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A 42 year old's impression of the new D Hotel and other DT stuff

Discussion in 'Downtown Hotels & Casinos' started by GrtWitHntr, Sep 23, 2013.

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  1. GrtWitHntr

    GrtWitHntr Low-Roller

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    First a little background....

    Outside of business trips to Vegas when an employer is paying the tab my wife and I have been staying exclusively DT for about 15-16 years now and make on average, about 3 trips a year. We've stayed at every hotel on Fremont St. except The Plaza, Golden Gate, El Cortez and Binions (now closed).

    We've stayed at the Fremont and really like the gambling at all 3 of the DT Boyd properties. So far we have not received any comp offers so we've only stayed there a couple times but we do like the accommodations and location. The rooms/bathrooms are a little small but they're clean and have comfortable beds and pillows. I prefer gambling at The Cal and Main Street over Fremont but they're all sister properties and I think Comps are calculated the same no matter which hotel you stay at or gamble at?

    The 4 Queens and Golden Nugget are nice but a little too stuffy and expensive for our tastes. The Las Vegas Club is a dump and I think the hotel is now closed (as it should be).

    Starting in about 2001 Fitzgerald's started offering us comped rooms on weekends (other than a brief period in 2006-2007 when everyone was mega rich and had a house to use as an ATM) they pretty much always offered us free, or deeply discounted weekend rooms on non-convention or big event weekends. Because of that, I'd guesstimate that we've stayed at Fitzgeralds on probably 80% of our trips (35 times or so)? I'll admit that from about 2008-2011 the Fitz was really pushing their Irish Luck in regards to keeping our business whether or not they offered free rooms. The quality of the rooms was getting to the point of a sub-standard Motel 6.

    In late 2011 the "Fitz" was sold and new ownershio came in promising lots of changes and improvements. We stayed there once in early 2012 before any real changes or improvements had taken place and because of various circumstances we haven't actually stayed in the Hotel since then. This last weekend (Sep 20 - 22) is the first time we've stayed in the newly remodeled and re-branded "The D Hotel". I'll put my thoughts on the changes into 3 categories, The Good, The Bad, and The Subjective. Really it's pretty much all "Subjective" depending on your own views but these are those from a 42 year old married guy that has been going there since his mid-late 20's.....

    First, The Good...

    1: Remodeled pretty much top to bottom. (Except bathrooms, more later).
    2: Decent gaming odds on BJ
    3: Good Video Poker upstairs in both the Vue Bar and also the upstairs floor.
    4: No loud music upstairs so there's a place for the crowd that's not into the rowdier atmosphere downstairs.
    5: Very comfortable beds and pillows, rooms are very clean, new carpet, etc.
    6: Keurig coffee makers in the room! Yee haw, I'm bringing a bunch from the cupboard at home when we return next weekend. (Funny how the mind works... I have no problem blowing thru a thousand bucks or so gambling over a weekend but I absolutely refuse to pay $2.50 for a Keurig cup from the mini-bar :confused2:)
    7: All of the staff I interacted with was pleasant and still "Fitz Friendly"
    8: The upstairs Coffee House doesn't serve inedible food anymore! It was actually quite good and the whole place has been remodeled. Wife and I used to always walk to Magnolia's in 4 Queens for our 3 a.m. drunk breakfast and now we wont have to walk that extra 200 yards. (Which can be quite difficult after 8 hours of "COCKTAILS" :drunk::drunk:).


    Second, The Bad...

