With international travel still off the table, a few weeks ago, my wife and I decided to pay a return visit to Las Vegas, Nevada. This time around, we decided to try something a bit different and stay at a hotel that’s not connected to a casino: The Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas. Booking through the American Express Fine Hotels + Resorts program, we spent a single night at the Waldorf at the end of our Sin City trip.
While I’ve written about the FHR program in the (recent) past, I don’t usually write reviews about specific hotels — but there’s a first time for everything! So, let’s take a look at the Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas in general as well as recap my recent experience staying there.
About the Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas (and Booking Through Amex Travel)
Location and amenities
The Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas is found in the City Center complex on the west side of the Strip. Formerly the home of the Mandarin Oriental, the property is next to Aria, with the Cosmopolitan to the north and Park MGM to its south. While the hotel itself doesn’t include any gaming, it’s proximity to the other casinos means there’s no lack of entertainment to be found a mere few steps away.
As for the rest of the property, it includes a number of restaurants — although they are observing adjusted hours and operations due to the pandemic — as well a spa, fitness center, pool, and more.
Arriving at the hotel and navigating the property
This hotel is a bit unique in its layout. For one, the check-in desk is located on the 23rd floor. Because of this, as you arrive, you’ll head to an elevator that only stops at a few floors, including the 23rd. Then, after you get your keys, you’ll actually use a separate elevator to get to your room. Unless we missed something, this also means that you’ll need to take two elevators to return to the ground level.
Fine Hotels + Resorts credit
One of the main reasons I choose the Waldorf Astoria — aside from its desirable location overall and proximity to the hotel we’d be checking out of beforehand — was because of its generous Fine Hotels + Resorts perks. As I’ve written about previously, the FHR program allows Amex Platinum and Centurion cardholders to book stays that include special benefits at select properties. In this case, the biggest special perk was a $125 property credit, which is higher than the typical $100. Plus, as with other Fine Hotels + Resorts bookings, you can take advantage of a guaranteed 4 p.m. late check-out, get free breakfast for two, and receive a room upgrade where available. It’s also worth noting that, in contrast to the similar American Express Hotel Collection, Fine Hotels + Resorts bookings can be made for as little as one night.
Something else to note is that the property is operated by Hilton. This is key because Amex Platinum cardholders get complimentary Gold status at Hilton. Thus, booking through FHR is kind of like double dipping as you’ll earn Honors points for your stay in addition to the other perks.
My Experience at the Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas
Since the Amex Fine Hotels + Resorts program includes noon check-in when available, I figured I’d try my luck and head over to the hotel a bit after 12. Sadly, my room wasn’t ready, but they did graciously take our bags so we could walk around the Strip until they sent us a text. Figuring it would be just a couple of hours, we went and had lunch, strolled through a few casinos, and awaited word from the Waldorf.
Regular check-in is 4 p.m. so, a few minutes ahead of that, we headed to the lobby and plopped down on a couch. To my surprise, it was another 40 minutes or so before my phone informed me that our room was ready. Ready to relax, we headed upstairs to the desk to pick up our keys and then proceed to our room.
Picking up our keys
I fancy myself a fairly patient person — and an understanding one at that. Therefore, I made sure not to act annoyed or angry as we approached the desk (after all, the noon check in is just “if possible” and it wasn’t that far past check-in time). Sure enough, the manager at the desk was very apologetic and, as a “thank you,” informed us that she’d added another $75 dollars to our credit. This meant that we’d have a total of $200 in property credit between the Amex and this apology gift.
After giving us our keys, she also informed us that she’d be sending our bags up. Thankfully, she was also able to break a $100 since I wanted to make sure to tip the bellman. With that, we headed down — yes, down — to the 16th floor.
Whether because of my Amex booking, Hilton status, or both, we did manage to get a room upgrade. Instead of being the standard room we booked, we ended up in a junior suite, looking out in the City Center area. Truth be told, I knew we had scored the upgrade before I arrived because I saw it in the Hilton app.
The room itself was quite large and had a somewhat unique configuration. For the two of us, there was more than enough room, especially thanks to the luggage area found on the way to the restroom. Speaking of the restroom, there was a standing shower as well as a separate tub. Also interesting is that, while the main bathroom had “his and hers” sinks, there was yet another sink in the toilet room — which would be handy if you had guests up to your room. Elsewhere, the main room had a desk tucked behind a divider that runs along the entrance. This seemed like it would have been a great place to work from but, alas, our stay brought us on a Sunday.
Overall, I thought that the room felt modern and clean. My only nitpick was that I could have used more outlets near the nightstands. That said, there were plenty of charging ports on the TV stand so it wasn’t a total disaster.
Another feature I wanted to point out given its increased relevance is the valet closet. As the bellman explained to us, if you needed to request items, they could access this closet from outside of your room for you to retrieve inside. We didn’t end up needing to use this but it’s pretty convenient for contactless deliveries.
With all that, while I didn’t get a chance to compare our junior suite to the standard room, I was quite glad we got this upgrade.
Originally, when I booked our stay, I was hoping we’d have a chance to visit the Tea Lounge. Unfortunately, I was unable to find reservations. Meanwhile, with the only open venue in the evening being the Skybar, I was a bit worried that they’d only have alcohol and nothing to actually eat. Luckily, I discovered that they did serve “small bites” so at least we could cobble together some sort of dinner. Of course, lest the bar fill to capacity, leaving us with $200 we couldn’t spend, we decided to head down there not too long after they opened at 5:30 p.m.
Any lingering anxiety or annoyance I had about our late check-in melted away as we sat down at the Skybar. With $200 to spend, we were really able to treat ourselves. In addition to sharing an order of sliders and a flatbread (both of which were actually fairly sizeable considering the “small bites” description), we also enjoyed a bottle of sparkling water, some dessert, and an Americano. More importantly, my wife not only got to try one of their signature cocktails but was also able to take advantage of their Whistle Pig tasting flight, which included half-ounce pours of three different ryes. With that lattermost menu item coming in at $60 itself, that probably would have been left off of our evening had we not received the extra $75 credit.
After all of this, our bill plus tip came to $200.81 — meaning we got everything essentially for free. Even better, during our meal, we enjoyed a great view of the Strip and a great atmosphere inside the bar itself. So, while there are other locations in the hotel I look forward to trying in the future, we definitely enjoyed our time at the Skybar.
Thanks to our 7 a.m. flight, we didn’t have a chance to stick around for breakfast or explore much more of the property. Instead, I checked out using the Hilton app and headed downstairs. I was a bit surprised to see the porte-cochère staffed at 5 a.m. as we were greeted and asked if we needed a cab (we had already ordered an Uber that arrived sometime later). And with that, we were off to LAS, bringing an end to our Las Vegas adventure and our Waldorf Astoria stay.
All things considered, I really enjoyed my stay at the Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas — and only wish I was able to spend a bit more time there. In hindsight, I do wish that my single-night stay came at the beginning of the trip instead of that end. That way, I might have been able to take advantage of the free breakfast as well as the late checkout.
As far as the value we got from the $125 property credit, I think there’s a lot of value there. Compared to other Vegas dining options, I think we made our free money go pretty far. That said, like with other Fine Hotels + Resort options, I would advise that you compare rates to see if the FHR route actually makes financial sense.
Even with the hiccup at the beginning, I feel like the Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas more than made up for it with its spacious room, delicious food, great views, friendly service, and perfect location. Therefore, the next time we’re in Vegas and looking to treat ourselves for the night, I can definitely see us returning.
Originally published at Money@30.