The folks at Marriott own the hotel part but they don't run the casino. That's just not their business interest. The hotel part is quite swanky. The casino is more of a locals place with the usual food specials and come-ons for locals.
Big 560 square foot rooms. That makes them bigger than the ones at Bellagio
or Mandalay Bay
, and we happen to think they are every bit as nice, provided you don't mind being 25 minutes from the Strip. The size allows for a big sofa in the king bed rooms, and some fancy cherry wood furniture. Bathrooms are marble, with deep soaking tubs and are successful in making you feel rich. All rooms have nice TVs. Some have french doors and balconies.
Service Quality: Very good. They don't even yell at us for hanging around. There is hardly ever a wait to check in, and there is plenty of attentive, and amazingly professional staff to serve you. The spa at this hotel is one of the best in Las Vegas, so if you need a facial or pedicure, you're in the right place. They're starting to act more like any other locals casino, with tacky promotions and cheap food.
What You Get Bottles of in the Bathroom: All the best, including high-quality soap, shampoo and conditioner. Moisturize with a generous bottle of lotion, too.
Clientele: Rich people in their forties and up. It's not our crowd, but we keep hanging around looking pitiful, hoping some rich family will take us home with them.
How's the Pool? The swimming pool is excellent. It's the lagoon style with odd shaped pools, plenty of recliners and palm trees and space to spread out.
Table Games: Blackjack, craps, roulette, Let It Ride, Pai Gow and 3-Card Poker. The tables are swanktastic, with soft leather-covered rails and very comfy chairs.
Bet Minimums: $5 minimums pretty much across the board. The blackjack rarely goes lower than $5 but can be $10, and you can get yourself in a craps game with only $5 on the pass line. They'll give you outstanding 100x odds. If it's roulette you're after, you'll have to make bets in $1 increments, and put at least $5 out there to take your chances with the wheel.
Machines: Slots up to $25. The former full-pay inventory has been gutted, so any good VP machines left are few and far between. The vast majority of the slots are the video type, which makes the place sound a little quiet and electronic. There is a high-limit area called the Summerlin Room with its own little buffet for the VIPs.
Cocktails? Pretty good, but this place caters to well-to-do retired people, and they aren't as eager to get loaded as the dumb kids on the Strip, so they don't bother trying to shovel booze down your throat. When they finally do get around to you, you can ask for expensive liquor and really good beer. If we see you sucking down Budweiser here, we're going to call you nutso.
Who Gets Comps? A decent place for comps. There is some food for the green chip bettor, and there are rooms for the long-term $100 high-roller. The Club Razz slot club now gives a half-percent back in cash and comps for slot play, and a quarter percent for video poker.
Carmel Room: A typical steakhouse. In other words, good slabs of meat, with prices just about where you'd expect them to be. Dinners only. Oh, and wear a jacket, but not to wipe your nose on.
Ceres: This fancy little restaurant is better than most, and also more expensive. But, if you look at it as a meal somewhere that's not quite a tie and jacket place, you'll think it's a good deal. Man, oh,man, the room is as nice as many of the finer restaurants on the Strip. Open for lunch and dinner and the lunch menu is reasonably priced.
J.C. Wooloughan: This Irish pub serves Irish food like fish and chips and bangers and mash, so it's perfect after you've lost all your money in the casino and feel the need to recreate the Great Potato Famine.
Promenade Cafe: This is the standard old coffee shop right off the casino floor. It's nothing special, but the prices are good, especially for early bird meals.
It's got standard buffet foods, but not much selection. The desserts are tasty, but we'd rather stay on the Strip and eat the grub at the Paris
. If fancy food were our thing, that is. As it is, you'll find us eating the value menu at the Western.
Shizen: A Japanese steakhouse with some sushi and other fish on the menu. It's a nice room overlooking the grounds of the resort.
Spiedini: This fancy Italian joint is open for dinner only. It has a great view of a rock garden, and the pasta and meats are priced fairly. Plus, it doesn't get as crowded as it should, considering view, quality and price.
Whadda'ya know? A Starbucks! Also, the Waterside Cafe serves sandwiches and salads to swimmers.
Golfing: There is plenty of golf available in the area, and horseback riding, too. But, no horseback riding on the golf courses.
Number of TVs: About ten TVs of which five are big screens, and they are all for horse races. Usually about five small TVs over the bar are for sporting events.
Number of Seats: About 60 totally crappy seats. This was once a gorgeous room with fabulous leather sofas and comfy seats. But some bean counter pinched one too many pennies and crammed a load of lousy seats and cheap tables in. The lone exception is about ten comfy high-backed chairs with individual screen that are reserved for horse players.
How Many Betting Windows? There are six betting windows.
Free Drinks? Yes, you get chits with your best if you ask. They will be generous with the chits so long as you don't abuse the system.
Snack Bar? No, but some of those Irish beers at the bar in the book are like a meal in every can.
Minimum Wager: $5 sports, $2 for racing.
Other Notes: Don't bother coming out here just to look at the sports book or watch games. It's a real disappointment. It's also geared toward horses way more than sports.