I'm writing this introduction AFTER I've written this entire post. And it's a long post. This is meant to be our experiences with our first CET trip under Eldorado and as our first Seven Stars trip. It's not meant to be a trip report, but has some elements of a trip report. But those elements are heavy on what Eldorado is doing to CET, including candid comments from employees, our great host, and even an apparently-reprogrammed IVY. So I'm placing it under "LV Strip Hotels" as opposed to "Vegas Trip Reports". We took the first of four Seven Stars trips we have to take before 01/31/22. We arrived Monday July 5th for 4 nights and left Friday July 9. Our Executive Host informed me he had received a promotion, but was able to keep a handful of clients and he kept us in that handful. And Thank God for that because he is pretty much the best host we have ever had, and a super nice guy to boot. He also informed me that Eldorado will no longer allow hosts to give you any freeplay as a substitute for the airfare. Last year, since I was driving, he converted my $600 Diamond Elite airfare to freeplay. So, for the first time ever, we decided to fly, book our own airfare, and turn in the receipt for freeplay(no way were trusting Eldorado to book airfare, even through our host). The airfare cost came right out of our bankroll. And I managed to book 3 fares on Southwest for almost $1191 total, about as close to $1200 as possible. Getting the airfare converted to freeplay was as easy as my host and VMB members said. My host also booked my gf and I on freeplay offers we had. So we had a little over $2000 in freeplay. We decided on Harrah's for a few reasons. Fulton St. Market has food choices our picky eater 7 year old daughter would actually eat and there's a McDonald's right outside the north doors, which she will always eat. We managed to keep it to one McDonald's visit the entire trip. Harrah's rooms were all recently remodeled, were nice enough, and had a low comp rate, which with the amount of freeplay we had was a concern because that freeplay might lower our typical action. Host booked us a one bedroom Executive Suite and a connector room since gf's brother was meeting us there and our host offered it because he knew we'd all be more comfortable. Both the suite(a little small for a suite but no biggie) and the connector were in great shape, nice rooms, suited our needs just fine. And Harrah's location is good. And now, let's get to the Eldorado "touches". GF's brother picked us up at the airport. We have him pull into valet Monday afternoon. Host told me they received a memo that all valet parking was open as usual. The first thing the valet attendant tells us is that Valet will be closing at noon on Tuesday until the weekedn and all cars needed to be picked-up before then. I responded with something along the lines of "WHAAAAAAAAT????" He repated what he said, told me the only reason they were open today(Monday)was that yesterday was a holiday,and apologized. I asked him if business was slow during the week or if they didn't have enough parkers or if this was just an Eldorado thing. When I said "Eldorado", his eyes kind of lit up as if I said the magic word that told him I was aware what was going on and he could be honest and straight with me. He told me they are always hiring but that they have plenty of parkers and plenty of business to have valet open 24/7 like it used to be. He said it's all Eldorado being cheap and not caring about providing the customer the proper service they are entitled to and have come to expect. He added that he wants to work regularly and it's embarrassing to have to tell customers they have to pick up their car by a certain time because valet will be closed for days. He encouraged me to complain and to please tell managers and hosts and higher-ups it's not a proper way to treat customers. This became a theme of the trip; mention Eldorado to an employee and they knew YOU knew what was going on and felt they could talk candidly about how far and how quickly Eldorado is bringing the company down and treating not just guests, but also employees, with disdain. On to check-in. The Seven Stars/Diamond check-in lounge is "temporarily closed". According to employees, it's been closed since they reopened last year and they don't expect it will ever reopen. And yes, the cheapness of Eldorado is the reason. There is a Diamond and Seven Stars line. One line for both tiers. 15,000 tier credit Diamonds and 150,000 tier credit Seven Stars sharing a line. And Seven Stars are not getting priority over Diamond. Get in line, wait your turn. There are two workstations for this line, but only one is manned. But at least we are entitled to check in with an actual human. If you aren't Diamond, you get to wait in a long line and are forced to check-in at a kiosk, which now sit at every check-in station formerly occupied by a human. It took over a half-hour to finally be checked-in. Tuesday our host reserved us a Soho Daybed at the pool so it could come off our $500 Seven Stars trip folio. I was very specific, listing price and minimum according to HLV website and stating "NOT a round daybed". Host forwarded my email to pool manager. host forwarded me pool manager's response that it was taken