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The Strip, Las Vegas
Oyster Hotel Review
With the pirate theme on the outs, the newly rebranded T.I. now stands out for its modern non-nautical look and comfortable rooms.
Pirate show at Siren Cove
More than 15 years ago, Treasure Island opened as a swashbuckling pirate theme park, replete with nightly battles out front in "Buccaneer Bay." Yet as Vegas has scaled back on its family vacation pitch in favor of more adult fun, Treasure Island's skull-and-crossbones, "aaargh" pirate persona has faded away too. The nightly battle at sea, rebranded as "Sirens of T.I.," now centers on sexy showgirls.
The outdoor set of a 17th-century harbor, with its dense foliage and wood-plank walkways, is the last vestige of the hotel's swashbuckling past. The lobby and halls of the newly remodeled tower are modern and sleek, with soft gold hues and funky carpets. The rooms are tasteful and contemporary. Further proof that the pirate theme is being deep-sixed: The hotel is now marketed as TI-Treasure Island.
If the 2,885-room Treasure Island no longer offers seafaring escapism, it does represent good Strip value, with reasonably priced rooms that are far more modern and comfortable than what you'll find at the more expensive MGM Grand and New York, New York. With a mediocre casino, small pool and so-so dining, Treasure Island isn't the kind of hotel that keeps guests on the property all day and night. All the better that the mid-Strip location makes the hotel convenient to the great restaurants and casino at the nearby Wynn, as well as half a dozen other key Strip attractions.
Typical big-hotel problems: some slow deliveries, long lines and impersonal treatment.
Long lines at the front desk
Treasure Island suffers from the kinds of service problems that can afflict any hotel with thousands of rooms: The line at the front desk can be long, deliveries can be slow, and the freebies don't flow freely.
- When you call the front desk, you'll likely get routed to an automated answering system.
- Slow response, at times, to service requests like extra towels (about 40 minutes or longer)
- Concierge available from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., every day
- Poolside food and drinks service
Treasure Island's mid-Strip location is one of the hotel's biggest assets. The Mirage is on one side -- and connected by a free tram that lets guests bypass the packed Strip sidewalks. The Fashion Show Mall is on the other, reachable via a pedestrian walkway. Across the street are the Wynn, Palazzo, and Venetian. Also right outside: a Walgreens drug store, handy for toilettries and snacks.
Most Las Vegas visitors want to explore all of the big properties along the densely packed, three-and-a-half-mile-long stretch of hotel-casinos known as the Strip. Cabs are easy to find at almost any time, 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. 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 costs about $15.
The rooms, freshly remodeled in 2008, have a stylish new look and super-comfortable beds. Guests looking for a convenient crash pad could do far worse.
Whirlpool tubs in the Tower Suite
At about 400 square feet, the standard Deluxe room is just average for the Strip. What makes it stand out is the recent overhaul. With subdued neutral tones, sleek contemporary design and dark wood touches, the rooms feel like a tasteful, calming retreat.
- Comfortable king-size or two queen-size beds in the Deluxe rooms: Sealy Posturepedic pillow-top mattress; heavy comforter; four big pillows of varying levels of firmness; soft sheets
- Flat-screen TV with a limited cable selection and in-room movies from $10 to $25 each.
- The clock-radio has an iPod dock.
- In-room Internet access, wired or wireless, costs $15 a day.
- The marble and wood bathroom doesn't go beyond the basics. The toilettries are from the in-house spa. No deep soaking tub or TV above the sink, like those that guests will find in some other Strip hotels. The shower water pressure was weak.
- Treasure Island's suites, which start at 630 square feet, have whirlpool tubs and separate showers.
- The noise level in my room was fine. During the day I could hear music from the pool, but at night it was perfectly quiet. Rooms that face the strip, however, overlook the Sirens at TI show, which plays several times a night and involves loud pyrotechnics.
Packed party pool
When a hotel characterizes its pool as "intimate," be prepared for squeezed-in swimmers and few available lounge chairs.
