This is a detailed review about Don Laughlin's Riverside Hotel and Casino in Laughlin Nevada. Visited on 7-11-16 to 7-14-16. Review written on 7-16-16.
OVERALL RATING: 4/5
HOTEL ROOM: 4/5This was our first trip to Laughlin, NV. We decided to stay at the Riverside because it was one of two Casinos in Laughlin that offered personal massages and the reviews we read were mostly positive.The hotel is indeed older but has a "homey" and relaxed feel to it. We were told the rooms had received a slight remodel only a few years ago. The South Tower room with a view was pleasant and the view of the Colorado River was beautiful! For $69 a night we were mostly happy with what we got. The room could have been cleaner. There were some hairs in the bath tub and finger prints and kid smudges painted the large sliding glass door that serves as the window. We just took a minute and wiped the smudges away to clear our gorgeous view.The TV would not get the Keno channel for the first night but that was remedied by the 2nd night. The sliding glass door handle was broken or sealed or something but would not open. That's not a big deal though as we were on the 26th floor and not super excited to open the door anyways. There is only a waist-high metal fence between the door and the side of the building. Our room did not have a balcony as only the North tower rooms have them. There was also a pamphlet warning us of bugs entering if the door was left open so we assumed that most rooms sliding glass doors were able to be opened. We never saw any bugs in the room.Although, there is NO room service there was a Fatburger (located right in the Casino) menu in the room that said they offer delivery to rooms. I called the listed extension and it just rang and rang. The main Fatburger number was also listed so I called that and eventually found out that they no longer deliver to rooms. This was disappointing seeing as how the menu was in the room and said right on it that they DO deliver. These menus need to be updated or taken out of the room altogether. The toilet paper was my only other concern with the room. The paper is worse than some gas stations and while we expected that for the casino and restaurants, we feel the rooms should come with a higher grade of paper. Bring your own tp!The AC worked great! This is a must for Laughlin in the summer time. We stayed 3 days in July and each day's high temperature was at least 100 degrees. The room comes with ice bucket, hangers in open closet, ironing board and iron, suitcase stand, pen & paper, a lot of storage space in the dresser, a swivel flat- screen TV, two comfortable chairs and circular bar table, a hair dryer and a coffee machine. Though the coffee is terrible and the plastic coffee machine does not shut off on its own. It will continue to heat up (rather quickly) until you turn it off. The coffee maker is potentially dangerous. The beds were comfortable and come with 2 "My Pillow" pillows. There was also a lot of information in the room in the form of sheets of paper, a booklet about the Riverside amenities, River Taxi and boat rides schedules, an extension leaflet for reaching all hotel and casino departments and even a plastic notice about charging guests for missing towels and sheets. I've included a photo of this plastic notice as I found it funny that the hotel is basically saying, in as nice a way possible: If you steal you will be charged!I don't smoke unless I am drinking and gambling (which is only about once a year) so we did not get a smoking room. The Riverside is a great place for non-smokers as they even include a non-smoking section of the casino. Be warned though if you get a non-smoking room and they "detect" smoke of any kind your credit card will be charged $100. I had a slight concern that we would be charged because of my smoky smelling clothes from smoking down in the casino. They were not specific about how they "detect" smoke. So if you got a non-smoking room and you see a $100 charge on your card they may have "detected" smoke in your room. This is probably most hotel's policy regarding this matter but I thought I would mention it as we have stayed at other hotels with a more lax smoking policy.The room also offers two large bottles of water for an additional fee of $2.50 each. Probably better to bring your own but nice to know it’s there if you need it. The water pressure was extremely weak and the shower made a high-pitched, annoying whine most of the time it was turned on. The water was lukewarm to hot depending on when we used the bath or shower. It could have been hotter. Our room came with 2 hand towels, 2 washcloths, 2 large bath towels and a bath mat. Just as most hotels the soap is horrid and is a nightmare for a sensitive and dry skinned person. However, they do provide 2 small bottles of lotion as well.The hotel allows you to bring a cooler to your room and if you are a beer drinker I suggest purchasing cans as all the bars at the Riverside serve mostly cans. Vegas people, this is crazy right? This is the first time I have visited a casino with this policy and we thought maybe it had to do with protecting the river. The only glass bottled beer they serve is Michelob Ultra. We did not require maid service for the entire 3 day stay but we had used all the provided towels in that time. The maid staff seemed courteous and conscious of sleeping patrons. Hotel Room gets a 4/5.
