with customers and asking if they wanted anything. We had to ask twice to get a server to come over so we could order food, since you can’t do it at the bar. I have been a pool server before and I am not usually harsh on service at all because of it, so the fact that I’m saying they gave poor service says a lot (but I still tipped 20% because I know that servers live solely off of tips). Everyone has their bad days, which is why I’m not mentioning our server by name. But when you have to ask twice for service when you see the servers standing around doing nothing, it’s difficult to being understanding.
The casino in our hotel was very nice. It was large, spacious, and seemed to have majority of the games the other casinos did. It was a nice, familiar place to be.
A part of the hotel that we absolutely loved was the scenery. There were such beautiful trees, animals, and art. The waterfalls and ponds were as stunning during the day as they were at night. I couldn’t get enough of it.
Overall, while the Flamingo is a historically beautiful hotel and has a prime location on the Strip, I wouldn’t stay here again. I’m used to a nicer, more hospitality-focused environment. Every other employee we met at the Flamingo (aside from Bronte, Chris, and Rock) seemed incredibly bored and unfriendly. If the hospitality would have been better, we might have enjoyed our time there more.
When we spent time in other hotels (Caesar’s, the Mirage, MGM, the Venetian, Excalibur, Palms, etc.) walking around, shopping, sight-seeing, and gambling, we felt happier than we did at our hotel. My family and I were originally going to stay at the Bellagio, but decided against it. Now, however, we wish we would have stayed at the Bellagio or the Mirage.
For those of you who are going to Las Vegas soon and are torn between hotels, I hope that this article has helped you. I would be more than happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have. Soon, I plan to write another Las Vegas article that is centered around some of the shows, clubs, and casinos we went to. Stay tuned!
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