Monday, November 28, 2011

A Summary of my thoughts on the El Cortez newest tricks

The El Cortez established a fee for booking more than 7 nights in a calendar month.  It is $25 a night.  Some report discounters charging $25 a night for the first 7 nights as well.
Some suggest that this is to keep the poor from getting such great deals from the El Cortez that they will come with no intention of gambling.  This is logical unless we look at the details.  Here is my answer to one person suggesting this is their motivation.

This has got to be the biggest urban myth in downtown Las Vegas.
Let's do just a bit of math to show how ridiculous the whole myth is.
What the EC refused me was 9 nights at an average of $34 a night in El Cabana rooms. Actually they let me have a confirmed booking for a few days before they told that they were refusing to "honor" my second reservation.
Now you tell me what you would do if you wanted a really long stay and did not need to be close to gambling. Would you pay $34 a night for a month at over a $1000 for a room with a diminished refrigerator, no laundy facilities, no kitchen, no separate bedroom, very little storage space, no wifi, no decent cable TV, or would you go rent some three bedroom place for less money with maybe a garage and certainly a laundry room. 
And if you were a local, you could easily commit for a year. Places will pay your first month's expenses for a lease.
Vegas is full of rental deals right now. It is a recession. You can get a lot for a grand a month.
Your figure of $600-$700 may match a lucky month in Vintage, but I doubt it could actually be found. At some point some Convention would drive up even those prices. And if they wanted those folks out, limit the 7 day rule only to Vintage.
Also I play poker with local old guys there and some of them are sometimes down and out and living on the edge from paycheck to paycheck. 
They don't rent at the El Cortez. 
If they are really low strapped, they grab a little hotel/motel just down the street. 
Like the Blue Angel. The rates are incredibly cheap.

Incidently, no poker play matters to the El Cortez. I suggested that perhaps playing some certain amount of poker per day might give a guy a pass on the $25 extra fee.
Well, they don't make enough on the poker they told me. 
Well, I'm not bargaining for a comped room here, I told them, just a wave on the added fee for a long stay.
Well, they'd talk it around and get back to me.
Yeah, like that is going to happen.

So, I made the mistake of running some of my cash through their less than the best machines in May, thinking I'd get a couple free nights and then I would just pay the price to stay in one place for most of my trip. 
And I could have stayed 14 days in a row. I changed my airfare so I could get 7 in October and 7 in November. The rule is just 7 in a calendar month.
"Well, yeah, technically you could do that," says the hotel manager with a tone of disappointment.

But by then the good rates at were gone and Gold Spike was offering a better deal and I was mad at the EC anyway. 
I'm glad I did that. 
The Spike seemed happy to have me even without my gambling, happy perhaps to get some money out of an empty hotel. Happy perhaps to have me spreading the word here. They had little cards that asked folks to spread the word. They know they have a good deal on rooms, but continue to be often underbooked.
So, were the nearly homeless looking for a room, they could easily look for a sale there. Nice heat pool. I did not see anyone swimming in their clothes while I was there. 

No, the El Cortez has two nice games they are playing now.
First, they are going to be the upscale new cool fun place downtown and attract the next generation of hip folks with money. They want them, but they want to get them in, get the cash, and get them out.

Second, there are folks who won't look at the math of what they charge but take those discounted rates Jimbo quoted because they are reasonable compared with Vegas strip rates they see and they are getting bombarded with just how young and cool and hip the whole area is becoming. These unsavy travelers are the same ones paying resort fees of $20 plus with no real amenities, or being surprised by them at checkout. Hopefully, enough talk about all these sad fees will get more people to the point where they can do the math.

Okay, I know the hotel is there to make money and blah, blah, blah,

But I am not there to give them my money, and I don't have to play their new game.

I get more offers from the Four Queens at my level of play. Those offers exceed mathematically even the El Cortez occasional free night offers where you pay $60 a night for the room and get it back in freeplay and food. This trip for $24 I got 7 nights, $120 in freeplay (which I cashed out for $260), $50 in food, 2 free breakfasts and a free slot tournament.

