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Council Bluffs (again....)

Discussion in 'Non-Vegas Trip Reports' started by jgates8, Sep 18, 2016.

  1. jgates8

    jgates8 VIP Whale

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    My Trip Report

    We live in west central Wisconsin. For us it is about a 7.5 hour drive to Council Bluffs. West on I-90, south on I-35 & west on 80. Left at 7 am & arrived around 2:30 pm in CB. Rooms at Harrahs. Went with my best friend & her husband and one of their adult sons. I had a room facing Omaha (lower of the two room qualities) & their two rooms faced CB.

    We were able to swipe for a RC multiplier on Thursday & Friday. I hit 3x on Thurs & 5x on Friday. Between the $35.05 I had in RCs & the add'l earned, I covered my meals. Two at Harrahs buffet & two at the diner at Harrahs, as well as supper Saturday night at 360 Steakhouse. We normally eat once at Horseshoe buffet, however this trip we tried Ameristar's shrimp buffet special on Friday night.

    Diner food was good as always. No complaints. Steakhouse excellent - have never had a bad meal there. I had a filet, mac & cheese & upgraded to a wedge salad. With my 1/2 off dining coupon (received 2 from each property), it was $17 for mine. Buffet on Thursday night at Harrahs & Saturday a.m. - both good but not very crowded either time. At Ameristar I used my $10 FP offer, changed it to the 'my cash' & then it doubled for food. Did a text sign-up for $5 off the shrimp buffet & actually paid 0 for the $26.95 (?) buffet after using the points I earned also. It was a decent buffet but I don't know that I found it any better than either of the two CET buffets have been. Stopped in DL for a corn dog & rice krispie bar on Sat at lunch - didn't want much as wanted room for steakhouse. Love their DL.

    I had a budget of $800 for 3 days of gaming. I expected to burn through that with no trouble & possibly have to hit the ATM. However at the end of the trip I was down approximately $40 gaming, even after earning 500 points per day. I also paid for tips out of the cash too vs. room charging so was probably very close to break-even gaming wise. Each day if we swiped our card at both Harrahs & Horseshoe we would receive an extra 100 TCs per day. Signage indicated this was good through August & September. I am at 12,570 TCs plus 300 on 10/1 - so I should easily be able to get Diamond again in November in Vegas. Didn't put much on my credit card - movie, one tank of gas for their car, meal on way down & back and soda/snacks at gas station.

    Even with the lower quality level room, my room was fine. Only issue was some worn carpet edge where it switched from tile to carpet in the room. Not a big deal. BF however indicated their coverlet (it's a bit like a filled sheet - not a comforter but a filled sheet that is warmer like a blanket) had torn seams on the edges & the filling was actually 'open'. She felt that looked really tacky. Their son had no room issues except a party going on next door, which wasn't the hotel's fault.

    As I mentioned, I was facing Omaha - this meant Stir Cove was beneath my window. On Saturday evening I went up to room early as I was beat (working LONG days for months). However there was a concert in Stir Cove (also explains why we didn't get the higher quality room type). Need to Breathe was the band - I actually hadn't heard of them but music really was pretty good. Just VERY loud. I'm sure someone else would have killed to get my room with a place to sit & listen to the concert. (Couldn't see band as they face the river).

    Severe storm on Thursday evening - when I was on the way back from Horseshoe via shuttle to Harrahs, the driver was talking with the one who picks up at airport. The late SW flight was sitting on the runway at KC. They landed there as they felt it was not safe to land in Omaha & were waiting for storm to pass. I went back up to the room & when I came back out from changing the entire city of Omaha had disappeared - all power out. (We had full power). It was very freaky - a bit like a horror movie. About 10 min? and power came back on. Earlier in afternoon a tornado NW of Omaha. No TV channels etc during that time. It was creepy to me.

    BF & I went to AMC Theaters & saw Sully on Saturday. Excellent movie. Love those recliners to watch the show in. Didn't hit the zoo this trip.

