Filthy Flamingo Fab Hotel Room

Rusted Faucet In Flamingo Las Vegas Fab Room
Rusted Faucet In Flamingo Fab Room

I’ve stayed at Flamingo a lot over the past few years. I’ve said that I will never return if I have a FAB room. I need to follow through on these kind of statements.

The Flamingo casino isn’t anything special but it’s not too smoky and the gaming usually treats me well. The addition of the Margaritaville casino adds a little brightness to this old casino. The rooms at the Flamingo are hit and miss. The GO rooms are bright and appear to be clean while the FAB rooms are superficially renovated but really just filthy pigs with a quarter of their lips covered with lipstick. You can see a comparison of the two rooms I did on Vegas Chatter.

The FAB sleeping area looks like a cheap hotel room that’s still 10 years behind modern but the awful housekeeping just makes the rooms only appear clean. The rooms are actually never really clean. More on that later. The bathroom in the FAB rooms were never renovated and are falling apart. The sink in the room had a faucet that was rusting (as you can see above) but still working and paint that was peeling on the walls and cabinets. I’ve paid for hotel rooms with worse bathrooms than this comp room but I’ve definitely had cleaner and bathrooms that aren’t falling apart. Here’s half of a room tour video (I deleted the full tour by accident).

Flamingo Las Vegas Fab Executive Queen Room from East Coast Gambler on Vimeo.

Housekeeping didn’t show up for the first day of my stay at Flamingo. My friend and I were gambling and not sober by the time we returned to the room so it didn’t really matter to us. The next day we left early to make sure that the room was cleaned. It wasn’t. Upon return I verbally spoke with a housekeeper who ensured me that the room was to be cleaned next. It wasn’t. I called the front desk but never got through so I hung up after 5 minutes. I finally called VIP services to ask for help getting our room cleaned and housekeeping showed up in 10 minutes. I’m no longer Total Rewards Diamond so it was very nice of them to help.

Housekeeping at Flamingo was horrible. They basically made the beds and switched out towels. They left half-finished day old drinks and various crumbled up papers in the living quarters and hair trimmings in the bathroom.

Purple Drank

My friend and I were hoping that our combined play would get us an upgrade to a GO room which, for some reason, seem to have housekeepers that do their job. At least they show up with new towels and make the beds without being asked. The upgrade we received was to an executive floor and executive FAB room which has extra room for a couch. Not quite what we were hoping for.

The main reason we stayed at Flamingo was because of the pools but this is the last time I’ll stay at the here. Caesars Entertainment and Total Rewards offer so many free rooms that it’s easy to say yes instead of paying for a quality hotel room. There’s a reason Caesars rooms are free.

I tell others that when it comes to hotel rooms in Vegas you get what you pay for. I need to practice what I preach. 

Chances Are The Song In The Casino Is Pitbull Or Train

Pitbull And Train
Pitbull And Train – Who Ya Got?

My Vegas vacation last week took me to quite a few different casinos. In the past this meant I would hear a nice variety of music – even if it was surrounded adult contemporary or pop music. Every casino had their own vibe and the music reflected that. Nowadays there isn’t much variety in music whether you’re in the middle of the Vegas Strip or Downtown Vegas. (This speaks to a bigger issue of homogenization in Las Vegas but I’ll save that for another day.)

There was a time where I could go to the Hard Rock casino and hear only rock music. That was awesome. Those days are over and, while they still play some good rock jams, they’ve added pop and rap to the mix. This isn’t the exclusive rock soundtrack I want or expect from the Hard Rock casino but it’s better than most. With the exception of the Margaritaville section of Flamingo many casinos have a similar mix of today’s pop and rock hits.

My musical tastes are questionable (at best) but I listen to a lot of music and usually know what I’m listening to. Last week I found myself asking my friend to Shazam songs so we could find out what we were listening to. Almost every time we Shazam’d a rock song it was a song by Train. Like Lifehouse before them I know that I’ve heard Train but never knew who they were…until now.

