What happens in Vegas, does not stay in Vegas! Well, not this time anyway. In this post I’ll be giving you the scoop on our points stay at the Bellagio.
Last year, Patty and I got early word of a friend’s wedding, which was scheduled for May of this year in….Las Vegas! When we got the Save the Date card, we immediately did what any travel hacker would – we scouted out lodging and flight options.
After reviewing a few obvious options we booked three free nights at the Westin Las Vegas using a total of 36,000 Starwood Preferred Guest points. It wasn’t the greatest redemption but it was reasonable, and free is my favorite price.
We thought we were done with our lodging arrangements when we booked the Westin. However, a few months later I had a recollection of reading a Hyatt press release announcing their partnership with MGM Resorts’ M Life properties. So we started digging into the M Life family of hotels and points rates for redemptions at them.
We were intrigued by a few properties based on previous Vegas trips and general reputation of the hotels. The property that kept coming back to the forefront of our minds was the Bellagio.
The Bellagio is one of the highest rated properties in Las Vegas. It’s situated in a prime spot on the strip and the fountains at the front of the hotel are world-renowned (they’re featured in Ocean’s Eleven). The hotel is elegant and classy but not overly so. You’ll pay for the opulence though – a room in the hotel can set you back over $500/night on popular weekends.
As we refined our plans we decided to switch our arrival night to Wednesday. Because we had booked our flights on Southwest, we were able to change our flight date and rebook without incurring any fees. We used Rapid Rewards points I had received from the Plus card signup bonus, and my companion pass, so our flights were free!
We decided to use 20,000 Hilton HHonors points to stay free at the Hampton Inn & Suites Las Vegas Airport for our first night in the Vegas area. We would then move to the Bellagio for a three-night (Thursday, Friday and Saturday) stay.
A lot of tourist destinations have much higher lodging rates for weekends than weekdays but Vegas takes this to another level. For the weekend nights of our visit the cash rate was $438/night inclusive of resort fee. However the Bellagio website was showing rooms available for slightly under $200 for Thursday night.
Patty had some Orbitz bucks available, so we combined those with a discount code and booked the Thursday night Bellagio stay for under $150!
With rates much higher for the weekend we were not up for paying cash. So we headed over to the Hyatt Gold Passport website to check our point balances.
Booking a Bellagio Room with Hyatt Gold Passport Points
My Hyatt Gold Passport (HGP) account was at over 50,000 points so redeeming points for the stay was straightforward. If I hadn’t had enough points in my account I would have considered two options – transferring Ultimate Rewards points into my HGP account or moving some HGP points from Patty’s account to mine (Hyatt allows that once every 30 days).
I hopped over to Hyatt.com and was able to book the room online without any hassle. I called Hyatt to get a definitive answer on whether or not we’d have to pay the resort fee. The phone agent stated that we definitely would have to do so. The resort fee includes property-wide high speed internet access (public spaces and in-room), unlimited local and toll free calls, airline boarding pass printing, notary service, and fitness center access for guests 18+. Rant start. I hate resort fees. If a resort fee is mandatory – and most of them are these days – it should simply be included in the nightly rate. Rant over.
Excluding the resort fee our redemption of 50,000 HGP points saved us $804, yielding a value of 1.6 cents per HGP point. That’s not incredible by any means. It comes in below my valuation of HGP points (1.9 cents/point as of writing).
Despite the value of the redemption being a bit underwhelming we went ahead with it, primarily because we have a lot of hotel points and free night awards right now. It’s obviously good to get strong value out of redemptions but on the other hand, holding onto points for years isn’t in your best interest either as hotel chains do devalue their programs sometimes.
Check-In at the Bellagio was Mediocre
Some Vegas hotels are infamous for hour-plus check-ins so it’s best to avoid arriving at the front desk at the most popular check-in times. We rolled up on Thursday evening (after visiting the Hoover Dam and Red Rock Canyon). The queue wasn’t terribly long but we did have to wait about ten minutes before making it to an agent.
The check-in process should have been simple. Prior to our arrival I called ahead to have our Thursday night booking linked with our weekend booking. The phone agent assured me they were linked. However, the front desk agent had some sort of issue. It took a full 15 minutes for the agent to get us checked in and hand us our room keys.
Our Room at the Bellagio was Elegant
With our Hyatt Gold Passport points, we were booked into a Resort King Room. We were assigned room 24033, overlooking the pools. Our room had a king-sized bed, two nice sitting chairs, a classy wardrobe, a desk and the obligatory flat-panel TV. The drapes and sheers are controlled electronically with bedside switches.
Check out my YouTube video of the room, or scroll past it to see pictures and more details!
The mini-bar in the room was stocked with the usual outrageously priced offerings. We opened it once to take a look and then didn’t open it again. We’re not the type to spend $8 on a bottle of Coke!
