Though I am a cat person, I felt our two cats were enough. My wife, however, discovered a kitten while we were vacationing near Pentwater, and felt a third cat was needed. After some brief negotiations, I won a trip to Las Vegas (a place I like and she… doesn't) and we got a cat (which I tolerate and she seems to like). Of course, I got three days in the desert and she got fifteen years of a cat, so when you look at it that way, she got the better end of the deal.
With so many choices to stay in Vegas, one of the factors that led me to The Mirage was the pool. I wanted some nice relaxation time by the water, and the Mirage's pool looked excellent. It's central location was also an important factor, but those weren't the only ones, and I'll get into those as we move along.
The first thing I noticed when I walked inside was the tropical smell. I would love to have an air freshener that has that same scent in my office. And if there was a waitress that delivered me some tropical drink like they do at the all-inclusives in Mexico, that would be even better. The Mirage scent put me in a relaxation / vacation kind of mood, and the quick and painless check-in process didn't break my "we-just-got-here-and-I've-got-lots-of-vacation-left" high.
Just walking through the hotel was an experience. The marble floors and the bridge through the plant-filled atrium. Extravagant restaurants. Gaming tables, and the sounds of slot machines. It's part of the Vegas extravagant experience, one of the reasons I love visiting the city. Even if I can't afford some of the those restaurants or shops, I don't care - it's being in that environment that gives me a charge.
We were given a room on the 24th floor overlooking the pool and the Strip running south. LOVED the room, mostly because of the view, but also the room itself was appealing with a contemporary look. The windows opened a little bit, enough to hear the white noise of The Strip below, and (carefully) hold the camera outside to get a glare-free picture. The large bathroom would have allowed a snug game of Four Square. (We didn't end of playing Four Square in the bathroom, in case you were wondering.) A couple of semi-comfortable chairs laid about for the short time we were conscious in our hotel room. My opinion of Las Vegas hotel rooms is that they should be bases of operation for all the fun stuff that you should be doing out on the town.
Our room was near the end of the hall, so we had a decent walk every time we wanted to go to the elevator. It was mostly quiet, except one horrible person next door that would occasionally and randomly crash into the wall while talking loudly. Those episodes didn't last long, and I'm hoping he was eaten by the crocodiles that lurk in the pools.
Speaking of (not crocodiles), we were able to spend a few hours next to the water. The pool was a tad cool during our autumn visit, but it was nicer than a typical day on Lake Michigan. There was plenty of space to swim despite the overabundance of people. And the waterfall was pretty cool - just knowing that it was there was an added bonus. I don't often get to swim near waterfalls - the Lansing area has a conspicuous lack of them.
The downside to the pool area were the lowlife seat savers that arrived when the pool opened and put their gear on chairs they were probably only going to use for a few hours. We would sit on a seat in the morning, eating our breakfast sandwiches from "The Roasted Bean" and enjoying the warmness, watching the scum of the earth set out their towels and immediately leave. Obviously, those people don't know how to share or have any decency. (Just my mild opinion of those hated asshats.)
If you didn't know that I liked the pools (besides the troglodyte seat-savers), know this: I had tickets to the Neon Museum, and I decided to skip it because I wanted to spent more time hanging out in the sun. Yes, it was worth missing out on some Vegas history to relax a bit in the sun. On this trip - the next one, I full intend to visit the neon graveyard.
If you're looking for a meal by the pool, I recommend the tacos at "Paradise Café". The fish and chicken tacos were excellent, though I can't recommend the overly sour margaritas. Save your money and just get a beer or water. Still, a nice experience sitting at the tables enjoying the nice weather and view. Vegas baby! And no, nothing on the menu is cheap.
Everyone we interacted with was pleasant. The guy at the check-in desk had perfect manners (maybe it was early in his shift, or maybe he's just a much nicer guy than I am). The maids, or whatever the politically correct term is, were efficient. They didn't all speak English, but if you remember the phrase "dos toallas, por favor", you'll be fine. The public areas were spotless, as was the room - at least until I got there.
So in case you didn't know, I was a big fan of The Mirage. Great room (and view), wonderful interior areas, and beautifully manicured exterior all played a part in my great stay. And it had a volcano - don't forget about that. We didn't catch any of the shows there - I had my heart set on Carrot Top at Luxor (which was fantastic - go see it, right now) - but The Beatles "Love" and Terry Fator both seemed appealing. It is definitely in my list of great hotels that I have stayed at, and one I would recommend.