Seven Stars Insider – Sept Edition

Here’s the latest edition of Seven Stars Insider.  This is an easy read and an excellent resource for Harrah’s players.  Head over to Seven Stars Insider to sign up for the newsletter.  There is lots of information in this edition, so read on for all the goods.

NOTE: While this newsletter was originally designed exclusively for Seven Stars members, there is useful information for anyone who has a Total Rewards® player’s card and/or plays/stays at a Harrah’s property.  Please feel free to pass this on to your friends.  Back issues of the Seven Stars Insider newsletter are available online at http://sites.google.com/site/sevenstarsinsider.

Rio For Sale – Maybe

It’s been in the news for months, but several media reports – chiefly Bloomberg News, whose story August 20 was then picked up the following week by the Las Vegas Review-Journal – claim the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas is for sale.  Harrah’s continues to deny it.  I know it’s popular with a lot of Seven Stars players who read this, but I like to be a little closer to the “action” on The Strip.  Plus, it’s just a little too noisy for me with all those “flair bartenders” and “bevertainers” (most of whom should stick to delivering beverages and stay away from microphones).  I guess I’m just getting too old!

Question Of The Month
I have a companion card and tried to go with a friend to the special Seven Stars weekly Sunday brunch at Showboat in Atlantic City.  I was told that the primary cardholder had to be present, and he/she could invite only one guest.  I thought I had all the privileges of the primary cardholder.  Well, yes, sort of.  Think of it in terms of other offers your husband gets, e.g., three complimentary nights at Paris.  Only he could claim it – you could accompany him, of course.  Same with a free coffeepot or blender.  The offer is for the cardholder, not the companion.  In terms of the brunch, do I think it’s fair?  Once again, Harrah’s is being short-sighted and causing unnecessary irritation for its best players (and their companions).  As long as the brunch is limited to two people per card, what difference does it make if you and a friend take advantage of the brunch, or you and your husband attend?  In the overall scheme of things, this is a very low-cost benefit that Harrah’s [Showboat] is offering.  What they might be gaining in loyalty and customer satisfaction for some, they are losing as much – or more – by alienating others.

Planet Hollywood Page Added To Seven Stars Insider Site
Thanks to a Planet Hollywood “veteran” who has stayed there on a number of occasions, there is now a page on the site with details about this latest addition to Harrah’s Total Rewards casinos in Las Vegas.  Some of the more interesting “highlights” are a rumored Seven Stars Club that may open there, and the fact that the staff hasn’t really grasped the Total Rewards concept, and isn’t sure what to do when they see a Seven Stars or even a Diamond card.  Check it out by clicking here.

Voga Replaced By Burger Joint
It seems like every Las Vegas casino feels it needs a burger bar of some sort: Burger Bar at Mandalay Bay, munchbar (see below) at Caesars, KGB: Kerry’s Gourmet Burgers at Harrah’s (which replaced the excellent Pennazi), Le Burger Brasserie at Paris, etc.  Voga, Flamingo’s innovative American bistro with a contemporary Italian flair, has closed to make way for the Burger Joint Sports Bar & Grill.  Voga always had a difficult time finding a following, but it was one of my favorite new restaurants when it was open.

Harrah’s Cherokee To Open Events Center

Harrah’s Cherokee Casino & Hotel will open a 3,000-seat events center this weekend.  Lady Antebellum will headline.  Doubling the number of guest rooms, a 21-story, 532-room Creek Tower (what an unfortunate choice of names!) is expected to open in December, along with a 400-seat Paula Dean Kitchen buffet.

Kudos To ‘The Competition’: A Quick Review Of AC’s Summer Entertainment
“Headliners” aside, Trump Taj Mahal offered probably the best summer show in Atlantic City with its Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy that closes September 5.  With production values – scenery, costumes, lighting, large cast, etc. – several notches above standard showroom fare, it proved extremely popular, and even sold out many performances.  The biggest problem is the sound system.  If you don’t go in with a mild case of noise-induced hearing loss, you may leave with it.

Trump Plaza’s V – The Ultimate Variety Show was a close second, despite a less than stellar performance by former America’s Got Talent winner Bianca Ryan.  Her grating vocals and amateurish stage presence were disappointing, to say the least.  Otherwise, the quick-change dance team, ventriloquist Ronn Lucas, magician Jason Byrne and MC Michael Holly made the 90 minutes literally fly by.