If a disposable-middle-of-the-road pop-rock song wasn’t playing it was a pop song featuring my man Pitbull. Pitbull and I go way back to his days on TVT records when he was still rapping about butts in spanish. Now, he’s adding a little flavor to just about every pop song. I love and hate this but the world will always be a better place when I hear Pitbull. This song was the one I remember hearing most.

There’s no way to escape Pitbull or Train in the casinos so just learn the songs and make the best of it. Maybe a Pitbull and Train drinking game will distract you enough.

Vegas Vacation Notes

Cigar And Cognac At Andre's At Monte Carlo
Cigar And Cognac At Andre’s

When I lived on the east coast I used to take notes of interesting things that happened or I noticed during trips to Atlantic City and Las Vegas. I figured that is do that I would do that again during my recent Vegas vacation. These are just straight notes, so there will be grammar mistakes.

I’ll elaborate on most of these subjects in future writing here and elsewhere. Tweet me or leave a comment if you have any specific questions.

– The D sold out Friday and Saturday.
– Cash or bomb in briefcase?
– The D queen room as big as king room just 2 beds. Not bad. Size.
– AC great
– Andiamo’s best restaurant downtown Vegas.
– When in doubt. The song is Train or Pitbull.
– cornhole.
– Flair bar tending.
– El Cortez vodka selection awful. Drink beer.
– Fremont East between El Cortez and FSE full of awful.
– flamingo always crowded.
– Families suck.
– don’t like kids, eat at nice restaurants.
– Mandalay Bay 3:2 BJ. Good vodka.
– Margaritaville casino fun. 6:5 bj.
– Margaritaville restaurant ok.
– Fab room bathroom disgusting. Rotting. Chipping. Peeling.
– Monte Carlo casino = eh. No even money bj. 6:5.
– Andre’s fun.
– I like cognac.
– Bally’s moved poker room.
– Flamingo casino air not consistent. Nasty.
– Mississippi Stud go boom.
– cash travel?
– Blackjack bad.
– video poker eh.
– craps!
– Traffic everywhere.
– LIFE slot kinda fun.
– new, giant Wizard of Oz slots at V & the D.
– Flamingo sportsbook comfy. Drink tix.
– Carlos n Charlie’s as bad as people say. Loud. Never again.
– Strip traffic sucks. Expect long hauls.
– Gamers v. Gamblers.
– T3 great.
– Flamingo housekeeping awful.
– No more Steve Wynn in cabs.
– VIP better than not. Duh.
– flamingo air a mess.

Worlds Largest Margarita? Too Bad It’s Not Grey Goose

I rarely see a press release that seems ECG (AC2LV) worthy, but the Flamingo in Las Vegas is opening the Margaritaville casino next week and coinciding with that they will attempt to make the worlds largest margarita for the Guinness Book of World Records. It’s a fitting and fun promotion.

After six months of planning, the mixing of the colossal 8,500 gallon beverage, appropriately named “Lucky Rita”, will begin on October 11, 2011…it will take over 300 man hours working around the clock to mix the concoction, concluding with the public “Topping Off” ceremony on October 14, 2011. Surpassing the previous record holder by 873 gallons, Lucky Rita will feature 2,125 gallons of Margaritaville Gold Tequila, 708 gallons of Triple Sec, 5,667 gallons of Margaritaville Margarita Mix and Lemon-X sour mix and 22,667 Lime Wedges. Lucky Rita will sit at 30 feet tall and will serve over 181,333 margaritas from October 14th to October 23rd coinciding with the 7th annual Margaritaville street party.

I don’t drink tequila (bad things happen) so this sounds disgusting to me. I love vodka, but I don’t think I’d even drink vodka that has been sitting for 10 days. As nasty as the drink sounds this is a very appropriate and fun promotion idea. Whatever the case, I look forward to checking out the new casino.

