Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
It's hard not to find this campy reproduction of the City of Lights endearing, with its scaled-down replicas of the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe, and its tongue-in-cheek French touches (from the "Le Service Desk" sign to the Poo-Pourri sold in the French toiletries shop).
While not exactly a visit to the real Paris, Strip tourists and hotel guests can be found treating it as such at all hours -- snapping pictures of the reproduction of the Alexander III Bridge that spans the casino, strolling the cobblestone streets of Le Boulevard, the Epcot-like market, and gazing up at the vaulted casino ceiling (like the Venetian's, it's made to look like the sky).
Although everyone from young singles to older couples books here, Paris feels particularly geared toward families. It doesn't have New York New York's roller coaster or Bellagio's butterfly conservatory, but it pulls in parents and children with a half-size reproduction of the Eiffel Tower, French sweet shops, and a singing-waiter restaurant. The value-priced rooms don't hurt either. The similarly priced Luxor can't match Paris' central location, and Planet Hollywood, also in the same ballpark price range, doesn't deliver such a thoroughly executed theme.
One guest I spoke with, Bruce Sonderson from Kansas City, summed up the hotel's place on the Strip: "When I come to Vegas with a date, I book at the Bellagio -- but when I come here with my 9-year-old daughter, I stay at the Paris."
All you'd expect from a big Strip hotel, with poolside drink service, 24-hour room service, and porters. But be ready for long waits to eat at the buffet, speak to the concierge, or check in at the front desk.
Paris offers a standard slate of services for a big Strip hotel: a porter to help with luggage, multiple check-in counters, a daytime concierge (8 a.m. to 9 p.m.), poolside drink service, and 24-hour room service (like at the Bellagio and Bally's, just a $2.50 service charge plus tip). Yet like the typical mid-priced Vegas hotel, concierge service isn't available 24 hours, and no one runs over Bellagio-style to grab your bag the instant you emerge from your car. But the real service shortfall at Paris is the same problem that plagues many Strip hotels of this size -- quite simply, the wait.
While receptionists at the seven checkout counters try to speed guests through, this isn't always possible when huge conventions are in town. Guests may also have to wait to speak to the front desk, or the concierge. And long lines at the buffet are common -- not counting the separate lines inside for the carving, crepe, and omelet stations.
The Paris has a plum location in the center of the densely packed three-and-a-half-mile-long stretch of hotel-casinos known as the Strip. It's the same area where you'll find the Caesars Palace and the much more expensive Bellagio.
Most Las Vegas visitors want to explore all of the big properties along 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. From 10 a.m. to 1 a.m., a free shuttle transports guests between all the Harrah's properties on or near the Strip: Rio, Bally's/Paris, Harrah's, and Caesars Palace. There's also a monorail system, 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. If you're traveling along the Strip with at least one other person, a cab is often the least expensive option.
Virtually every hotel on the Las Vegas Strip is a 10- to 15-minute cab ride from McCarran International Airport; the ride typically costs about $15-$25.
I was excited to spend a night in one of the Moulin Rouge-esque Red rooms featured on Paris' homepage, with its lip-shaped sofas, 42-inch plasma HDTVs and iHome radios with iPod docks. That's until I realized that these are not the standard Luxury rooms, which the website optimistically describes as having furniture with a "distinctly French feel." More like Best Western with a gilded mirror. Nothing feels particularly French about the dull green-and-brown plaid bed ruffle and the hulking, nicked wooden armoire. I'd say pay the extra $40 a night for the Red room.
The Luxury bathroom, with its elegant vintage-looking Kohler fixtures, was an improvement. A sizable marble shower with good water pressure, full-size bathtub, and fragrant white rose-scented toiletries completed the look.
My room's 25-inch Philips tube TV offered just 24 channels, with no free movies but a sizable pay-per-view selection for $11.99 a piece. The mattresses of my two queen beds -- other guest rooms have one king -- felt no better than my own unremarkable bed at home, though the three firm and thick pillows were ideal for sitting up to watch TV.
Both Red rooms and Luxury rooms clock in at a roomy 390 square feet, about average for a Strip hotel. Bally's and Planet Hollywood have comparably sized rooms (for more than 500 square feet, try Caesars, the Venetian, Wynn, or Trump). Paris also offers Premier rooms (in both standard or upgraded Red room versions). You pay $55 more a night for better views, either of the Strip or the Eiffel Tower. Larger suites (760 to 935 square feet) add wet bars, Jacuzzis, separate dining and living rooms, and his and hers marble baths with bidets.
The Balinese spa chain Mandara runs the full-service spa (massages, facials, waxes). The treatment-room decor is said to be Balinese-inspired, but the common areas don't look that different than the spas at sister Harrah's properties like the Rio or Bally's. At 25,500 square feet, this is a sizable facility -- twice as large as Trump's heralded new spa. The $25 fitness day pass ($35 for non-guests) includes access to the spa's sauna, steam room, and Jacuzzi, as well as use of the fitness room stocked with good-condition strength-training and Life Fitness cardio equipment.
