A decent Station-label casino, which puts it on par with the average off-strip joint, but nowhere near the luxury of a big Strip resort, or even Station's own top tier places. Sunset Station is way the heck out in Henderson, halfway to Hoover Dam, but only one-tenth the way to our hearts.
Room Quality: Nice, large comfortable rooms. They are simple, freshly decorated and well-appointed, with plush cushions on the chairs and great beds. Two caveats, though. The hotel tower is a looooooong way from the casino, and rooms on the second floor sit right next to the convention-style meeting rooms, so watch out for traffic if you get stuck in one of them. Bathrooms are basic and functional with the standard tub/shower combo and single sink, plus they are ceramic tiled. CAUTION: Beware of outrageous mandatory "amenity fees" that will be tacked on to your room rate.
Service Quality: Very good. Sunset Station has a reputation for extra courteous employees, and the times we've been have proved this true. Check-in is quick, definitely quicker than the walk to your room. Room service is good.
What You Get Bottles of in the Bathroom: Shampoo, conditioner and lotion. Not like we'd ever need them. We like our natural scents. And as far as we call tell, so do the ladies, which we're sure they'd tell us if they ever stuck around.
Clientele: A varied crowd. It's about as far off-strip as one can get, so a lot of locals hang around, and the folks staying there are not a typical Strip clientele. Mostly the visitors are retired people who don't want to get caught in the fray on the Strip. The gamblers seem like a particularly serious gang.
How's the Pool? It's large, with nice lounges and cabanas, a few trees and plenty of space to spread out or swim laps. The ocean is better, but--and we just learned this ourselves--there is no ocean in Nevada, so this will do in a pinch. The pool closes for the season from fall through winter.
Resort Fee: (What is this?)
$14.99 per night. You get wired and wireless internet, local and domestic long distance calls, fitness center access, daily paper, copy and fax service.
Table Games: Blackjack, craps, roulette, baccarat, Let It Ride, Pai Gow, Three Card Poker and a few oddball sucker games. The tables are situated under a very ugly ceiling -- imagine stained glass designed by a crack-fueled Fred Flintstone to get an idea. The single-deck blackjack pays 6:5 on naturals, and that really, really stinks. Don't play it.
Bet Minimums: $5 blackjack, $5 roulette, pretty standard stuff except the $5 craps with 10x odds. Other oddball card games are $5 and Pai Gow can be $5.
Machines: The non-smoking slot area is a welcome relief from lung cancer. Sunset's VP selection is mediocre. Look carefully, though, and you'll find a few full-pay machines mixed in. They have a heck of a lot of penny and nickel slots.
Cocktails? Good. Like the rest of the staff, the cocktail waitresses are attentive and friendly, and they'll come by with regularity to anybody who tips them. The tables get an extra amount of attention.
Who Gets Comps? You definitely have to do some playing to get anything free, but $25 action should score some free grub in one of their many restaurants. Points earned at any Station casino on a slot club card count towards free crap here, which is nice if you want to see some other properties but not spread your slot club points too thin.
Capri: This Italian place completes the hat-trick for Sunset Station. Combined with the similarly-priced other restaurants, just about every type of Americanized foreign cuisine is covered. Dinner only.
Feast Buffet: Very large, with a good selection of food from around the world. This is a very good buffet, and a good deal for most meals. It isn't really walled off from the rest of the casino, so you feel like you're eating right in the middle of the action. On our most recent visit, we noticed this joint is a haven for meat lovers, but a hell for vegetarians.
The Grand Cafe: Susnet's Grand Cafe is a traditional--and pretty good--coffee shop. They have specials and a wide menu that covers breakfast, lunch and dinner. Breakfast has always been the best time to visit a Grand Cafe.
Guadalajara: Fair Mexican food, although slightly overpriced. It has a little adjunct next door where you can get a snack and some drinks.
Hooters: Yes, this is an outlet of the world-famous Hooters chain where food is secondary to the large-chested women in tight T-shirts who serve it. If you like their wings, you might have a legitimate excuse for going. Otherwise, pretend you like them so you can stare.
The Oyster Bar: This is a reasonably priced, decent oyster bar. Lunch specials can be had for the price of a couple McDonalds meal. Fare is typical oysters, clam chowder, cioppino, etc.
Sonoma Cellar: Large cuts of meat and some decent specials from time to time. They claim it is a steakhouse in the tradition of Morton's and Ruth's Chris. But, if you want their food, go to one of their restaurants in town. Food is served a la carte and the menu is limited. Open for dinner only.
Fast food options include FatBurger, Panda Express, Sbarro, Starbucks, Viva Salsa and Ben and Jerry's.
Club Madrid: Lounge acts and chairs to sit in and watch the lounge acts. Many shows in this space require you to buy a ticket, especially the low-level comedy headliners.
Kids Quest: The perfect place to drop your kids and try to convince yourself they're having a good time while you gamble. This is supervised day care that you pay for by the hour. But heck, why not try to get your kids welfare comped?
Movie Theater: First run movies on 13 screens, and you can redeem slot club points for tickets. A good movie might cost you over seven bucks, but think how much you would have lost at the slots in the same two hours.
Strike Zone Bowling: Modern, clean lanes. Seventy-two of them. They'll rent you the shoes, but they don't have rental socks or underwear. We saved you the embarrassment of asking by doing it ourselves.
Sunset Ampitheater: Live bands, most of whom you will not have heard of, with the occasional washed-up soft rock act thrown in for good measure.
Number of TVs: Forty-four including five biggies. This room is looking quite nice these days. They say it looks like a bullfighting ring. Um, okay. All we know is, it's a nice place to watch.
Number of Seats: About 70 comfy lounge chairs for sports. About 120 racing seats with their own TVs. On top of that, there are about fifteen ultra plush seats in a VIP area for the mostest specialest race bettors.
How Many Betting Windows? About 16 total, with digital signboards behind them.
Free Drinks? Yes, lovely young cocktail waitresses check in with us on our repeated visits. And as long as they do, we'll keep coming back.
Snack Bar? No.
Minimum Wager: $5 sports, $2 for racing
Other Notes: The room is huge, and is pretty interesting to look at. On the plus side, it's nice without being a copycat of Red Rock and Santa Fe.
Number of Tables: Eight with a few going at any time and most all on the weekends.
Comfort of Chairs: Decent adjustable chairs with wheels. not only can you roll around, but you can go up and down too.
Closed Room or Open to Casino? It's open to the casino, but not obnoxiously noisy. These locals joints tend to be on the quiet side.
Game Spreads and Limits: Hold-em $4-$8 and sometimes $6-$12. They also have a no limit game most times at $1-$2 and potentially $2-$4.
Beginner Games or Classes? Sure, just show up and ask them and if they have the time, they will teach you.
How Crowded is the Room? On weekend nights you might find it full, but probably only during busy times of the year.
Comps? Expect about a dollar per hour on your Boarding Pass slot club card.
How Good Are the Players? Fair players. There are the tough old kooks, but there are also some young guys with too much money in their hands, so choose your table carefully.
What Else Do I Need to Know? Bad-beat jackpot and 10 percent rake. Boo.