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Mini Rio Review

Discussion in 'Off-Strip Hotels & Casinos' started by abileneblues, Aug 10, 2012.

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  1. abileneblues

    abileneblues Low-Roller

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    Just got back from 6 nights at the Rio and thought I'd share a little of my impressions. This was our second stay at the Rio, the first being a year ago. I like the Rio, but I'm not as enamored of it this year as I was last.

    We got to the Rio around 11-11:30 a.m. on Friday. The check-in line was short and a very helpful desk person upgraded us to a premium from the deluxe just for asking, though I think the wife did have a $20 showing. We were in a corner room (1423) of the Impanema tower, facing the strip. Lovely view of both the pools and the strip. We didn't mind being all the way down the hall. This room was laid out a bit differently than the room we had last year and appeared to be more recently renovated.

    Friday evening, we went to Buzio's for our anniversary dinner. Initially, we waited just a little too long for our waiter to come take our drink order and when he did, he was a bit sarcastic. I didn't particularly notice, but it must have been worse with other patrons, as another waiter delivered our drinks and took our order and mentioned that the other waiter was being sent home. I did notice that somebody was figuring his timecard and paying him. Since it was a Friday, I don't know if he was getting paid for the week or getting his final paycheck. Either way, they apparently have standards for behavior of the staff. I had the parmeson-crusted tilapia with the fried squash and mushrooms. The food was all great. However, the Rio was having air conditioning problems. I overheard somebody on the staff say that there was some sort of power surge and the entire system went down and had to be re-started. Whatever the problem, it got warmer and warmer as we ate our meal. I had sweat trickling down my sides, which did damp our enjoyment. There were a couple of old guys who were evidently diamond card holders, complaining as they drank their pricy water. They left without ordering food. I didn't see what good complaining would do as the problem affected the entire hotel. What can your waiter do about that?

    We did catch one of the showings of the show in the sky, something we had missed the year before, not being there on a weekend. I know the Irish pub was open sometime during the weekend because we stopped in so the wife could ask whether they would have live music. I didn't notice if it was open during the week as we ended up spending most of our evenings over on the strip.

    We ate at All-American Bar & Grill a couple of times. All of the food we had there was fairly solid, good food. Nothing to write home about, but nothing to complain about either, unless it is the high prices. However, if you order the fish and chips, there is enough fish for two people. I think I did see that there is a plate-splitting charge.

    The lines at the buffet were very long just about every time we passed, so we didn't risk it. One morning we had breakfast in the cafe that's in the convention center hallway. Once again, the prices were high, but the food was good and the service/friendliness was great.

    Though we thought the layout, cleanliness and view, the room had two major drawbacks that may well keep me from returning. The mattress and pillows were not the least comfortable I have slept on in a hotel, but they rank right up there. Also, it turns out that the first night when the A/C was not working may actually have been a blessing. The air from the unit smelled as if it is filtered through the ashtrays in the casino. I expect that the public areas will smell like cigarette smoke. I even expect the room to have leftover smell from somebody smoking in a "non-smoking" room. But the air from the A/C was something else. I thought about trying to switch rooms, but figured that the problem might be systemic and inescapable.

    The free shuttles to Harrahs and Ballys are mostly a win. However, there is little semblance of order or a line outside of the drivers allowing diamand/seven star cards on first. The hotter it is outside, the more people just mash towards the doorway. Inside the shuttles, they keep them pretty clean and the A/C does not smell like smoke.

    Drink service in the casino seemed a tad slower than last year, though I didn't gamble as much due to the even worse pay tables on VP. There is also an added wrinkle that I didn't encounter last year. Some of the CW now have ipads that they use to put your order in. Two or three times, I had one CW take my order, but another one deliver it. I think it may be causing some sort of tipping issue. I noticed that one guy would kind of hang around for 30-45 seconds after taking the order, as if he was waiting for a tip. Then somebody else would deliver the drink and receive the tip. I was going to talk to one of them about the new system, but didn't want to hold them up since it appeared that they were very busy. The new system made it hard to judge if they were getting by with fewer CW than last year.

    In retrospect, we probably should have complained about the smoke smell. If there wasn't something they could do, maybe they would have given us a little something for our trouble. Next time, we'll likely stay somewhere on the strip. There are a number of people on the staff that we remembered from last year and we enjoy talking to them. We went in liking the Rio, but I think we came out liking it less.
     
    Finally!
  2. Candy Apple

    Candy Apple VIP Whale

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    I enjoyed reading your thorough review. Thanks for writing.
     
  3. Mango68

    Mango68 Tourist

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    Pretty much summed it up..

