None of the older hotels in Las Vegas look that good in the daylight. Harrah’s is no exception. Because of the integrated electronics, it’s probably hard to paint underneath all of the neon (many of the newer hotels, have, by-the-way, eschewed neon for more maintainable exteriors). Harrah’s retains is design from the Vegas age of kitsch, not the current age of “elegance.” That can be forgiven.
My room, however, were pretty worn, and for the price, that is less easy to forgive. The only reason I had a working electric outletin the bedroom, for instance, was because the previous occupant unplugged the alarm clock. I’m guessing the hotel staff used the same plug for the vacuum.
The bathroom also had a plug, which I used for recharging items I didn’t need nearby, like extra batteries.
While I’m on the bathroom, old and run down best described it. The tile had some mildew along with missing bits of grout. The curtain rod was rusty, and it wasn’t even a modern arched rod. I had to keep my arms in check in order to shower. I stayed at the Venetian Hotel just down the street a few weeks before, and that was a great experience. I understand that Harrah’s is not the Venetian, but I actually paid more for this stay at Harrah’s (because of the Consumer Electronics Show – CES – pricing) than I did for a room at the Venetian – price equivalency should mean some parity of experience.
Technology was interesting. I paid the ridiculous “resort fee” which entitled me to free Wi-Fi and I know not what else, but I ended up using the Wi-Fi from the Venetian Suites because my computer and tablet were already connected and authenticated, and the Wi-Fi reached Harrah’s.
Storage was minimal. The closet consisted of two short armoire cabinets on either side of the TV. The in-room refrigerator didn’t work, nor did the ice machine.
The check-in experience was good. I had my Total Rewards card in hand and used it to get around the long line of non-Vegas initiated CES attendees. Luckily the little 24-hour market and snack area was at the base of my elevator, so when I wasn’t eating on CES vendors, I could easily procure decent food and take it up to the room.
At check-out my deposit was credited to my account. I turned my bags over to the team in the bag-check and airport check-in room. My bags were secured and returned to me promptly. The doorman even suggested not taking a cab, so rather than paying $20 or so to get to the airport, I used their exclusive shuttle for around $9. I sat shotgun with about seven other passengers behind the front seats. It was a fine ride. McCarran airport isn’t far, so shuttles in Vegas are a good deal. (Don’t ever get a limo unless your company tells you to. If you do splurge, have them drive you around for about an hour. You will pay the hour rate regardless of if they drop you off in ten minutes, or if they drive you around the town. Tell your driver you know the deal and communicate your expectations ahead of the journey).
Caesars owns Harrah’s. I was told at check out, after honestly answering the question, “How was your stay?” with “The rooms could use some sprucing up, and the access to power is horrible,” that the hotel was going to be renovated this year. I hope so. I like Harrah’s because of its location on the Las Vegas Monorail system. I usually walk in Vegas, but during CES there is enough walking on the floor without walking to the floor.
I’m hoping that Harrah’s realizes that it is a key hotel in the CES ecosystem and that its technology should at least accommodate, if not wow, the annual migration of nerds and geeks to its neon nests.
Daniel W. Rasmus
Daniel W. Rasmus, Founder and Principal Analyst of Serious Insights, is an internationally recognized speaker on the future of work and education. He is the author of several books, including Listening to the Future and Management by Design.