They downplay the only cool thing about this place: the pirate theme. The TI offers mid-level luxury. It's not as swanky as the Bellagio, or even the Mirage, but still nice enough that they get nervous when they see us coming with our sticky hands.
The tower is similar to The Mirage
in size and layout, meaning slightly smaller-than-average rooms. The room decor is neutral browns with the now common off-white bedding. Dark wood dressers and furnishings and a decent-sized flat-panel TV on the wall. The bathrooms are above average with marble floors and hair dryers. While you shouldn't do it, the hair dryers are easier to sneak home with you than the new floors. There is also an iPod dock alarm clock in the room, so you can wake up to your prized recording of "Flash Turnipseed". Standard amenities are a single sink and soaking bath-shower combos. The closets are large and have safes. One downside is the serious lack of pirate theming. We want a keg of grog! All rooms are equipped for high-speed Internet access for a ridiculous fee, and if you're willing to pay you need help with your addiction. The in-room safes are wonderful for people who have big stacks of cash to store. The location is good, within walking distance of both the Center Strip and the North Strip.
Service Quality: Check-in is usually handled very professionally and the lines go quickly during rush hour. Room service is good, too, but you could easily spend $40 on breakfast for two, when $1.98 will get two complete breakfasts at some dingy joints, and you get way more grease, too!
What You Get Bottles of in the Bathroom: Conditioner, shampoo and some lotion. The hair stuff is orange-scented and comes in cute little bottles that will make a great Christmas gift for a relative. It appears they usually have the grand prize, the sewing kit complete with buttons, but not always and you have to check the drawers for it. We probably should stay here again soon, because our pants keep falling down.
Clientele: Young to middle-aged, upper-middle class. Surprisingly, you find very few pirates about, which makes for a safe, but less interesting, stay. A lot of Californians stay here for their weekends. and, as you'd expect, the pirate theme draws plenty of families to this resort (maybe because parents want their kids to be kidnapped). Rumor is that they want the kids to stop coming, though, charging big dough for every third or fourth person in a room.
How's the Pool? Small, odd-shaped and not so great. In fact, this pool is too small and crowded for the siz of the property. The pool is heated, but closed during winter.
Resort Fee: (What is this?)
$20 per night (plus tax). You get internet access, fitness center access, two-for-one cocktails, daily paper, nightclub admission, VIP free show viewing, local and toll-free calls, printing boarding passes, ten pages of copies/faxes and $20 credit toward a future stay.
Table Games: Lots of everything, like Let It Ride, craps, blackjack, roulette, oddball card games and the casino's favorite, the Big Six wheel. The dealt games use the highly unpleasant automated shufflers that the casinos did not put in place for the customers' benefit. Play here if you like the atmosphere and don't mind losing.
Bet Minimums: The cheapest craps game is $10 during weekdays, same with blackjack, but not always. Often, the games require at least $15 to get in on any action. Watch out for their single deck blackjack, because it pays a horrifying 6:5 on blackjacks. Craps is the standard 3x4x5x. All of the games have electronic minimum and maximum signs that they can change in an instant, depending on what the prime rate and federal reserve are doing.
Machines: Slots from a penny on up to $100. There are a very limited number of full-pay video poker machines that we know of. Hey, someone's got to pay all those actors dressed like pirates in the battles out front.
Cocktails? Very good. They know how to mix a stiff drink. The service is not the fastest, but the drinks are some of the best you can get for free.
Who Gets Comps? It's a slightly-below average return compared to off-strip hotels. It rewards play at all levels, of course, it may take about three weeks at the nickels to get that gourmet dinner comp you have your eye on. If you do rack up a bunch of slot club points, you will probably get mailed offers for free and discounted rooms. Comps at the tables are for $50 bettors and higher. Rooms will be given to you at the $100 and up level.
Buffet: They spiffed it up and the dining area looks all sleek and California modern, but the food is not as dazzling as the room. Barbecue, good pizzas, Asian and many of the same old steam-tray items you find everywhere. Good, but nothing to go out of your way for.
Canters Deli: Like the LA original, the service is rude but, man, is the deli food good. In particular, the Jewish delicacies are topnotch. We recommend the soups and the extra-thick sandwiches. Be careful, this place looks nothing like the shabby LA location; it's all high-tech fancy-shmancy curves, whites and grays. And that just feels weird for a Jewish deli.
Coffee Shop: The coffee shop. A pretty good coffee shop but an overpriced one and about as special as its name. We guess the TI is too busy paying large-breasted actresses to frolic on their ships out front to come with a name. Please note: we are not complaining about that. Oh yeah, "Pho" serves Vietnamese food within the coffee shop. It's not bad.
Isla: Who's in the mood for yet another fusion dining option? This one is Mexican/New Mexican and features twists on your favorites, like grilled Mexican-spiced chicken breast with corn dumplings and Vegas' requisite steak but with huitlacoche mashed potatoes and chimichurri sauce.
