The Trop is getting a facelift. It is being upgraded to look like the Mirage did 15 years ago, only maybe a little uglier. The rooms are nice now and represent a good value. The pool is partially restored to its former glory. The restaurants are still lagging, there are still very rundown chunks of the joint, but at least they no longer have all those hucksters selling timeshares and tchotchkes in the halls.
Coupons Available for Tropicana Hotel:
10% off at Biscayne, Bacio's or Cafe Nikki, two-for-one weekday tickets for Brad Garrett's Comedy Club, double points for new slot members for 30 days. (Click Here For More Info.)
Room Quality: The Trop has some quite nice mid-priced rooms with a South Beach theme. They are a good size, have large, nice flat-screen TVs with HD programming, nice light colors, iPod docks. The carpets are tan and burnt orange, and the bedding is white and fluffy. The bathrooms are pretty standard, though.
Service Quality: Good. The have gotten rid of the time share and magnet sales kiosks, making it feel more like a resort. Still, this is a mid-price resort and the service is commensurate with that.
What You Get Bottles of in the Bathroom: You get plain shampoo, conditioner, bath gel 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: Not as popular with the jet set as it once was, it mostly draws an older clientele these days. Or families with kids looking for a tropical pool on a budget.
How's the Pool? Under construction. It's not the nicest, but for the price it's a good value. There is a long meandering tropical lagoon pool with a small waterfall. There is swim-up blackjack There are many chaises and a few upscale bungalows in the form of teepees around their pool club, Nikki Beach. That pool club, by the way, is tacky.
Resort Fee: (What is this?)
$14.99 per night. You get wireless internet, fitness center access, access to the pool and two-for-one cocktails.
Table Games: Blackjack, craps, roulette, Let It Ride, Pai Gow, Three Card Poker. The games are pretty good for this area. The casino is sort of small compared to its neighbors, and it can get cramped.
Bet Minimums: $10 at blackjack and craps and some of the oddball card games. The single-deck pays 6:5, so skip it at all bet levels. There are 3x4x5x odds at craps, which is standard. Roulette has $1 chips and a $5 minimum.
Machines: Slots from a nickel on up to $10 in the high-roller area. 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.
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 $20 and up for a few hours at the tables be sure to ask to be rated beforehand. Of course, you better be nice and make sure the pit boss sees you playing. The slot club is the Trop Plus club.
Bacio Pasta & Vino: A standard Italian eatery, this place serves up dinner only in a room off the walkway between hotel towers. The place gives off the vibe of being temporary because the decor is a bit cheap.
Biscayne: The Trop steak and seafood house has "island flair" which means some neat twists to the cocktails and some very good sauces for the meats. Seafood is featured. They also have an extensive wine list. It is located in the hallway between towers.
Cafe Nikki: This is a way upscale coffee shop with more seafood, a better view and much higher prices than your usual three-meal-a-day eatery. Instad of burgers for lunch, look for chicken satay, lobster corn dogs and a mahi mahi club sandwich. Dinner includes jumbo prawns, steaks and very pircey sushi. Don't come here if all you want is a Grand Slam breakfast.
Ambhar Lounge: Live deejays and lounge bands take the stage in the Ambhar Lounge, which is the traditional casino lounge, right off the gaming floor. Are the drinks in the casino just not strong or expensive enough for you? Well, come on in. Looking to kick up your heels after a hot craps session? Sit on down.
Brad Garrett's Comedy Club: Garrett had a run of success on "Everybody Loves Raymond" and a good career doing stand up. Don't expect to see him in the club named after him, though. He has promised to make appearances, sometimes performing, sometimes just greeting. Mostly, though, this is a typical club with an opener, middler and headliner doing their bits for about 90 minutes total.
Gladys Knight: Ms. Knight is getting up there in years, but she can still belt out "Midnight Train to Georgia." In this show, she is accompanied by an 11-piece band and one of the original Pips. Primarily, though, it's just Gladys Knight groovin'.
The Mob Experience: It's sort of like a Haunted Mansion of the mafia, except you walk and the deaths are real. Guests travel to the early mob, mob heyday and mob downfall years with a virtual guide. Some displays are interactive to make you feel as though you're a part of the mob yourself. It's all meant to make the mob fun rather than the dark and gruesome reality.
Nikki Beach Club: The Beach Club is just an excuse to add loud music, expensive cabanas, overpriced drinks and charge you a premium for a good seat at the pool. Sadly, the Tropicana has taken one of its best features - the pool - and turned it into a horrible place for anyone but drunk, clueless twentysomethings.
Recycled Percussion: A thumping show featuring lots of strange items used for percussion and noise to mix into music. Think of it as a less expensive Blue Man Group without the pretension and production values.
Number of TVs: There are about 14 screens screens positioned high on the walls and wrapping around the seating. Two of the screens are very large. There are also about five more screens in the little lounge area off to the side.
Number of Seats: There are just under 100 in the main room, each with its own betting terminal and screen built into the desk. The chairs are just okay for comfort. They actually look more comfy than they are. There is also a small lounge area off to the side with 17 leather lounge seats.
How Many Betting Windows? Seven in the main area, two in the lounge and two upstairs. The betting counter is slightly curved to match the room and the overhead screen. There are electronic odds boards on either end of the TVs.
Free Drinks? Yes, if you wager. They won't just serve you for hanging around. The Ambhar lounge is nearby, so if you want a drink walk over there.
Snack Bar? No.
Minimum Wager: $5
Other Notes: This is a Cantor's book. It's a massive improvement over the previous, embarrassing sportsbook. It's good for betting or watching the game, but not quite top tier for the Strip. They also have handheld devices so you can experience virtual gambling while in a real gambling environment.
Number of Tables: Six tables fill this small room off the sports book. There are also six bigscreen TVs, one for each table. Don't you dare try watching another table's TV!
Comfort of Chairs: These are slightly better than the average, enough to keep your tushy from bellyaching.
Closed Room or Open to Casino? It's semi-closed. It's at least its own room, but not exactly quiet since it is near the bridge to the MGM and the sports book.
Game Spreads and Limits: Hold 'em in no-limit and limit varieties. Look for $1-$2 no-limit and the limit around $3-$6. We need to see the room a bit more before we know the most likely limits.
How Crowded is the Room? It's not a crowded room. Expect about half the tables to be running on weekdays and maybe four to five on busier weekends.
How Good Are the Players? Average tourist play here. The real aggressive players who fancy themselves pros are across the street at the MGM. And the really drunk guys will be at Hooters next door.
What Else Do I Need to Know? This room is a fantastic improvement over the old Tropicana room. That doesn't make it great, but it is new, clean, and has nice TVs. What it doesn't have yet is a good mix of games.