Posted on | August 23, 2010 | 5 Comments
I’ve just returned from my annual work conference in Las Vegas. As with last year, my husband and children joined me for part of my stay. Last year I chose to stay at the MGM Signature to be away from casinos and for the condo accommodations. This year, we all stayed at the Bellagio – where I was working – and I actually got to see more of my family during the day. My room at the Bellagio was paid for by Virtuoso.
During my stay, I didn’t really get a chance to explore the whole property or try out, for example, the award-winning Spa Bellagio which I would have loved to do. Some of the hotel features jumped out to me as a plus for a family, but just to ensure that there wasn’t something I’d missed which is worthy of a mention on a family travel blog, I contacted the MGM PR office (the Bellagio is a wholly-owned subsidiary of MGM Resorts). In an email exchange MGM Resorts, acknowledged that even though “many of our visitors are families traveling with children, we typically do not market our resorts as family-friendly destinations”. Fair enough. Full steam ahead with my own personal take on this property so.
Bellagio Layout, Design and Ambiance
My least favorite thing about Las Vegas hotels is that you typically have to walk through the casino floor to get to the rooms. My perception is that this is less painful in the Bellagio than in other hotels. It’s a quick walk from the front desk (and the beautiful atrium) to the guest elevators. Given that this is also the route to the “O” theater, this is a busy walkway where it’s not uncommon to pass strollers and groups touring the hotel. Your eyes are equally as likely to be drawn to the glass art pieces as the activity on the casino floor.
Bellagio Las Vegas Accommodations
My room at the Bellagio was a spacious Queen Room with two queen beds and a huge bathroom with a shower and a soaking tube. The beds were ultra-comfy. Honestly. Our kids were supposed to share a bed but since they’re just at the age where “I can’t share a bed with my brother” is becoming a regular complaint when we travel, BigB usually went to sleep in a nest made of pillows on the floor. I thought about ordering a roll-away bed, but since they weren’t complaining it didn’t seem necessary. I have two gripes about the rooms at the Bellagio: the Bellagio branded bath products were great, but the soap was very drying – not inconsquential when you’re in skin-drying air conditioned rooms all day; secondly in-room internet access is available at an additional fee of $15 per device per day! (Such charges are something I’ve ranted about on this blog before).
Bellagio Hotel Family Features
I spent my first afternoon at the Bellagio by the pool (that was one of only two times when I actually got to the pool during my entire stay!). The thing that struck me the most and which prompted me to write this review was how much more suitable the Bellagio pool area is for families than the MGM Grand (where we stayed last year). There wasn’t a lazy river, but also there were no buckets of beer or couples pre-mating – or, at least, none that I saw.
The excellent gelateria by the main entrance to the pool was a favorite spot where I met my family during my work day to say “hi” and also have some excellent gelato. Next to the gelateria, so neatly tucked away that you’d easily miss it, there’s a kid’s arcade. My kids disappeared. CAM was fascinated at the game selection in the arcade “a kid’s casino” he called it, explaining that all the games in the arcade were games of chance to fit with the casino location. Funny how kids notice weird details that you or I might not pick up on.
The Bellagio’s Conservatory and Botanical Garden is a stunning interior feature of the hotel. If you want your child to feel as if he has walked on to the set of Alice In Wonderland, plan to visit this – regardless of where you’re staying in Las Vegas. The conservatory is free and open 24 hours daily. Similarly, the Bellagio Fountains mesmerized my children every evening. A sound-and-water show is always fun, but this one has 1,200 dancing fountains on a lake of more than 8.5 acres of water. The music varies from opera to Sinatra, but the display is always worth watching – and it’s free too. Saving the best to last, the Bellagio has one more out-of-this-world display which is free and will enthrall you and your children: the chocolate fountain at Jean Philippe Pâtisserie. This 26 feet, 3 and 3/16 inches fountain circulates nearly two tons of melted dark, milk and white chocolate at a rate of 120 quarts per minute and is certified by Guinness World Records as the world’s largest chocolate fountain. That’s Vegas!
Dining At The Bellagio
The Bellagio is the only hotel in the country with two AAA Five Diamond restaurants, not that any hungry, grumpy child will care. The food at the Bellagio is nothing short of sumptuous, but it’s expensive – even BigB was shocked to learn that a croissant at the cafe by the pool was almost $5. That said, we found Circo a perfect choice for our family. This upscale Italian restaurant has a great view of the fountains and although the menu has plenty of interesting options, you can also get a plate of plain spaghetti for your picky eater. The staff were friendly, accommodating and very patient. My husband chose the Prix Fixe menu and I the Lobster Gnocchi (see note on patient staff above). All of the dishes we sampled were beautifully presented, contained interesting and unusual flavor combinations or food preparations and were delicious down to the last bite.
Photo Credit: opalsson