    We were there the week before you..Aug 5 thru 8th. Food choices were definitely expensive, as well as drinks at pool. Loved the pool area though..casino was a little dark and seemed to be limited in numbers of our "favorite" slots. Spent a lot of time wandering around the circle. We had Masquerade Tower, 19th floor, faced strip/hwy. Nice big room! AC was fine while we were there. Shuttle was a hard wait in the blazing sun at Bally's, especially if it filled up and you had to wait for the next one. We both felt sick after eating at the Whopper Bar. Overall, since it was a comped hotel stay, it was a pretty nice place to stay for us. Not sure we'd stay off strip again, though. Thanks for your review!
     
  4. Nittany1

    Nittany1 VIP Whale

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    Unfortunately CET has not invested anything into keeping this property up to standards or renovating it.
    The Rio was my spot before Harrahs bought it and ruined it.
     
  5. breanna61

    breanna61 Super Moderator

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    Ditto that; it was my "home casino" during the Marnell days.
     
  6. GREGRIO

    GREGRIO Tourist

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    And it's my memory of the Marnell days that keeps me there to this day.
    Yes, Harrah's pretty much ruins everything they touch but...I still have so
    many friends there, along with the memories...it still works for me and I
    haven't payed for a room in years.

    The end of the hallway rooms are a favorite of mine too. The walk isn't
    an issue for me, the view is great, and you're right next to the fire escape, lol.
    The buffet lines are always long unless you're Platinum level or higher...then you
    have your own entrance and dining room AND...breakfast there is much cheaper
    than the Cafe.

    I rarely have an issue with their mattresses however finding a comfy pillow is
    hard sometimes. Haven't lost any sleep there yet though, lol.

    I use the shuttle sometimes...yes, they ask for Diamond or higher riders first but
    I have yet to see any of those folks waiting for the shuttle when I've taken it ???

    There are 2 types of folks working the cocktail service now at RIO and...it's only at
    the RIO so far.
    During busy days/nights, the 'Ambassadors' with their computer pads take your order.
    The idea is they can cover more orders that feed to the bar wells...then the cocktail servers
    deliver the drinks.
    You tip your server/not the ambassadors (they make more than the cocktail servers)

    I'll continue to stay at RIO, staying on the Strip bugs me...I prefer the quiet and fewer people.
     
  7. zamboni

    zamboni VIP Whale

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    My last trip in April I got to try their buffet, twice. Why twice? Cuz it was that darned good. IMO not as good as the M's, but it was pretty close. The stir fry is to die for.
     
  8. tinytim

    tinytim Low-Roller

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    i thought a few rooms in Ipanema tower have been updated within the last 3-4 months. TRUE?
    Tim
    T-7 to RIO
     
  9. dmr

    dmr Registered Abuser

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    Rio is one of the more consistently good buffets. Probably one of the best selections there is. Line can be murder though.

    LOL, that area just across from the buffet has to win the award for the most turn-over of any space in Las Vegas! :)
     
  10. WHITEJACKET73

    WHITEJACKET73 Low-Roller

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    I've stayed at the Rio several times and never had a major problem with any of my rooms. Last year I had a very slow drain in the sink, left a message for the maid in the morning and when I returned to the room in the evening the problem was solved(maybe my $5 tip helped). I like the buffet, although I think their dessert selection has slipped in the past several years. Parking is easy and the shuttle service is handy for day excursions to the strip. VP paytables are bad, but I just walk over to the nearby Gold Coast or the Palms for better paytables. I like the new sandwich place near the sportsbook. You can grab a sandwich to take back up to your room and relax. The pool area is one of the better ones in Vegas. I really enjoy the wine cellar...a big factor why I stay at the Rio almost every trip. The dealers have all been friendly and talkative...just wish the BJ rules were better. Staying for a week in Sept...can hardly wait.
     
    One more time!
    Winter break
  11. abileneblues

    abileneblues Low-Roller

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    A couple of other things

    I did forget to mention that there are several warm, friendly people working there that we remembered and enjoyed talking with. I don't have my notes in front of me, but I did get their names so I can "remember" them next time we're in the Rio.

    We had a light out in the bathroom that we had to call about. It must have gone out after housekeeping cleaned the room or the message didn't get through. We called about it the next day and they took care of it pretty quickly.

    I forgot to say that we were there Aug 3-9. It was Friday the 3rd when the AC was out.

    This didn't happen at the Rio, but I just have to share the quote of the week, courtesy of a woman my wife was talking to at Carlos & Charlie's -- "I had to get to the third book in the 50 Shades of Gray series before I got to something we haven't tried." :eek:

    Oh, and I did have one guy in an elevator tell me that he thought I was Penn Gillette (not sure if I'm spelling it right). Some day, I'm going to be mistaken for somebody actually good looking.
     
    Finally!
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