My role is to get the best deals I can for the least amount. To do that I need flexibility when I schedule, the ability to book and then change booking to catch freebies. 4 Queens freebies come very late in the booking game. A limit of 7 nights is not going to give me flexibility to book early 9 nights and shave it back when the freebies come. That is exactly what I did at the Gold Spike.

And the El Cortez wants me to go down the street. They want to get in the tourists with more money to put at risk, know it takes on average about 3 to 5 days to fleece them of the bankroll, and why would they want to accommodate anyone much after that. 

Meanwhile I got nervous that I only played through $5000 in my last Four Queens days, but the host said I'll keep getting mailers with that play. It would not get me direct comps, that would take more. 
And this host was perfectly upfront and clear. 
He even explained what I must do to add a few nights at Binions poker rate and not affect my daily gambling score at the Queens.
So, who would I like? The casino that takes time to take care of me, listens, and tells me what they can do or the one that waits until I have a confirmed booking and then decides not to honor it?

Also, compare this lame 7 night policy to the policy of the Stratosphere. They will book up to 28 nights in a row. 
Oh, maybe I should not have said that, all the undesirable long staying folks will flock there now that the word is out. Oh, what have I done!!

They have a $7.50 resort fee that includes free tower access for each person staying in the room. After 5 nights the fee is capped and is not charged for the rest of the stay. Yep, you can stay there, and go up to watch the sunrise with coffee every morning for 28 days and the last three weeks of those tower visits are absolutely free. 

Must be a different set of bean counters.

The Strat boys perhaps have not heard of the invasion of the nearly homeless, nor do they subscribe to 
Sheer 'em quick and put 'em out to pasture.
So, which casino of these three mentioned pisses me off?

The game EC played when Jackie was not a senile living legend but in charge was get 'em in on a deal and keep 'em happy and comfortable and maybe a little drunk, and then they would do what all gamblers do eventually, go on tilt and drop the bankroll. But the key was to keep presenting good will. Jackie was the absolute model of good will. A guy could come up, tell him he was out the bankroll and get a $20 bill to go off on his way. It worked then. It built an empire of casinos. 
But perhaps times have changed.

Except for the refrigerator, the Gold Spike meets my needs and tosses in wifi in the room and TCM on the tele, and this time at least a pool I could be in for almost two hours when air temps were in the 40's.
Oh, Jimbo, ask for their supersized ice bucket. They have them. Then you go to the back of the bar and get that filled with ice. I saved leftover fajita bits in that makeshift fridge one night and there was still ice and cold meat to nibble in the morning.

From the Gold Spike, if I want to play poker at the El Cortez, I just stumble over.
But here is what happened this past trip. I started to care less about poker at the EC too, even though I have never been treated badly there by any staff. I ended up at the Cracked Aces games at IP and Flamingo where play builds hours for a freeroll (one caught $140 and required just $5 dealer tip at buy-in) And I began to look more carefully for games on the strip where the softer games are anyway. At those games I ran into many of the guys who once played the El Cortez game. So I did not even lose community. 
And CET, at least over the past few years, gives me free rooms for poker play and cheap rates beyond the free rooms.
These games start well before anything is happening at EC.
I am thinking the times to play at EC are when I've gone to bed at 3-5 PM and am up after midnight fresh to face the guys up all night.
Fewer good players.

So, the El Cortez and I are both happy. They got rid of me to make way for the new upscale, money doesn't matter young crowd. And because I was looking other places, I found better deals. 

Now I bring this up just because I want to let those of you who are frugal travelers and trying to win at all the gambling games, including those that start with booking a deal, know the options. 
Having been going to the El Cortez since the days when my $1000 of VP play a day would get me mailed offers of 2 free rooms over 3 nights, and played poker with old Jackie for hours over the past couple decades, I had kind of built up that sense of a home casino and the Cabana rooms cinched that. they had me for as little as I am worth.
Then the fee dumped me out.
Now the Spike has me. I wish they had some decent gambling there.