- The curvy pool and adjacent 25-person hot tub, while lovely to look at, are frequently crowded. To score an open lounge chair, arrive early. Very early.
- With a DJ playing tunes and Kahunaville providing drink service, the poolside atmosphere is festive.
- Private cabanas with TVs, refrigerators, fans and private hosts can be rented for $200 on Monday to Thursday, $250 Friday to Sunday.
The business center:
- Faxing is $6 for the first page and $2 for each additional page, copying and printing are both $.25 per page, and Internet use is $1/minute, with a five-minute minumum.
- $15 to get wired or wireless Internet in your room *Shipping services are available through the front desk.
Large gym and spa, opened in 2010
The O Spa, officially the Oleksandra Spa & Salon, was "designed by" Ukrainian model Oleksandra Nikolayenko-Ruffin (the wife of T.I.-owner, Phil Ruffin). Its design isn't its strong point -- its long, windowless corridors (a bit like those in a doctor's office) are hardly in the same league as the ornate spas at Caesars Palace or the Wynn -- but it does have all the essentials, accessible for $17 per day (common in Vegas, unfortunately).
- Extensive menu: massages (Swedish, hot stone, Ayurvedic, and more) from $72 (25 minutes); manicures from $35
- Jacuzzi tubs and saunas are accessible for an additional $17 per day for hotel guests ($27 for non-guests), or with the purchase of a treatment.
- Gym access is included in the $22 daily resort fee.
The gaming room, small for a Strip casino, can get congested.
The casino at TI, decorated with custom choppers, has all the usual games: slots, poker, blackjack, sports book and so on. But the space is smaller than the large gaming floors at the MGM and the Wynn. Narrow walkways produce a jam of guests trying to get through and around the casino. A low ceiling adds to the claustrophobic feel.
Don't let the pirate name hoodwink you. With racy entertainment, a small and boisterous pool, and few kids activities, Treasure Island isn't much of a family resort.
Family-friendly pirate shows
The free nightly show at Siren Cove may attract parents with kids, but keep in mind that the smoke- and fire-filled pirate battle is between a ship of bare-chested men and another vessel of sexy showgirls, uh "sirens," who sing and dance their way through the fight. Even the hotel says "parental guidance is suggested." Treasure Island's original Pirates of the Caribbean-like theme has been supplanted by a more adult vibe. The crowded pool leaves little room for spashing kids, the arcade is small, and the hotel does not arrange for babysitting services (but does provide cribs). The best kid-friendly food options are the Hawaiian-themed Kahunaville and the Ben & Jerry's shop.
Recently renovated rooms are kept clean, but litter isn't always picked up promptly in public spaces. The busy pool is a mess by day's end.
Overall, the hotel is clean, and the renovated rooms still feel like new. But as with other large Vegas hotels, the housekeeping staff can have trouble keeping up with the mass of partying guests, especially around the pool. Empty cups and beer bottles could be seen around the hotel. On one elevator ride, I spotted a wet towel on the floor. In the morning the pool is clean, but as the day goes on and guests pack in, empty cups and used towels pile up.
Nine restaurants, from a pizzeria to pan-Asian, but none are noteworthy. The buffet, though small, is a notch above the typical Vegas all-you-can-eat spread.
Lunch at Hawaiian-themed Kahunaville
Unlike the MGM and the Wynn, Treasure Island is not known for celebrity chefs or destination restaurants.
- Two relatively upscale establishments -- The Steak House and Isla Mexican Kitchen
- Seven casual dining spots, including Canter's Deli, the buffet, The Coffee Shop, Kahunaville, Pizzeria Francesco's, Pho (Vietnamese), and Señor Frog’s, which no party destination is complete without.
- Treasure Island's buffet is not the biggest on the Strip, but with a chef who makes salads to order, a custom pasta station, sushi chefs on the floor, and BBQ, it was one of my favorites. The food was fresh and didn't appear to have been sitting out for a long time. My server was super attentive, always making sure I had a fresh drink.