    1: $20 resort fee for any room that is "not-comped".
    2: Elevators are still somewhat of an issue but they are faster than they were 4 years ago. Longest we waited for an elevator was about 6-7 minutes. This was when we first checked in on Friday afternoon. All 4 of the main elevators were down and we had to be re-routed to the service elevators. Not sure if anyone was stuck in the main elevators and that would really suck but I don't know of anything first hand so I wont comment. After unpacking we spent about two hours or so in the room:thumbsup: before heading out. By that time the main elevators were back up and I think the longest we ever waited was maybe 2-3 minutes at the most. We were on the 28th Floor. (I would have put this in the subjective category if it wasn't for the broken elevators when we first arrived. Makes it pretty obvious that they are still having issues and probably need to replace the entire system instead of just installing the faster cabs that they did about 4 years ago).
    3: They need better doors or soundproofing in the rooms and halls. You can hear people walking down the hall and talking in regular voices and I'm sure they can hear any noises coming from the rooms :thumbsup: when they are walking down the hall. Not that I care too much about adults but I hope kids aren't subject to any strange noises their parents have a hard time explaining with a straight face.
    4: The bathrooms are pretty much the same old crappy white tile floors and cheapie fiberglass tub/shower combo's they've been for the last 15 years we've been staying there. The space is limited but if they wanted to they could do something a little better than what's there. Hopefully they'll use the "Resort Fee" to "Resort-inize" the 70's style bathroom? :rolleyes2: (Yea right, sometimes I crack myself up):evillaugh
    5: The price of non-comped rooms. We have 1 comped room for next weekend but due to circumstances we have to pay for a second room which is going to be $129 and $149 Fri/Sat + $40 for resort fee. I'm not sure what's going on next weekend to drive up prices but Fremont is still only $99 - $109 with no resort fee. The D is fixed up nice and all but if we didn't have the 1 room comped we'd book elsewhere for sure.
    6: I wish they had some BJ and other table games upstairs for the crowd that prefers "gambling" over "partying while doing a little gambling". They have such a unique space with the two separate floors and I think they are missing an opportunity to cater to two different crowds with this set up.
    7: Un-playable Video Poker at the downstairs Long Bar. The odds are so ridiculous that I'm not sure if the owners of The D should go to Jail for theft or if the people that are stupid enough to actually feed money into these machines should just be shot and taken out of their misery. Probably both?

    And finally, The Subjective... remember these are the opinion of a 42 year old married guy that's a little past his "rowdier days".

    1: $10 min BJ tables all weekend Day and Night. I bet between $10-$20 a hand but much prefer to sit at a $5 min table so I have the option when a dealer goes on a tear.
    2: Flair Bartenders throughout all casino bars. They're fun to watch for a little bit but it can get annoying waiting for a drink when 2 of the 3 bartenders on duty are at the far end of the bar for 5 minutes entertaining a bachelorette party with flipping cups. Seems like during busy hours they could hire one good old fashioned bartender that was just there to serve drinks somewhat quickly and efficiently?
    3: It's "Indoor Concert Loud" in the downstairs Casino. During the day it was just "Really Loud" but at night it is absolutely impossible to have any kind of discussion with the person next to you unless you are yelling. Just not my scene and I didn't spend a single dollar on table games in The D. They had a lot of business so I guess they are hitting the mark with some but it's just not for me. I know that I have a lot more money available for entertainment than I did 10 years ago but The D wont be seeing any of it in the form of Table Games unless something changes.
    4: Like I've mentioned we've been going there a lot of years and gotten to recognize the faces of a lot of the dealers through the years. Sadly, I didn't recognize a single person behind a table during the day or night. I'm thinking they must have been given their walking papers and seem to have been replaced by nothing but attractive 23-29 year old very pretty young ladies (outside of Craps). I hate to say this but it's obvious that the hiring philosophy for dealers at The D is focused on attractive young females and I wonder if they sacrifice some experience in order to get the "look" they are going for? I know it sounds bigoted but if I played BJ or any table game at The D I would be too busy making absolutely sure the Dealer was doing the counting of cards and chips correctly to enjoy myself. I know that sounds bad and I'm sure the dealers do their best but I really wonder how you can build a good system of training and mentoring when the vast majority of your dealer staff is under the age of 27 and quite obviously hired with a specific look being required. How many gorgeous young female dealers are available before you start sacrificing the quality of dealing for the benefit of being young and good looking?

    Overall The D seems to be succesful and was one of the busier Casino's so they must be doing something right. I'm just not sure I'll be staying there too much longer. I still play enough Video Poker upstairs and the Wife still plays enough Wheel of Fortune and Carnival type table games downstairs (the noise doesn't bother her as much as me) that we should continue to get offers but I've been playing more and more at The California and Main Street Station and when/if they ever decide to take notice and start offering us comped rooms on weekends we'll probably make the switch for good. I'm not trying to bash The D at all. Like I said, they were busy all weekend and were definitely attracting a younger crowd than I've seen in the past so good luck to them. Maybe I'm just getting old but I don't think I'd have enjoyed this scene outside of 24-25 years old. It just seems to me like they are catering to a small customer base (without a whole lot of extra cash after their parents cut them off of the Credit Card) but what do I know....? :beer:

    Some general notes on Downtown...

