Seven Stars Insider – September Edition

Here’s the latest edition of Seven Stars Insider. This is an easy read and an excellent resource for Caesars Total Rewards players. It’s long, but chock full of information. Head over to Seven Stars Insider to sign up for the newsletter.

NEW ORLEANS

What’s New At Harrah’s

  • Thanks to a reader who just returned, here are some updates on the casino: The buffet is being remodeled, but remains open during construction. (Let’s hope they fix the food, not just the décor!)
  • Bambu has closed, but no word on what will replace it.
  • Le Royal Rouge Show – a Parisian-themed variety show consisting of a comedian, six beautiful dancers, illusionist Rob Lake, crossbow act Ben Blaque and local comedian Jodi Borrello who also acts as host – is currently playing at Harrah’s Theatre through October 28. Performances are at 8 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays. Tickets are $37 and $47 and can be comped by hosts, but the comped tickets go fast, he said.

LAS VEGAS

Great Gift Mess Up

Apparently, it’s too early to start making plans for the Great Gift Wrap Up. If you try to find information on the website, you’ll get nothing but frustration:

First, the dates of the event(s) – there are two sessions November 8-12 at the Flamingo and November 29 to December 3 at Caesars Palace – are not listed on the site. Well, they are, but first you have to sit through a “slide show” promoting the Total Rewards Visa card and watch pretty pictures of some of the items to be available. Once the slide with the dates appears, click quickly, or it’s back to the slide show. These dates should be prominently displayed on every page of this site.

Like with the mobile app, you can’t sign in with your Total Rewards username; you have to use your actual account number. Also, if you registered on the site during a previous event, I hope you remember your “old” password because that’s what you need to access your Great Gift Wrap Up account. Why were all of us forced to choose a username and new password when it can’t be used throughout the system? Same thing happens if you click on the “My Account” tab.

SIGNATURE EVENT

‘I’ll Pass, Thank You’

For many of the same reasons cited by others in last month’s newsletter, I will not be making the trip to Las Vegas this month. At a minimum, I figure it would cost me about $1,000 to attend (local airport parking, airfare, cabs to and from Planet Hollywood, meals not part of the event, and miscellaneous tips). Not including my hotel room (which I can get complimentary any time), the retail value of the weekend [a dessert reception, two meals (Saturday brunch and a BBQ), free play, concert ticket and behind-the scenes tour] amounts to less than $500. Considering I have no plans to consume caffeine, e.g., chocolate, after 9 p.m. or attend the Don Henley concert, that knocks off about $150, leaving me with $100 in free play, a “free” brunch and BBQ (ho-hum!), and a tour of the Jubilee! theater (which I could do on any trip to Las Vegas – it’s available for a nominal fee to the public on most days). I have “regular” offers from Las Vegas that are far more generous – and are available on my schedule (and without a bunch of other Seven Stars cardholders clamoring for special attention).

‘Abundant Free Play’?

I guess my definition of “abundant free play” is different from Caesars. According to my invitation, I have a choice of $100 in free play or a $100 shopping certificate. If I choose the shopping certificate, the invitation suggests I “bring plenty of empty of suitcases to fill with items [I’ve] picked up during [my] shopping spree at the Forum Shops.” I could put $100 of Forum Shop purchases in my gym bag – and still have plenty of space left over.

Henley Concert Not So Exclusive

As opposed to the Diana Ross concert in Atlantic City, the Don Henley concert on Saturday is open to other than Seven Stars cardholders. Several friends who have Diamond cards – and don’t even play frequently in Las Vegas – received invitations to the concert, as well as complimentary accommodations for three nights at any of Caesars hotels (except Caesars Palace).

CAESARS PALACE

Talk About A Buffet Of Buffets!

This month Caesars Palace will unveil its new $17 million 590-seat Bacchanal Buffet, calling it “the most colossal on the Vegas Strip”. According to a report in USA Today, offerings will include made-to-order soufflés, home-smoked ribs, and red velvet pancakes with sweet cream cheese. And up to 90 percent of the 524 items on the buffet will be made in front of the customer. All this doesn’t come cheap: breakfast will be $19.99, lunch will be $24.99 and dinner will be $39.99.