care of. GF's brother heads to pool before us, has same last mane as her, so can check-in and get the daybed. We get there about an hour later. He was given a round daybed. Can't blame this on Eldorado and will wait to see how they handle it. He points out who checked him in. I go to her and tell her the issue. She shows me her list, which is all she has to go on, and it has us with a round daybed. I show her the email chain. She apologizes for the mistake, and moves us immediately to one of the correct daybeds. She handled it well, so no harm. Ask her about a lunch menu as we planned on lunch at the pool. Awkwardly tells us they only serve Nachos from the pool bar, no other food. "Eldorado?", I ask. Again, I said the magic word. Yes, Eldorado, they don't want to pay to open the kitchen or pay for food servers to work, it's ridiculous, they aren't supposed to let people bring in outside food but the employees refuse to enforce it because people should be able to have lunch at the pool, and I'm so sorry about this. She waved the food and beverage minimum, which was nice because we aren't big drinkers and nachos ain't the lunch we had in mind. But we ended up ordering 2 Pina Coladas and 3 frozen virgin drinks so we ended up covering it. At checkout, the daybed rental charge wasn't on the folio, so they must have waived that due to the mistake. But we didn't ask for that and they didn't tell us they were doing that. Pleasant surprise. First thing the beverage server says to us is an apology for what may be slow service because she is the only server for the entire pool area. Harrah's pool has been redone since I last saw it. The big main pool is still there. But there is now a second level with a one foot deep pool that has a rainfall 'shower' in an area and floating loungers you can float around on(which, unbelievably, Eldorado is not charging for). Then there is a third level with giant yard games. So this poor server has some ground to cover. And while the pool complex isn't packed, it's extremely crowded. I ask her if they are short-staffed or if it's Eldorado. There's that magic word again! They aren't short-staffed, they could easily have 3 servers working but Eldorado doesn't want to pay 3. They use the excuse that one server can make more money working by herself. The servers keep telling them that's bullshit because they can't give quality service. Then she tells me that most people people don'y know Eldorado and new cheap people running things like I do and they just blame her for slow service and tips aren't that great because of it. She also told me that she works as a server at Carnival Court. And they were told in a meeting that in the fall they were going to end live bands and entertainment at Carnival Court for good, because "Eldorado isn't in the entertainment business". Of course, we both discussed how ludicrous this is, Carnival Court was built for live music, what are casinos and pools and bars if not entertainment, etc. She actually said "I used to actually LIKE working here. But it's no fun anymore!" I certainly understood. Dinner at Ruth's Chris Tuesday night. Everything was way better than I expected. I mean, I expected it to be good. But the filet was perfectly cooked and cut like butter. Sides were delicious. Service was top notch. They have a "Tasting Dinner": choice of house salad, caesar salad or lobster bisque appetizer, choice of 8 oz filet, 4 U10 scallops each on its own bed of polenta, or salmon as an entree, choice of full sized side(big enough to share), and cheesecake for dessert for $85. More than reasonable for the quality, quantity and service they offer. A wonderful meal and great service. Wednesday morning, my gf asked for a printout of our charges so far to see where we stood on the $500 folio credit and to make sure it matched up to out receipts. The exact words of the person at the front desk: "We don't do that." But she allowed my gf to take a pic of the computer screen with the folio pulled up. This turned out to be a one-off and the only terrible employee we encountered, as later we were able to get another desk person to print it out without a problem. But this may be the ultimate WTF moment we ever encountered at a front desk. Need anything during your stay? Pick up the phone, call, and sit on hold for a minimum of 20 minutes, and probably longer, before you get a human. I'm not exaggerating. Want your room made up? Check out and leave and it will get done. We got housekeeping one day of our 4 night stay despite requesting it 3 times. And I think that was because the operator who FINALLY took our call(after 20-25 minutes on hold)was so entertained by us. I called, was on hold, and just put it on speaker. After checking a few times and still being on hold, we began to riff on the lousy service. "Thank you for calling Harrah's, your call is important to us. Ok, not really!" "Thank you for calling Harrah's. Our two operators are currently busy refusing service to other guests." "Thank you for calling Harrah's. Just hang up now because you're not getting whatever you're calling for." We were going back and forth with our witty responses to each other. Finally, I hear from the phone, "Hello, I hear you're still there and I'm here." And she is laughing