Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Excalibur: What a Dump!

In July of 2010 I decided to stay at the Excalibur in Vegas for the first time.  I liked the fact that the place is cheap, and it is a nice location on the Southern end of the Strip. Since the price was right (pretty much the same as the Orleans, one of my favorite places to stay), I gave it a try.  Now, I know the old saying, "You get what you pay for" but I really was appalled by some of the hotel's shortcomings.

First thing I noticed was how few TV channels they offered.  There was no Fox News Channel, no ESPN2, no TNT!  If the basketball season was going when I was there, it would have been disastrous not to have the NBA playoff games on TNT.  As it was, I missed some of Wimbledon on ESPN2.  And I missed FNC the entire time.  All these channels and a lot more are available at the Orleans and of course any quality strip hotel.. 

When I first got to the room I called to get a refrigerator sent up.  As always when I make this request, I told them I had some medicine that needed to be refrigerated (this is only a minor stretch).  I was told there would be a $20 charge per day for it.  Per day!  BSC once charged me $35 for a fridge, but that was a one time charge, not per day.  Last time at BSC, they didn't charge me at all, and Orleans has never charged me.  When I reiterated that it was for medicine I was told there were no exceptions to the $20 per day charge!

I wasn't going to pay twenty bucks a day for a fridge, tacking on another $20 per night for the room would make the Excalibur no longer cheap.  I might as well stay at the BSC (well not quite, but still.....)  So I schlepped my cooler in from the car and had to keep getting ice to dump into it.  I wasn't sure my cooler was leak proof but fortunately it turned out to be.  Getting the ice several times a day and then emptying out the water from the cooler was no fun at all.  Did I mention my room came with a shower only, no tub?  I kept the cooler in the shower stall (except when I was expecting the maid) and kept emptying the melted ice in there.  As I said....a pain.

But the worst thing about staying at the Excalibur was evident until the next morning when I attempted to take a shower.  Yes, I said "attempted."  The water pressure was virtually non-existent!  Now, my friend lives in Vegas, I've stayed at his house many times and I know the water pressure in Vegas is a problem for locals.  My buddy was unhappy about it when he first bought his house up there but was told that it was something that Vegas residents just had to get used to (I think it has something to do with the drought).  So when staying at any other hotel I've ever stayed at in Vegas, I noticed the water pressure was considerably better than at my friend's house.  It was dramatically different.

But not at the Excalibur.  The water pressure was significantly worse than at my friend's place....or anywhere else I've ever used a shower.  I swear, it was like having an 80 year man with a prostate problem urinating on you (not that I really know what that is like!),   It was almost impossible to get wet, and almost impossible to rinse the soap off me.  And it was really impossible to get the shampoo out of my hair.  I'm pretty sure I didn't get it all out until I washed it back home.  I've never seen anything like it.

I didn't bother to complain.  My assumption was that it would pretty much the same in any room, and I really didn't feel like moving.  I had unpacked everything by then, and had the cooler with melting ice to worry about....I sure didn't want to move that.  I have to figure that Excalibur just doesn't bother to bribe the proper government officials in order to get water pressure that exceeds the county's legal limits.  I wish I had thought to check this before I unpacked and settled in, but I had not.  Actually I did have a clue and should have followed up on it, because the water pressure from the faucet in the bathroom sink was equally pathetic.  So I'll never know if another room would have been an improvement.

Like most hotels in Vegas these, the Excalibur quotes a rate and then just as you about to confirm the reservation, they warn you that will add on a "resort fee" to the daily room charge.  In the Excalibur's case, the charge was ten bucks per day.  What do they give you for that?  Three things basically.  Free wired internet, a free daily newspaper and free bottled water in your room.

OK, with the free internet, that's not a bad deal.  Most hotels in Vegas will charge you more than that for wifi in your room.  But it wasn't wifi,as I said, it was wired.  But that wasn't a problem.  My laptop, which had never been hooked to a wired network before, had no problem getting on the internet, and the speed was acceptable.

But the free daily newspaper is kind of a joke.  The newspaper, of course, is USA Today.  But keep in mind, most people go to Vegas for a weekend.  And USA Today doesn't publish on Saturday and Sunday!  So it's not really a daily newspaper, is it?  Only if you only go during the week.  Oh and of course they don't bring it to your room and leave it outside your door as I hoped......you have to go to the newsstand to get it yourself.

And then there's the bottle water.  Well, after a day or two they stopped delivering it.  When I called to complain, I was told they stopped offering free water.  I pointed out to the woman I was speaking to that it was one of things they listed to justify their $10 resort fee.  The woman said, "Are you kidding me?  You're complaining about those two little bottles of water?"  I said it wasn't my idea to charge ten bucks a day for them....it was theirs!  She just laughed.  I hung up because it didn't seem like it was worth my time to pursue this.  But again.....they're the ones promoting the free bottled water to justify their resort fee!

All in all, the Excalibur was an interesting experiment that I won't likely repeat.


  1. Thanks for the warning. You offer valuable information. So did the bathroom at least have the toilet paper roll within reach?

  2. No....I had to walk across the bridge to NYNY to get it.