For work breaks, use the Internet kiosks scattered throughout Paris or Bally's instead of the Paris-Bally's business center, with six Hewlett-Packard desktops that cost $10 for a measly 15 minutes. (The kiosks charge $.35 a minute.) For $14.99 a day, a strong wireless or wired (Ethernet) Internet connection is available.
Made to resemble a 1920s Parisian neighborhood at dusk, Paris's Epcot-like Le Boulevard shopping and dining market is a collection of quaint cobblestone streets that lead past a patisserie, French toiletries store, and wine shop. Beyond the convention-center area, Le Boulevard morphs into the mall-like Bally's-Paris Promenade, a small indoor walkway that connects the two Harrah's properties and houses shops hawking Limoges boxes, Eiffel Tower souvenirs, and so-so resort wear.
While Paris' casino may not be the biggest or most upscale on the Strip, it is perhaps the most fanciful, with three legs of the Eiffel Tower puncturing the ceiling and a replica Alexander III Bridge crossing the length of the floor. It's hard not to be amused by the 100 betting tables designed to look like the entrances of the Paris Metro or the flashing sign over the 2,000 slot machines proclaiming this "Seine City."
Paris Las Vegas' half-size recreation of the Eiffel Tower, the Eiffel Tower Experience, is open all day but far more popular (and romantic) at night. Expect to wait up to an hour after 8:30 p.m. and pay $12 instead of $10. The 460-foot-high viewing area 50 stories up offers a fantastic panorama of the city and surrounding valley, including the distant mountains. Visitors can even watch planes take off from the Vegas airport. However, an annoying grate makes it difficult to snap an unobstructed photo (the holes for cameras are situated in odd spots).
Nightclub Risqué, with its Strip-view balcony, and casino lounge Le Cabaret are open only on weekends. At other times, evening entertainment is limited to "adult-themed" hypnotist Anthony Cools and Champagne bar Napoleon's, where the Dueling Pianos, two joke-cracking musicians who perform covers of everyone from Van Halen to Billy Joel, give free shows six nights a week
The Paris doesn't have New York New York's roller coaster, Excalibur's SpongeBob ride, or MGM's lions, but families still fill the place, trooping up the 460-foot-high Eiffel Tower Experience for the exhilarating views (behind a safety grate) and munching on pastries from Le Notre. Kid-friendly restaurants abound: Singing waiters dressed like French peasants dish out pizza and pasta at French-Italian Le Provencal; Le Village Buffet hooks kids up with $9.99 breakfasts and $3 off lunch and dinner.
The brightly lit central Strip location is perfect for watching the Bellagio fountains at night or exploring other Strip hotels on foot. And parents should appreciate that the cocktail waitresses are relatively covered up (compared to, say, Rio) and that the lobby isn't filled with posters of scantily clad dancers advertising adult revues. Although a mere 4 feet deep, the pool is supervised at all times by four lifeguards, and children are not allowed in without an adult.
Overall my room was clean -- no mold, mildew, or dust -- but it could have used new furniture: The armoire was chipped and one of the chairs had a stain on it. At Le Village Buffet, the staff cleared dishes quickly but neglected to pick up the extra food lying outside the bowl. At the pool, one of the Jacuzzis was littered with scraps of paper and debris, but the rest of the pool area was squeaky-clean.
Paris offers an impressive selection of low- and mid-priced dining options, but the menus are meat heavy (the highlight of the buffet is its carving station), and outside of the French and American restaurants, you'll find only one pan-Asian restaurant and one Italian.
My two favorites were the Eiffel Tower Restaurant, with a view of the Strip from 100 feet up (go for the underrated $20 lunch entrees instead of the $40 dinner entrees), and the solid steak-frites bistro Mon Ami Gabi (expect to wait up for an hour at night for coveted outdoor seating facing the Bellagio's fountains).
I can't see why Le Village Buffet was voted "Best Buffet" by theLas Vegas Review-Journal for three years running. Guests and outsiders alike endure waits as long as 20 minutes to sample five buffet stations representing five different regional cuisines of France. For what? The vegetables float in butter and the Belgian waffles are topped with gooey pie filling instead of fresh fruit. I'd cross the street for the superior buffet at Bellagio, which costs only two or three dollars more at breakfast and lunch. The 24-hour Cafe Ile St. Louis isn't much better -- the Eggs Benedict looked exactly the same as the ones of the buffet. Steer clear of Le Creperie, which serves crepes topped with what could pass as Elmer's glue.
The Gordon Ramsey Steakhouse is now open at Paris, serving prime beef, kobe beef, chops and fish plus a few typical American entrees and an extensive selection of sides.
Room service runs 24 hours and offers a reasonably priced French/American menu (dinner entrees around $25; sandwiches for $10.99).
This 2,916-room, City of Lights-themed hotel pulls in families with campy French attractions and a prime location across from the Bellagio. Standard rooms are disappointingly un-French, and the buffet is overhyped -- but it's easy to be romanced by the cool Eiffel Tower pool and affordable room rates.
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