If you’re bored you can watch the building of Lucky Rita. Or buy this frozen concoction maker.

Margaritaville Frozen Concoction Maker
Margaritaville Frozen Concoction Maker

 

Seven Stars Insider – February 2011 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 a lot of information in this edition, so read on for all the goods.

Seven Stars Insider – February 2011

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 Caesars property.  Please feel free to pass this on to your friends.  Back issues of the Seven Stars Insider newsletter are available online.

Making The Most Out Of Your NCL Cruise Experience
Although not part of the Total Rewards program, be sure to sign up for a player’s card once on board.  Like Total Rewards, the cards will give you free drinks and points for cashback.  Also, be sure to meet with a casino host.  While I’ve not experienced an NCL cruise personally, I understand the casino hosts are very friendly and take good care of their customers.  At the end of the cruise, one reader wrote that the points earned though his play knocked $500 off his total bill – likely three or four times the value of the points.  In addition, “They had a couple of promotions, a slot tournament, a blackjack tournament, and hot snacks one or two nights,” he wrote.  And while you can apply for a credit line from the casino before you travel, they also offer an interesting option for cash:  You can draw a couple thousand dollars a day against the credit card you have on file for cruise expenses (subject to your credit card limits, of course).  Anyone else have tips to share?

Bally’s Bathroom Robbery
A man from Virginia was beaten and robbed in a bathroom just off the casino floor at Bally’s Atlantic City around 6 a.m. January 21.  The suspect followed the man and, once in the bathroom, police say the robber grabbed the victim from behind and slammed his head into the wall, nearly knocking him unconscious.  The victim fell to the floor where he was punched several more times before $100 was stolen from his pockets.  The attacker then got away; the victim was taken to the hospital with injuries to his head, nose and face.

C-Bar Opens At Harrah’s Chester
Described on the Web site as a “sleek ultra lounge situated in the center of the table games action on the casino floor,” C-Bar also features “flair bartending”.  It’s open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m., and on Sunday from noon to 2 a.m.

Cherokee Parking Deck Opens
A new casino parking deck with direct access to the casino has opened at Harrah’s Cherokee.

Rio’s Hamada of Japan Closes
While its Flamingo location remains open, Hamada of Japan has closed its Rio restaurant.

Player’s Card Security Risk?
Casino companies may not be the only ones keeping track of how many points you have on your player’s card.  The cards represent a growing number of fraud cases in Las Vegas, as hackers target the programs and casinos’ customer databases in an effort to gain access to customers’ personal information or steal points, gaming regulators and security analysts claim.  “We are investigating several cases at the moment,” said Jerry Markling, chief of the enforcement division of the Nevada Gaming Control Board in Carson City.  “We’ve been seeing a lot of cases involving player’s club programs and the stealing of points.”  “Nevada has some very strict laws in place regarding customer confidentiality,” said Rob Meyne, vice president of corporate communications with Boyd Gaming Corp.  “In addition, the Nevada Gaming Control Board has recently reminded licensees that they are responsible for maintaining security of customer databases.”  Other casino companies declined to comment on the issue.  The security threat doesn’t just involve player cards, either.  Nevada gaming officials and security analysts said casinos’ smart phone applications – which require users to provide personal information that is stored in casino databases – are also a concern.  Hackers are attempting to hack into these databases to gain access to credit card or debit card information, or banking and other financial information.

Margaritaville To Open In Biloxi – But Not By Caesars
The Jimmy Buffett-backed Margaritaville Casino has new life, but the site has changed, and it won’t be owned or managed by Caesars.  Planners said it will move from across the street from the Grand Casino, Hotel and Spa to the Back Bay of Biloxi.  They hope to have all the paperwork and license approvals so the proposed 68,000-square-foot, $48 million Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville Casino and Restaurant will open by year’s end.  The master plan for Margaritaville includes shops, a casino, restaurants, an events center and a marina.  In 2007, Buffett and Harrah’s Entertainment, now Caesars Entertainment, announced plans to build a $700 million casino on the beach.  That resort was scheduled to open last year, but now sits unfinished after Harrah’s stopped construction in 2008.  “We are disappointed that our project with Margaritaville will not proceed,” said John Payne, Caesars Entertainment central division president.  “We will continue to explore opportunities that will allow us to enhance our resort.”

