Just because your hotel is themed after the middle ages doesn’t mean your guests have to live like they’re in them. After stumbling into the Excalibur on Super Bowl Sunday for a massage, my girlfriend and I were asked by some employees, not in medieval garb I might add, at the the entrance, if we wanted a deal. This is the story of our weekend at the castle.
“Are you guys coming back to Vegas in the next 12 months? Yes? How about a deal?’ I love deals! My girlfriend’s, MEM to LAX, and my inbox are flooded daily with Groupon deals and Living Social excursions, we are no strangers to getting the best bang for our buck as well as using these services to experience new things. So even though it wasn’t a website, we had our ears open.
What’s the worst that could happen, lose a $99 deposit? That’s what we were told when we signed up. Basically for $99 deposit we would get a room for 2 nights and $99 worth of show tickets. We joked at the idea of staying in a knight themed room and signed up. Six months later we were back in Sin City for a quick 2 day getaway.
It’s July, in the desert, it’s hot. We were told to use the back entrance. This should have been my first tip off; nothing good ever comes out of the back door. After walking around for five minuets, in the sun, carrying our bags, the cool smack of AC and muggy cigarette smoke was a relief. We were ready to relax, until the desk clerk mentioned the mandatory tour we allegedly initialed in agreement to.
Screeech…(those were my breaks). My girlfriend, hereafter referred to as Joelle, looked at each other oddly and repeated the motion when the clerk said it again. “What tour?” We both chimed in sync. Oh, the 2-3 hour timeshare tour we had signed up for 6 months before. This is where I laughed. I would never sign up for timeshare presentation, EVER…again. I made a mistake with Shell Vacations a few years back and vomit a little any time someone mentions sharing my time.
They claimed we’d initialed next to a line stating we’d go on a 2-3 hour timeshare tour, and nothing good has ever come from a 3 hour tour, ask The Skipper, AND according to some employees of The Excalibur, it’s more like a 5 hour tour. I asked them to produce a copy of the document, I’d even settle for a scanned .pdf and a half rotation of their computer monitor. She couldn’t produce either, but I did get a half assed excuse. From now on I’m blaming everything on accounting.
After politely telling them to go fuck themselves, they said fine, but they’re keeping our deposit. Joelle and I agreed that $99 was on the lower end of what people pay to get fucked in Las Vegas, so we ate the cost and went to the bar. After a few rounds of video poker and free rum and pineapples we realized we were homeless for the weekend.
At this point I’m not quite sure if it was the rum talking or the heat from the desert sun still radiating off the back of my neck, but we had both agreed to take the expedia deal for a knight themed room. It’s a lot easier to roll our bags upstairs than out into the parking lot where I’m sure our car was cooking.
We took the $50 a night upgrade for the jacuzzi tub in the room because we were a little nervous about the basic room and who doesn’t like a jacuzzi tub. Alcohol had nothing to do with this last minute decision…Once we got to our room we realized we could have gotten the Lancelot Suite and still been disappointed. I wouldn’t say it was bland, but it would be the beet smoothie of hotel rooms…a beet smoothie blended in 1970.
Upon closer inspection it was grungy. Joelle wouldn’t take her sandals off. I thought she was being a little dramatic due to the copious amount of alcohol we’d consumed, but she kept them on the entire trip sober and all. After I saw the holes in the sheets, I wished I’d had my own pair of flip flops. Apart from the tawdry sconces, very manufactured crest headboard, and a medieval themed painting or two hanging in plastic frames worth more than the prints they were protecting.
After showering off the backsweat from the long drive, I dried off and realized that The Excalibur actually scented their towels. After a quick check with my girlfriend, who rarely smells anything when I ask her to, we both agreed it was a mix between smoke and mildew. On the off chance that we caught a funky, old towel I tried the others. They all smelled vaguely like my shirt after a long night at the club.
The internet in our room consisted of a modem from 2002 bolted to the television stand and an ethernet cable with a broken connector that had to be held in, at an angle, facing east to work. It made checking email feel like a chore and in a world where Debby’s Diner in the middle of nowhere off the I-40 has free wifi, its almost unacceptable.
We then crossed the strip to a Tix4tonight booth to see if any of the shows we wanted to see were available and lucky for us, one of our choices was. Holly Madison‘s Peep Show wasn’t my first choice, but it was Joelle’s, and I rarely say no to topless. She’s a big fan of The Girls Next Door, such a big fan actually, that she didn’t even check the yelp reviews beforehand. There’s a reason it’s ending in December. We were actually surprised it lasted this long. The show itself wasn’t bad, just the headliner’s performance. I think her Playboy spread had more life.
The burlesque dancers backing her up were wonderful and in great shape, and if it were my picture on the playbill, I’d do what I could to keep up with them in all respects. Now, I’m not dissing on Holly, too much, but if you’re the only one on a stage with grossly oversized, fake tits and a flabby ass, you better be a good singer or make me laugh. She did neither.
Yeah it’s easy for me to sit back and criticize, but I’m not the headliner of a Vegas show that charges $70+ dollars for cheap seats. They say there isn’t a bad seat in the house, but this deserved to be in small burlesque club and I’d be upset, even then, if they charged more thank a two drink minimum. It’s obvious she’s ready to move on and I’d rather see a lead that’s there to entertain for EVERY audience, and it’s sad to say it would have been a much better show with her understudy covering for her.
We still enjoyed ourselves, laughed at their jokes, laughed at moments that were definitely not supposed to be funny. Infused with liquor we found the taxi line and almost fell asleep to the soothing sound of Steve Wynn‘s voice telling us about his restaurants on a small screen located on the roof of our cab. I sloshed into our jacuzzi tub with my bathing suit and a 40 of Dos Equis I bought in a convenience booth at the bottom of our tower.
All I’d wanted to do, for months it seemed, was to take a day, relax and read my book. I made a quick call down to the spa/pool desk to double check to see if they had wifi by the pool so I could check to my email on my ipad. The woman on the other end of the phone laughed at me. Even their employees think the hotel is a joke. But sitting under the sun with the New York Skyline, an Egyptian pyramid, and a medieval castle in the middle of a desert is kind of mind boggling and we did enjoy our day by the pool, without wifi. See, we can slum it.
We finished up our day with dinner at Society Cafe at Encore. This decor looks like an Italian brothel threw up and we LOVED it, from the black and white paneled walls to artsy mirrors. It was all great. The only thing better was the food. We both went with the chef’s menu. It was an easy choice because everything on it sounded great. We didn’t have to compromise on any course, and the ribeye was massively delicious.
After dinner we walked over to the Wynn and saw La Reve. Joelle had seen it and was completely fine with seeing it again. Walking into the 360 degree theater I was surprised by the energy of the space and the smoke sitting just off the water. I don’t want to give anything away, just go see it. It’s amazing! It’s unlike any show I’ve seen and the performers are all amazing athletes as well as fantastic performers.
Sunday morning we were ready for home. Despite the disappointments at The Excalibur, like paying $550 for $140 worth of room, including the fees and extra charges from the, “deal,” they offered us, we had a great time in Sin City. We will definitely be back, but not at The Excalibur.