- Tiny "dipping" pool
- No on-site restaurant
- No business center
Clean and cozy apartment-style rooms attract families and conference attendees. Most guests are Marriott Vacation Club members or part of a time-share network. Two new towers and an Olympic-size pool under construction.
As with many time-share properties, the appeal of this 768-room hotel is in its massive, apartment-style suites. In addition to standard time-share amentities like a fully equipped kitchen and a separate living room, however, it also has a great location just a five- to 10-minute walk from the center of the Strip. Planet Hollywood is right across the street, with its huge shopping and restaurant complex. While most of the guests are time-share owners or members of the Marriott Rewards program, you don't have to be either to book here. In fact, families and large groups should consider this option, especially if location is a high priority.
And because it's just a few hundred feet from the Strip, this hotel did the Vegas thing and adopted a theme of its own. Forgoing glitz and glamor, the Grand Chateau went with old-world luxe, filling its lobby with Victorian-style embroidered tapestries, glass-and-crystal chandeliers, and brocade drapes. Floral-patterned loveseats form little sitting areas beside large picture windows, painting an image of teatime and crumpets. It's not an aesthetic for everyone -- and probably not for the typical Vegas visitor -- but it reflects the quiet, mellow vibe of this hotel.
Grand Chateau currently has two towers, but two more are under construction and slated to be done by 2011. The expansion plans include an Olympic-size pool. Like most time-share properties, booking priority is given to time-share owners and those part of Marriott's time-share network. When there are available rooms to rent out though, this is a good deal for an apartment-style room that's close to the Strip.
By contrast, the Hilton Grand Vacations Club at the Flamingo has an equally desirable location right behind the Flamingo and has quiet, comfortable suites with similar amenities. A big difference, though, is the two pools attached to the Hilton property, one of which is the large and festive, tropical-themed Flamingo Lagoon. This hotel's sad little pool, unfortunately, doesn't have much draw in spite of its 38th floor perch.
Efficient midlevel service
The levels of service across time-share hotels varies wildly. At this one, regular hotel guests receive the full range of services you'd expect to find at a conventional midlevel Vegas hotel: bell service, daily housekeeping, room service, and a daytime concierge. The front desk will handle printing and faxing. The concierge is available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. There's valet parking, and the hotel also provides a free shuttle service to the Fashion Show Mall and to McCarran Airport.
Staffers are always in a chipper mood and are great at anticipating guests' needs. Check-in and checkout were efficient and friendly. The valet attendants were helpful in determining what time I would need a cab, and the bellmen were quick-moving and all the while smiling.
A five- to 10-minute walk to the center of the densely-packed, three-and-a-half-mile long stretch of hotel-casinos known as the Las Vegas Strip, and across East Harmon Avenue from Planet Hollywood, home to the Miracle Mile shops and a host of restaurants.
Valet parking is free. The hotel provides a free airport shuttle, but reservations must be made 24 hours in advance. A cab to or from McCarran Airport will take about 15 minutes and costs about $15. The hotel also has a free shuttle to the Fashion Show Mall.
Though not terribly stylish, these sunny apartment-style rooms provide a sense of comfort and even, perhaps, familiarity -- they look and feel more like prototypical middle-class American homes than flashy Vegas hotel rooms. The basic guestrooms, called studios, have a efficiency kitchen with a toaster, a microwave, a mini-refrigerator, and a coffeemaker; a pullout sofa; and a dining table for two. I was booked in a One-Bedroom Villa, which is like a fully furnished apartment. The 820-square-foot space is divided into a dining area, a kitchen, a living room, a bedroom, and a bathroom. The kitchen is equipped with an oven, dishwasher, stovetop, coffeemaker, toaster, blender, and a set of pots, pans, utensils, and baking sheets. Hidden in a closet is a washer/dryer with a free box of Surf detergent.
The king-size bed is comfortable, with six down pillows and a down comforter. There's a sofa in the bedroom, and another one of those embroidered tapestries.
There are two TVs, one in the living room and one in the bedroom. Both are flat-screen and have cable, including ESPN and the History Channel. There's a DVD player in the living room, and movies can be rented at the MAZE activity center in the lobby.
Bathrooms have a Tuscan charm, with their ceramic tile and brass bath fixtures. Bath products are from Paul Mithcell.
The staff at this hotel are very particular about saying the 38th floor pool is for "dipping," not "swimming." That's because it's tiny -- fine for cooling off after sitting in the sun, but not a place for kids to splash around or for a serious swimmer to do laps. (It does offer great views, however.) The pool, which stays open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., also has a bar that serves cocktails, beer, and soda. At such a high elevation, the pool deck is a cool place to hang out, especially at twilight, when the nightscape comes alive with bright lights from neighboring hotels.
The fitness center is spacious and well equipped with state-of-the-art, well-maintained equipment. Life Fitness treadmills, ellipticals, and stationary bikes face a row of flat-screen TVs. The facility also features weight machines, fitness balls, free weights, and steam rooms.
Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the hotel. There's no business center per se, but time-share owners have access to a Club Room where they can use the computers. For business services, the front desk will help with printing and faxing. (Outgoing faxes cost $1 per page.)
Rollaway beds are not available, but many of the suites have pullout sofas. Free cribs and high chairs are available.
For family fun, visit the Marriott Activity Zone Experience (or MAZE) activitiy center just off the lobby. It's a small playroom, but it's chock-full of crafts and kid-friendly diversions: materials for arts and crafts, boardgames, air hockey, and a couple of video games. The hotel also hosts regular Wii tournaments and PlayStation games for guests. Movie rentals are also available at the activity center, which also hosts occasional family movie nights.
As clean as they come
Well maintained and very clean
Unless you whip up a meal in your kitchen, there's no sit-down dining at this hotel. Like most time-shares, there's no on-site restaurant. There is, however, an on-site 24-hour convenience store called The MarketPlace, where guests can buy groceries but little fresh produce.
If you're not in the mood to cook, the nearest restaurants are across the street. Head out of the hotel and cross East Harmon Avenue, and you'll find yourself at an entrance of the Miracle Mile shops at Planet Hollywood. This shopping complex annexed to the movie-themed hotel has a good variety of restaurants. Right at the mall entrance is a sushi and seafood buffet called Todai, where $21.50 at lunch will get you 40 kinds of sushi, king crab legs, and shrimp cocktails. Another buffet worth checking out is Spice Market inside Planet Hollywood. It's pricey ($30), but it's one of the best in town according to the New York Times and The Unofficial Guide to Las Vegas. Lunch is served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., dinner from 4 to 10 p.m.
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