    I am not super happy with the smaller number of machines that Harrahs has compared to boat. I can understand getting rid of the boat as I'm sure maintenance on that was a nightmare, however I wish they had expanded so they at least had kept the same number of machines. Bar they added a year or two ago in entry to casino was jammed. I actually prefer to play somewhat at Horseshoe, however we can't ever get rooms at the adjacent hotels. Also can't figure out why they haven't torn down the 'entry' by the back parking lot - looks bad with that empty boat entry building just sitting there in disrepair. It appears they have put fitness machines in the hallway towards where the boat previously docked.

    The shuttle going between the two casinos is so nice. Also discovered that they won't take you 'too' the competition but the competition will come & get you. So I went to Horseshoe on Sat afternoon while the guys played more at Ameristar. I called Harrahs & asked if the shuttle could pick me up on the way. Since it was quiet she sent a huge SUV for me instead (had to dig out a better tip lol). BF caught bus to Horseshoe from Harrahs. When it was time to meet the guys for supper, we called Ameristar & they sent one of their buses to pick us up at Horseshoe. Worked like a dream .

    The one thing I found odd was that this was the first trip I have not been greeted by a host at either property. My BFFs husband & son were greeted within 10 minutes of sitting down (one gold & one platinum) at Harrahs. However, I am diamond & was not greeted a single time during this trip. It always freaks me a bit when they come up & greet me, but was almost a bit insulting when it didn't happen, yet they were greeted within minutes (and we all went into the casino at the same time).
     
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  2. jgates8

    jgates8 VIP Whale

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  3. jgates8

    jgates8 VIP Whale

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  4. jgates8

    jgates8 VIP Whale

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  5. jgates8

    jgates8 VIP Whale

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  6. jgates8

    jgates8 VIP Whale

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  7. jgates8

    jgates8 VIP Whale

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  8. jgates8

    jgates8 VIP Whale

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  9. jgates8

    jgates8 VIP Whale

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  10. jgates8

    jgates8 VIP Whale

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    Sorry for the separate pics - first time loading on Tapatalk & not sure how to put multiple pics within one post. Doesn't seem to want to let me add. The last pic should be around $386.
     
  11. dmr

    dmr Registered Abuser

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    There are all kinds of rumors flying locally regarding wanting to sell it or wanting to shut it down. Locally, Harrah's is regarded as the lowest of the three. I seldom go there anymore, as they really don't have that many machines that I like. Horseshoe is much better and Ameristar is currently my fave of the three. The boat had far more floor space, but now that (full) casinos in Iowa no longer have to be floating, it was an obvious decision to move the casino aground.

    Before the Great Recession hit, Ameristar had plans for a grandiose new land-based casino to better compete with Horseshoe, but when the economy tanked they dropped it and I have not heard of them reviving the plans.

    Yes, that storm was nasty but we (far southwest suburbs/exurbs of Omaha) did not lose power. I understand part of downtown and quite a bit of the north side lost it.
     
  12. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

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    Nice report!
     
  13. Richard Alpert

    Richard Alpert LOST

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    That's quite a drive!
    I LOL'd to myself--not unusual--when I saw your radar pic because the first thing my eyes went to was the credit union ad. I have a friend that works at the branch closest to me. The local ad caught my eye...
    I'm hoping to get out to see Sully, but the Alpert family calendar is booked with activities. May have to wait for the DVD on that one!
    Thanks for the great report!

    Your neighbor to the North (Life is Great North of Hwy. 8),

    RICHARD
     
  14. Minnesota3

    Minnesota3 Tourist

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    Great trip report! I haven't been to Council Bluffs in 8 years. Makes me want to go back. Only a 6 hour trip for me.
     
  15. Srvanwyk

    Srvanwyk Low-Roller

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    stayed in harrahs on the 24th first time I'd been there since 2012 and was surprised by lack of machines after they made the move from the boat. seemed to be a lot nicer than the old boat though.