her ass off. She overheard most of what we were saying, said she totally understood, and thought we were hilarious. She did say that her department was short of help, but also said Eldorado does things "differently"(remember, those calls may be monitored, thus "differently"). At the end f the call, she started laughing again, said she required to say the following but didn't think she could say it without laughing..."Thank you for calling Harrah's. Is there anything else I can do for you?" We were both laughing. Our suite, with a large soaking tub and large shower, had a grand total of 3 bath towels. Couldn't get housekeeping, so we(my gf, to be specific) requested more towels thru Ivy, CET's virtual concierge. Never really used Ivy because in the good old days, like less than a year ago, you could either get someone to answer the phone or were never on hold more than a couple minutes. But Eldorado times call for desperate measures. So Ivy, could we get some more towels please? Ivy's response, and I quote, straight from the text: "I am only allowed to provide you one set per registered guest." WHAT THE FelixUngerCalvinKlein???????? I suggested to my gf to respond to Ivy by telling "her" we are Seven Stars guests and we would like more towels please. Ok, so I said she should tell Ivy we are FUCKING Seven Stars guests here on a FUCKING Seven Stars trip and we can't get housekeeping to make up our room and we need more fucking towels NOW! My gf used a more polite wording of the request mentioning we are Seven Stars. Ivy then responded "Absolutely!" So it seems Eldorado has even reprogrammed Ivy to give shit service. Wednesday, we went to Bacchanal Buffet. I didn't see $2.5 million in remodeling or improvements. We had a 5:30 reservation, we were 20 minutes late, but they still sat us immediately. There was also a Seven Stars line. This went very smoothly compared to prior reports I've read and heard. Possibly a combination of demand being down, treating Seven Stars guests like Seven Stars guests, and the employees now being comfortable and efficient with the system. Was the food good and of high quality? Yes. Was the selection large and varied? Yes. Was there suckling pig? Yes. Was it worth $75? No. I saw one cart making the rounds, but it never got to us. For $10 more, you can have a more upscale, relaxing experience at Ruth's Chris. I think I ate quite a bit and tried many things. But I can't eat like some people I observed there. At $45-$50 as it was in the past, I MIGHT be more inclined to return. But we've done it numerous times, and while it's certainly very good with many things you don't see everywhere, I think we're over it. GF and her brother were kind of in a food coma, and decided to head back to Harrah's with our daughter and relax in the rooms. I was meeting with our host. He used to work out of Cromwell, but with the promotion was working out of Caesars now. I've never been one to spend a bunch of time with my host. Say our hellos, chat for a few minutes, no need for a meal with them, back to the trip. But my current host is a genuinely super-nice guy. He also takes very good care of us and is super helpful. He brought some cool gold-embossed Caesars Palace stickers for my daughter and was disappointed he couldn't personally give them to her. We spent an hour-hour and a half talking. We talked about stuff that wasn't casino/play/CET/Eldorado related. But of course, we discussed plenty of Eldorado. I told him of all the service issues we were experiencing this trip that we never experienced before. The valet being closed really surprised him. The combo Diamond/Seven Stars line surprised him too. He said CP is having housekeeping issues too, but there's no excuse. He makes no excuses for anything. He and the other hosts are constantly telling their supervisors of the issues their guests are telling them about and how they are losing players. He told me that CP no longer offers room service. I told him of the all-kiosk check in at Harrah's and he was shocked. He said he obviously needs to get out and wander the properties since he can't rely on what "memos" tell him. He told me of a client he has who generally drops $40-$50k in a once a year trip, isn't needy and is a nice guy. He called him to invite him back out. Turned out the guy was honest with him and told him he was in town and at Wynn because he heard what Eldorado is doing. I told my host about the tier matching Wynn was doing and that we were at least going to go over there and match while we were Seven Stars. He admitted everything is better at Wynn. He told me about the plans to remodel the entrance to CP to make it "grander". I told him I read an article on it this morning. He told me two things that the article didn't mention; that they plan to trash the iconic dome where the table games are, where ever movie that shoots at CP wants to film a scene, and that has been part of CP since Jay Sarno built it. He was also told that while they are doing this destruction/remodeling of the main entrance and porte cochere, Caesars Palace will not offer or relocate valet parking. No valet parking soon and no room service at Caesars Palace. I told him one thing I read in the article that he hadn't been told; for the "convenience