Casino Boy Says: Holy Mangos! I suddenly crave drinks with little umbrellas in them!

Hotel Size:
Overall Quality:
Room Price:
Casino Size:
1910 rooms
~60,000 s.f.
Good-V. Good

Tropicana Resort and Casino
1-800-634-4000, 3801 LasVegas Blvd. South, Las Vegas, NV 89109
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Room Quality Some rooms are fantastic, others aren't so great. In order, the Paradise Towers have been renovated most recently and offer the most amenities. These are equal to many other hotels on the Strip, with new carpets, nice beds (some with mirrors over them), and decent sized bathrooms. You can get a refrigerator, and there are in-room safes. They usually go for $10 a night more than the Island Tower and $20 more per night than the "garden" rooms. The Island Tower is slightly older and more worn than the Paradise Tower, but still a nice play to stay. Expect to see a few old stains on the carpet and furnishings, though. The garden rooms are in motel structures around the pool. They have balconies, which is a nice touch, but they are the oldest rooms and are close enough to the ground that you hear a lot of traffic. The garden rooms tend to be pretty good-sized, though. The hotel is at one of the hottest corners in Vegas, and you're walking distance from MGM Grand, Excalibur, Luxor, New York New York and plenty of others.

Around $60-$80
Around $40-$60
Around $100-$140
Around $80-$110

What Does Discount Mean?

Service Quality: Good. Even though the hotel shows its age, it's still a nice play to stay, with a clean casino and tons of good restaurants nearby. They treat you well, especially in the kid-free Paradise Tower.
What You Get Bottles of in the Bathroom: You get shampoo, conditioner and lotion, regardless of what part of the hotel you're staying in. So, nobody will be able to sniff you and tell if you are low-rolling or living it up.
Clientele: Although not as popular with the jet set as it once was, they still get some pretty young things because of the pool and youthful theme. Mostly though, it's folks in their thirties and forties with middle-income spending habits.
How's the pool? Fantastic and enormous with beautiful landscaping. The lagoon style, meandering pools are among the more relaxing ones in Vegas. There's a nature walk over the tropical lagoon setting and the sprawling pools are linked by narrow waterways. There is a swim-up blackjack table. Good-looking people in bikinis congregate and swill umbrella drinks in the sunny areas.
Free Shuttle: The parking lot of the Trop is a massive free shuttle hub. Find service to and from the Hard Rock Cafe, Palace Station, Silverton, and Sunset Station out there. (For complete free shuttle info and schedules buy our guide--it's only $4)

Table Games: Blackjack, craps, roulette, Let It Ride, Pai Gow, Carribean Stud. The games are pretty good for this area. The Excalibur across the street deals better games, but the Tropicana has a nicer gambling atmosphere. The casino is sort of small compared to its neighbors, and it can get cramped.
Machines: Slots from a nickel on up. There is a good selection of video poker, with full-pay in most denominations. You have to seek them out, though, because they have lots of poor-paying machines, too. The Trop has lots of the new video reel games, but if those confuse you like they do us, you'll also find plenty of traditional reel slots to play.
Bet Minimums: $5 at blackjack and other card games. There are triple odds at craps, which is better than most Strip joints, but not as good as the 5x across the street at the Excalibur.
Cocktails? Fair. As we have found in our arduous research, it is a chore to get drunk while playing slots or tables at the Tropicana.
Who Gets Comps? They are pretty good for the neighborhood. If you play $10 and up for a few hours at the tables, you should be able to ask for a buffet or maybe even coffee shop. Of course, you better be nice and make sure the pit boss sees you playing. Rooms can be had for many hours of $50 a hand play, or a few hours of $100 play. Their slot club is pretty good for free rooms either mailed to you, or deducted from your bill at check-out.

Island Buffet: It's not very good and it's a little overpriced. The breakfast price is way too high. For the same money, you can do better by walking across the street to the MGM Grand. The pluses are the pasta bar later in the day where they make a plate of pasta with ingredients and sauces you pick out. Prime rib and shrimp are also decent for dinner.
Golden Dynasty: It's an okay Chinese place. The prices are fair. If you are in the neighborhood and seeking Chinese, it's probably a safe, but not spectacular, bet. If you're looking for world-class Chinese, try the Mirage or Caesars Forum Shops.
Savanna: If you're in the mood for a good steak and want to overpay for it, here's the place. Service is not up to the standard of a gourmet room, and you can easily spend $40 a head. For these prices, you should expect something extraordinary, and we suggest Circus Circus Steakhouse or Binion's Ranch Steakhouse.
Calypsos: This is an above-average coffee shop. Prices are average, but you are getting better quality food, and lots of it. It's open 24 hours and the late night specials are a pretty good deal. One nice touch is the fresh tropical fruit served with sandwiches. It will help clear out the grease that accumulates in the average stomach during a trip to Las Vegas.