Rough In The Diamond

With all the noise I heard last month as I walked toward the entrance to the Diamond Lounge – er, excuse me, Seven Stars & Diamond Lounge – I expected not to get in. Turns out it was just a boisterous group of guys sitting at the bar and in the area near the bar. Loud I can take – well, not really – but I don’t appreciate listening to racial slurs and other insults directed toward people who happen to enjoy watching cars being driven around a racetrack. It shouldn’t be up to a bartender; these lounges need a full-time manager present who can exercise a little control over patrons. I’ve seen the bartenders at Harrah’s Diamond Lounge take charge when someone is a little loud or has a bit too much to drink, but, at the risk of sounding sexist, it’s a little easier when the bartenders are a couple of burly guys, and not a petite young woman.

Celine Will Go On. . .and On. . .and On

Knowledgeable sources are reporting that Celine Dion will extend her current three-year contract – she’s into her second year already – for a “very long term”.

‘Batman’ Flies Into Caesars

Actor Christian Bale filmed scenes for his upcoming Knight of Cups at a poker table in Caesars Palace last month.

FLAMINGO

Girl Is A Diamond’s Best Friend

She’s not a girl, but “Woman Is A Diamond’s Best Friend” just wouldn’t have cut it. However, Gwen, who greeted me (and others) at the Diamond Lounge last month is certainly a great example of outstanding customer relations. She made me feel so welcome, we spent about five minutes chatting at the podium before I even took a seat. Just watching her interact with customers put a smile on my face. I was sorry I was leaving the next morning. . .I definitely would have returned.

Adios, Carlos’n Charlie’s

I was really looking forward to my first meal at Carlos’n Charlie’s. Traveling by myself, I didn’t want a big fancy dinner; I was in the mood for some tacos or fajitas. Imagine my surprise when I walked into a half-empty restaurant at 9 o’clock on a Saturday night in August. Maybe it was the overly loud music, the average (and over-priced) food, and poor service. Admittedly, this is based on one visit, but, with all the options in Las Vegas, why return to possibly have the same experience? What’s that old expression? “You only get one chance to make a good first impression.”

PARIS

Gordon Ramsey Steak: Not So Well Done

While she praised the food as “perfection itself”, Las Vegas Review-Journal dining critic Heidi Knapp Rinella had beefs with the service and other aspects of her experience at the new Gordon Ramsey Steak. Read the entire review here.

PLANET HOLLYWOOD

NoShow CeeLo

For now, you’ll have to watch him on TV’s “The Voice”. CeeLo Green’s “Loberace” – scheduled to open at Planet Hollywood – is being postponed until February. Officials cited contractual commitments for the popular TV show, as well as the need for more time to assemble the elaborate staging for a “dazzling production that is said to be a nod to the garish staging of Liberace’s performances in Las Vegas,” according to Las Vegas magazine.

ATLANTIC CITY

Lounge Hours Change

Effective September 6 – and until further notice, the following are the new hours for the Seven Stars Lounges:

Going Into Labor Day

  • Atlantic City’s Seven Stars Lounges will be open September 3 (Labor Day) from noon to 8 p.m.
  • Caesars Thursdays – 5 to 9 p.m. Fridays – 1 p.m. to midnight Saturdays – 1 p.m. to midnight Sundays – 1 to 8 p.m.
  • Harrah’s Thursdays – 5 to 9 p.m. Fridays – 3 p.m. to 1 a.m. Saturdays – 1 p.m. to 1 a.m. Sundays – Noon to 8 p.m.

I don’t have a problem with the reduced hours, but – like the Atlantic City Diamond Lounges – wouldn’t it have been easier to make them consistent?

Dining Options Narrow — Again

In the wake of closing the Virginia City Buffet at Bally’s Wild Wild West, Sunday brunch no longer will be served at the Reserve (Bally’s) or Scarduzio’s (Showboat), leaving your only option the Atlantic Grill at Caesars. While the Waterfront and Mardi Gras buffets serve brunch, there’s really no comparison between Atlantic Grill and the Showboat and Harrah’s buffets. In addition, the ill-fated lunch service at Caesars Mia has been discontinued. Despite the great food, this was never much of a success. While excellent quality, the food was a bit pricy for the average diner looking for a quick lunch, and Caesars really didn’t do a very good job of promoting it. Last year when Il Mulino at Trump Taj Mahal began lunch service, players received discount coupons and the restaurant offered several affordable specials. At a minimum, Caesars players who regularly received monthly food coupons good at the buffet, Café Roma, Kwi or room service should have been given the option of using them at Mia for lunch. (As it turned out, if you asked, those coupons were accepted, but it’s too late now.) Watch for more seasonal closings and – if rumors are correct – the possible closing (and rebranding) of another Caesars-owned restaurant.