CASINO: 5/5Slots:If you are a slot player you may be disappointed with the older machines. But what the Riverside lacks in updated slot machines they more than make up for in quantity. There are two sections to the casino, a smoking and a non-smoking section separated by bathrooms and a few restaurants. There are slot machines everywhere! If you head downstairs to the Watercraft rental section there are machines. Past the gift shop, in a quiet, hidden corner: more machines! There are many nooks and crannies at the Riverside that offer a secluded, dark place to relax and get away from the crowds. When we did play in these hidden areas we saw change and slot personal regularly so even with the darkness and seclusion there is little danger of some type of crime taking place. But bring a friend just to be safe!They have all the classics machines and only a few updated games. Game King Machines, all kinds of poker machines, Keno machines, a 6 player *** table machine, Quick Hits, a few older Hot-Hot Spin penny slots, Wheel of Fortune Spin and many more older penny machines. I think it would be a safe bet to say at least %70 of their machines are penny slots. Which is OK with us since that is mostly what we play. There are also dollar slots and a high limit area. The slots seemed to range from moderately loose to very tight. But of course that is something that is difficult to judge from only one trip. We did well and were in the black with our gaming budget the first two nights and lost 50% of our total budget on the final night. We hit a Quarter Royal Flush on our first night there but a Quick Hit penny machine I played on our last night was brutal. I bet the max of $3 a hand and lost around 15 hands in a row with less than $3 total payback. Stay away from the old and tight Quick Hit machines across from Check-In!The slot attendants were all very helpful and competent. A few times my Rewards Card was not inserted all the way and a friendly slot attendant politely pointed it out. I asked about a specific machine and though they did not have it the slot techs were more than happy to help me look for it and even asked other managers and techs. All the slot people we encountered were very helpful and friendly. Thank you William O and others! (Sorry we did not get all your names.)
Bar:The bars were sleek and well maintained. We had several different bartenders at two different bars. The bar staff were all good. We were waited on quickly and were checked on often. The slots seemed to be running loose and we did well on the quarter poker machines at both bars in the smoking section of the casino. We never got the names of the individual bars.
Pit:The Pit is small but cozy and offers two *** tables, a Pai Gow table, Let-It-Ride table and several black jack tables with and without bonus bets. Minimum bets range from $5-$25. We did not see a dollar table. The pit dealers were all friendly and professional. The pit bosses were their usual gloomy, quiet, dark-suited selves. They shut the Pai Gow table down on us the first night at 10pm due to a shortage of dealers. I used to be a pit dealer so I understand that there can indeed be a shortage of dealers but more than likely the pit boss just wanted the game closed as Pai Gow is a pretty much break even type game. That is the reason for the %5 vigorish on each winning bet. (One quarter per 5 dollar chip). Also, games like Pai Gow, Let-It-Ride and Three Card Poker are known in the business as "Carnival Games" and Pit Bosses (especially old school ones) hate them with a passion. We were asked kindly to play our last hand and moved on. We did not play any of the other table games.
Keno:The Keno area is small but again very comfortable. There are 15-20 seats with drink holders, keno sheets and markers. Riverside Keno offers two games and two progressives. One of which hit while we were there - But not by us :( You must play a 5 spot @ $1.25 per round to be eligible for either Progressive A or Progressive B. Not sure why they need two progressives - maybe to keep it the total under a certain amount and small. The progressives were at $1400 and $1100 respectively. The $1400 hit and reset to $1000.There is a Green game and Red game. The Green game is run by a computer and the Red game is the traditional Keno balls system. All the staff members were friendly and efficient.The Keno room also offers about 15 machines with keno and poker games on them. (I’m telling you, slots are everywhere!) We were disappointed to find out that they only stay open until 11pm. Though you can book a high number of games and watch the Green game in your room all night if you don’t mind playing against a computer and if the Keno channel is working on your TV.
