WYNDHAM GRAND DESERT - 7/10
My family owns a Wyndham timeshare, so we used this hotel as our wedding home base.
As you'd expect from a timeshare, everything was more confusing than it needed to be. We actually got engaged at WGD in January and tried to talk to staff there in person about a room block … and their front desk/sales team had no idea what we were talking about. It took me 6 weeks of calls to the VIP line to get the right person on the phone (Michele at Extra Holidays, based out of Hawaii and organizing all room blocks for Wyndham resorts in the West), and even then I had to wait until 6 months before the wedding to get a real price because they get their room blocks from resort owners no earlier than 6 months beforehand.
Once that was settled, I started working with Mila to make sure all our guests' rooms were in the same tower. Mila was awesome, and she introduced me to Jill in the Activities Center, who let us ship things out in advance for our welcome bags and arranged for us to do our First Look and family pictures in their cabana area. The grounds were beautiful, and being able to have these important moments in the same place we got ready made things a lot easier.
The quality of the staff fluctuated a lot. Our flight arrived before check-in, so we tried to check in but the room wasn't ready, and the front desk staff was kind of rude about how early we arrived. (Duh, that's when the flight landed, chill out.) We had to leave our bags for a few hours, and the process of getting somebody at the bell desk took 15 minutes to sign the bags in. But then when we finally checked in, the new front desk worker gave us complimentary chocolates and champagne.
This is how the whole trip was: A few good staff members being overshadowed by incompetent individuals. Always trying to sell the resort, including inviting all our guests to come to a timeshare presentation (including calling one room at 7am when they'd gotten home from the bachelor party at 5am, not cool!) but not actually providing the high-quality customer service that would convince you to buy into the package that they're trying so hard to sell.
I'm happy to give more details if people are interested … the hotel was great for families because each room was equipped with a full kitchen and laundry, but each guest had a different story of an eventual disappointment.
BUT, my mom would want me to add: The pool was great, and always well-stocked with towels. And no resort fees, so there's that!
FIT FOR A BRIDE - 5/10
A month before the wedding, I shipped out my wedding dress, bachelorette dress, afterparty/trash-the-dress dress (see photography below for more details), and my mom's dress. I also requested alterations on the after party dress, figuring that they would have weeks to get the easy alterations done (add eye hook & remove spaghetti straps, nothing that needs a fitting) and that it would be one less thing for me to worry about.
Donna called as soon as the package arrived to let me know it was there safely, and we agreed to check in once I got to Vegas to figure out pick-up/delivery details.
Once we landed and rented a car for the day, I called to say, "Hey, I'm ready to pick everything up!" and Debi said, "But it's not ready." What do you mean it's not ready? It arrived at your shop 3 weeks ago! It was THEN that she explained to me that even though the dresses had been there for weeks, they wait until a few days before the wedding to steam so that the dresses won't re-wrinkle. Well, I wish you had told me that BEFORE I rented a car to come pick up the dresses that you've had for weeks!
They thought that I was coming to pick them up on Friday before the wedding, even though I'd told them that I would need one of the dresses for Thursday night. So we arranged for me to pick up the Thursday dress on Tuesday morning and for some friends to get the remaining 3 dresses on Friday. Unfortunately, I didn't tell the friends doing pick-up to check on the alterations, so when I actually got the dresses from the friends on Saturday morning, I discovered that the two simple alterations hadn't been done. Not only had they not completed the simple alterations that I asked for via e-mail AND printed out the e-mail with the agreed-upon price to include with the dress bag … but they charged me for the incomplete alterations. It's been 3 days since I e-mailed them to mention that they'd charged me for services they didn't provide and I haven't heard a word back since.
SOUTHWEST AIRLINES - 8/10
It is what it is. They fly nonstop from Albany, NY to Vegas, so the decision was a no-brainer.
We didn't carry the dress on-board in either direction, so I have no input about that process.
