If you have never stayed at a hotel on the Las Vegas Strip, you wouldn’t know that there is never a coffee maker in your room. No microwave. No refrigerator, except for the one full of booze that senses if you lift something for 10 seconds so that they may charge you for it. The resort is trying to entice you into the casino or their shops or their stores or their restaurants. The Bellagio is no different. I was there for a conference a few weeks back and had to venture out to try and find a place to satisfy by caffeine fix at 5:45 AM. Since I live on the east coast, this felt more like 8:45 AM and I was way past due for my morning cup of joe.
These are my observations on my 5:45 AM walk:
Half a mile
I clocked my walk to the Starbucks that opened at 6 AM on the very farthest end of The Bellagio, and it was a full half mile from my hotel room. The sheer size of this immense resort is startling. I could walk a half mile there and a half mile back and barely retrace the same steps. There had to be at least fifteen restaurants, ten bars and thirty or more shops on the way as well. The resort is like a small city and if it weren’t for the signs along the way, I could have easily been lost amongst the labyrinth of slot machines, craps and blackjack tables. Between the conference space and casino, I never left the resort for three whole days and I clocked over 4 miles a day.
On that Thursday morning there were more employees than customers out and about in The Bellagio. There were at least fifty employees polishing floors, fixing light fixtures, yanking out what seemed like acres of tulips and organizing floral arrangements around the resort. I was flabbergasted by the entire crew, hard at work, maintaining this immense resort. As I walked back with my coffee, there was a small dump truck, full of flowers from The Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens, backing up on the marble floors of the resort. I had a renewed appreciation of all the work that goes into maintaining the stunning flower arrangements and shiny polished floors of a world-renowned resort.
On a typical afternoon at The Bellagio, there are throngs of people viewing the famous fountains outside and the conservatory inside. It is a major attraction in Las Vegas. At 5:45 AM? There are one or two folks at slot machines, diehard blackjack players at one table and the hapless drunk leaning on his friends as they head to the parking garage. The music throbs, the machines clang, and yet, there is barely an audience to observe it. There are the running and walking enthusiasts headed out to take their morning run with their earbuds and running shoes.
The Bellagio is 21 years old and employs 8,000 employees for 3,950 rooms. There are basically 2 employees for each room in the resort. But they have an impressive 20,000 guests each day who walk through the conservatory, which is maintained by a team of 125. Their famous fountains are manned by a team of 30 and it has 35 different fountain shows set to different music that is piped into the entire first floor of the resort. The lake that houses the fountain show is 8 acres. It’s been featured in several movies, including Oceans Eleven.
It’s remarkable that The Bellagio continues to look flawless, even after twenty years of continuous operation. Once I witnessed the enormous team that it takes to make that happen, I have a renewed appreciation for all those workers who rose at 4 AM to make sure the experience was awe-inspiring for all. Maybe I had to walk a half mile for coffee so that I could appreciate the folks that make it all happen. It is a level of service that is exemplary.