Eaten at the “Top of the World” Restaurant in Vegas (167/366)

“All that glitters is not gold.”
~Aesop’s Fables

*Warning: Critical Post Ahead*

I usually don’t write negative things – in general I’d like to consider myself a pretty positive person, and certainly one who gives others the benefit of the doubt, but I also believe that there are social standards that people should adhere to, especially when their job or position calls for it, and this was not the case with our experience at Top of the World in Vegas. While I normally subscribe to the old adage, “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all,” I also think its important to share when a business severely fails to meet your expectations and/or seems to not care about their patrons.

I’ve been to the “Top of Waikiki” restaurant in Oahu and the Space Needle Restaurant in Seattle – both beautiful revolving restaurants that give you an outstanding view of your surroundings and let you have a nice dinner at the same time. Mom hadn’t been to Vegas in years, so I thought it would be cool to have dinner at the “Top of the World” so she could see the lights of The Strip at night.

The Top of the World restaurant in Vegas is at the Stratosphere Hotel & Casino, on the 107th floor of this space-needle looking building. On the 108th and 109th floors there are thrill attractions for the daring. From the 108th floor, you can experience a cabled free fall all the way almost to the base of the structure. We even got to see a few of these crazy people on their jump (at least right after they jumped … it’s a LONG way down)!  At the 109th floor, there’s a ride that basically teeter totters you on the edge of the building – and makes you feel you might slide right off!

Before we got up to the top of the Stratosphere, we had to check in downstairs for the restaurant. The woman at the check-in desk was very nice, and let us know that we just needed to go around to Security, who would let us up to the top. Here’s where our evening started to sour.  Now, if you know me, you’ll know I am the last person to complain about something, but I do have to say the security guard who “helped” us was rude. He acted like we were putting him out, and was totally curt with us. I was pretty shocked by this, because it is literally his job to let people up to the top of the Stratosphere. Honestly, he was so rude I really feel I should have taken his name down – I had not encountered someone so rude on our entire trip – but I was seriously so shocked by his behavior, and I didn’t want to let him ruin our nice evening, that I just tried to ignore his totally off-putting unprofessionalism.

We got upstairs, and were seated. One of the other reasons we had chosen to eat here was because we had purchased a deal for $25 off our meal – not a huge discount, since there were four of us and the prices are pretty high (ha ha ha, literally), but something. The website let us know we didn’t have to print anything out, we just had to have our certificate number and let our server know about it before ordering (the numbers are all unique, and once the restaurant calls a number in, it cannot be used again). When we sat down, and when we let our waiter know we had a certificate number, his demeanor totally changed – he blared that he said he couldn’t accept just a number, and that we needed a physical print out … even though specifically stated we didn’t need one! We told him this, but he cut us off and said he knew what the website said, but it was wrong, and there was no way to honor the deal without a printout. Rude!

We almost left – one of the main reasons we had decided to come, even though the prices are always astronomical at places like this (Ha!  Another good one) was because we had the certificate – and our experience so far had not been great. We asked if there was a business center nearby so we could go and get a printout, and he said he didn’t know.  We asked about a Kinko’s or some other way we could access a printer.  He was totally unhelpful, plus loud and rude about the whole thing.  He basically kept trying to make it seem like it was impossible for us to use our certificate.  When I made a motion to get up and leave, he then said he’d check with his manager, but he said he still didn’t think the manager would accept the certificate without it being printed.  I couldn’t believe it!  What a jerk.  A minute or two later, a manager came to our table and simply asked us to write down the number, and told us it would be honored. No hemming or hawing, no, “Well, we don’t usually do this, but …” nothing at all. A few minutes later, our waiter comes back and cavalierly “apologizes” about the issue, blaming the system for his not being able to honor the deal, “Uh yeah, we used to take the numbers, but now they need a printout, I don’t know why – it’s crazy – I don’t know …” sure … whatever dude.

I was previously all ready to pay triple value for a bottle of bubbles to celebrate the beautiful view and to cap off our family vacation, but after all that nonsense, I didn’t want them getting any more of our money – or our waiter getting any higher a tip (using the certificate automatically adds an 18% gratuity! Hilarious!).  But I still wanted us to have a special dinner, and for Mom to be able to see the lights of the Strip, so I figured we should just make the best of it … as economically as possible.  Ha ha ha.

We ordered, the food came in a timely manner, and it was nice. Another thing to note is that these places (high-rise, revolving restaurants) usually have a minimum order amount per person, and this place was no different. This was another reason the whole coupon debacle was such a turn-off.  The coupon is for a two-entrée minimum, and we were a party of four; we were of course going to spend at least the minimum amount per person, and that lovely 18% tax was already going to be tacked on for the “service” yet we were given grief for a measly $25 certificate, which would barely pay for an appetizer.  Ridiculous.

Anyway, as I said, the food was nice, the view was beautiful, and the Top of the World restaurant in Vegas is basically the same deal as other high-rise restaurants.

While the food is usually good (as was the case here as well), the restaurant is more about the ambiance than anything else.  Unfortunately, the lights of the strip and the well-executed meal did not make up for the horribly bad taste left in my mouth from our severely lacking “customer service” experience.  On top of all that, the couple next to us, who had obviously had a good time during their dinner (they were pretty liquored up) tell the waiter (same as ours) at the end of their meal that they have a certificate *number* as well, and he gives them absolutely no trouble, just tells them they just need to write down the number for his manager.

If you’ve never been to a revolving restaurant before, they’re neat – especially if it’s your first time in a place and you really love it.  As I said before, I’ve been to the ones in Waikiki, Seattle, and now Vegas, and they’re all different for their beautiful and unique views.  The food has so far been about the same in all of them (good, but still overpriced – but you’re really paying for the view), and the drinks are the same, but the ambiance and experience usually makes the price worth it.  I’m not saying the Stratosphere isn’t possibly as good as the other two places I’ve been, and I know everyone has off-days so one experience might not be the best representation of an establishment, but I do get the feeling that the Stratosphere, being one of the older resorts on the Strip, has maybe lost a bit of its quality from when it was a more popular locale.  I’m glad I went there once, but I will not be returning.

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