Tag Archives: off-Strip

The Gold Coast. A Pleasant Surprise

A few weeks ago I spent a night at the Gold Coast. It had been a while since I had been to the Gold Coast and I was expecting the casino to be smoky and run down. I had never stayed there, but knowing that it was an inexpensive, low-roller type place I wasn’t expecting much from the room either.

I was happily surprised on both counts.

First, the casino is using some kind of air freshener in their ventilation system so that the casino doesn’t smell like smoke and actually has a semi-tropical scent (similar to what Strip properties like Mandalay Bay and the Mirage do).  It makes a big difference. I had just come from the Imperial Palace (which is rather smoky) and the Gold Coast was quite literally a breath of fresh air. The casino has the usual array of table games starting with $5 minimum bets, good video poker pay tables for most versions and denominations, a lot of reel and video slot machines and a 720 seat bingo hall. It does not have a poker room.

The rooms are small and utilitarian, but work very well for a no frills night’s sleep. They are 360 square feet, which is on the small side for a basic Las Vegas room. It has a very standard bed, dresser, table and 2 chairs layout. There is no closet, but there is a place in the bathroom area to hang your clothes. That and the sink are open to the room. This is a lot like some of the Best Western rooms I have been in across the country. They get a few extra points from me for having separate shampoo and conditioner instead of a conditioning shampoo more typical of lower level hotels. They also include a single cup coffee maker.

The Gold Coast is off-Strip, but still fairly close. It is on Flamingo Road with the Rio on one side and the Palms on another. It is a local’s casino, which means you can usually find low room rates, dining deals (they have coupon in the American Casino Guide that gets you a free buffet with very little play), low limit gambling with better slot payback percentages and better table game rules (where applicable).

They offer a free shuttle to the Strip (center Strip drop off at Bill’s Gambling Hall) as well as their sister property, the Orleans. The Palms and Rio also have shuttles to the Strip and might actually be a bit more convenient.

The ATMs at the Gold Coast charge a fee of $3.50 instead of the usual $4.99 on the Strip. As usual, these ATMs are not affiliated with a particular bank, so you may also have to pay whatever your bank charges for using for using an ATM.
The Gold Coast does charge a resort fee of $3 which covers local phone calls, in-room coffee, fitness center access and shuttle service. I took the shuttle twice and they never asked for a room card.

While is it not as fancy as most places on the Strip, I’d definitely consider staying at the Gold Coast again when I want a low key, relaxed trip.

Rio Room Sale: Better Than Conference Prices

The Rio currently has a very good room sale going on. The rates do fluctuate, but right now they are better than the negotiated rates for a number of upcoming conferences. You get a room for an average nightly rate of $60 for one upcoming conference.
The Rio does not charge resort fees either, so the rate you see (plus 12% tax) is what you actually pay.

The offer code for the Rio is IRFNF. You can click on the following link to get to the page with the code already active.

(Dec. 10, 2012 update: The offer code is still good and is showing savings of over 50% off the regular rate for some dates)

(Nov. 7, 2013 update: The offer code is still good and is showing rates of $29 for many dates in November, December and January)

Rio Dining: By The Meal

(updated  September 1, 2016)

When you are on the Strip, if you want to get a bite to eat but you don’t like what is offered at your hotel or the places at your hotel are closed, you can easily walk to something else. When you are off-Strip, you don’t usually have that option. The Rio does a good job of making sure that you don’t go hungry.

Here is a list of dining options at the Rio organized by meal. Knowing what is open when can be very handy since the Rio doesn’t have the typical 24 hour coffee shop setup that some of us have come to depend upon.

Breakfast Lunch Dinner Late Night


Hash House A Go Go    (in the walkway to the convention area)

open 6:00am – 1:00pm for  breakfast Mon-Fri

open 6:00am – 3:00pm for  brunch Sat-Sun

Carnival World Buffet (by the Poker Room and Sports Book)

open 8:00am – 11:00am  for  breakfast Mon-Fri

open 8:00am – 10:00am  for  breakfast  on weekends

open 10:00am – 3:00pm for brunch on the weekend

Starbucks (by Ipanema Tower elevators & another in the walkway to the convention area)

Ipanema location open 5:00am – 11:00pm Sun – Thurs ;      open 24 hours Fri – Sat.

Convention location open 6:30am-1pm daily

Rio Java (in the Masquerade Village by the Masquerade Tower elevators)

SmashBurger   (in the Masquerade Village upper level – close to the parking garage)

open 8am-4pm  – they serve breakfast sandwiches in the morning


Carnival World Buffet

open 11:00am – 3:00pm for lunch 

All American Bar & Grille (near the front desk)

open 11:00am – 12:00am

KJ Dim Sum (across from the Carnival World buffet)

open 10:00am – 2:00am


open 8am-4pm

Sports Deli (by the Sports Book, near the front desk)

open 11:00am – 11:00pm Sun – Thurs; open 11:00am – 1:00am Fri – Sat.

Starbucks and Rio Java are options, too if you just need a snack


VooDoo Steak and Rooftop Nightclub   aka VooDoo Lounge (on the top 2 floors of the Masquerade Tower – elevator located on the upper level of the Masquerade Village)

open 5:00pm – 11:00pm

Nightclub is open 9:00pm – 3:00 am

Guy Fieri’s El Burro Borracho

open 5:00pm – 10:00pm

KJ Dim Sum

open 10:00am – 2:00am

All American Bar & Grille

open 11:00am – 12:00am

Sports Deli

open 11:00am – 11:00pm Sun – Thurs;

open 11:00am – 1:00am Fri – Sat.

Carnival World Buffet

open 3:00pm – 10:00 pm for dinner

Village Seafood Buffet (CLOSED – An expanded seafood section has been added to the Carnival World Buffet for an extra $15)

Late Night Eats

KJ Dim Sum open until 2am.

All-American Bar and Grille open until midnight 

Starbucks by the Ipanema Tower elevators open 24 hours on Friday & Saturday.


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.