All posts by Mark's Las Vegas

Mark has been a Las Vegas regular for one 2 decades and has helped many people get the most out of their Las Vegas experience.

Rio Overview and Rooms

(updated November 15, 2017)
The Rio has discontinued its free shuttle to Harrah’s and Bally’s.

The Rio opened in 1990 as a locals’ casino. The Masquerade tower and casino expansion (featuring the now closed Masquerade Show In the Sky) opened in 1997. It was purchased by Harrah’s Entertainment (now Caesars Entertainment) in 1999.

It is one of those places where I can spend 3 days and not have to leave the hotel. That is a good thing, since it is off-Strip. It has good dining options, a lively casino and fun nightlife options that are good for the non 20-something crowd. The pool area is nicely themed, too.

The Rio is officially called the Rio All Suites Hotel & Casino. All of the standard rooms are 600 square foot suites. For reference, a typical room on the Strip is 350-450 square feet. Each room at the Rio has a spacious sitting area, refrigerator, safe, hair dryer, iron and ironing board.  Rooms also have wired and wireless Internet access covered by the resort fee.

The Rio has two hotel towers; the Ipanema Tower and the Masquerade Tower.

The Masquerade Tower is the more recent tower. It features Strip views from most of the South facing rooms and pool views for North facing rooms. The elevators for the Masquerade Tower rooms are located just off the Masquerade casino floor. This is a long way from the front desk, valet, Carnival World Buffet and convention areas, but puts you near the  VooDoo Steak & Lounge elevators, Chippendales Theatre and most of the more active dining and nightlife spots.  Music from the VooDoo Lounge’s rooftop deck can bleed into rooms on the higher floors.  Staying in the Masquerade Tower gives you convenient access to the Masquerade self parking garage.   If you are here for a vacation, the Masquerade Tower is the one you want.

The Ipanema Tower is older, but was renovated in 2005. It is a three-wing hotel tower with 1/3 of the rooms facing West, with a view of the mountains, 1/3 facing North towards Fremont Street, and 1/3 facing East with pool and/or Strip views.

The Ipanema Tower elevators are directly across the lobby from the front desk. This puts you closer to the convention areas, valet and the Carnival World Buffet. If you are here for a convention or plan on spending most of your time somewhere other than the Rio, this is the tower you want.

The Rio website does not clearly delineate this, but a “Deluxe Suite” is typically in the Ipanema Tower and a “Premium Suite” is usually in the Masquerade Tower.  The Rio recently added a PetStay option where small dogs are permitted in specifically designated rooms for a higher price.  For more details on the PetStay rooms, visit their website.

The Rio has a number of resident shows including Penn & Teller,  Chippendales,  X-Rocks and the recently relocated  Rock of Ages.

For dining info, visit my Rio Dining post.

The Rio recently added the VooDoo Zipline.  I’m not a big fan of it since it is more like a ski-lift than a traditional zipline and it faces away from the Strip. It still qualifies as a thrill ride, though.

The Rio charges a  nightly resort fee of $29 ($32.48 after taxes) which covers internet access, fitness center access and all local calls.

The Rio also offers  a discount of  up to 15%  for Military, First Responders, Students & Teachers.

Want to be on Pawn Stars?

Here is your chance.  Email them at
You can find out more at this link:

Of course, if you just want to visit the shop or sell an item without being on TV you can do that any day.  Gold And Silver Pawn is at 713 S Las Vegas Blvd between the Strip and Downtown.   Half of the store is Pawn Stars merchandise, but if you like the show you will probably like the store.

MGM Resorts’ Mlife Players Club

The former MGM Players Club became Mlife in 2011.
It was a big departure from the former, non-tiered system, but it made it more accessible to the average visitor… kind of.

Mlife covers the MGM Resorts International properties – MGM Grand, Mirage, Mandalay Bay, Luxor, Excalibur, New York-New York,   Park MGM, Bellagio, Aria, Vdara, The Signature at MGM Grand, Delano Las Vegas  and a few casinos outside Las Vegas.  Continue reading MGM Resorts’ Mlife Players Club

Players Clubs and Comps: Total Rewards

NOTE: On January 1, 2013 Total Rewards changed the Tier Points required for the various tiers. Please read my post about the changes. You can also see an updated Total Rewards overview in my Total Rewards Overview post.

There was a time when getting comps was pretty easy, but how the casino decided what comps you would get was a bit of a mystery. The system was open to a lot of personal discretion from pit bosses and hosts. Today, most process is a bit more transparent … to a certain extent. Today, it is easier to claim your comps, too, but those comps tend to be less valuable.

There are 2 main players clubs in Las Vegas.
Total Rewards and Mlife.

Total Rewards covers the Caesars Entertainment properties – Caesars Palace, Planet Hollywood, Harrah’s, Flamingo, Bally’s, Paris, Imperial Palace (now The Quad) and Rio. Total Rewards is also used at the numerous Caesars Entertainment properties across the US.

Mlife covers the MGM Resorts International properties – MGM Grand, Mirage, Mandalay Bay, Luxor, Excalibur, New York-New York, Monte Carlo, Bellagio, Aria, Vdara, The Signature at MGM Grand, THEhotel at Mandalay Bay and a few casinos outside Las Vegas.

Wynn and the Venetian each have their own club and most of the ‘locals’ casinos that you might have heard of are part of Boyd’s BConnected or Station’s Boarding Pass players clubs.

The basic process for tracking your play is the same with all players clubs.
For table games like blackjack and craps, present your card to the dealer when you buy in.
For slot and video poker machines, put your card in the card reader before you start playing.

Today, I am just going to cover the Total Rewards system. Continue reading Players Clubs and Comps: Total Rewards