I also suggest it is time to stop calling names to poor folks. Losers, fleas, nits, scum bags, low life etc are just not names people should need to suffer. So they have a bit less and don't live the lifestyle. So what. We don't call ethnic differences with derogatory names. Let's stop calling out the economic classes as well. They are poorer folks who don't gamble as much as rich tourists. I can see why they are not desirable casino hotel tenants. However, the idea that there are hordes of them beating on the doors of El Cortez hospitality is just a story being spread to keep the next economic level looking down at what they left, or where they might be going if the market crashes. 

The "get them in, fleece them, and toss them out" casinos would like to have a scapegoat so this cold calculating policy can be blamed on those bad poor people who take so much advantage of all the good, real American folks.

It is just the newest in bean counter strategy to get more of the money, faster.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Comparing 6 hotel room experiences

I’ll rank the rooms I tried this past trip in order of the best to the good.


Of the frugal and free rooms I choose, this one is always above the others in comfort and classiness.  Everything is always clean here and quiet.  Generally, I don’t bother with view but take a room that will make the elevator trips easy.
I oversold that I wanted quiet this time, because I ended up with a room so far from the elevator that I did not need any time on the treadmill, just a walk to my room and back.  I’ll not stress quiet so much next time.
I am not certain I will be putting this place in the mix.  My play is slight here and I get two free nights with food every six months.  The trip out and back from downtown is inconvenient and long. If I dropped this place, I’d save luggage on the bus, and the way downtown is shaping up, I don’t need these two free nights.
But the room was as nice as always.


I had my doubts about this place.  But it turns out to be where I will look for a sale my next trip.  Here are the details”

It really ties with the Orleans.  It is not as plush but the wifi in the room as well as a heated pool and TCM on the tele makes it a great choice.
Also, the location is easy for check in check out as it is around other hotels I would use.


I like these rooms. Everything is comfortable.  I like the television and the coffee pot.  I like the way they treat me when I check in and out and the way the maids are.  I like it that they comp three nights a month rather then two, and I am getting weekend nights comped.   I found out that I can extend my stay without pumping more money into the VP by taking Binions poker rate of $24 a night and I’ll try that for at least a couple days next trip.  Five in a row is very nice.
This trip for one weekend I was in the North Tower for the first time.  I’ll try to avoid that.  They said that they would put me in quiet, but I could hear faint street music.  It did not matter because I never slept during that time, but clearly the South Tower is better.  One advantage to dropping the Orleans is that from wherever I come downtown, I can walk over early and ask to wait for a South Tower room, and just go back for my luggage once the room I want has been cleaned.
Coming from the Orleans I showed up tired after luggage on buses and just wanted to get in any room.


I got a much better Pavillion room this trip. Perhaps that is because I asked if there was a room with a table for my computer. There was not, but it may have made a difference in where they put me. Or it may just have been the luck of the draw. New safes are installed here and there is a coffee maker.  I don't remember having either on my last trip.

The biggest issue here is that any noise in the walk around area outside the room is heard in the room. After an all nighter, I wanted a early morning nap, and it was impossible. The room cleaners’ carts sound like there is a little train running right outside the door and the workers or cleaners shout to one another because they are outside and that seems fine.
However, I think it will be fine if I sleep in the night time.  And if I use them at the end of my trip to also get the free ride to the airport, I’ll not need to worry. The last couple days of any trip I exhaust myself getting the last little bit out of Vegas and preparing myself to be sleepy on the airplane ride back, so I shorten it with sleep.
However, with the right rates at Gold Spike, I’d skip the El Cortez altogether next trip as well. The WAX is just as good a ride to the airport, can be taken any day and at later hours than the EC shuttle, and requires no tip.

To make up for a computer table, I opened the first two drawers in the phone cabinet next to the bed and pulled over this long padded bench. My computer rests easily on those shelves. Using the phone book and some other bits of things I propped up the Gideon's bible and it makes a fine mouse pad. So I can write comfortably.


