Travel Tuesday: Bellagio Amex Fine Hotel & Resorts Booking Review

Welcome back to yet another Travel Tuesday and the continuation of my Las Vegas Content Bonanza™. For this installment, I’ll be sharing my recent experience staying at one of the Strip’s crown jewels: the Bellagio. With the property recently updating some of its rooms, I figured I’d finally stop in to see what this famed location was all about. Furthermore, since I booked my stay through American Express’s Fine Hotels & Resort program, I wanted to once again highlight the benefits that FHR customers enjoy at this property and whether that makes it worth the occasionally higher price.

Without further ado, let’s jump into my Bellagio experience, starting with how much it all cost me.

Booking the Bellagio via American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts

My booking experience and the price

From my previous searches, I already knew that Las Vegas was one of the best destinations for using the Fine Hotels & Resorts program. That’s because there are several FHR properties on the Strip (along with several Hotel Collection choices). Plus, since FHR bookings only require you to stay one night and have late checkout, you could conceivably resort hop during your stay and make the most of your $100 property credits along the way.

Anyway, after looking at the available options and determining which properties included a dining credit instead of a spa credit (I have little use for the latter), I landed on a classic: the Bellagio. As luck would have it, staying there made even more sense for this trip as I’d have a chance to see the newly renovated rooms on top of seeing where the old furniture ended up. I was also a bit surprised by the fairly reasonable price — although this was midweek and I made the reservation just before the flood gates opened in Vegas.

For my Premier King room, the rate was $156 plus $21 in taxes and fees. Of course, there was then $51 due at the hotel itself to cover the resort fee and tax. But, my booking included a $100 dining credit, complimentary breakfast for two, potential early check-in, guaranteed 4 p.m. late check-out, and all of the other FHR perks I’ve come to know and love.

Checking in

Since one of the perks of FHR bookings is that there’s the potential for early check-in, I decided to press my luck and head over just after noon. At that time, there’s was a fairly short line at the front desk — but I was able to hop in an even shorter line thanks to my Mlife Gold status (which I obtained through a series of status matches). To my delight, the room was indeed ready. The bad news: no upgrades were available as they were “fully booked.” Since I wanted to see the remodeled room anyway and since room upgrades aren’t a guarantee, this didn’t bother me in the slightest.

After paying my room deposit (from which the resort fee would be deducted), I was also given a letter further explaining the Fine Hotels & Resorts program benefits. Then, with keys in hand, it was off to find my room.

Getting to the room

Truth be told, I actually headed over to Bellagio before checking out of our previous room so that I could not only get our keys ahead of time but also so that I could scout the route to our room before we had all our luggage in-tow. This was slightly unnecessary as it was actually quite easy to find the main tower we were staying in. But, before you could enter the elevator banks area, an employee would confirm that you were a hotel guest by having you scan your room key at a podium. Even though I didn’t know that this exact policy was in place, this was pretty much exactly why I opted to get physical room keys instead of relying solely on the MGM app’s mobile key option.

Having just dealt with the Luxor’s elevator (or inclinator, technically) debacle, I was very happy to find that the Bellagio’s elevator banks were plentiful and lightning fast. Seriously, I felt as though I’d float if I jumped at any point. Thanks to these factors, it never took us more than a few seconds to claim an elevator.

The room itself

The first thing I noticed upon entering our Premier King room was that it was quite large by Vegas standards. That said, it wasn’t over-the-top big, but fairly spacious for being near the bottom of the properties product list. In addition to the king bed, there was also a small table and chairs as well as a small couch. Plus, the bathroom featured a large and gorgeous step-in shower along with his and hers sinks.

As I mentioned, this was one of the newly renovated rooms at the Bellagio — and I loved the look. Some of my favorite elements include the aforementioned and uniquely styled couch and the wall design behind the bed’s headboard. In terms of other features, I also loved the automated sheer and blackout curtains. And while it wasn’t a fountain view room as would be the popular choice at Bellagio, the pool view we had was still quite lovely.

Looking at photos of these rooms with the old furniture (that now resides at Luxor), I definitely think it was an upgrade. I also really loved the bathroom, both in design and function. Needless to say, we enjoyed the work and leisure time we spent in the room. However, beware of the mini bar because those prices are painful!

Location

One of the most appealing aspects of the Bellagio (aside from its status of being a flagship property for MGM) is its prime location. In fact, I’d consider it to be just about in the middle of the Strip — or at least the parts of the Strip I tend to stick to. In particular, I enjoy its proximity to the enormous Caesars Palace and its Forum Shops as well as to other destinations I like to frequent, such as Paris and the Linq Promenade.

Yet, what made this the perfect pick for us this time around is that the Bellagio connects to Vdara by walkway and to Vdara, Aria, the Crystal Shops, and Park MGM by tram. This was key for us as we were heading to NoMad at Park MGM after our Bellagio stay. Thus, it was great to be able to move properties without even setting foot on the Strip. On that note, I was very thankful that this tram had resumed operation a mere week or two before our arrival following a long hiatus amid the pandemic.

Anyway, in terms of location, I think Bellagio is a strong choice. The only potential problem is that the walkway that connects it to Caesars and Bally’s can get a bit crowded at times — not to mention the walkway in front of the fountains at showtime. Other than that, it’s pretty smooth sailing.

