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We usually travel to Las Vegas at least once a year, sometimes twice depending upon conferences, special events, etc. We have started attending the Vegas Dance Explosion (VDE), which is a huge Line Dance Convention. They always hold the event at the Westgate Hotel & Casino, which is a few blocks off the strip, located behind the Wynn/Encore resorts (somewhat) & close to the Convention Center. The Westgate is also located on the Monorail, so it is a convenient, lower cost option for those who want to see/do more on the Strip, but not pay the big Resort hotel prices.
We attended the VDE last year for the first time and I did not like our room, it felt very dark and dumpy. I tried to just remind myself that it was convenient and cheap! I think the conference rate was $40-$50/night, over a weekend...so very cheap! It was so bad that I didn't even take photos last year. Definitely, not my kind of hotel. This year, I decided to book an upgraded type of room and see if they were any better. We had the Signature Concierge Level Room and it was not so dark or dumpy..it was a decent sized room and the bathroom was fresh and bright. We had room 2555, which was located close to the elevators as well, which is a good thing when your days are filled with dancing all day and night.
You can view photos of our room here: WESTGATE SIGNATURE CONCIERGE ROOM
Our room came with Concierge Lounge Access with daily breakfast and evening happy hour with appetizers. That being said, the Concierge lounge was horrible. We stopped in our first evening to check out the Happy Hour, just one white wine choice, one sparking wine choice - both were horrible. I suppose if you don't drink wine, then you're probably OK. Bill is a whiskey drinker and you can't really mess up whiskey on the rocks! Appetizers were not very appealing and we were so disappointed that we decided to forget about breakfast, we usually sleep in anyway so it's a struggle for us to get to the lounge before 1030am. Most of our days started with a snack from the Starbucks/Fortuna on our way to a dance lesson just before lunch break!
The Westgate overall is disappointing in that things shut down! I'm used to a Casino hotel having a coffee shop open 24 hours- their coffee shop (Sid's Cafe) closes down at inconsistent hours. One night it closed at 9pm, another night 10pm- even the servers don't know what to tell people. We asked about this and essentially they are told nightly when to shut down. Our friends had gone to see the 7pm Barry Manilow show at the hotel and came out wanting a light bite and the Sid's Cafe had closed at 9pm (show was out at 915pm). It makes absolutely no sense. We dined at Sid's twice for lunch and one server got a lot of things wrong with our orders, the next day a different server had it just right. They have a coffee shop- Fortuna that serves Starbucks coffees and grab and go bites and they had longer hours, it was just all very strange.
As for other dining options, they do have some NICE restaurants in the Westgate. Our arrival night was late, close to 10pm and at that point all of the restaurants were closed, but in the Sports Book, there is a place that is open 24 hours where you can order burgers, pizza, nachos, tacos. That's where we ate for our "dinner", unfortunately, the nachos just weren't all that good. We should have ordered something else! The rest of our nights, we visited Benihana's (always good), Fresca Italian which was also very good & our final night at The Edge Steakhouse. We were a little disappointed with the Edge Steakhouse, only because they are known for their dry aging process, so we decided we should try one of the steaks that were dry-aged. Well, we were not a fan of the dry aged taste. The service was excellent and everything else tasted wonderful, so I really do think it was just us not caring for the dry-aged taste.
If you want a good glass of wine at the Westgate, you need to visit the bars in the restaurants- before 10pm when they close because the wines at the Casino bars are not very good at all. Because we were with a conference though, in the evenings we had a bartender set up by our dance halls and he had better wine selections available for purchase & he was very generous with his pours!
This year our conference was in September, so the pool was still open. I would give the pool area itself a rating of a 7..the pool was a decent size, it was not over-filled with people, good music playing at a decent volumn but there is no bar or food service at your chair. You have to walk over to the bar or the grill to order and bring your purchases back to your chairs. It did appear that if you rented a Cabana, you had service but I didn't see that many people floating around even for Cabana Service, so that was a bummer. I did enjoy taking a break from the dancing and enjoying the pleasant 85 degree weather, we don't get to do that in November when the convention is normally held! They do have a spa and fitness center near the pool area and they appeared to be nice and welcoming. What I did like about the pool area though is that it's pretty "open", meaning you have sunshine all day. We've stayed at some hotels in Vegas where the pool gets shaded early in the afternoon from its own hotel shadow. (We weren't the only dancers who took a poolside break!!)
Overall, I will stay here again for our convention as it is very, very convenient. Nothing to complain about with regard to our convention services. Though I am tempted to see where else to stay that is just off the monorail. Speaking of the monorail, we heard it from our room every night. I'm not even sure how, except that maybe the noise travels up through the elevator shaft and we were close to the elevators, but the noise would cease at 2-3am and resume at 7am, which coincided with the monorail hours. I had other reasons keeping me up late (working on a client's lost baggage en route to Peru), but it was hard to fall asleep with the noise every 5 minutes or so.
Dance Family being serious & crazy!!