Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Mediocre And In An Odd Location, The Hacienda Casino Underwhelms.
The Good: Friendly staff, Generally good "atmosphere"
The Bad: No character, Older games, No sign-up incentives, Smoky
The Basics: A very bland and disappointing casino, the Hacienda is average at best and offers nothing to those who have been to other, better casinos.
On my annual trip to Las Vegas, Nevada, my wife and I made a lot of stops, most of which were for gambling purposes. Sometimes, we found ourselves in the middle of nowhere and we would see a casino and we would stop there. Just north of the Hoover Dam (reviewed here!), my wife and I found two such casinos. One of them was the Hacienda Casino and my partner and I were initially surprised to see the casino as it is essentially in the desert wasteland north of the Hoover Dam but south Las Vegas. There is literally nothing else in the area that the Hacienda Casino is in.
The thing is, the Hacienda Casino seems to be trading on the fact that it is the only game in town and once one gets beyond the novelty that there is nothing else in the vicinity, one has to acknowledge that there is not truly anything else going for this casino. While my wife and I were stymied by the random turtle sculpture in the lobby, there was no real character to this casino other than that.
Hacienda Casino: came in with $10.00, left with $10.00.
The Hacienda is a medium hotel and small casino located on the South Boulder Highway in Nevada. This is on Interstate 93. This is visible from the highway as it is a hotel on a mountainside with a giant sign advertising that it is a casino. Given that there is nothing else in the area - this is between the Hoover Dam and Las Vegas, which is essentially a wasteland for about twenty miles - and that the Hacienda Casino is one of only two hotels and casinos within that wasteland, it is very easy to find.
The Hacienda Casino is a large structure and it looks like what it claims to be, a mansion. After the majesty of the Hoover Dam, there is something tacky about the Hacienda Casino being found so close to it. But it is, as they say, the only game in town.
The Hacienda Casino is a medium-sized casino on the outskirts of Nevada. All of the ceilings are high, all of the carpets are clean and the place feels like one massive hotel lobby. The casino is lit, spaced and dressed up like a hotel lobby, making for a very neutral overall feel to the casino. There are perhaps a thousand video slot machines squeezed into the casino. The casino is essentially one large lobby filled with video slot machines.
The high ceilings should help dissipate the cigarette and cigar smoke that is prevalent in the casino, but for some reason the place still has a rather pungent tobacco scent. For those sensitive to such things, this remains a severe drawback to the Hacienda.
As for the "atmosphere" of the Hacienda, the staff was very professionally dressed. The men wore suits and the women wore pantsuits and tuxedo shirts. The people we spoke with were exceptionally friendly. There was nothing distinctive, though, about either the outfits or the decor of the casino.
Gaming Options/Player's Club
I have a very simple gambling philosophy: I sit down at a slot machine with $5.00. I work it up to $10 or down to zero. I know my limits: I can afford to lose $5.00. So, when I am above that, I'll usually work it up or whittle it down to the next even $5.00. Have a strategy, know your limits: the Hacienda Casino worked quite well for me. My partner and I each sat down with our five dollars and within half an hour, I had lost my five and she had doubled hers to ten.
I'm primarily a slot machine player and I have no shame in admitting, I tend to like the ones that are more video game-like. The Hacienda Casino had no new video slot machines or any that were distinctive to the casino. In fact, virtually every game we saw at the casino was one we had at our local casino. So, for example, there were a few terminals each of Ducks In A Row, Monopoly, Ring Quest, The Big Money Cheese Caper, Ghost Island, Benny Big Game, Monster Mansion, Wheel Of Fortune, Fort Knox, Mystical Mermaid, and Creature From The Black Lagoon. This is a pretty standard and bland selection of games.
For those who might be into games of chance and card games instead of the fun video slot machines, I did not see any table games. If the Hacienda Casino has any they are kept secluded from the main gaming floor and neither my partner nor I had any real interest in hunting for them.
There is a player's club at the Hacienda, which is the Club Matador. Signing up is easy and there was no line when I went to sign up. Signing up does not get the player anything and there was just a small gift shop to redeem points in. Points at the Hacienda are accrued on a countdown and after half an hour, my partner and I had less than ten points between us. This entitled us to nothing at the gift shop.
The Hacienda Casino has weekly musical entertainment. None of the acts were recognizable to me. As well, there is a movie theater within the casino and it had current movies playing.
We arrived at the Hacienda around eleven a.m. during a long night and day of travel. My wife and I did not sample the cuisine from either the buffet, the cafe or the fine dining establishment. In fact, we did not see anyone coming out of any of the places to eat, so we could not even gauge how others were enjoying it.
The Hacienda has a gift shop, which reinforces the idea that this casino is essentially a large hotel. The gift shop had swag for Nevada and the Hacienda, like t-shirts, postcards and sweatshirts, as well as a few snacks. There was nothing distinctive about the shopping at this casino.
The Hacienda Casino is a small, mediocre casino and if it weren't the only game in town, there would be no reason to stop there. Come to think of it, given how close it is to Las Vegas anyway, one might as well press on and stop for the good stuff instead.
For other destination reviews, please check out my reviews of:
Lincoln Center For The Performing Arts
For other travel reviews, please be sure to visit my index page on the subject!
© 2011, 2009 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.