Except for location, this Mardi Gras tower room comes in last. I did not want to pay for a renovated room, and I found the room pretty old looking and dull. Also, it just was not cleaned properly.  I found nail clippings on the poorly vacuumed rug.  
I cleaned up enough for me and requested no service the three nights I was there because I tend to spread out a lot with piles here and there, and I just don’t want anyone in the room, and I don’t feel like picking up for the maid. Solo I always have plenty of towels. I can make my own bed.
Well, this maid had just a touch of attitude about that. Seemed odd. I was saving her work. I did not like it. Usually I just practice a bit of my Spanish and make a call to housekeeping and put up my "Do Not Disturb" and it is seen as standard practice.
It may have been that I got tired of the “Do Not Disturb” sign slipping off the door handle and falling on the ground whenever I opened the door, so I stuck a bandaid on it to secure it to the door.  I liked that too because I knew if I got my room number mixed up, I could find the door with the bandaid.

In the end, on checkout I left and forgot a couple shirts, so I came back and the maid  was fine about letting me in again.  I had checked out, and my key did not work. So who knows.
In terms of location I love Harrah’s when it is cheap or free, so I’d go again, but this was not like the room I had in Mardi Gras Tower before.  I even had to move a round table over near the bed to hook up my computer as where the table was, the electric box had a plate over it.  
It did not matter, I carry two electrical splitters and an extention cord, but I expected better at Harrah’s.


Fine location and an okay room, but the beds are just as folks say.  I was too tired to care the first night, even to move to the other bed which was soft.  I laughed because I don’t think I have had a bed that hard since basic training in the Air Force. And then I feel asleep. 
The second night I slept on the soft version in the other bed.  However, these thin mattresses are very different from those of the Four Queens that are twice as thick and moving from Fitz to 4Q I really got a sense of the contrast.  If Fitz gives me a couple nights free, I’ll take a room with two queen beds and put the soft mattress on top of the hard one.
Location was great.  It is just a short walk across a narrow street to move luggage to the Four Queens.
I liked the little pool and would like it better in warm weather.  One day the sun took the icy feel off and I swam for a while.  Another day I put on my wetsuit and went in for a while, but the water was still pretty cold and I did not swim for the near two hours I swam at the Gold Spike.
So, here is a question to keep asking. Is that Gold Spike pool going to be heated now all the time?

Laughlin- old reflections

I can't seem to find my photos and reports of trips to Laughlin, especially the one I took with Frank from London to show him a bit of America.  But here is some collection of what I could find.  I did not go there this past trip. I probably won't go on the next one.  Much of what I went for is gone.
However, once the Chinese invest in green technology of that area, it may make for some good deals again.

Much of what was really good VP has dried up.  The Aquarius still has full pay.

I don't think there is anything there that can't be matched or beaten by Downtown now.

I don't know if these are still good contacts for the buses. I used them a few years back.  You should not pay more than $5 for the trip so keep asking until you get enough contacts to find a five dollar or free day trip.  Some offer a stop at the Hoover Dam.

Here is how one of those trips looked a few years back:

Expect very little of the free buffets.

I always like visiting the Watchman Store
It is a walk from where the bus drops.  I have a large collection of watches from there.

I run questions by this following discussion board before I go.  I especially like Grif there.  But it is a board that celebrates, so the information is not really balanced.

Clearly renting a car for trips longer than one day is the easiest way to go.
You can make a nice trip back to Vegas  by going from Laughlin up to Oatman to see this little town and feed donkeys in the streets,

along part of route 66,
(we got a great hamburger here and I loved the root beer)

to Hoover Dam area and back again.  I can't remember the exact geography but I took a London buddy up through there and it gave him a good look at that part of America.

We stopped and walked around a really small town on that trip called Chloride.  It is the first reviewed here:

We saw a little old jail in that town.  It was such a relaxed visit that we stopped at the General store and they told us where the little jail was and told us we could go inside but please close the door when we were done.
Here is the jail

Yards were often decorated with found art:

If you hate to rent cars, this bus below gave good service and with car rental and gas came to less.  I used to spend a week there and the hotel room discount paid for the bus ride out.

It is not cheap, but neither is gasoline.  The service was good each time I used it, and I like not having to drive tired and sometimes drunk.  It will pick up at Terribles or at the airport and deliver to whatever casino is requested.  I am not certain it will go to Avi.  That is a bit isolated and away from the strip of casinos along the river.
When I stayed there I moved my luggage from casino to casino on the river taxis which were inexpensive at that time.