    Porn Slappers - Not an issue for me this weekend. Saw a total of 4 standing around. Not doing the annoying slapping and sticking the cards in your face as you walked by. I'm sure the "marketers" behind the slappers realize that the crowd downtown doesn't really cater to their customers. Downtown is mostly older married people and recently some younger crowd but from what I saw of the younger crowd there was plenty of opportunity to spend a few bucks on drinks and get what they were looking for without resorting to calling a phone# on a card. That market is geared toward the middle aged business man with a couple grand in his pocket. Not a whole lot of those types downtown so I doubt the slappers will become too prevalent.

    Crowd - We were there for the UFC style fight they had in front of The D. There were some younger kids acting tough but I didn't see any fights outside of the ring. We just walked through the area on our way to The California. Overall it didn't seem any different over the weekend from any other busy weekend we've attended over the last 15 years. There's probably more street performers but none of em were aggressive or overly offensive.

    Overall I'd still have no problem with my wife walking to The D from the West side of Fremont on her own at any time of day or night. Outside of the Canopy I'd still want to walk with her but that's been the case for the 15 years we've been going there so nothings changed as far as that goes.

    These are my impressions... Your mileage may vary :peace:
     
  2. dewey089

    dewey089 Guru of Value

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    Nice. One of the best reviews I have read.
     
  3. RIRugrat

    RIRugrat Low-Roller

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    Thanks for the detailed review! I'm 47 and agree with 99% of what you've stated.

    The D is a great place to stop by (I do/will for an hour or two every trip) but I don't choose to stay there or make it my home base. I appreciate the vibe/option it provides in an increasing growing level of diversity Downtown, which I welcome.

    For me? It's Boyd and 4Qs all the way with visits everywhere else.

    Thanks again.

    Chris
     
  4. Joe

    Joe VIP Whale

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    Very good review and just a fyi, yes all your play at any downtown Boyd property is counted toward your comps. But only downtown.
     
    Christmas
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  5. rayrat

    rayrat Low-Roller

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    Sorry, it 's too darn loud in the D for me to play table games.
     
  6. booker

    booker High-Roller

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    Excellent, concise review.
     
  7. M0rtyC

    M0rtyC Low-Roller

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    Spot on. I'd love to love the D but I can't even hear the voices in my head there.

    We were sitting front and center at a Robert Randolph and the Family Band concert this weekend.......... my ears were ringing but it was a lot lower volume than the D
     
    Annual end of the rodeo trip
  8. mightywabbit

    mightywabbit Tourist

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    Nice review..

    I am 36 and still agree w,ith everything you wrote..
     
  9. tcocona

    tcocona Low-Roller

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    impressions

    Thanks for taking the time and effort for a really professiona lreview .I just turned 80 but it's nice to agree 100% with a young guy!!!!!
     
  10. monkeyshed

    monkeyshed Tourist

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    Nice, detailed post. As a 48 year old that loves Vegas and loves the former Fitz, I thought you were going to bash the place because of the changes and the loud music. Instead, I thought you were very fair and thorough and agree that your assessments were spot on. Some thoughts of mine as I read your post:

    I don't necessarily mind the loud music downstairs, but also enjoy the vintage feel of upstairs (Sigma machine helps). I do agree that some tables upstairs might be a nice addition.

    I also am a $10-25 blackjack player....focusing on the low end until things get good. Would also prefer a $5 table but understand if they can fill the tables otherwise, why they don't offer it. Do they still take a card and offer comps to the $10 player?

    Nice to hear on the Keurig. I'd probably pay the $2.50, but would rather bring from home. I appreciate that tip, as we're staying there in early October. It will be my first chance to see the new rooms. I got a $99 Saturday room with a Sunday comp. Does that mean that I won't have to pay any resort fees?

    Old rooms were, as described, getting old....glad they updated them. That being said, I'm in my room 7 hours a day, 6 of them are sleeping.

    Other things: I do like the dancing girls addition, love the American Coney, and like the escalator to the second floor from Fremont.
     