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Folies Bergere: Las Vegas' longest-running revue spectacular is also the home of the biggest showgirl costumes in Las Vegas. We're talking 40-50 pounds of feathers and glitter. It's a topless show for the guys, and a dancing show for the ladies. There are the requisite comics, jugglers and other variety performers. Tickets are about $45, but discounts are readily available.
Birdman of Las Vegas: This is not your favorite cartoon superhero, but a guy who has a flock of trained birds. He puts on a free show where his birds will you amaze you with bird antics in Tropics Lounge every day but Thursday. The shows are in the afternoons. Remember, don't sit in the front row without a pancho.
Comedy Stop:
This is probably the best comedy room in town. We've heard they pay better than the Improv and get better talent because of that. There are three to four comics every night and the show last a little over an hour. Tickets are about $14 and include two drinks. Check the free tourist magazines for discounts or 2-for-1s.
Rick Thomas: It's an afternoon magic show with tigers and small delights. It's not as enormous and spectacular as Siegfried and Roy or Lance Burton, but it's better suited for children. And at under $20, it's a bargain.
Casino Legends Hall of Fame: The hall of fame features pictures and stories about Las Vegas gambling luminaries and casino owners. There is also a lot of memorabilia from Las Vegas's past. Lots of old slot machines, casino chips and other odds and ends. $4 unless you find one of the many freebie coupons in the free tourist magazines.

out of Five

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Number of TVs Seven, no big screens.
Number of seats Just about 30. They aren't reserved, and are more comfortable than the average sports book chair.
How many betting windows? Four, with hand-written boards.
Free Drinks? No.
Snack Bar? No, but there is a little convenience store within a minute's walk.
Minium wager $5
Other Notes This is a rinky dink Leroy-operated sports-only book in a little room tucked away next to a staircase near the Casino Legends Hall of Fame. It's pretty hidden and pretty quiet since few people seem able to find it. When we were there, somebody had left a big wet spot on one of the seats, which creeped us out plenty.

Where? On the South Strip
Who owns it? Aztar
Ostensible Theme Visitors find themselves on a lush tropical island populated by palm trees and video poker machines.
Clientele Inexplicably, the Trop seems to be the headquarters for middle-aged Beanie Baby enthusiasts. The few young people I saw were accompanied by middle aged Beanie Baby enthusiasts.
Employee costumes I wish I could tell you that the cocktail waitresses had to dress up as hula girls, but I didn't see a single waitress the whole time I was here!
Carpet and Other Decor The facade of the casino is an assortment of beach chalets in Hawaiian shirt colors.

The decor of "Island of Las Vegas" features lots of pink and aqua and a plethora of potted palms. A nice touch is the tiki-esque gecko perched atop pillars in the gaming area. Occasionally, the visitor stumbles upon a light fixture evoking the "Solid Gold" era. And, of course, every surface is mirrored, which leads me to believe that vanity is considered a virtue in the tropics. In the gaming areas, the red carpet emblazoned with gold seashells seemed disappointingly restrained.

Pastel walls and mirrors lead to the restrooms, which have a bird of paradise motif on the mirrors. I was only in the restrooms a few moments, and I started to feel like I was sitting inside a scoop of sherbet.

The music of choice is hits from the 1970's, mostly disco.

Food The Trop's coffee shop is called Calypso's. There's also an "Island Buffet". I don't know what this buffet serves, but I would hope that the lineup includes lots of luscious tropical fruit. The one restaurant that is really trying is "Savanna", which serves carioca chicken, jerked pork chops, and seafood- tropical cuisine for meat and potatoes folks.
Games It felt like summer at the Equator with all of the "White Hot Aces", "Hot Dollars", and "Hot Quarters". There's also a game called "Island Gods Progressive Slots", but regrettably, it doesn't seem to involve ritual human sacrifice. "Island Winners" receive a lei, along with their slot jackpots. Some booths offer Beanie Babies as prizes. What the hell kind of hardened gambler is going to go for a floppy plush bunny or squirrel?
Entertainment "Best of Folies Bergere" showcases performers who are so uncomfortable in the tropical heat they are compelled to wear very few clothes. They also host Rick Thomas the Animal Trainer and His Two Very Sleepy Tigers. I hear that they're thinking of replacing the tigers with Beanie Babies, though.
Services Wings of the hotel go by Love Boat-esque monikers of "Lanai Rooms" and "Acapulco Rooms". The gift shop sells such resort necessities as T-shirts and caps with macaws on them, coffee mugs with macaws on them, and stuffed macaws with macaws on them. Just like everywhere nowadays, the Tropicana has its own spa. If Gilligan and Mary Ann were to tie the knot, the Polynesian-style Island Wedding Chapel would be their number one choice.
Did it work? The Tropicana doesn't limit itself to a particular region of the tropics; they dabble equally in Polynesian, African, Asian, and Central American motifs. After all, it's "The Island of Las Vegas", so they can do whatever they want. I will admit that I enjoyed strolling the grounds, though.
Suggestions This place needs some tropical heat. Ditch the Beanie Babies and import some tiki torches and tribal drums.


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