But that was when I had a host at the Edgewater got a string of free tooms, and the VP was semidecent.
I liked the live poker games, spread limit 2-6 with a $3 rake and $2 taken for bonus awards so that those were very generous.  Cracked Aces can be found 24/7.
However, I found that I was playing the same everyday locals wherever I went and I could not beat them.

Vegas prices are so cheap now and there is still good VP to be found.  After my last trip I can't imagine doing more than than riding out for a day, just for a break.  And even that seems less attractive than all the places available on buses now from downtown.  I did not get everywhere I wanted to go in Vegas over the last 23 days.
It was nice to see the desert, but I got a taste of that by walking the UNLV campus and looking at the gardens they have established there.

Missing in Laughlin:

The great Sunday buffet at Grandma's at the Pioneer.  This was the best buffet I have ever experienced with an atmosphere more like a the fancy restaurant that Grandma's is.
VP at the Edgewater, Colorado Belle, Pioneer.... all downgraded.
The host that gave us a great deal for our sort of advantaged play.
The great jazz band that played nights at the Colorado Belle.

That being said the river is always nice.  I liked it when I could feed the fish.  That is gone as well.

Coming soon to Laughlin is an incredible project which may change the economy there, and perhaps the gambling as well, especially around Avi.

This article is not comprehensive, but if when you load it, you look at the related articles that come up, you can get a fuller view of what this means.

I talked to folks from there this past trip and they are very excited about the jobs and money that this would mean for their community.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

TR Snippet: Gold Spike room review

I had heard these rooms were nice, but I did not expect to be as comfortable as I was there. I was first in 503 and it is a fine room, but I moved to 502 after Wild Bill left that room, and it was much quieter.
I am not suggesting that the rooms compare with the Orleans let alone any upscale casino, but it does compare well with downtown casinos. I find it much better than the Fitzgerald and better than the El Cortez Pavillion.
Here is what I like about the room:

The beds were comfortable.
They told me that the pool was not heated, but it was. The air was very cold, and I knew I would not try my wetsuit, but the water was bath water warm. I did not need it. I swam in the morning when the air was in the 40's and could stay in the water easily for an hour or more. I was by myself most days. It was great.
It is a strange pool. About a fourth of it is just a few inches deep so you could recline in the water and still be getting sun. Nice for summer time.
There are two tiny waterfalls giving the sound of water and acting a bit as white noise. The street is not far, but it did not intrude. Two nice hot showers were there as well. Towels were plentiful except when I went before opening time, and then I called to a maid doing the poolside rooms and she brought me some towels.  
Those rooms look interesting, but I had heard they were smaller than the tower rooms and I don't much like having folks walking outside a window on a balcony just outside my room. this is like the El Cortez Pavilion. It was a bit of a brisk walk back to the main casino and tower rooms, but I liked those better and they have had better reviews.The pool is open at 9 and closes at 10. But one morning I got my times wrong and was swimming at 8.

That nice celebratory green found in El Cortez Cabana suite walls was reduced to one green wall and green around and behind the television insert. The rest of the room was beige.
The television was a fine flat screen. I don't watch much of it this trip, but when I do, because of the way it is placed in the wall, it seems to float in a rectangle of darkness. I like the feel of it.

While there is no closet with a door, the rack for hanging clothes bullt into the furniture on the wall was plenty big enough and included a construction of parallel bars so that it was very easy to hang hand washing in a way that would dry clothes easily. I did my laundry in the sink there.

Wifi hooked up easily. It looks like they have two accounts, so we can pick the strongest. It all works well and is so nice to have for getting information and directions. I find that I have little energy for carrying my computer to search out hotspots for wifi. Mostly I like the computer for writing up the day's adventures so as not to forget what happened and I do that on the word processor.  
However, last night the computer I took to Vegas crashed and took a nice chunk of my notes with it. My room reflections I had put in the cloud before I left the Gold Spike wifi, so it was still here to revise into a post. I think I'd like having that insurance on future trips.