of our guests" during construction, Caesars Palace will be installing numerous kiosks for guest check-in. His mouth dropped open. We both agreed that is they're willing to bring down the guest experience at the legendary and iconic "crown jewel" of CET, God only knows how low they will go elsewhere. We also agreed that the money would be better spent on service employees, room remodels, guest amenities, that kind of thing. He's frustrated and says his fellow hosts are frustrated. They are losing clients. He's under contract until the end of the year. Then he has a no-compete clause for 6 months. He says for the first time he started (I think 6-7 years ago)he's thinking of options, moves to make, possibilities. He says he isn't ready to go tomorrow, but he is considering scenarios. Thursday I needed the safe opened. I knew by the code that came up when I tried to open it that I must have punched in some wrong keys when I closed it the night before. 20-some minutes on hold again and I was told they'd send the locksmith but didn't know when he'd arrive. Of course you don't. But the locksmith arrived in 8 minutes! I timed it. Got the safe open in no time. Spent a few minutes talking to him. He's been at Harrah's 27 years. His assistant left and they won't let him hire or train a new assistant because that costs money. So yes, he's the only locksmith on the property. He said his pension kicks in in about a year. He never thought he'd think of leaving as soon as his pension kicked in, because the longer he stays the better his pension gets. But since Eldorado took over, he might leave the day it kicks in. He said with every ownership change, one thing that didn't change is that the customer comes first, the employees second, and everything else came after those two things. Now, with Eldorado, the bottom line, cost-cutting, money comes first, and everything else is a distant second-thought. He never thought he'd feel the way he feels because until Eldorado took over, he enjoyed working at Harrah's. I have to admit that as I read about members here hating on CET, it seemed to me to be a lot to do with no Laurel Lounges, the drink tickets not being accepted at certain places, that it had a lot to do with booze. I rarely drink. My offers have still been good. My host is great(room was stocked with diet pepsi, mountain dew, apple juice for my daughter and even beer when we arrived). And not being big drinkers, my gf and I much preferred the tickets to the Laurel Lounges, which we rarely used. Much more flexibility, milk shakes and smoothies and Starbucks and usable anytime was great. But I don't think the drink tickets were even an Eldorado thing, they were done before Eldorado. So I can't even give them credit for a move I like. What I discovered is that's it much worse than drink tickets and no Laurel Lounges with Eldorado. Forget comps and offers. Forget them saying they're "not in the entertainment business". They're not even in the hotel business. They're not in the customer service business. They're not in the people business. They're not in the employee relations business. Eldorado doesn't give a shit about anyone but the corporate suits and the almighty dollar. Many of us can talk about how things were 5 or 10 years ago. Some of us can talk about how things were even further back. I've been going to Vegas for DECADES. And I have never seen or experienced cuts in service come so fast and so deep. The employees bear no fault. They are still nice, friendly, helpful and willing to do what they can. One of the reasons I've been with Harrah's/CET for so many years is their customer service. And the employees are still trying, even though they feel frustrated and feel mistreated by Eldorado. My great host bears no fault. He went above and beyond as usual. I asked him if Buddy V's PizzaCake would be comp'd on the Seven Stars trip folio. He said he didn't know and to just go there and try it and if it didn't come off the folio he'd just comp it on the backend. This was before we even got to Vegas. He of course could have found out if it was, but wanted us to go and not worry about it. We never did try it because it we knew our action was short this trip and didn't want to take advantage if it wasn't "comp-able" under the folio. He's frustrated with Eldorado, along with his fellow hosts. And we're frustrated. I've been with Harrah's/Park Place/CET for years through their many ownership changes and growth. They always gave all their hotel guests great service no matter their tier level or play status. Eldorado's lack of caring for providing even the most basic hotel services to it's guests is appalling and unacceptable. I've never seen anything quite like it done by any hotel group. And the quick implementation of service cuts since they took over makes it all even more shocking. The Vegas strip isn't Reno. Caesars Palace isn't the Tropicana Laughlin. Seven Stars isn't Diamond. No extra towels isn't acceptable customer service at ANY hotel. We already knew making Seven Stars was a one-off due to less required tc's and using tc bonuses. We didn't plan on doing it again. Now we have NO DESIRE to do it again. We used to love Vegas. For the last 5-10 years, we liked Vegas. Now, we're not so sure about Vegas.