Shopping For Answers

If there were two questions I was asked most frequently during the past month, they were: “What are we going to be able to buy at the October Holiday Shopping Spree?” and “How much is a Shopping Credit worth?” I can’t answer them, and neither can anyone at Total Rewards. “Oh, they don’t tell us things like that,” one woman at Harrah’s told me. I got a similar response from a woman at Bally’s. Why the big secret? The program has been underway for two months now, and it ends this month. Between last minute changes to the program when it was introduced, and frequently malfunctioning kiosks with inaccurate point totals, this seems to be one of the least thought-out programs Caesars marketing team has come up with. Even the Total Rewards Web site has misleading and misinformation. When I clicked on “Earn Shopping Credits” under “My Offers” it says, “Get 10 Shopping Credits for every Tier Credit earned Jun 15-Sep 30, 2012 at Caesars, Harrah’s Resort, Showboat and Bally’s. Redeem in Oct at Bally’s. See your mailed offer for details!” [The program began July 1, not June 15, but I’ll be happy to take Shopping Credits for my tier credits earned starting June 15.] Even more confusing is what comes up on the Web page when you click “Learn More”: It looks like the event is at Caesars on August 28 (or whatever date you happen to be on the site), along with upcoming dates.

Spa-Tacular Returns

Five spas are participating in this year’s Spa-Tacular, September 23-28: Qua at Caesars, Red Door at Harrah’s, Vive at Showboat, the Spa at Bally’s and Bellezza Salon at Caesars. Treatments are $60 and include your choice of facial, massage, body treatment or manicure/pedicure. With the exception of Vive, most of the treatments are 25 minutes, so Vive offers you the best deals with its 50-minute treatments. For instance, at the Red Door, its Web site lists 25-minute facials and massages for $80 (a 50-minute facial or massage is $135), so you’re saving $20, but, at Vive, those same 50-minute services go for $115, so you’re saving $55. However, once again, there seems to be little promotion of this event. Yes, it’s on the Total Rewards Web site under “Atlantic City”, but clicking on each spa’s “Learn More” button simply takes you to its Web site.

CAESARS

Roma Rebellion

It was 11:15 p.m. on August 30 at Café Roma. From the long lines – both the Seven Stars/Diamond line and the “regular” line – you would have thought you were at Dusk downstairs. Customer tempers were flaring because a) previously seated customers who had ordered food were complaining that it was taking too long to be served, b) no one came to their tables to take their orders or c) no one in either line was being seated. Four individuals who were directed to the counter were sent back to the line when it turned out no one was working the counter. The problem was that there simply were not enough employees. [It was a similar situation at the Boardwalk Buffet earlier in the day.] I’m sure there are plenty of unemployed servers and kitchen workers who would love a job, but Caesars seems to be cutting staff faster than $100 bills disappear in the slot machines. It’s not going unnoticed by customers.

Sign Of The Times

After more than a year you’d think the sign with such a glaring spelling error – “Centrurion Tower” instead of “Centurion Tower” – would have been replaced. Nope, it’s still there. I guess the current economic slowdown means there’s no money in the budget to correct such things.

Big Bang Theory

SHOWBOAT Watch Your Purse!

No one was injured when an electrical fire led to a brief evacuation at Caesars last month. Fire Chief Dennis Brooks told The Press of Atlantic City that the fire began in a second-floor electrical room. Brooks says there was a bang when a worker turned on a switch. Power was turned off and firefighters got the smoke out of the casino. Police arrested an Atlantic City man at Showboat last month and charged him with snatching purses in three casinos. Allegedly, he used a jacket to hide the removal of a purse from a pile of luggage in the lobby. The purse belonged to an 80-year-old woman who was staying at the Showboat with her sister-in-law. The other purse snatches occurred at the Borgata and Tropicana.

HARRAHS PHILADELPHIA

Salad Daze

‘Its’ Isn’t What It’s Supposed To Be

Speaking Of Change. . .

‘Will Caesars Entertainment Ever Stop Falling?’

That’s the title of an online article on The Motley Fool Web site August 30.

The Rest Of Us Have To Earn Our Tier Credits

Thanks to an alert employee, a reader learned about a complimentary salad at the Cove. The couple had earlier eaten in the dining room, but their server never mentioned it. It wasn’t until a few days later when they had dinner at the bar that a bartender told them they could save money by taking the complimentary salad available to Seven Stars cardholders rather than ordering

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Las Vegas Writer, Marketer, Consultant. I love Vegas and everything about it. When in Vegas do 3 things: eat, drink & gamble.

Author: Marc

Las Vegas Writer, Marketer, Consultant. I love Vegas and everything about it. When in Vegas do 3 things: eat, drink & gamble.