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They burned the Monte Carlo ... and may get away with it
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They burned the Monte Carlo ... and may get away with it
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Nothing lasts. I'm finding that out the hard way as the acid in the paper labels in my CD collection eat through the discs, gradually rendering them unplayable and sending me into a race between preservation and catastrophe. (When last I checked, catastrophe was several furlongs ahead.)
Then again, when I revisit a casino and it seems different to me -- and not in the sense that they've removed a favorite amenity or added a new one -- I have to wonder if things merely seemed better or actually were better than they are now. For instance, three of us went to the Flamingo buffet Sunday night. I'd remembered it as being good value for the money (unless you count the plasticene-looking sugar-free dessert offerings).
However, with greater experience -- and, sadly, sometimes a greater waistline -- comes the realization that one can achieve far greater gustatory satisfaction at the premier locals' casinos, such as Sunset Station and Green Valley Ranch. A recent LVA survey of Strip buffets didn't even deign to sample the Flamingo's, based on previous disappointments, so I'd say that it probably hasn't gotten worse -- most everyone else has raised the bar.
If you're in the Huntington Press neck of the woods, the revamped seafood buffet at The Rio is definitely worth the wait (for a lengthier appraisal, see the current issue of LVA). The one at the Palms, however, I'd count as my biggest buffet disappointment so far. I would never expect such a humdrum offering from George Maloof, especially in a casino-resort that is comfortably above average is so many respects.
The Significant Other and I both got sick after trying South Point's buffet, so that one's permanently off our list. (LVA readers give it very high marks, though -- much better by far than the El Cortez's dire 2.5 rating.) However, the most abysmal buffet of a so-called "major" casino is surely the one at the Tropicana, a really sorry sampling. However ... the big, logo-stamped paper napkins are quite sturdy and double exceptionally well as handkerchiefs. So go for the napkins, stay (if you dare) for the food.
Speaking of memories, some of the old Casino Executive crowd used to motor over to Arizona Charlie's Boulder for lunch (again, for the buffet; Terrible's was closer but one experiment with it was enough for us). I hadn't darkened the door of A.C.'s Boulder in quite a while, so we headed up there last night for some high-stakes bingo -- do I know how to roll or what?
It was a profitable evening for my girlfriend's adorable Mom, who came out $495 bucks ahead. However, either A.C.'s Boulder used to be seedier than I remembered or previous owner American Casino Entertainment Properties (read: Carl Icahn) has been letting it run downhill fast. To call the amenities "spartan" would be an insult to Spartans.
And a memo to management: Your HVAC system ain't gettin' the job done. Cigarette smoke is jammed up one's nostrils the moment you step through the door and the sensation never abates. I felt like I'd smoked a whole pack all at once. If you miss Nevada Palace, you'll feel right at home here. As CheapoVegas.com used to say of the inaptly named Palace, "Not only can I cut the smoke in this joint with a knife, I can butter it too."
So if those Pocketbook of Values coupons for Arizona Charlie's Boulder are burning a whole in your pocket, by all means, spend 'em while you got 'em. Just leave your lungs at home.
Speaking of the Flamingo, we got to try one of the revamped "Go" rooms. The beds are plenty comfy and the bathroom is spacious (and reverberant). We also had a birds-eye view of the Bellagio fountain show. On the minus side, the decor is what you'd find in an early-Seventies Playboy décor feature, if that's your thing, and the selection of in-room TV channels might be described as "rudimentary." Then again, these places don't stay in business by having you lounge around in bed watching Sunday Night Baseball.
Gold Coast update. I just got off the phone with Boyd Gaming, which says that the shoeshine stand at the Gold Coast was underutilized, so they're brainstorming new uses for that space. So I guess you'd better pack a shoeshine kit if you're going to be staying in the Palms-Gold Coast-Rio corridor.