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I LOVE McHarrah's

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by ken2v, Aug 22, 2006.

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  1. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Central California Coast

    My Trip Report

    No, it’s not some lovefest gone awry. We just returned from three days in Laughlin courtesy of Kool-Aid Entertainment. I wanted to say “thank you very much†to Harrahtic’s for giving us a room for three nights, a free spa treatment for Terri and $100 in cold hard cash … that we gladly gambled with at the Colorado Belle. (Addendum: being a dullard, I misread the offer we received and it was $100 credit at the Range OR the spa. Like I said, I’m a dullard.) Thank you, thank you, thank you for a great free weekend getaway.

    The average age in Laughlin is surprisingly low, I’d guess mid 20s. It’s true. You have a bunch of six-year-olds running amok and even more aisle-cloggers who remember Armistice Day as an actual event for a nice round 25 or so.

    Anywho, here’s what I thoroughly enjoyed about Herod's:

    1. So we check in mid afternoon and are told only two-bed equipped rooms are available. I reiterate my request for a king and of course am told requests are just that, requests, not guarantees. Nada. Zip. Zilch. So I ask the clerkbot how it is that every king/nonsmoking room has been taken by three in the afternoon? Yep, you guessed the reply: “I’m sorry, sir, we had a number of requests by guests who’ve not yet checked in, but let me check again. No, I’m sorry.†I musta had The Look ‘cause she went and got her “manager†who promptly hit five keys, gave the woman a funny look and voila, king, nonsmoking and not in the Rugrat Tower. Walking away Terri said to me, “She was angling for a tip, wasn’t she?â€

    2. MSS ain’t alone with the doom/gloom warning should you decide to liberate the special amenities provided in each room, which is code for linens. But McH only wants to gouge you for 12 bucks or so if you abscond with the doilytowel. Then again, the towels were so linty that they might disintegrate in your suitcase before you actually got ‘em home. Point and game to Boyd. Oh, and MSS has safes and of course irons/boards now. Set and match to Boyd.

    3. Being asked ad nauseum at every turn: “Are you Total Rewards?†and “What level?†and knowing the wrong answer would put us at the back of the line. What was really special was how our reply of “Gold†promptly got us a guaranteed 5 pm or 9:30 pm seating at the Range. We ate at the brew pub at the Belle, on Kool-Aid Ent’s nickel.

    4. Sunday was sloth day. Have the room all set up to watch Tiger prove that other than Adam Scott and Shaun Micheel the rest of pro golf is comprised of human marshmallows—I’m watching in the room since there is no place, at least outside the DIAMOND LOUNGE I would imagine (please note I did just genuflect), to kick back and watch the tourney in the casino. So I reach for the phone to order room service and am told, “Lunch room service is not available. Service begins again at 5 pm.†So I look at the fine print more closely and sure as merde, service stops at noon, 12 noon, and it’s right there in black on white. I glance at the watch, note it’s 11:45 and quickly ask for some goodies from the pre-noon menu. “Sir, room service is not available after 11:30 am.†But … but … but … I guess what’s in print doesn’t have any bearing.

    5. The $64,000 question: How bad can the buffet screw up an omelet? The answer: Rather handily. That’s it, this time I MEAN it. No more expectations of a miracle buffet experience. I’m done.

    6. That’s the spa? No facilities, period. Not even a place to change. And the waiting/“relaxation†area is the two chairs just inside the door between where everyone parades to the pool and the salon. You go for a treatment, not a spa experience.

    7. Sunday we had a nice little note from housekeeping on the door. Since I’m holed up watching the greatest athlete who ever lived perform, they can’t make up our room. No biggie. The note sez just to call. We called after the tourney requesting service. Got home ‘bout 11 pm and, you guessed it, no service.

    8. AWFUL gambling selections.


    Fair is fair:

    1. Great valet service.

    2. A bunch of the MexKitsch décor in the casino is gone, and it wasn’t anywhere near the smoke pit it was when we cruised through last time we were in town.

    3. Since our last stay, the rooms were remodeled, and they look nice. They’re small, but they look nice. And we were at the short end of the hall and it was muy quiet.