Bingo:Bingo! Only recently have me and my girlfriend become interested in the game of Bingo. As we get older we are realizing it is a way to preserve some money and still get the full experience of playing a game of chance. You can play for as little as $20, get an electronic unit, get a free drink and spend a quiet hour with your loved one. If any of that sounds good to you, give Bingo a try.The Riverside has a large Bingo hall (maybe 300 seats or more) and offers 7 sessions starting at 9am and going every odd hour with the final session at 11pm. The only session not to follow these rules is the 7:30pm session which runs 90 minutes as opposed to the normal 60 minutes. The reason for this is the 7:30 session offers 17 games instead of 11 games, pays double for all the level cards and is by far the most packed and popular of all the sessions. A Green-Level-1 card usually pays $50. At the 7:30 session it pays $100. The 5pm session may have some similar payout rules as the 7:30 session but we did not play the 5 pm session and it is not 90 minutes long. There are smoking and non-smoking sections. The Bingo hall offers some tasty snacks, sandwiches, popcorn and some really good homemade chili. You can pay for beer and liquor ahead of time or wait for the waitress to come around (only once each session) and your drinks will be comped. Don't forget to tip :)Coffee and water are free. But soda pop goes by the same rules as beer and liquor. They offer the electronic hand-held Bingo machines in addition to the traditional paper and dobber system.We played Bingo 3 times in our 3 day stay and the Bingo staff (the Bingo gals) were fantastic. They made the whole Bingo experience that much better.If you stay at the Riverside go see the Bingo Gals: Melody, Patty, Julie, Shellie and April. There are more but these are the names we got for the nights we were there. They are super-efficient and sweet. They all worked together to make things run smoothly including booking tickets, calling numbers, cleaning up the area, serving drinks and food, paying out winners, joking and visiting with us and explaining the details of their specific pay-out system. On the last day there were some shenanigans and a bit of all-in-fun teasing towards Julie who was celebrating a birthday. This added some fun to the whole experience and did not get in the way of the game. Casino gets a 5/5.
This was the most disappointing part of the Riverside.
Riverside Coffee Shop:
The Coffee Shop food ranged from inedible to tasty.The breakfast sausage was terrible and worse than microwavable breakfast sausage! Not sure what it was made out of but they charged $1.00 for a side order of two. The Swiss and Mushroom omelet was good and so were their fresh peaches. Their Steak and Eggs was the best thing we ordered. Tasty steak, yummy!The Graveyard shift Coffee Shop staff members were great, funny, helpful and friendly. Marcia, Mary and Jason - thanks! But the chicken fried steak we ordered that morning was bland. The salad and soup were both okay.The Daytime shift waiter and Cashier were not exactly rude but they were not friendly either. I used to wait tables so I understand the waiter was probably busy but he did not put forth any extra effort in making sure we were okay and it took a while to track him down for the bill. The daytime cashier girl was ruder. We walked up to pay and I was reading the bill, she asked us how everything was and as I replied I handed her the receipt. She glanced at it and then ripped it up and through it in the trash which was overflowing with receipts. After we paid I asked her for the receipt and she grabbed the newly printed receipt which was not itemized and handed me that instead! How about asking the customer if they want to keep their itemized bill receipt before ripping it up and throwing it in the trash? It seemed a strange and unfriendly policy to me. Maybe it's because they are afraid of people abusing the receipts but if that is the case, the newly printed receipt should be itemized as well with a VOID printed on it or something. There is a better system then ripping up receipts that customers may want to read!
Buffet:It was Texas BBQ night ($16 per person) in the buffet so we were disappointed that we missed it (Playing Bingo instead). We thought $16 per person was a little steep but you’ll get a 2-for-1 Buffet ticket when you sign up for a Rewards Card.It just happened that the Coffee Shop was closed for cleaning so per Nevada gaming rules they left the Buffet open all night. Nevada gaming laws require that a place of business that serves alcohol have at least one place for people to eat open at all times. (People need to eat to sober up I guess.) So instead of Texas BBQ for $16 a person, we got left-overs for $10 a person. After seeing what they had to offer, we would have rather paid the $16 for two Texas BBQs. There were left over egg rolls, mashed potatoes, BBQ brisket, rolls, enchiladas, lasagna and other less than appetizing day-old food. There was a carving station with Ham and a Pork Roast. It looked dry and not very palatable. The dessert, fruit and salad all had seen better days. There was a sandwich making station with cold cuts and cheeses set out but we did not partake. The waitress was fast and efficient. The drinks were included with the price of the meal. We both had coffee and water. The entire graveyard buffet experience was less than satisfactory.