Caesars Employees Benefit From Non-Cash Reward System
The next time you commend a Caesars employee or respond favorably to a survey, you may be giving those employees a new blender or a free vacation.  Caesars Entertainment Corp. has replaced its cash-based rewards system with a non-cash reward system.  Referred to as the Total Return program, the new initiative – theoretically – empowers employees and motivates them to perform.  While employees work toward improving the customer experience, they earn credits in a variety of ways, including customer service surveys, safety, customer compliments and community service.

Palms Acquisition
Published reports are claiming that Caesars Entertainment is expressing an interest in acquiring the the Palms Casino, across the street from Rio.

Free Stay At Atlantis, Paradise Island
Seven Stars cardholders may be able to get three free nights at Atlantis, Paradise Island, now through March 29, 2011.  While the promotion is aimed at those with “premium cards” from Atlantic City casinos, a Seven Stars card has no specific casino associated with it, so I should think nearly anyone would qualify.  Reservations must be made through Casino VIP Services to qualify for this promotion.  Call (800)-PLAY-711 [(800) 752-9711] and mention “AC Billboard Promo”.  Reservations through any other source will not qualify.  Your stay must be booked by March 29, 2011, for travel through March 29, 2011.  Details here .  [Note: Diamond cardholders may qualify for a more limited offer, so check the Web site for details.]

Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall & Saloon Offers Free Grub
Show your Seven Stars card at the Victorian Café and you and your party eat free!  There doesn’t seem to be any dollar limit, and you order off the regular menu.  Bill’s is located across from Caesars Palace and next to the Flamingo.  As always, because policies can change on a moment’s notice, be sure to confirm this offer with the host/hostess before being seated – and remember to tip accordingly!  Bill’s is owned by Caesars Entertainment and considered a “casino partner”, but does not participate in the Total Rewards program.

Harrah’s 15X Promo Fizzles. . .Then Redeems Itself
Invited players at Harrah’s Resort in Atlantic City had a special incentive to play there on New Year’s Day:  a mystery multiplier – 3X, 6X or 12X.  But, when some players swiped their cards, the kiosk indicated they would be receiving 15X Reward Credits that day!   What they didn’t know was that the kiosks had malfunctioned and the 15X was a “mistake.”  Cardholders had to re-swipe to see what we were really getting.  Some folks, who were guaranteed 11X points at Showboat and Bally’s that day, had stayed at Harrah’s since they thought they were getting 15X and had played for a few hours before they learned the bad news.  Complaints to the Total Rewards Desk were answered with, “. . .it was a computer glitch” and “they were sorry”.  A week later, though, Harrah’s changed its mind and awarded 12X points (the highest possible multiplier for that day) to all the people who had swiped early in the morning and saw the 15X by mistake. They apologized for the inconvenience and said the bonus points would be dropped into accounts in a week to 10 days.  Good for them!

Restaurant Of The Month
A visit last month to Primavera (Caesars Atlantic City) reminded me that I have yet to experience less than stellar service or a poor quality meal there – ever!  Syggy, our server, has been at Primavera for nearly 30 years; both he and his team provided discreet, efficient service that complemented the excellent food.  In addition, Primavera, as well as a number of Atlantic City casino restaurants operated by the four Caesars properties there, offers half-price bottles of wine from Sunday through Thursday.  Check with your restaurant for details and to be sure the promotion is still available. Kudos, too, to Michael, the manager, for his warm welcome.