    4. Terri had nothing but praise for the capable 80-minute massage (Swedish … the menu’s limited).

    5. Serious props to Total Rewards. It’s a fantastic loyalty system and it works admirably for Harrah’s and its customers. The general public gets effed. But it’s not like there’s no forewarning.


    We had a great three-night getaway. The weather was great, we played a load of bartop FP quarter Jacks at the Belle, all on progressives—a guy two machines over from me hit it at $1500 and some change—drinking commendable microbrews in the process. (The brew pub is loud but relatively smoke-free and you get your choice of brews, not just the CoorsKillian-esque amber offered at the other bars; have the pale ale.) Or at least for us we played a lot, probably five or six hours total.

    We had dinner with Terri’s grandma over at Casa Serrano in Mohave Valley. We’ve eaten at several of CS’s sister props, too, and it’s always been good. The old bird is 85 going on 50, and when we dropped her off after dinner she immediately turned to work in the yard. Too much that one.

    On Saturday, we drove to Primm to go shopping. Scored a bunch of good stuff at Williams-Sonoma, including a new Kilim rug for the living room, and I did my usual part at the Callaway/Ashworth shop. Terri looked for a formal gown for an upcoming fundraiser but drew a blank.

    We finally got our new car the weekend before--2007 Solara SE V6--which was of course a blast to cruise over/back in, and are we ever believers in satellite radio now.

    P.S. Beware the "Cowboy Breakfast" menu at Salt Creek Steak House at the Nugget. We didn't want brunch at Harlow's; btw, they set up additional tables along one side of the atrium and it's very cool. So the new steak joint is the regular breakfast option. What a farce. It's about 10 bucks for bacon and eggs. The "Texas Toast" sounds really cool and it's nothing but very thin white or wheat sandwich bread and the likewise-Texas/ranch-named spuds are simply O'Briens not very well prepared. Real overpriced disappointment.

    P.S.S. Coming home we stopped over in Palm Desert to take the 'rents out to dinner. Their choice was, regrettably, Outback. It had been years since we ate at a Saltback, and for a reason. It's just bad food. Seriously. I ordered a ribeye, and it was square and very dense. ????? Overcooked of course. Salty. And the blue cheese/iceberg salad was as sickeningly sweet as that monstrosity of a house salad at Great Moments. Nothing wrong with the type of salad presented, per se, but so-called wedge-style salads don't come chopped and with candied nuts and a sugary dressing. Please just deliver what's advertised and advertise what’s delivered. Terri's prime rib more closely approximated her desired doneness but it really just a hunk of beef sitting there, salty and with iffy texture. It's simply not a place with good or value-priced food.

    P.S.S.S. I avoided jury duty M-Th last week. We planned to leave Friday morn so of course I got called in. Turns out they were drawing for an expected seven-week criminal trial, and I am pleased to say I didn’t have to report back this morn. Wowza, seven weeks.
     
  2. doctor_al

    doctor_al VIP Whale

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    Unexpectedly verbose. Doesn't exactly sell me on Laughlin. No golf?
     
  3. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

    Joined:
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    Not my job; I'm not the local tourism board. LOL

    Seriously, Laughlin ain't bad. It ain't Vegas but it ain't bad. Just VERY different. And I'd never advise anyone who comes a long way only a couple times a year to detour to Bluehair-and-Tat Town. For us it's a nice occasional diversion and we get see-the-family brownie points in the process.

    Was gonna play Laughlin Ranch -- best course down there by far, and one of the best in SoNev -- but Terri wasn't up for it so rather than make her a short-term golfwidow like I often do, I left the sticks at home.
     
  4. RossW

    RossW North of the 49th

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Good read Ken.

    It has been years since I was in Laughlin. I didn't mind the place, but it never got a grip on me like Vegas did. The one thing I do remember about Laughlin that will stick with me forever is the drive there. Once you get beyond Henderson and are on that desert highway going south, it's a neat drive thru the desert. The time we did it, there was minimal traffic and we were flying along the highway. I’ve never driven a car that fast for that long a stretch. About 100 mph. That was fun!! Lucky we never were caught.

