Casino resorts have developed a certain reputation over the years. They tend to be gaudy, over-the-top, and full of attractions. And we tend to imagine them as places for bachelor and bachelorette parties, or other large and festive gatherings. Basically, you don’t quite know what to expect if you’ve never spent time at a casino resort before, but it’s probably something on a spectrum from Bradley Cooper’s character in The Hangover to George Clooney’s from Ocean’s 11.
The reality is often quite a bit different from what people expect. The primary attractions may not be what you expect, the atmosphere can be unpredictable, and it’s often the resort – not the actual casino floor – that stands out. Below are a few more specific thoughts on what it’s actually like to visit and stay at one of these venues.
These Resorts Are Hotels First
There’s a tendency to think of a casino resort as a casino first, a package of attractions second, and a hotel third. Really, this order might most properly be reversed entirely. Yes, what sets these venues apart is the entertainment. However, casino resorts also have to house endless waves of tourists, and those in charge are well aware that if they don’t provide comfort, they’ll fall behind the competition. As a result, you need only take a look at the recommended hotel rooms in Las Vegas to get a feel for the kind of luxury hotels we’re talking about. Big, comfy beds, wide windows, fancy bathrooms, and often enough living space to host a small group are fairly standard.
Fine Dining Is Part Of The Experience
It’s almost hard to find a noteworthy casino resort that doesn’t have an elegant steakhouse, highly touted ethnic cuisine, a celebrity chef establishment, or some combination of all of the above. For that matter, it’s also become somewhat traditional for these resorts to offer gourmet (though pricey) breakfast buffets. You can certainly wind up paying a little more than you like at any of these places, but the fact of the matter is that fine dining has become inextricably tied to casino resort culture. And menus and pricing aside, the venues themselves tend to have the beautiful décor and interesting layouts you’d expect within a casino.
The Gaudiness Blends In
This may be a matter of taste or personal reaction, but more often than not, the gaudiness commonly associated with casinos basically blends in and blends together. This just means that you won’t be walking around a casino thinking consciously, “what an over-the-top gold-dusted pillar that is for a lobby,” or, “wow, that mock statue of a Roman god looks fake.” Yes, casino resorts tend to be drastically over-decorated, but the faux-chic absurdity of it all is sort of part of the charm, and it makes for more of a total environment than a set of noticeable details.
Casino Floors Are Effectively Open Bars
One guide to navigating the Vegas-like resorts of Atlantic City explicitly states that the drinks are free as long as you’re playing games. But even beyond Atlantic City, this is something of an unstated rule at most legitimate casinos (though sometimes not on cruise ships). The idea is to provide an incentive for people to keep spending money on the tables and – almost certainly – to lower their inhibitions in the process. For the casual gamer however playing with low limits this means that casino floors are used more or less as bars that happen to have games – not the other way around.
It’s Different For High Rollers
By “it,” we mean the entire experience. If you’re heading to a casino expecting to see someone in a suit or ball gown at the other end of your blackjack table, playing with a $5 minimum bet and sipping a fancy cocktail, you’re likely to be disappointed. While some people betting more money do hang around at the more casual tables, legitimate high rollers tend to be in more exclusive areas, and tend to be better catered to by staff. The drink service is more efficient, the amount of money changing hands can be staggering, the dealers are more no-nonsense, and sometimes a room at the hotel is comped.
The Spas Can Be The Most Impressive Parts
“80,000 square foot space takes up two floors.” That’s one of the first lines in a description of the spa facilities at the Aria resort in Las Vegas, per Spa Manners. 80,000 square feet over two floors! And that’s just one of dozens of spas at resorts all over the city. This of course depends on where you go, but casino resorts are meant to be entire vacations in and of themselves, and that means relaxation isn’t taken lightly. In many cases the spa facilities can be the most impressive parts of the experience, elevated over gaming floors, hotel rooms, and all the rest.