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Showboat Atlantic City: Feb. 1st, 2014

Discussion in 'Non-Vegas Trip Reports' started by lithium78, Feb 2, 2014.

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  1. lithium78

    lithium78 High-Roller

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    My Trip Report

    As a Christmas present, my wife got me tickets to see the Goo Goo Dolls at the House of Blues at the Showboat Atlantic City. This was my second trip there and my first in the off-season.

    First of all, as many people have noted, AC has seen better days. With the competition from new casinos in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland, gaming revenue has dropped to about half of what it was only a few years ago. New York has legalized casino gambling too, so in a few years when their new casinos are built, AC probably won't get much business from NYC anymore either. NJ has legalized online gambling, but it remains to be seen whether will make a difference for AC.

    The Showboat was built in 1987 with a remodel in 1995 to add a New Orleans Mardi Gras theme and renovations to the Orleans Tower in 2003 and the original Bourbon Tower in 2007. We booked a New Orleans Room through Total Rewards and it was fine for what we needed. The furniture looked old and worn. The TV was also an old CRT model instead of a modern flatscreen. However, the bed was comfortable and everything was very clean. The bathroom was fine with a combined shower/tub and separate side-chamber for the toilet. Unlike the Bourbon Tower rooms, the bathroom had only a single sink. They provided a coffee maker, fridge, room safe, hair dryer, etc., but no alarm clock which was fine for us, because we just use our cell phone for that anyway.

    I have read some reviews online about crappy rooms from the Orleans Tower. These are the Orleans Deluxe rooms that you can book through hotel room brokers like Expedia or Hotels.com and they are not in as nice condition as the New Orleans Deluxe rooms you can book through the Total Rewards website. Orleans Deluxe rooms also don't have a room safe. Basically, if you want to go really cheap, you will get really cheap. While we were there, the Orleans Deluxe rooms seemed to be used by loud partiers, but we couldn't hear them from the New Orleans Deluxe section on the rear side of the tower.

    We were only staying for one night at the Showboat, so we decided to get there in the morning for an early check-in to get the most out of our stay. We checked in at 10 am without problems and with no early check-in fee, since we are Platinum TR members. They also have a separate line for Platinum members, which sped things up. Unfortunately, they couldn't waive the $10 resort fee, which is required by the state of NJ, but they were able to waive our parking fee ($5 for Gold members, $10 for non-members). They were also offering free valet parking for Platinum members, but I don't like other people driving my car, so I passed on that.

    We had a lot of stuff planned during the day, so I pretty much just stuck to slots for this trip. Showboat has a lot of really old machines. Some of the video slots machines have clearly been there nearly since the place opened. The graphics and sound on some of them were like something you'd see on an old IBM 386 from 20 years ago. There were also a lot of machines that needed repairs, which was disappointing. The newest machines I found were some Lord of the Rings progressives, which had some fun bonus round animations.

    Drinks service was a little slow. At Harrah's, Bally's, and Caesar's, they have a new computerized system for ordering drinks and you typically go from order to drink in your hand in less than ten minutes. Showboat isn't nearly as technologically advanced and I seemed to only get a drink every half hour, despite continuous play. I was a little disappointed by that. It was practically impossible to get your buzz on and you'd think the casino would care about that if they want gamblers to empty their pockets.

    We had lunch at Earl of Sandwich which was pretty good. The service was quick and the prices were very good for a casino. I had a lot of RCs saved up so we didn't pay for any of our meals.

    We took a break in the afternoon to get a couples massage at the Vive Day Spa on the 2nd floor. One thing I'd like to point out for anyone interested is that Vive is not owned by the Showboat, so they don't take RCs for payment nor can you earn TCs or RCs for services there. We had a 50 minute Swedish massage with moderate pressure. They charged extra for deep tissue massages, so we decided to pass on it. Overall, it was a little under $300 (including tips) for the two of us, which I thought wasn't too bad. Vive also has a small sauna and a relaxation room for customers like most other spas. Overall, the equipment was rather old and the experience
    wasn't as polished as a spa treatment at a place like the Vdara in LV, but it was okay for a little bit of relaxation.

    On our last trip, we went to the French Quarter Buffet for dinner, which is a moderately priced buffet with an emphasis on fresh seafood. They had a lot of good stuff like all-you-can-eat crab legs and they have a separate line for Platinum members, which is nice. This time around, we decided that we weren't in the mood for seafood, so we went to the Crossroads restaurant at the House of Blues instead.

    There is no Platinum line at Crossroads, but we had reservations through Open Table, so we didn't have to wait in line. The menu was designed by Aaron Sanchez from Food Network and it was New Orleans Cajun-inspired to go along with the theme of the House of Blues and the casino. The menu was very reasonably priced. We got two entrees, a cocktail and beer, and dessert for less than $60. As a bonus, if you are attending a show at the House of Blues and you eat at Crossroads beforehand, they give you a voucher to skip the line at the show so you can get really close to the performers.

    The House of Blues AC has to be one of the best venues for rock concerts in NJ. We got standing area tickets, so with our passes we were only a few feet from the band and we got some great photos during the show. The acoustics are excellent and HOB had a excellent sound guy working there, so everything sounded wonderful.

    The HOB also has its own section of the casino with a variety of table games and a party pit where bands perform on Friday nights. From what I've heard, they've had a lot of bands that would appeal to people like me who grew up with 80s and 90s rock, including Candlebox, Trapt, and Ed Kowalcyck from Live. I'd like to come back and play some games over there while listening to music.

    Overall, the Showboat's signature attraction is the House of Blues, so it's a good place for people who love live music. If you are looking for the most modern gaming machines, you'd probably be better off at Harrah's or Bally's. If you are expecting a LV quality experience, then you will be sadly disappointed. However, if you are just looking for a place to get away and have a relatively low-cost resort experience on the East Coast without a long airplane flight, Showboat might fit your needs.
     
  2. hammie

    hammie VIP Whale

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    Thanks for your trip report, I will have to check out Crossroads. Agreed, the House of Blues is a nice venue to see a band, I saw Al Green down there a few years ago. Yes, the drink service at Showboat stinks, I ordered a beer and received a flat, 5 oz pour of Miller light.
     
  3. lithium78

    lithium78 High-Roller

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    One thing I forgot to mention about Crossroads is that they have special prices on everything for Total Rewards members. Everything on the menu is a dollar or two cheaper if you present your Total Rewards card. Membership has its privileges.
     
  4. jerseyguy

    jerseyguy VIP Whale

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    We only go there now to meet friends

    We have friends from North Jersey that we meet there. The VP bar gives you good drinks so we try to get a spot there. Have stayed over there a number of times,rooms are just ok ,a little worn like you said. Its a few blocks away from one of AC'S worst neighborhoods "Back Maryland" so that pretty much speaks for itself.They closed the basic restaurant there also,the Mansion was ok for a burger or breakfast.
     
  5. NickyDim

    NickyDim VIP Whale

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    Breakfast in that place has become Johnny rockets, which really is pretty good. If you want a cafe style eatery, take a walk to Taj (there's and inside passage), they have a great cafe.
     
  6. lithium78

    lithium78 High-Roller

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    I just got some coffee and a scone for breakfast at Starbuck's, which is right next to the elevators for the Orleans Tower near the casino. The only problem with that Starbuck's location is that it's next to the smoking section of the casino, which can be annoying if you don't smoke. I tend to get lots of free Starbuck's gift cards from friends and family, so it makes it really cheap. I paid for no meals out of pocket at Showboat.
     
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