Mist Bar and Lounge
Four times a night a cast of "sirens" (read: scantily clad dancers) and "pirates" do battle on the docks of the 17th-century tropical port town that sits in front of the hotel. Explosions, ship sinkings, and songs and dance ensue. The free Sirens of T.I. show fills up, so get there about half an hour early to secure a prime viewing spot.
Since 1993 Treasure Island has been home to Mystere, the oldest of Las Vegas' six resident Cirque du Soleil shows. The troupe's signature 90-minute melange of acrobatics, aerial balancing, dance and clowning is performed by a cast of 75 twice a night Saturday through Wednesday. Tickets are $60 to $109 (with 50% discounts for children).
Treasure Island is also host to several nightclubs, including Christian Audigier and the more intimate Mist. On my stay, reps were handing out two-for-one vodka drink specials at the Sirens of TI show and at the doors of the casino. Christian Audigier is a club with ambition, but it can't seem to deliver.
Where else can you get married on a pirate ship?
You can get married on the "Song Ship"
- Wedding Size: Up to 65 guests for the ceremony
- Ceremony Location: The on-site chapel or the "Song Ship"
- Wedding Packages: The most unique, "Enchantment" package includes a small wedding ceremony on the "Song Ship" (only four people are allowed aboard), an officiant, a bouquet and boutonniere, floral decorations and rose petals, 24 photos of the ceremony, a sound system so that you can play a personalized wedding music CD, a bottle of champagne, a limo to the courthouse, spa treatments for the bride and groom (such as hair and makeup), use of a dressing room for a half-hour before the ceremony, and some nice extras like bathrobes and crystal champagne flutes. Prices range from about $2,600 to $3,000, depending on the day of the week. For a ceremony in the chapel, alternative packages (Destiny, Legacy, and Elegance) range from $600 to $1,429.
- Extra Fees and Restrictions: The cost of T.I.'s in-house photographer is included in the standard wedding package (and a videographer in some packages); if you bring your own artist there's an extra fee. Likewise, if you use an outside florist there's a $100 fee. In addition, there's a required $55 minister fee, and a $60 fee for the marriage license (form the Clark County Courthouse).
- Freebies: With the standard wedding package, you also get a garter for the bride and a commemorative wedding certificate.
- Food: If you have a minimum of 25 guests, you can book a private reception at the hotel. All of the packages include a wedding cake, and all but the buffets include one glass of champagne. Among the broad range of packages, there's the Elegant Beginnings Brunch ($50 per person), a Cocktail Reception ($50 to $65, but this does not, oddly, include cocktails), or a variety of buffets ($48 to $58) and plated dinners ($52 to $110). Also note that there's an additional 7.75 percent sales tax as well as a 20 percent service charge.
- Drinks: For an unlimited open bar with "Select Brands" (Wild Turkey, Sauza tequila, Captain Morgan) prices range from $21 (one hour) to $41 (four hours) per person. For better brands, like Patron or Grey Goose, it can cost anywhere from another $6 to $10 per person. Also note that there's one bartender required for every 100 guests, at the extra cost of $200. You can also opt for a cash bar.
- Spa Treatments: The on-site spa offers a full menu of hair and makeup treatments.
- Honeymoon Suite: With most wedding packages, couples can upgrade to a suite for a night or two for an extra $100 or more.
Fresh from a recent remodeling, the 2,885-room resort has pulled back from its pirate persona. The pool is crowded, the casino is small, and top-notch Vegas entertainment is in short supply. But for a reasonably priced, clean and comfortable modern room in a convenient central-Strip location, it's hard to do better.
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Things You Should Know About Treasure Island
- 3300 S. Las Vegas Blvd. So., Las Vegas, NV 89109
Hotel Is Also Known As...
- Las Vegas Treasure Island Hotel
- Treasure Island - TI Hotel & Casino
- Treasure Island Hotel Las Vegas
- Treasure Island Las Vegas
- Deluxe Room
- Executive Sutie
- Luxury Suite
- Panoramic View Room
- Penthouse Suite
- Petite Suite
- Premier Suite
- Strip View Room
- Tower Deluxe Room
- Tower Suite