  11. smartone

    smartone VIP Whale

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    I agree with Dewey... helluva a review! Nice Job!!!:nworthy:
     
  12. sjritt00

    sjritt00 Tourist

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    Thanks for the great review! Can you tell me how crowded the Sigma Derby (horse race)machine gets on a Saturday night? We're meeting my sister and her husband downtown this Saturday night and I'd like to try it then.
     
  13. GrtWitHntr

    GrtWitHntr Low-Roller

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    Thanks to all for the compliments on the review. Probably took about 45 min or so to write and edit. Wanted to be fair and hopefully helpful to the VMB.
     
  14. GrtWitHntr

    GrtWitHntr Low-Roller

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    Joe, thanks for confirming my belief about the Boyd comp system. Kinda makes me wonder how much someone has to gamble to get noticed though? The last 4-5 trips I've played at least 3-4 hours of $10-$25 dollar BJ and probably 3-4 hours on .25 VP. My wife also plays a few hours of VP, $5 "Carnival Games", and .25 Slots. I wouldn't expect this to get us free comps but I haven't even been offered Casino Rates or anything?

    This would be over a weekend, not a single day
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2013
  15. GrtWitHntr

    GrtWitHntr Low-Roller

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    Since I didn't play any table games I don't know the answer about taking a card from a $10 player but I would imagine that they still offer comps for that level of play. Seems like they can get $10 tables pretty full but the couple of $15 and $25 tables they had set up were not so packed. 1-3 players at each. Also their new "high limit" room was not at all that busy the 2-3 times I walked through the area. With that I'd have to guess that they still realize they aren't the GN or a strip property that can fill their rooms with green and black chip players.

    My guess is that unless you booked the Sat. night before the "resort fee" was implemented you'll have to pay the $20 fee. Might be worth looking to see when the fee was initiated (I think there's a thread o it here) so that if you did book prior you can tell em to stick the fee up their A$$...

    I agree the dancing girls are nice to look at. To be young again? :beer:

    Didn't get around to a Coney but I will this weekend for sure.

    The outside Escalator is a great addition. I used it to avoid the earsplitting music on the main floor a couple of times :wink2:
     
  16. GrtWitHntr

    GrtWitHntr Low-Roller

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    I did most of my Video Poker at a bank of machines right next to the Sigma. The crowd seemed to ebb and flow throughout the night. If it's full just grab a seat and watch for a bit and you should be able to get your group on in a reasonable time. It can be quite fun with the right group.
     
  17. topcard

    topcard Older than the Stardust!

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    Now - are you talking about actual 'comps' or 'bconnected' monthly 'offers'?

    The lack of usable comps I can understand... if you're not getting monthly offers, I have to wonder if you're giving them your card each time you play.

    I'm back down to lowly 'Ruby' level, and I still get a "two-free-nights + $10 meal credit" every single month.
    My blackjack play is comparable to yours, about 5 hours a day...no VP. I go about twice a year.
    Even my non-comped room nights are at the 'player's rate' - which is about 15% less than their regular rate. ($33 vs. $38 Sun-Thu; $85 vs. $100 Fri-Sat)

    Get set up on https://www.bconnectedonline.com/ if you're not already.

    :beer:
     
    Finally have the room booked! Look for me Feb 21-23
  18. dmr

    dmr Registered Abuser

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    That leaves me out! As bad as, or worse than the old IP! :( (and yes, yes, I know where all of the "hidden" ones are)
     
  19. Blonde_4_ever

    Blonde_4_ever "The Welfare Queen of Windsor"

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    I disagree with one point, the Four Queens are neither stuffy nor expensive. Like Boyd, they are pretty liberal with their comps. You need to spend more time over there.

    I used to always play some at the Fitz. One walk thru of the first floor at the D confirms that I will never play downstairs until that "music" level gets turned down.
     
  20. dewey089

    dewey089 Guru of Value

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    You can see the video poker cashback stats for the Four Queens are some of the most generous. It seems pretty strange that they have the best DB in the world and still give the best cashback on that game.
    http://www.advantageplayer.com/lasvegas/index.html?content=/lasvegas/slotguide/cash_back_chart.shtml
    My favorite slot for when I'm down bankroll and just want to relax is a nickel roulette with a single zero slot. This is the low roller's dream. And still it earns points. In most casinos the single zero roulette wheel games do not also earn points, even the dollar varieties. A nickel slot that pays 97.3% is pretty rare.
     
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