Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
This somewhat-dated hotel is populated with business travelers and conventiongoers who flock to the free evening Manager's Reception.
Much about this 286-suite hotel feels like an anachronism. The soaring 11-story glass atrium would have set an impressive standard back in the 1990s (now sleek and swanky hotels like the Renaissance, a few doors down, boast the most up-to-date look). Even though guests have access to free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel, suites still come with old box TV sets and Nintendo GameCubes. And the sheer volume of food and drink that the hotel gives out every day at the free breakfast and free evening reception feels more appropiate for the pre-recession era than today's tough times.
Then again, these popular free promotions are what distinguish Embassy Suites from other midpriced chain hotels -- in fact, a guaranteed custom-made omelet is what keeps some travelers loyal to the brand. And what's not to like about exemplary service and comfortable beds. Plus, I don't know of any other hotel in Vegas that offers a daily open bar -- and I don't mean just house wine and punch. Bartenders will make your drink of choice, using premium alcohol. It's no wonder that the Manager's Reception is packed, mostly with business travelers and conventiongoers winding down from a day at the nearby Las Vegas Convention Center.
A seven-minute walk from the convention center, the Embassy Suites may not be the closest option for conventiongoers. For that, check out the Marriott Suites, which is just three minutes door-to-door. But, unlike at the Marriott, here you won't pay for every extra (like Internet access). And the suites are more spacious.
An exceptionally service-oriented hotel, with a personable staff that caters to individual requests.
Small hotels usually provide more personal service than mega-hotels do, and this is particularly true of all Embassy Suites. With extra service features like a free cooked-to-order breakfast, this is an exceptionally service-oriented chain. Whether making custom omelets, mixing cocktails of choice, or helping out with business-related services, the staff caters to guest requests with aplomb and efficiency. I especially liked the bartenders at the Manager's Reception, who were all smiles and very generous with their pours. And while the omelet chef looks surly in this photo, he's a good guy. He made my omelet exactly as I wanted it. While the hotel doesn't employ a concierge, the front-desk staff can pitch in with requests like booking show tickets and calling a cab.
Located on Paradise Road, a busy major thoroughfare that runs parallel to the Las Vegas Strip, the Embassy Suites isn't too far from anything -- or too close either. Walk the single long block to the densely packed three-and-a-half mile long stretch of hotel-casinos known as the Strip -- a 20-minute trudge beside traffic and empty lots -- and you'll melt under the unrelenting Nevada sun. A better bet is the partially shaded, five-minute walk to the monorail, which stops at MGM Grand, Bally's/Paris, Flamingo/Caesars Palace, Harrah's/Imperial Palace, the Las Vegas Convention Center, the Hilton, and the Sahara. A single-ride ticket is $5; a one-day pass is $13. The best option is to travel by cab. From the Embassy Suites, the closest Strip attraction is the Wynn, about a $10 cab ride from the hotel.
Once you're on the Strip, cabs are easy to find at virtually any time of day or night. A generally less expensive option is the Deuce, a double-decker bus that runs up and down the strip 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and costs $3 to ride.
Many guests book at the Embassy Suites because of its location near the Las Vegas Convention Center, just a 1/4 mile or a seven-minute walk away. Still, you can find similarly priced hotels even closer to the convention center, such as the Marriott Suites. Embassy Suites is less than three miles from McCarran International Airport, about a $12 cab ride. On-site parking is free.
At 600 square feet, the two-room suite (that's one bedroom and a living room) offers plenty of space (two-bedroom, three-room suites are also available). The problem is light. Most of the suites open onto the U-shaped lobby atrium. While the outdoor-facing bedrooms are bright and sunny, the inner living rooms depend on the atrium's glass ceiling for natural light, giving them a somber feel, especially late in the day.
The dated furniture doesn't improve the mood. The 27-inch box TV looks at least a decade old, and the patterned couches may have been stylish in some era, but not today. Nevertheless, the room is generally clean, save for a few signs of wear.
The king-size bed is sufficiently comfortable, although it doesn't measure up to the plush pillow-top mattresses and down duvets found in similarly priced suites like at the Hilton Grand Vacations Club on the Las Vegas Strip. The "Suite Dreams" experience -- as Embassy Suites calls its bedding -- gives guests six pillows, including a hot-dog pillow, decent 200 thread-count sheets, and a satin quilt. The bedroom is home to another box TV set, which, like the living room TV, plays in-room movies as well as premium cable. The clock radio on the bedside table has a cable for iPods and MP3 players. A free copy of USA Today is delivered every day.
Between the bedroom and the living room is a counter with a sink, a coffeemaker with free Superior Coffee packets, a microwave, and a mini-fridge, but no minibar. The marble-and-tile bathroom is fairly large, with bath products from Bloom, though the hotel website says they're from Neutrogena. They include shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer, body, and facial soaps.