The bathroom included an exhaust fan that took the steam out of the room and made shaving easy.
All plumbing in the bathroom worked perfectly and that is a first for this trip.
Part of the reason for that may be that each room is inspected after it is cleaned before it is released for booking. Bill and I booked early and the inspector walked up with us, looked around, and told us the bathtup plunger was missing. Bill said to forget it as he would never take a bath, and we were in a hurry. 
"It drains fine," the inspector said.
Now who would think that a room would be inspected for speed of the drain.
This guy was efficient, and I could see there would be fewer room surprises.The television included more channels than any other place I have stayed, other than the Koval Super 8. Turner Classic Movies, my favorite station, was included. This means that were I to get sick, or go broke early, I'd be well entertained without the commercials I so hate and avoid at home with taping or Netflix.

The drawer space is huge and there is a part of the unit that would include a refrigerator and a safe, but is empty and great for dirty clothes.

There was lots of room for more furniture in the room. Lots of open space waiting for "improvement" with stuff. I liked the open space. The Fountainebleau furniture is very nice, very functional, some of my favorite for storing stuff. Let us hope that improvement is a long way off.

The ice was very odd. To get ice I had to go to the bar and then they scooped it in the back. They were perfectly nice about it. The ice bucket in Bill's room was huge, so I used that. After this huge feast at the Lucky Club, I could not finish the fajitas and took it home in a bag and kept it on ice in that bucket. While I wrote in the morning I snacked on cold fajita flavored chicken and steak. I could see that with a little planning I could cool a sixpack of water or seltzer in that bucket and have a cold drink when I wanted.

I first drew a room on the street, so there was some traffic noise, but it really never kept me awake or was a bother. If I listened carefully, and was quiet, I could tell the television was plahying in the room next door, but there was no annoyance and even the sound of typing on the computer seemed to drown it out.
I brought along exterior speakers so I could use the wifi to listen to Ray Smith's Jazz Decades, my favorite music venue. That worked great. I loved having that music when I had things to do in the room.
When Bill left, I moved to his room and away from the street. I liked that much better.

Modifying the negativity of the resort fee are real amenities. Also when I booked the resort fee was listed upfront and named in the booking. There was no mystery. I suggest folks book directly here. Try for a match in discounter prices.

Deals are frequent and very good. I paid $12 (weekdays) and $27( weekends) plus $9 a night. This makes it a good casino to fill in around the comped places I visit. I don't have the bankroll to play anything other than live limit poker every day over 22 nights, so I need an inexpensive place to rent where I don't intend to play for comped rooms and need not worry about reducing my average daily gambling score by staying for a long stretch.

Also there is nothing like the El Cortez ridiculous seven night limit after which a $25 fee kicks in on top of the room charge. So I can plan my visits with a great deal of flexibility. I was, in fact, booked for 9 nights in a row but at the last minute 4 Queens gave me more free rooms and I dropped to 6 at the Gold Spike.
The heating and cooling was very easy to adjust. This was in stark contrast to the Harrah's room I had where some automatic feature turned on a loud fan when I entered, and I could not seem to just turn it off for once and for all. It would click back into some automatic mode. In both rooms at the Gold Spike, the little heater cooler could be simply turned off and the room made very quiet.

The new Boulder Highway buses, built like the SDX, only with a cheaper residential fare, pick up and deliver just a half block from here.
On Thursdays I can go out to Sam's Town for the free show Toast of the Town on the HDX and get there in 12 minutes.
On Monday nights I can go out to Eastside Cannery and see Claudia Castro's Latino lounge act on a slower bus, the BDX.
During the daytime hours the HDX gets to Sam's Town in 12 minutes because it only makes one stop at Sahara before it gets to Nellis. The BDX makes all the Boulder Highway stops so it takes more like a half hour, but it would drop me at Boulder, Arizona Charlies, or anywhere along the Boulder Highway, and then turn and take me to Sunset Station if I like.
Or I could easily stay anywhere on Boulder Highway and hop one comfortable and uncrowded bus with my luggage to stay next at the Gold Spike. So I am thinking again of a couple nights at Eastside Cannery for some poker and Claudia Castro.

