A recent stay at the venerable Tropicana reintroduced me to the “classic” side of Las Vegas.
Well, I made it back from my trip to Las Vegas, Disneyland, and Laguna Beach. I’ll have a more detailed trip report of Disneyland and DCA later, along with many, many photos (I need to figure-out how to present everything).
Anyway, the first night away from home on my trip, I stayed in Las Vegas at the classic Tropicana hotel. For those who don’t know, the Trop (as it’s called by the hip crowd apparently) has been in Vegas for at least 20 years. I remember going to Vegas as a child on family vacations and the Trop was always there. It’s been such a landmark in Vegas that the major street it sits on is even called Tropicana Avenue. Being 20+ years old, it’s getting a bit dated looking compared to the flashy new neighbors like the MGM Grand, the NYNY, and Excalibur. They cleverly spin this aging with a tagline “The way Vegas was meant to be.” And, yes, it does actually feel like “old Vegas”.
It feels old when I had to circle the building two times looking for somewhere to park so I could check-in. There is a sign for hotel registration but when I got to the part of the building I presume was for temporarily parking to get your room number (remember, these hotels are gargantuan and you really do want to park near your room to avoid walking many extra miles) all I found were “Bus only” and “Taxi only” parking. Where are the GUESTS supposed to park to check-in? To be fair, I had the exact same problem at Luxor on the way home. Maybe you’re supposed to just ignore the signs and park anyway?
I finally said “screw it” and parked at the closest huge lot and walked inside to face the age issue again. The Trop is designed to “old” Vegas standards where the casino is as confusing as possible with no real navigational aids like SIGNS to tell wandering wanna-be-guests where to go. I finally cornered a casino employee and inquired as to the whereabouts of the check-in desk. He says, “Uh, it’s right over there” and points across the room. I vaguely see an area all the way across the casino that’s slightly darker than everything else, as though it’s got a lower than 100% slot machine density with all of their blinking lights and neon. Sure enough, after a couple minutes of dodging games and people, I’m at the front desk.
I won’t get into the sub-standard desk employees who had the friendliness of salt-mine workers or the $1 (yes, one dollar) charge they don’t bother to openly tell you about for “unlimited phone use” (just include the lousy buck in the damned bill!) I eventually got my room assigned and managed to escape the un-signed casino to find my car, although out a different door than I came-in somehow.
Pulling the car around by entrance #4, which according to the map is the closest to my room, I am greeted by an ocean of ugly cracking pavement and a gigantic air conditioning unit for the conference rooms right next to the staircase. Several hundred feet down the hallway, I found the elevators up to the rooms and boarded. My room was on the second floor, but there was no way I was going to try to find the stairs in this place!
Way down a dark, again “old school” Vegas hotel hallway, I find my room. It’s OK – not the fanciest, but with a reasonable amount of space and in fairly good condition. Except one thing – the in-room safe. I found this to be somewhat ironic that the safe was completely broken. How do the maids or other guests not report this? I guess probably much like myself — not wanting to navigate to the dreaded front-desk and speak to the downtrodden employees, I skipped reporting it also.
Anyway, I figured some of you might find this a bit funny and for those who are planning a trip to Vegas, this might provide a bit of information on whether they want to stay at the famous Tropicana or not. It’s not a bad place and it’s bound to be one of the cheaper deals during high-price periods (that’s why I stayed there – the other rooms in the area were triple in price for some event that was happening in Vegas that week). Of course, if you want that “old Vegas” feel and still want to be on the south Strip where all of the newer stuff is, this is probably a good hotel to consider.