Other Places to Eat:
Fatburger right inside the casino is nice if you like Fatburger. It was my first time eating there and I found out that I do NOT. My girlfriend enjoyed it though. To me Fatburger tastes like bad IN & OUT mixed with a Big Mac. Ugh. What a perfect way to ruin a delicious IN & OUT burger! The Fatburger fries were okay though. The cashiers and servers (we ordered to go) were friendly enough and the service was quick.
Pizza Hut was tasty as always and really busy. Sadly there was only ONE guy working. He was doing everything and running around like a chicken with its head cut off. He was frantically trying to take orders, cook the pizza, fill drinks and doing everything else by HIMSELF - So ridiculous! We asked him and he said that working by himself was normal!!! (Poor guy.) It took way too long to get our food and he forgot our breadsticks. It's hard to blame him though since some *** manager decided one worker was sufficient for a busy dinner time rush. Hopefully the guy walks off shift some Saturday night and the manager has to come in and take over for him.
Serrano’s Mexican restaurant was subpar as well. The margarita was nice and the chips and salsa were tasty but the Mexican food tasted like microwavable TV dinners. The albondigas (Mexican Meatball soup) was pretty good though and the service was fast. What made it so bad was that for $12 a dinner plate, the largest portion of your meal was not tasty. The rice was good and the beans were great.The tacos and chimichanga were not so tasty and the pork was not seasoned enough and did not have that traditional flavor that you expect from Mexican meat. We both ordered pork so maybe chicken or beef is the secret to Serrano’s.
The Side Walk Cafe also only had one guy on shift doing everything but it was late at night and he had it under control. Besides the Coffee Shop, the Side Walk Cafe is the only restaurant that stays open all night. I ordered a jumbo hot dog with cheese and chili. It was bland and the bread was hard. I ended up throwing most of it away. The Italian sub and turkey sub we had the next day were good though.
There were also some fancy steak house like restaurants upstairs but we did not eat at any of them.
It's pretty sad when the Bingo food is better than %70 percent of the restaurants. Next time we will try the steak house and hope for the best.And seriously do not order the breakfast sausage from the Coffee Shop. Yuck! Food gets a 2/5.
The casino security guards were polite and professional. We were happy to see that they carried actual guns and also happy to see that just their presence seemed to keep any would-be-evil-doers inline. We did not witness any raucous or aggressive behavior from any of the patrons while we were there. One day, I locked us out of our room and asked a maid for help. She called security and after a short wait, 10 minutes or so, they let us back in our rooms. We were not pleased with the long walk we made dragging lugging from the covered parking garage, across the long sky-walk, past the arcade, past the convention rooms, past the Spa, past the Bingo hall, down escalators and through the casino to the elevators that finally take you to your rooms. Though I’m not sure there is much the Riverside could do to remedy this save for a gigantic overhaul of the entire layout. Anyways, you can avoid this lengthy walk if you park outside of the garage in uncovered parking. There is no fee for the parking garage or regular parking.Also be warned if you do park in the garage, it is not designed to be easily understood. We went in circles many times before we realized how to get up to the next level. There are no signs, it is dark and the Sun will be directly in your eyes if you are there in the summer time during the day.Traffic was light in town but people tended to be speedy and pushy in the casino parking lot and parking garage. For some reason the cars we encountered were driving much faster than they should have been in a confined space - So please be careful.We also got honked at in the casino parking lot when trying to locate the parking garage which is across the street from the hotel. We may have been driving a bit slower than usual but that is what you do when you are looking for something. The honker looked like she was wearing a uniform; maybe she was late for work at the Riverside. My girlfriend was driving and moved out of the way but if it had been me in the driver’s seat, I would have slowed down and made her even later for work. We can’t say for sure if it was an employee but if it was then shame on them. Leave for work sooner and you won’t have to honk at your customers! If it was a customer, shame on you as well. Either way this was not a promising way to start off our visit to the Riverside so I felt it needed to be mentioned. I will say that everyone we met AFTER this incident was more than pleasant!After winning on the slots our first night there we decided to splurge and get massages at the Riverside Spa. A 55 minute Swedish massage for $85 (not including tip) is a little pricy but well worth it. Unfortunately they do