On the Road from Las Vegas to Laughlin: Laughlin
Continuing on at The Aquarius…
After the world of The Riverside, your first impression of The Aquarius Casino Resort will be that it is clean, bright and expansive because of the high ceilings and spread out areas. If you are entering from the closest riverwalk entrance from The Riverside it will take you past the buffet and Café Aquarius. If you enter farther down the riverwalk you will enter going past The Outback Steakhouse, and the last entrance is by The Cove.
You have your choice of numerous places to eat in the Aquarius. The chain restaurants are Outback Steakhouse, Panda Express, McDonald’s, Subway and Dreyer’s.
The Windows on the River buffet opens at 7 a.m. each day and has a pretty good Sunday Champagne brunch, with mimosa and bloody Mary bars. The Sunday brunch seems to be the best brunch they offer during the week because of the selections and the price. Their nightly buffets run from 4 p.m. until 10 p.m. They have a seafood buffet on Friday night which is pretty good and includes wine or 2 beers. They also have a prime rib and crab legs Saturday night buffet. There are discounts if you have a players card!
The Café Aquarius, their not-quite 24 hour restaurant, and Duet, a coffee and wine café, are both open daily at 6 a.m. Café Aquarius closes at Midnight during the week and 2 a.m. on weekends. Duet closes at 11 p.m. during the week and Midnight on weekends. They both offer a discount with a players card!
Keep in mind that any of the restaurants can be closed earlier if they have slow business during the week. The weekend hours above should be good as shown.
They have a nice relaxing area called The Cove, which is non-smoking, in the non-smoking southeast part of the casino. This is a bar/lounge that is open at noon during the week and 9 a.m. on weekends. They serve appetizers such as chicken fingers, Kobe beef sliders, Oysters Rockefeller, pizzas, a few desserts, and your favorite or specialty drinks. Also, if you have a players card you can receive a 10% discount!
The Aquarius is a “No Resort Fee” hotel with 2 towers, California and Arizona, with mini-refrigerators, coffee makers, free Wi-Fi, and full length windows in every room. The California is the adult tower. When checking in, keep in mind that if you stay in this tower on the south side of the building you will hear the activity in the parking garage at night, including motorcycles, screeching tires and car alarms. The Arizona is the north tower, which is for families.
The hotel’s amenities include a recently added pool area located where the outside concert area formerly was, between the river and the parking garage. They have 9 cabanas, 2 hot tubs and 100 lounges and daybeds and are open from 7 a.m. until midnight. There is a small outdoor bar, The Rivers Edge, which has burgers, hot dogs, pizza, wraps, and fresh fruit, along with drinks, alcoholic and non-alcoholic, throughout the day. The hotel also has a nice fitness center and 3 tennis courts on their 3rd floor.
I have to admit that I am not a fan of their parking areas. The outside parking to the front of the garage is tight and spread far from the hotel entrance, so it’s a bit of a trek to the reservation desk. If you park there you are better off taking the walkway between the garage and the hotel (the southside entrance coming from the garage) instead of walking to the main entrance. The garage is tight for maneuvering, although they have 5 floors of ample spots to park. They do have free valet parking, so that might be a better option … at least for your first day if checking in to the hotel with luggage.
Also, save some wear and tear on your vehicle and the extra walk from the hotel to the garage and looking for parking by just walking to a few of the other hotels. Again, by using the riverwalk you are close to the Riverside, and if you continue south of the Aquarius you will reach the Edgewater and Colorado Belle. So park for a couple of days and walk along the river. Keep in mind the outdoor temperature before you walk and always have water or an iced drink with you to keep hydrated.
But if you decide to take a drive or want to walk as far as the Colorado Belle then hang a right and walk across to The Tropicana! The Tropicana is directly across the street from the Colorado Belle and its very long parking lot. (We’ll explore The Tropicana in next month’s edition.)
Note: Since we just left the Riverside, I wanted to give some words of warning on playing the video poker machines at casino bars. At this time, Aquarius has not updated their machines located at the bars with the “we are watching you for free drinks” feature. This has popped up at all Caesar’s properties in Laughlin (Harrah’s), Las Vegas, Reno and Lake Tahoe. The Riverside also has started this program. These hotels have rolled out an automated comp drink monitoring system which shows 3 lights on a panel attached to each machine at their bars to see if your play deserves a comped drink. You will no longer get a comped drink by playing a quarter every time the bartender walks by you!
This system requires you to put in and play at a certain dollar amount level in order to receive “free” comped drinks, including for just soda or a bottle of water. The normal amount you have to insert in the machine upon sitting down is $20, which activates the blue light. This tells the bartender you have inserted money. At this point, you will have to start playing the maximum coin amount of $1.25 for several hands to activate the green light. This will get you a comped drink. You must continue playing to keep that green light lit to get a second drink, etc.
If you stop playing or play too slowly to talk with someone or check your phone or watch TV, the green light will turn to red meaning you have to start playing their minimum amount again for several hands to turn it green again. Believe me — the bartenders are watching all the machines, and some are relieved they do not have to make the decision on giving away drinks anymore. You will also notice fewer people sitting at the bars because most people are used to the old way of doing things.
With all this being said, you can see what color light is on by putting your hand, or a piece of paper or cell phone, towards the back of the machine. And, the bartenders will also tell you if you played enough for a comped drink; just ask them! If you are just playing for entertainment you will be fine. If you are trying for comped drinks you are better off just paying for your drink.
(Coming in June – The Tropicana continued)
— Pauline Cimoch
Harrah’s Highlights Tex-Mex Music
Little Joe & La Familia, one of the most popular Tex-Mex bands, will headline the Fiesta Showroom at Harrah’s Friday-Saturday, May 11-12 at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $27.
Mexican singer José María De León Hernández, better known as Little Joe, grew up in Texas and came from a musical family. He joined his cousin’s band at age 13 and became known for performing many genres of music, including Noretno, Tejano and Chicano. Recording albums since the 1960s, Little Joe has racked up five Grammy Awards.
Tropicana Holds Saturday BBQ Dinners at Victory Plaza
Folks can dine, picnic or take-out style at the Tropicana’s Down Home BBQs in Victory Plaza, a recently renovated outdoor patio event gathering area with a brand-new Trellis Bar adjacent to the casino floor. Upcoming dinners with a selection of BBQ entrees, sandwiches, sides and a slice of pie for dessert are May 5, 12 and 19 beginning at 4 p.m.
Pitbull Will Visit Laughlin
Grammy-winning global superstar and business entrepreneur Pitbull will bring his act to the outdoor Laughlin Event Center on Saturday, May 19 at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $60.
Miami native born Armando Christian Perez, aka Pitbull, who was raised by an inspiring family of Cuban-American expatriates, lives by the motto “turn a negative into a positive.” Defying odds, Pitbull emerged victorious and a testament to the American Dream. His relentless work ethic helped transform him into a Grammy-winning global superstar and business entrepreneur.
Riverwalk holds Weekend Theme Events
Following the Baja Days Riverwalk Festival May 4-6 honoring Cinco de Mayo, will be the Hot Miami Nights Festival Friday-Sunday, May 18-20 with free live entertainment on the Loading Dock Stage and Cuban cuisine for sale such as jerk chicken with rice and beans, fish street tacos, and guava pastries.
The Memorial Weekend Riverwalk BBQ will be held Friday-Sunday, May 25-27 with a barbecue menu, beverages from Riverwalk vendors and free live American country entertainment featuring groups Sweet Home Alabama and Aces & Eights.
— Jackie Brett