I didn’t see Straight, No Chaser at Harrah’s, but I had trouble making it through any more than 15 minutes of their PBS special which aired a couple times prior and during their run at the Concert Venue.  It all seemed pretty repetitious.  One gentleman, talking about the show over cocktails at the Showboat Diamond Lounge, said he slept through about half of it, but his wife was dragging him back for a second viewing.  However, in fairness, the show must be popular.  They’re returning to AC – at Caesars’ Circus Maximus – for two “holiday shows” at 9 p.m. on November 26 and 27.

Speaking of Showboat, its “parades” – The Show – are extremely entertaining.  I counted nearly 30 people in the cast (including the musicians).  They’re colorful, fast-moving, and professionally performed and produced.  Showboat really should find a permanent venue, extend the show to 75 or 90 minutes, and let us enjoy these talented performers from the comfort of a seat rather than having everyone standing around trying to watch from behind people 6’3” (like me) or dodging a kid on his father’s shoulders.

Try munchbar – More Than A Snackbar
Yes, they want you to spell it with all lower-case letters.  While the menu and publicity focus on burgers, sliders and lobster rolls, don’t dismiss Caesars Palace’s munchbar for a terrific dinner when you want to get something more substantial than a hot dog, but don’t want to spend a lot of time (or money) in a “fine dining” establishment.  For less than $15 try the outstanding grilled tuna with fresh spinach salad, or order the fish tacos.  The juicy hamburgers get raves too.  Munchbar also has a full bar.  It’s located right off the casino floor across from the Pussycat Dolls’ “boutique” and table games, in the location formerly occupied by Elton John’s “Red Piano” store.

Showboat Buffet Servers – Bravo!
It’s got to be one of the worst restaurant jobs – other than doing dishes or prepping vegetables, but the servers at Showboat’s Mardi Gras Buffet all deserve special credit for their upbeat attitudes and professional service.  I’m sure a lot of them get “stiffed” in the tip department, but they do it all – from bringing beverages to clearing and resetting the tables.  I’m not a big fan of buffets to begin with, but when Showboat offered me two free meals last month, I decided to check it out. While I’d stay away from anything in a tomato-based sauce (it all tastes the same), the Asian dishes, fried cod, perfectly cooked fresh vegetables, chilled “peel-and-eat” shrimp, salads and desserts were a pleasant surprise.

New Ways To Earn, Use Reward Credits
They don’t get much publicity, but are you aware that you can exchange Rewards Credits for Hawaiian Air mileage?  Or that you can earn Reward Credits by staying at a Starwood Hotel?  Check out the Total Rewards Web site for details.

‘Where Would You Like To See a Future Signature Event?’
Mainly because of the number of rooms required and easy accessibility from around the country, as well as adequate event space and other attractions – not to mention the ability to serve complimentary alcoholic beverages, responses to last month’s survey were pretty equally divided among Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Lake Tahoe and New Orleans.  There really aren’t too many other options.

Did You Know. . .
. . .there used to be a bowling alley in Showboat (located where House of Blues now resides)?
. . .that the Temple Tower was originally a Holiday Inn that Caesars Atlantic City built around when it first opened?
. . .that Sammy’s Showroom in Harrah’s Reno – named for Sammy Davis Jr. – is probably the only showroom to retain its name after a major headliner in whose honor it was named stopped performing there?  (The Scintas Showroom at the Rio became Club 3121 when Prince was appearing there, and is now the Crown Theater and Crown Nightclub.  And, while it is not officially the Rita Rudner Showroom, she is performing in a showroom that Harrah’s had once dubbed the Clint Holmes Showroom, named for his long-running show there.)
. . .that Resorts International in Atlantic City was once used as a hospital and training center during World War II?

Do you have any unusual or interesting historical facts about any U.S. casinos – Harrah’s-owned or not?  Send me an email (sevenstarsinsider@gmail.com) and I’ll share your information – anonymously, of course – with everyone in a future newsletter.

Darryl D. McEwen, Publisher
Seven Stars Insider

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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.