For as little as $10 more, you can book a two-room suite with a balcony. Three-room suites can accomodate business meetings, as they come with a boardroom table. Smoking rooms and wheelchair-accessible rooms are also available.
If nothing else, this somewhat-dated hotel works hard to win over business travelers with freebies. Not only are breakfast and a late afternoon open bar included at no charge, but so is Wi-Fi. (The guest services book in my room lists a $14.95 fee for Wi-Fi, but upon check-in I was simply given an access code to get online for free.)
The business center and fitness center are also free to use -- a feature that's not customary in larger Vegas hotels but is standard in smaller, midrange properties. Enclosed in a glass box in the middle of the lobby atrium, the business center has two PCs, two printers, a copy/fax machine, and a writing desk with shipping materials. Printing, faxing, and photocopying services are free. Additional business amenities include meeting rooms and A/V equipment rentals. The fitness center has modern Precor equipment, including a treadmill, stationary bike and free weights. Both centers are open 24/7.
The gift shop in the lobby sells snacks, sodas, and souvenirs from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Guest laundry facilities are available on the second and 11th floors, with change and laundry supplies available at the hotel gift shop.
As for the pool, let's just say that at a ski resort or in rainy Seattle, an indoor pool is a treasure. In Vegas, it's a travesty. Set in a dark room and smelling strongly of chlorine, the hotel's indoor pool is the last place you'd want to spend time in, unless you're serious about doing laps. It's no wonder guests prefer the long, rectangular outdoor whirlpool, where I found guests sunning in the old, metal deck chairs or cooling off in the whirlpool. The pool is open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. There are no lifeguards.
The rooms can fit a small family. But as a business establishment in a business neighborhood, the hotel offers hardly anything for kids to do.
Bring the kids if you want, but expect them to be bored. On the one hand, this suites hotel, like all suites hotels, is perfectly suited to families. A two-room suite comes with either a king-size bed or two double beds and a pullout sofa in the living room -- plenty of room for parents and kids to bunk together. Larger families can go for a three-room suite, which has two bedrooms and a living room. Cribs are provided for free. The restaurant has a limited children's menu, which includes a kids' pizza for $5.75. And kids are likely to enjoy the Nintendo GameCube in the living room, with its 41 games including Mario Kart, Pokemon and Lara Croft. On the other hand, the drab (and lifeguard-less) indoor pool will appeal only to kids who are desperate for a diversion. And you won't find a game room in the building, nor any kid-friendly Vegas attractions within walking distance.
Generally clean, with minor signs of age.
While the hotel is clean overall and the rooms are kept tidy, this Embassy Suites shows its age at times. The look of the building dates back to the 1990s; without having had any major renovations, those years of wear and tear show. The oversize leather armchairs in the lobby have seen better days -- though the furniture is slowly being replaced -- and I found a broken power outlet and rust stains on the tub in my room. Plus, the price of keeping the pool clean seems to be a strong smell of chlorine.
This hotel gives away a lot of food. In the mornings, guests can troll a breakfast buffet that includes omelets made to order, bacon, sausages, cereals, fresh fruit, oatmeal, yogurt, coffee, milk and fruit juices. This fresh and delicious breakfast is served from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., so don't sleep in if you want a hearty start to your day. Weekends are more forgiving: Breakfast hours are 6:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. The guest services book, available in every room, advises guests to arrive before 8:30 a.m. on weekends to avoid long waits.
While the Manager's Reception doesn't replace a filling (or healthy) meal, you can enjoy free drinks and snacks at the Terrace Bar on the third floor from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The open bar serves beer, wine, vodka, gin, rum, and cocktails. The bartenders make a tasty Bloody Mary, and the popcorn, chips, salsa and melted cheese qualify as good appetizers. The atmosphere is festive, with guests gathered around tables lit by the sinking Nevada sun pouring in through the atrium's tall windows. The Terrace Bar is open from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Fountain Grille restaurant is located on the lobby level, and it's open for lunch and dinner. The food is labeled "continental," but it's mostly American fare -- typical is the Caesar salad with a grilled chicken breast and the mushroom Swiss burger (both $11.95). Prices are affordable for an off-the-Strip hotel.
Maybe it was just during my stay, but the restaurant appeared empty throughout the dinner hours. Guests were probably still full from the snacks at the Manager's Reception, or more likely, they chose to eat elsewhere. Lunch was no better. I highly recommend venturing outside of the hotel for more exciting cuisine. Two buildings down and just a five-minute walk away is an award-winning steakhouse called Envy, located inside the Renaissance Hotel. A steak-and-wine dinner will run up to $70, but the food is delicious and the ambience serene.
With free breakfast, a free open bar every evening and free Wi-Fi, this casino-free suites hotel is a solid choice for business travelers heading to the nearby convention center. But the lovely 11-story lobby atrium can't overcome the tired design, disappointing pool and dark rooms. Business-traveler friendly, but forgettable.
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