SEPHORA @ VENETIAN - 5/10
I love Sephora and needed some makeup updates, so I made an appt for a custom makeover (45 minutes and you pay $50 in makeup purchases). I showed up 5 minutes late and it took me 10 minutes to find the right person to talk to, then we waited another 10 minutes until somebody came to do my makeup.
Taylor was really nice and friendly, and he did an absolutely fantastic job … until it came time to do fake lashes. Then when I said I didn't want them, he gave me a bit of attitude about the fact that "nobody should go out without fake lashes" and pretty much dismissed me. In total, it took just over an hour, and made me run quite late for getting ready.
FIREFLY'S - 10/10
Took a limo to Firefly's with our group of 11 girls. They had the table ready, they were quick to respond to any request, the food was delicious, and the "sparkling sangria" was sheer perfection. Fantastic location for a group of foodies.
PURE @ CAESAR'S PALACE - 6.5/10
The actual dancing/music was good. But they lost our reservation and it took forever to get in, then we though we'd purchased 2-hour open bar & it was actually only choices of: vodka/sprite, vodka/cranberry, vodka/coke. When you think you can order champagne, the last thing you want is a vodka/coke. Lame.
I can't speak to too much about this or give reviews, but here's what little I know:
THE GUN STORE - http://thegunstorelasvegas.com - 8.5/10
The guys chose this place because they had a WWII gun package, and since it was a bachelor party, the groom shoots for free. They seemed really happy with the professionalism of the staff, the value of the gun packages, and the speed at which things moved.
They also gave all the guys free t-shirts with their packages, and mine got asked if he wanted "the bachelor shirt." Not knowing what that means but being game for anything, he agreed … and they cut the bottom 2/3 off the shirt. He spend the rest of the night in a shirt that I can wear as a sports bra. Men are ridiculous.
DICK'S LAST RESORT, Excalibur - 7/10
Of course Dick's is known for rowdy environments, huge portions, and rude servers … so perfect for a guys' night out. My man was challenged to an eating contest, so he & a few of the other guys tried to eat 1lb each of pulled pork, brisket, fries, etc. Sounds gross to me, but it seemed to absorb a lot of the beer from the night, so it prevented a hangover.
Since he was a bachelor, they also gave him a balloon-animal hula outfit to wear for the rest of the night. Again, men are ridiculous.
ELITE TRANSPORTATION - 8/10
The guys hired the "INSANE" F-650 limo to pick them up at the Gun Store and head to Dick's, then out for the night. The driver, Drew, was late to arrive at the Gun Store, but he made it up to the guys by buying them a ton of beer, so they were placated. Turns out Drew is the owner of the company, and the Best Man became friends with him, so we also used Elite for an F-650 for the wedding's after party. Everybody was really pleased with the experience of climbing into a giant limo, sticking their heads/torsos out the windows, and obviously enjoying the stripper pole in the middle of the limo. Stay classy, Vegas!
MEET & GREET
EL SEGUNDO SOL, Fashion Show Mall - 8.5/10
We chose this place based on the Loco Hour specials, but I was a bit nervous that the bar was small or the space was tiny or they would say that Happy Hour doesn't apply to groups. As it turns out, the bar area had plenty of space to accommodate our group (about 50 people), the unlimited chips were delicious and great for groups, and the $5 margaritas went over like gangbusters.
However, when I called to get details, they didn't mention that kids aren't allowed in the bar area. Thankfully they seated the families at tables next to the bar area and allowed them to enjoy the happy hour specials that were technically "bar area only." After a while, our service also started really slowing down as the restaurant picked up. We probably dropped $800 as a group, we shouldn't have to cross the restaurant to flag down guacamole.
CIRQUE DU SOLEIL, BEATLES LOVE - 9/10
We got a group rate of 25% off for 25 people. They group rate team was easy to work with, we blocked off a section all together, and everyone really enjoyed the show. Great for people of all ages, not too sexy like some other Cirque shows can be.