The bathroom was decently-appointed with a soaking tub and a separate shower and a large vanity counter (though it was a bit disappointing it only had one sink).
Housekeeping of the room was so good we didn’t notice it (that’s the way it should be) other than when they provided turn-down service with some nice chocolates!
The elevators to rooms were staffed by a hotel employee to ensure people without room keys weren’t heading up to rooms.
The Pools at the Bellagio are Classy and Relaxing, Not Rowdy
Crazy, booze-fueled pool parties are one of the many elements of Las Vegas’ fame. You can get that pool scene at the Hard Rock Hotel, Sapphire and some others. The Bellagio pool scene is much more subdued. It’s a collection of five pools – two large and three small – generally surrounded by quiet patrons, simply sunning themselves.
We were thrilled to see an unannounced teaser show for O – the Cirque du Soleil show that is performed at the Bellagio – during one of our pool visits (embedded YouTube video below).
The Bellagio as a “Home Base”
The location of the Bellagio worked great for us. We drove to the hotel in a rental car, which we dropped off right in the Bellagio parking garage. It was a bit after closing time for the Avis counter but we were able to simply park the car and deposit the keys in a drop-box. We then walked straight into the hotel, luggage in-hand, to check in.The hotel was central to many of our activities for the long weekend. Our friend got married at Casear’s Palace, just a few-minute walk away. When we needed a quick, cheap meal we walked across the street to a mall with various restaurants and shops. When we were in the mood for something a bit more upscale, we made the 5-minute walk to the Eiffel Tower restaurant.
Like many Vegas hotels, the Bellagio has a separate, marked meeting point out front for users of rideshare services like Lyft and Uber (if you don’t already use Uber, sign up with this link for a free first ride up to $15).
The nighttime scenery around the Bellagio is excellent. You have the incredible fountains right in front of the hotel, the nicely-lit Paris hot-air balloon and Eiffel Tower across the street and many other fun sights. One night I spent a an hour or two taking night-time photos (you can follow me on Instagram – @thehoneymoonguy). I didn’t have to wander more than a few hundred yards from the hotel to stay occupied for that time.
The Fountains at the Bellagio Draw Everyone In
Most hotels in Vegas have a shtick. The Mirage has an erupting volcano. Treasure Island has its pirate ship. The Stratosphere has its sky-high rides.
Perhaps none are quite as universally appealing though as the Bellagio fountains. They pull in young and old spectators alike. And of course they’re free to experience.
Here is the fountain schedule, as of writing:
- Monday – Friday 3:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. show every 1/2 hour; 8:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m. show every 15 minutes
- Saturdays & Holidays 12:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. show every 1/2 hour; 8:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m. show every 15 minutes
- Sundays 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. show every 1/2 hour; 7:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m. show every 15 minutes
You should always check the Bellagio site though to be sure you’re viewing the current schedule.
The fountains have been featured prominently in shows and movies such as Ocean’s Eleven!
The Bellagio Has Another Attraction: Its Conservatory
The fountains are the Bellagio’s most famous feature. Inside the hotel lies another unique attraction though: a botanical conservatory.
Four times a year the gardeners at the hotel design, create and unveil a brand new floral extravaganza, which is then visited by about 15,000 to 18,000 visitors a day. A new aquatic-themed display opened on the Saturday evening of our stay. Anyone, even people not staying at the hotel, can visit the conservatory for free. It’s a simple but fun activity for which you should allot 30 to 60 minutes.
Nightlife in the Bellagio
The Bellagio isn’t necessarily the favorite spot of the partying crowd but it nonetheless has two major bar/club attractions: Hyde and The Bank. The former is a swanky lounge which gets going at some points, especially when big-name DJs or performers like Travis Barker are on hand. The latter is a typical Vegas dance club, albeit smaller than some of the others in town.
We enjoyed hanging out with our large group at Hyde. It was a laid-back scene, sweetened by the views of the fountains. Patty enjoyed a short venture to The Bank with some friends but there wasn’t anything in particular that really set it apart or above the other dance clubs in Vegas.
The Bellagio is one of the best hotels on the strip if you’re looking for classy accommodations. The ability to use Hyatt Gold Passport points to book it is a plus when rates are high. The hotel has a lot to offer from the famous fountains on the exterior, to the botanical garden in the lobby to your somewhat standard casino in the interior. The location is prime and the rooms are nice though not dramatic in any particular way.
The Bellagio is a great hotel choice for couples or honeymooners visiting Vegas. You’ll get fun access to the rest of the strip, and the craziness it can offer, while finding a great relaxing scene back on property.
Taking all aspects of the property into account, The Honeymoon Guy awards the Bellagio a rating of 14 out of 17!
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Have you stayed at the Bellagio? Share your thoughts on the property in the comments section below. Or fire away with questions – I’ll do my best to answer!