In fact, I am back to seeing downtown as the place to stay, a hub with buses that go anywhere and faster than ever. Avoid the Deuce by using the SDX of the WAX or the CX and the strip is quickly accessible. Boulder Highway is accessible. The UNLV campus is accessible. 106 still goes out to Texas Station and Fiesta.  and checking in and out downtown is much easier as luggage can just be rolled from place to place, and often the desired room could be arranged more easily by going early and coming back for what I want if it is not available early. I settled for Four Queens North Tower because I was there with luggage and tired after riding buses so I just wanted to get in and get settled.

I wanted to take the HDX to explore downtown Henderson and especially to play the Club Fortune Casino if it was not too long a walk from downtown. However, my toes blistered and my feet gave out, so I had to strike it off my list. Next trip I'll put it early in the plans.

And the El Cortez small live poker game is not far away. Fremont is closer than it is from the El Cortez. It is not the best location, but it is not that bad.

Here is what I did not like:

There could be more hangers. I'll pack a few next time.
The door of the room when open makes getting to the small bathroom a bit awkward.
There are plastic slats on the window and light defuses through them. I can't make the room totally dark.
No safe or coffee pot. I bring Traveler's checks and my own little coffee pot now and enjoy my own brand of coffee and never run out.

There could be more outlets, but I carry an extention cord as well as a couple electrical splitters so I can always arrange things conveniently. Many places limit outlets and I have the computer and a sleep apnea machine and like not to have to keep plugging and unplugging. My last casino stay was an unrenovated Harrah's and where I wanted to hook up my computer the outlet box was covered up with a plate. I had to move the table there near my bed and run my extension cord.
Resort fee of $9

In the first room, 503, there was a constant pulsing noise of the air conditioning fan outside and just below my window. It worked as white noise, but I'd prefer total quiet and I got that in 502.

There is no gambling I can play. The VP is terrible. Blackjack has pretty girls and ugly rules. The Megabucks is not my sort of $3 pull. There is no craps table. There is no live poker room. I did not even bother getting a card.

At the same time that did not seem to matter to anyone. I was well served and they sent me a letter afterwards, thanking me for coming and hoping I would return soon.

Checkout is at 11 and can be extended to 12. I prefer those that are at 12 that can be extended to 1 simply because that makes it easier to arrange where I am going next.

And of course, I don't like resort fees, even $9 fees, even those put right up front, and even those with the value in amenities not found other places. However, I understand that this fee is not so much a way to trick newbies at the Gold Spike, but simply a way to pop up first on the discounter sites as the cheapest in downtown.
I strongly suggest not booking this hotel at or Expedia. Those are a mess with the discounter collecting the resort fee upfront, refusing to admit they do, pretending that the casiono will collect it at checkout (they won't but the fine print says they will) and just avoiding the issue if asked or emailed. Watch their own website for sales. That is how I got $12 weekdays and $27 weekends plus the $9. If you find a good price somewhere, call and see if the Spike will match it. In one conversation they said they would price match discounters.
I would also suggest booking long stays in short chunks so that smaller individual bookings can be cancelled. I did get my 9 nights reduced to 6, but it took a couple calls before the clerk seemed to know how to do that. I had another 3 day reservation that I needed to cancel and just cancelling it was simpler than making a modification. They would not match their own on line rates by phone.

I could see how some folks might be a bit taken back by late night walks along Ogden. I used to not like those couple blocks. However, they are very different. The condominium high rise is developed with lighting at the base of it, so that there are no corners. The empty lot has been leveled and there is no debris there. I did not see any street people in that area at all and was never approached for money or bothered in any way. Security seemed to be about, and there was generally activity and people out in the street. It is very different from the way it once was.


I'll stay there again. It is comfortable enough to make it my downtown home base and do what I thought I might do at the El Cortez Cabana rooms, slow up the hopping from hotel to hotel even if the rooms are free. The hop to the Orleans and then back with lots of luggage just seemed more bother than a free room with no wifi or heated pool was worth. Hopping around downtown is much easier.