    We stayed at the Ramada Express that time. I liked Don Laughlin’s joint of all the ones I was in. I did OK gambling there as well. The river is a nice touch and we did a water taxi ride as well to the Belle I think. But that has got to be 10 years back or so. Easy.

    Being in Reno/Tahoe last year, I'd pick that area over Laughlin. I think the tipping point would be the available golf.

    Reno proper and the area we were in where the Eldorado Hotel is, ain't a biggie. Downtown Reno can be actually quite boring. Not really much going on. At least there wasn't when we were there.

    I liked the Carson City area too. The Pinon Plaza Hotel was nice. Good eats, decent gamble, lots of golf to choose from. The Carson Valley Inn looks like a nice spot too. I hope to do a trip there again and focus squarely on the playing 18 or 27 each day.

    Glad the getaway was enjoyable for you and Terri.

    How are you liking the new Toyota?

    What does Honda Dude think of it? :evillaugh

    Did you price out the CRV yet, just to put him over the edge?

    RW
     
  5. bluestreak

    bluestreak Tourist

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2002
    Messages:
    831
    Location:
    Northern AZ, South of Mars
    Welcome to my neck of the river

    Ken,

    First let me congratulate you for hanging out at the Boiler Room in CB. Marshall, from Santa Fe, has been making the beer for a year and a half now. It is amazing how much better it is from the old regime. The stout actually cascades. The Pale is almost as tasty as MSS. What was the summer special, maybe a Hef? Those new matching TITO Game Kings really help the experience. Hit a royal under $1200 and they don't even lock-up. The joint does get a din in it after they start the food. Pizza is just fine, try sausage/mushroom/garlic for some heartburn.

    HET, you need to snag one of those Diamond cards. So did they put you in the south tower? Golf watching- the bartop VP sucks, but they finally put in some decent flat screens.

    It is river-rat season. Harrahs seems to have way too many kids. There is a separate adult pool though.

    Landry's food at GNL- I have not spent a dime in the three new joints. I still burn my comp $ at the snack bar and in Tarzans sports lounge. That is where you should have watched Tiger. Landrys screwed-up the best Sunday brunch on the river. Jane's Grill used to do three sittings, now it is a free-for-all I think with Harlows. The atrium seating is cool, but bring a sweater.

    Just a reminder to anyone who has a One Club card. Burn up your comps and take your cashback. CB/EW will not be joining MGM/Mirage Player's Club. Vegas is being converted and you will run out of joints by New Years. Check your account online at www.myoneclub.com .

    Laughlin still has playable VP (99.5+%) in every joint, though the selection is getting slimmer. Carl Ichann is putting a new face and name (Aquarious) on the Flamingo. Columbia-Sussex gets to screw-up the Ramada.

    Tell the welcoming committee next time. Maybe we can sneak you into the Diamond Lounge to watch the game?

    Blue
     
  6. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

    Joined:
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    According to the boothlings, the Belle and Bilgewater are being spun out as a separate players' entity.

    Do get those One Club dollars out where you need to, however.
     
  7. HurricaneMikey

    HurricaneMikey A-List Buffoon

    Joined:
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    As much as I hate to admit it, I'm going to have to go down and get a Total Rewards membership and run a few twenties through some VP machines down at Paris.

    I was trying to book a room for March online, and the entire hotel is unavailable. Yet Courtney, with her self-proclaimed low-rolling action, is getting free room offers for that very same month.

    I have become what I feared the most... :vomit:

    Time to buy a fanny pack, I suppose. :rolleyes2:

    Mikey
     
  8. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

    Joined:
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    Fanny pack? Back off, punk. You're only a fraction of the way there for official Hipster Laughlinite status. Please add:

    • Mid-'80s Buick with coat-hanger antenna
    • 1996-vintage "Don Laughlin's Riverside Casino-Resort Hustlers' Heaven Bingo Tourney and Crawfish Boil" t-shirt
    • Double set of Depends
    • Oxygen tank emblazened with "Saggy Breast KenoFest '88" sticker
    • Three tats of dubious quality
    • Two illegitimate children
    • And minimum one missing (no longer) prominent tooth
     
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