Question Of The Month
I haven’t been to Las Vegas in 10 years, but I’m taking my Seven Stars trip there next month.  Are there any special perks for Seven Stars (other than the “usual” ones like jumping lines, special check-in, etc.)?  If you’re staying at Caesars Palace you can get complimentary coffee and tea every morning after 8 (and a USA Today on weekdays) at Seven Stars Registration in the Augustus Tower.  Even if you’re not staying at Caesars, you and a guest get free admission to Qua, its spa and fitness center.  Bally’s, Flamingo, Harrah’s and Rio will admit you and a guest to their spa and fitness centers, but Paris limits this perk solely to the cardholder.  You can get two free tickets (once a month) for many of the shows at Caesars properties.  Check at the Total Rewards desk for availability.  Then there’s the free food at Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall & Saloon (see above).  Other than that, I can’t think of anything else, but if anybody knows of any perks I’ve missed, send me an e-mail.

Happy New Year’s?
Here’s a sample of some of the comments about New Year’s Eve celebrations around the country at Caesars casinos:

Paris Las Vegas party was an A+!  Awesome food, great service.  My only complaint was that Gloria Gaynor’s watch was slow and they did not show Strip fireworks.

We had dinner at Mia [Caesars Atlantic City].  After that we went over to Harrah’s Resort to see the B.B. King concert.  We got there early, so we went to the Seven Stars Lounge.  They are always so nice; I’ve never had a problem.  Showtime was 10 p.m., but when we got to the entrance we were told it started at 11.  The concert was OK, but B.B. did a lot of talking.  I think the show went from 11 to almost 1 a.m., but he only sang a few songs.  He also forgot about its being the New Year and went over the time.

I agree 100% with your comments about the Caesars [Atlantic City] dinner.  Brunch the next day, though, was great.

New Year’s Eve at Bally’s [Atlantic City] was executed professionally, and was not Seven Stars, but 10 Stars!  Handling in excess of 1,600 guests for the dinner, and in excess of 2,000 for the brunch, it was well-planned, and was a major success.  The food, decorations, pre-assigned seats, the music, the multiple large widescreen monitors in all of their ballrooms on the sixth floor, coupled with excellent security, the dancers, the live remote to New York City for Dick Clark’s traditional “Ball Dropping” combined for a successful feather in the cap of Gerald Beaver, their Food & Beverage Director, and the entire group of employees assigned for this monstrous and challenging task!  Kudos to Bally’s for showing how it can be done right!  We all know how easily it can be done incorrectly.  Congratulations, Bally’s!

New Year’s Eve at Harrah’s Resort [Atlantic City] was fabulous.  The food was excellent and the service was really great too!
As background, we were perennial guests at Caesars for New Year’s and never disappointed.  They always did the best party on the Boardwalk.  There’s no question that when Harrah’s [now Caesars] came into the picture, the event was down scaled a little.  In accepting an invitation from Bally’s for this year’s party, it was with some remiss that we wouldn’t be at Caesars.  Sounds like luck favored us after all.  While the menu was similar to that described for Caesars, it was served up in a timely manner and was extremely satisfying.  (To be fair, I should note that while my steak was beautifully done, most at the table didn’t fare as well.)  The band was top notch, and the wine selection quite acceptable.  The only complaint I might lodge is that they were understaffed (with half the number assigned to our table than in past years).

Seven Stars For Less Than 100,000 Points?
Citing the economy, for the past couple years Harrah’s – now Caesars – renewed this coveted status for several folks who were Seven Stars cardholders, despite the fact they didn’t earn the requisite minimum 100,000 tier points.  [And, I just heard about a Diamond player who was renewed at this level at far less than the current 11,000 point qualifier!]  Has this happened to you or were you offered a card for 2011-12 even though you didn’t earn 100,000 tier points during calendar year 2010?  Send me an e-mail (sevenstarsinsider@gmail.com) and I’ll share your thoughts – anonymously, of course.

Darryl D. McEwen, Publisher
Seven Stars Insider