Using my $100 property credit

Before we even arrived for our stay at Bellagio, we had made a reservation for one of the properties restaurants: Noodles. This actually came about after we learned that the recommended Spago was closed on the day of our visit. Turns out, this was quite a good thing as the letter we received at check-in didn’t list Spago as an eligible location whereas Noodles was indeed noted. Crisis: averted

Let me start by saying that the food we had at Noodles was quite tasty and was just what I wanted when I decided that’s where I wanted to eat. However, the service was a comedy of errors. First, we ordered a bottle of Pellegrino, which was mistakenly brought to the table next to us. I could have spoken up but maybe they ordered a bottle too, right? Well, upon noticing the mistake, the employee went and took the bottle back from the table, dumping the glass that the one guest had already sipped from. I’m honestly not sure whether we got a new bottle or just the remains of the other (the glasses were washed through) but I prefer not to think about it.

On top of that, our waiter could not be in a bigger rush, to the point where it was difficult to get him to stick around long enough to take our entire order. In his defense, it was quite busy… but still. Finally, when delivering the pot of tea we ordered, the employee managed to spill a continuous stream of it while walking. Seriously — when I said “comedy of errors,” I literally had to laugh at all of this.

With all that aside, like I said, we definitely enjoyed our food. Also, when all was said in done, our check came in just under the $100 mark. As a reminder, tip is not included and your credit cannot be used to cover gratuity. In other words, while I still technically had $3 more in credit, the full tip (which, by the way, I still kept at 20%+) was charged to the room.

When checking our folio, I don’t think I even ever saw the food amount listed on our bill because it had already been credited. This was very comforting since our first FHR experience saw me needing to visit the front desk after our charges failed to drop off. By the way, we never did use the other $3 but oh well.

Free breakfast

One of the benefits of the Fine Hotels & Resorts program that I’ve often missed out on is the free breakfast perk. In fact, a big reason why I decided to plunk our FHR night in the middle of our itinerary this time around was to prevent that from happening. So, in a bid to make the most of our complimentary breakfast, we made a reservation for Sadelle’s the night before, allowing us to grab some breakfast before starting our workday and, eventually, moving on to our next hotel.

Let me back up and explain that the free breakfast perk isn’t an unlimited value but, instead, allows you to spend up to $30 per person for up to two people and have it comped (although, if you book a two-bedroom suite, Bellagio ups this to $30 per person for up to four people). With that in mind, much of Sadelle’s menu will put you right over that limit off the bat. Luckily for us, we’re not “big breakfast” people and so the a la carte items fit our needs while keeping us on budget, as it were.

In my case, I ordered a delicious Belgian waffle, a side of bacon, and some black coffee. My wife, on the other hand, was a slight bit fancier, opting for the avocado toast and a coffee cocktail (when in Vegas, right?). Between the two of us, we came in around the $60 limit, meaning that, once again, we’d just be seeing the tip on our bill.

Overall, this was a nice change of pace and I’m really glad we had a chance to take advantage of this perk. Also, while the stand-by line at Sadelle’s wasn’t too crazy at the time we visited, the reservation was definitely helpful — and took so little effort on our part. Therefore, if you are visiting on an FHR booking, I’d recommend not only checking this place out but also securing your spot ahead of time if you can.

Final Thoughts on My Bellagio Fine Hotels & Resorts Booking Stay

Given the Bellagio’s reputation for being one of the fancier properties on the Strip, I was happy to see that it lived up to that expectation in a few ways. First, the renovated King rooms struck the right chord for me. Second, the upkeep on this property was quite noticeable when compared to other Vegas venues, as evidenced by my much-improved elevator experience. Plus, all of the staff I interacted with were friendly and the hotel’s common areas — from the casino to the Conservatory — are downright beautiful.

In terms of a Fine Hotels & Resorts option, I think it’s a strong contender… at least on the right night. While I’d be curious to see where prices climb to on weekends and during peak weeks, our weekday stay came in at what I think is a reasonable price, even after the resort fee. That said, I’d definitely still compare prices to see if the FHR price makes sense. Also, I’d advise FHR guests to book their dining in advance to ensure that they can make use of their $100 credit.

Having now tried three Las Vegas Fine Hotels & Resort program properties (including Waldorf Astoria and Delano), I look forward to exploring more options in the future to better understand the pros and cons of each. Still, based on this stay, I’d for sure do the Bellagio again if the price were in a similar range to what I paid this time. Here’s hoping I have the chance to do just that sometime soon.


Also published on Medium.

Author

Kyle Burbank

Kyle is a freelance writer and author whose first book, "The E-Ticket Life" is now available on Amazon. In addition to his weekly "Money at 30" column on Dyer News, he is also the editorial director and a writer for the Disney fan site LaughingPlace.com and the founder of Money@30.com.

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Thanks – this was super helpful! Do you have a list of the restaurants that the breakfast and F&B credits were valid for?

The letter they gave me said Prime, Yellowtail, Lago, Snacks, Noodles, Lilly, Pool Bar, Club Prive, Baccarat Bar, and Petrossian Bar for the dining credit. However, that letter also says “updated 7/3/2020,” so I’m assuming the list will grow as more places reopen. I don’t have the breakfast list handy but I know Sadelle’s was on there. Hope that helps!

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