not offer couples massages so we went to separate rooms. The two female masseuses were excellent, professional, polite and friendly. One of the massage therapists is the proprietor and has over 10 years of experience. They squeezed us both really well and afterwards we dragged ourselves back to the room for a log nap. Thank you Patty CharMake sure you call to make an appointment and do it early as they close at 5pm.We highly recommended visiting the Spa at the Riverside.The River Taxi is $4 a person and is awesome! It will zip you and your drunken friends to one of the other casinos and take you back if you manage to make it back before 11pm. If not you'll have to take a road taxi back or if you head to the Aquarius and are staying at the Riverside you can take a pleasant 10 minute riverside walk back to your room, as we did.At one point we visited the Riverside Gift Shop. (We did not ask but we believe you may not use your rewards points for Gift Shop purchases.)There were some really neat, pewter, fantasy statues for sale. We picked one up for what felt like a reasonable price and also grabbed two $9 coffee cups with labels commemorating the Riversides 50th anniversary on them. Of course you are going to pay more in a casino gift shop than in retail but we were winning and felt like splurging. The 18-inch tall, pewter dragon with medieval sword and crystal ball will always remind me of our wonderful trip to the Riverside! That’s worth 60 bucks to me. The Rewards Desk personal members were very pleasant, polite and professional. Unfortunately, they were greatly understaffed. The wait in line just to sign up for a Rewards Card was the longest wait of the entire trip: about 25 minutes. This is not normally that bad of a wait but when you consider it is your first night there and you have a pocket full of money waiting to burn, it’s akin to torture. It probably doesn’t help the casino out much either seeing as how we could have been gambling instead of waiting in line. More staff = quicker lines = more gambling = good for the casino. Hopefully they realize this one day and hire a few more Rewards Desk people. One other thing about the Rewards card; EVERYONE we talked to absolutely loved the Riverside’s point system! While you cannot transfer earned points directly to your slot machine, you can visit a Rewards center cash-in machine and get actual CASH for your earned points! This was awesome! The first night I turned my earned points in for $22 and the second night I cashed them in for $9 more. What’s more is that, the cash points and the comp points are completely separate meaning that after I cashed in my points we still used our cards to eat! It was easy to see why everyone we talked to raved about Don Laughlin’s Riverside and how much he takes care of his gamblers. One elderly couple told us they had never paid for a meal in 10 years and from what I could see they were each betting 20 cents a spin on two separate penny slots. So if you go to the Riverside and you think Rewards cards are for the birds, get one any ways and see how quickly your thoughts on the matter are changed for the better. Miscellaneous gets 4/5.We did not have time to visit and partake of all that the Riverside offers.I have included a list of other activities and amenities the Riverside offers but that we did not visit.The Loser's Lounge (not sure about the name) is kind of like a dance club with Beer Pong and Wet T-shirt contests. Go there if you want to get a little crazy.Arcade: It looked rather small but we saw quite a few patrons there all 3 days, so it must be rather popular. There is also a movie theater, a bowling alley and darts.Personal Water Craft Rentals (Wave Runner and Sea-Doo) are available for the river. Someone who claimed to work at the Riverside Water Craft Rental Hut told us that going across the river to Arizona (1 minute river taxi ride) is much cheaper. $79.99 for one hour PWC rental at the Riverside versus $65.00 for the entire day across the river but a credit card deposit is required for the latter. I cannot verify the information at the Arizona Rental place as we never visited.We saw people fishing and swimming in the river. Though we heard the current runs at about 26 mph so take a friend, don’t drink and don’t fall off your Sea-Doo.There was a 90 minute boat cruise for $10 a head that we heard a lot of good things about. It makes three trips a day but we never managed to make the final daily run @ 4pm. Part of a great vacation for us means a lot of sleeping in!The Riverside Hotel and Casino offered so much that the other choices in town did not. That combined with the fact that it really feels like a family-friendly, local, cozy place made it the only choice for us.We really enjoyed are stay and will definitely be back again soon!
See final rating below:
Hotel Room: 4/5 + Casino: 5/5 + Food: 2/5 + Miscellaneous: 4/5 = 15/20
3.75 / 5
+ (0.25 for awesome rewards on earned gambling points!)
= Final Overall Rating: 4/5
I hope this lengthy and detailed review has helped you.Thanks for reading!
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