Of posh palaces and roach motels

by , Jul 12, 2008 | 5:45 pm

During our bowling match last night (I am once again the Pokerati champ, thank you very much) Dan suggested I share my thoughts on Vegas casino hotels since I realized yesterday that I have stayed in seven different places during my trip to Sin City this year. The ridiculously high number is a combination of not being able to locate my usual roommate for a few days, a friend giving me a free bed, my wife visiting and just plain getting good deals. Plus, I always like to explore new areas of Vegas althought that can be hazardous to one’s health. So without further wait:

Rio — I ended up crashing in a suite here for the first couple of nights after running into a pal and being dead tired after flying all day. The rooms are very nice — no surprise there. The beds are comfy and it has all the amenities you need. There is an odd window between the shower in the bathroom and the bedroom area. A little lookie-see for the perverts I suppose. Grade: A

Golden Gate — Used a 2 for 1 coupon to stay here for a couple of days. This is the oldest casino in town, dating back to Vegas’ earliest history in 1906 and it shows. This places just smells old, or maybe that’s just the scent of the elderly clientele. The rooms are super tiny and quite bare bones. (I had always heard this, but just had to see for myself so I got the room.) There wasn’t even any soap and shampoo when I moved into my room and I had to ask for some. The bathroom fixtures appear to be at least 50 years old and the view through the window was of a fire escape. Grade: D-

Binion’s — This is my home away from home. Cheap and decent rooms. I stay here every year with my pal Ted, an old geezer from Oregon who spends six weeks in Vegas every summer for the WSOP. There’s nothing fancy about the place. The furniture is cheap and the beds are so-so, but the rooms are fairly spacious. The rooms with the king beds are much nicer than the doubles, but I am generally there with Ted and being married and heterosexual we are in the rooms with the doubles, so the Grade is C

Golden Nugget –Known as the class of Downtown, I have no reason to argue. It kicks the living shit out of any other place I’ve been down there. Marble sink tops and tiled floors with a vanity in the bedroom. Great mattresses, with tables, a desk, anything you might need. Plus, my wife absolutely loved the pool. They’ve done a good job of upgrading the property in recent years. My only complaint is the distance from our room in the South Tower to Fremont Street. It’s a Rio-esque hike. Grade: A-

Palace Station — I’d never been to any of the Station casinos, which are known as locals’ hangouts. I had another 2 for 1 deal so I tried it for two nights. Not a bad place. The bedroom is nice enough, although small. The bathroom has an old-style shower…one of those nozzles that are directly above your head and you stand directly underneath it. Plus, you get a free copy of the Review-Journal delivered to your front door every morning. Grade: B-

Wild Wild West — Another coupon deal that I decided to go with, especially since it’s close to the Rio. What can I say about this joint? It looks like a Howard Johnson that they built a casino in front of. The casino itself looks like the kind of place Cousin Eddie might have taken Clark Griswold in Vegas Vacation…a little Guess the Number perhaps? The rooms are at least a Howard Johnson quality so I can’t flunk this place. Grade: D

Four Queens — Found a great deal on Expedia when looking for a place to stay my last four nights in Vegas and couldn’t pass this up as it has nostalgic value. It was here that I stayed in 2005 during my one-month journey to Vegas for the WSOP right after leaving my job. I honestly didn’t think the place was that great at the time, but it was “home” for a month so I decided to come back. Glad I did. They’ve upgraded the furniture, the mattress is very comfy and the televisions are widescreen plasmas. The bathrooms still look 70ish. The rooms here are quite small, especially the bathrooms, but not nearly as tiny as the Golden Gate. Grade: B


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