Kahunaville: It's the latest in "hot concept" eating, which means that they're using gimmickry to get you through the door. This time it's a vaguely tropical theme. The menu is all over the place: Asian, American, Caribbean, etc, but the prices are somewhat reasonable. You can get by fairly cheaply unless you really dig those big umbrella drinks. This place is huge at 400 seats, and it's supposed to be a nightclub, too.
Khotan: Asian tapas! Tapas are usually Greek, but everyone has sort of appropriated the name to describe just eating a bunch of appetizers as your meal. And we like that idea. Khotan has pricey sushi and tempura along Chinese main dishes and steak done up sort of Asian. The decor features a ton of jade and ivory brickabrack.
Phil's Italian Steakhouse: It's the ubiquitous upscale steak house, this time also featuring spaghetti and ravioli. We can't afford it, but it's good, even if it's nothing notable. You must ask yourself, however, is it 10 times better than a late-night steak downtown? By the way, this restaurant's clever name is a tribute to the guy who owns the Treasure Island.
Pizzeria Francesco's: This is the Italian place that is required of every hotel in town, and it's pretty good, but as the name says, mostly pizza, including from a walkup window. You can get weird stuff like pine nuts and clams on the pizza, along with favorite toppings. You can also get pasta and salads from a limited menu of other choices.
A Starbucks serves up coffee, but you won't find the teen poets hanging out here like at the Starbucks at home, which is a huge relief. Krispy Kreme and Ben and Jerry's are here to the delight of dentists everywhere.
Gilley's: Nothing goes with pirates like boot-stomping cowboys, so Treasure Island added a Gilley's. This is the Texas nightclub with mechanical bulls made famous by the movie Urban Cowboy. it promises cold beer, attractive women, live music and a bit of barbecue, too.
Kahunaville: At this tropical-themed restaurant and nightclub watch for bartenders performing with "flair," meaning they'll toss bottles in the air and whisk money from your wallet.
Mystere: The legendary Cirque de Soleil sells out frequently in their permanent circus tent at Treasure Island. Although, now that everyone and his grandma has a Cirque show it ain't so special. It's no bargain for those of us living in reality, but still considered one of the best show on the Strip. The acts include trapeze, acrobats, contortionists, mimes (yuck!), and more of that European-feeling circus stuff. Don't be fooled into thinking it's from France, though. It's actually brought to you by the wannabe Frenchies in Quebec.
Sirens of TI: The show is "sexier" and "stupider" and "lamer" than ever. Sexy wenches plotlessly battle with sexy pirates. The ships remain, the explosions seem big, and the girls wear few clothes. The dialog and singing is mind-numbingly dumb, and the whole shmeer is just to the right of being sex-objectifying claptrap. Four shows nightly.
Number of TVs: Eleven big screens total, one of which is the great big mama and the other ten are her cute little babies.
Number of Seats: Eighty screens with mini-TVs for those of you who love watching horses being forced to run around a track against their will. Forty seats are for sports, and there are twelve more seats for keno in the room.
How Many Betting Windows? About 12 with electronic boards.
Free Drinks? You bet! Seriously, you bet and you get drink tickets. You don't bet and you get bupkus.
Snack Bar? No reasonable cost ones, so bring provisions. Or eat at the Canter's Deli if you're rich.
Minimum Wager: $5 sports, $2 race
Other Notes: This room is about average in every way for the Strip. Which means it's way nicer than your living room, but not among the top books in town.
Number of Tables: Eight tables in this little room, which, to its credit is actually a little room, not a roped off area.
Comfort of Chairs: Chairs are average. It seems these may be the only thing in the room they didn't spend a little extra on. The tables have maroon felt.
Closed Room or Open to Casino? Pretty closed off. There are walls and a doorway, and it's pretty quiet in here. TVs are all over the walls.
Game Spreads and Limits: Texas Hold 'Em mostly, in both the limit and no-limit varieties. Limit starts at $2-$4 sometimes, and the NL starts at $1-$3 with a $500 max buy-in. Omaha may get dealt if demand is there, starting at $4-$8. They also claim they will deal any game at any time.
Beginner Games or Classes? No beginner classes but plenty of beginners and players who should stop thinking they aren't beginners. Some very soft games at all levels can be had.
How Crowded is the Room? Pretty crowded. There is enough there to attract the hotel guests, and enough people who have heard about the wild, loose games to fill the joint. Expect some delay on weekends.
Comps? A generous $2 per hour with your card.
How Good Are the Players? As we said before, soft as the down on a duckling. Sure, there are some good players, but for the most part, this is a very weak room with a lot of callers to see the flop and some who will hang on with A high.
What Else Do I Need to Know? This is better than a me-too room. The room and tables are nice. The soft players are a bonus, but the lack of actual variety hurts. There are four nice tournaments a day with a fairly cheap buy-in and somewhat-deep stacks.