The appeal of Harrah's Laughlin is unclear to me personally – especially with Las Vegas less than 100 miles and 90+ minutes away by car.
There's nothing particularly wrong with Harrah's or Laughlin, but it's definitely a Vegas stepchild. The grounds are beautiful, and the setting on the Colorado River is lovely (with its own beach!), the employees are all friendly and accommodating, but unless you're driving from Arizona and really can't stomach 100 more miles (or an hour and a half) on the road, I'd tough it out and continue to Las Vegas.
Lots of people don't agree with me, though, and Laughlin has many die-hard fans who appreciate this low-key alternative to the glitz, glamor and non-stop activity of Las Vegas.
There is a special Seven Stars/Diamond check-in (where you can pick up a complimentary copy of USA Today while supplies last). Check-is open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Self-parking in an adjacent garage is complimentary, but it's a bit of a walk if you have lots of luggage. Take advantage of the complimentary valet parking. (Seven Stars cardholders get preferential treatment with expedited retrieval of their vehicles.) In addition, there are
12 specially designated reserved parking spaces, left, for Seven Stars cardholders at the entrance nearest the buffet. However, you'll need to get a parking hang-tag from a host, or risk having your vehicle towed.
The salon and day spa seems an after-thought, but there is a small fitness center located across a courtyard from the spa. Admittance for Seven Stars cardholders is complimentary.
Rooms are pretty standard, and are furnished in self-described "south of the border" style. The North Tower is designated the "Family Tower" and the South Tower has been dubbed the "Adult Tower." Enough said. The Central Tower offers a combination of standard rooms and suites. High-speed Internet access is dependable. There are no refrigerators or coffeemakers (except in the suites), but they may be sent to your room on request.
Harrah's features all the typical slots and table games one would expect. Complimentary drink service in the casino is relatively frequent; and dealers, slot attendants and servers all are extremely friendly and helpful.
There is a poker room and sports book, as well as a separate non-smoking casino
Harrah's has a small showroom, as well as a 3,000-seat Rio Vista outdoor amphitheater. Entertainment leans toward country stars, but occasionally hosts more mainstream singers such as Paul Anka.
Dining choices are limited to The Range Steakhouse (where there is a $25 per person minimum cover and a $6 split plate charge, and no substitutions!), a Fresh Market Square Buffet, 24-hour Beach Café and Guy Fieri's El Burro Borracho ("The Drunken Donkey"), right. There also are a Smashburger, Dreyer's Ice Cream and Cinnabon, but only Smashburger and Starbucks in the lobby accept Quick Rewards.
Special Seven Stars Benefits*
There are special Seven Stars entrances for the buffet, café, cashier and Total Rewards Center.
Other special benefits include access to the spa and fitness center.
The buffet offers a special seating area for Seven Stars cardholders, but it's shared with Diamond cardholders. This section provides cloth napkins for its guests, and unlimited complimentary "champagne" – domestic sparkling wine, to be more accurate – at breakfast, lunch and dinner. The buffet opens 30 minutes early at dinner for Seven Stars, Diamond and Platinum cardholders.
In addition, Seven Stars cardholders can go to any bar and get a cocktail, wine, beer or other beverage at no charge, and no play is required at bars which feature slots or video poker.
At the desk in the rear of VIP check-in, you can get your boarding passes printed.
Seven Stars Lounge
There is no Seven Stars Lounge, but the small Diamond Lounge offers priority entrance to Seven Stars cardholders. Unlike most lounges, the admission rules are posted by the entrance.
The lounge has recently gone through a “light remodel” that includes a special seating area for Seven Stars cardholders and their guests. In addition, the lounge offers a selection from the following Seven Stars menu*:
Tempura Shrimp (accompanied by ouzo cocktail sauce and limoncello aäoli)
Crab Stuffed Mushrooms (served with diablo sauce)
Italian Panini (fresh mozzarella, basil, sundried tomato layered between slices of focaccia)
Hot Wings (tossed with hot sauce, accompanied by ranch dressing)
Calamari (lightly breaded and fried, served with diablo sauce)
Shrimp Cocktail (accompanied by ouzo cocktail sauce)
Cheese and Cracker Platter (cheddar, Swiss, havarti and gouda, served with gourmet crackers, accompanied by mandarin oranges)
Ice Cream and Berries (vanilla bean ice cream topped with fresh raspberries and blueberries)
*One menu item per person each promotional day for Seven Stars cardholder and up to three guests. Available from 5 to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and 4 to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
In addition, there is a computer which you can use to check your email or browse the Internet. The Lounge also has an outdoor terrace with tables and chairs. There is no smoking inside the lounge, but smoking is allowed outdoors.
On my most recent visit, the "regular" buffet included soup, ham salad and tuna salad, assorted rolls and crackers, tortilla chips and salsa, crudites and dip, and assorted mini-desserts. The Lounge has no servers, so you'll have to walk up to the bar to order your beverages. There also is a separate self-service coffee station.
Hours – always subject to change – are 4 to 9 p.m., Sunday through Thursday, and noon to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Should You Choose This For Your Annual Retreat?
Unless you really want an understated alternative to Las Vegas, Laughlin is probably not going to be your first choice. There are connecting flights, but most visitors either drive from Las Vegas or some city or town in Arizona. Unless you eat every meal in the casino, it would be difficult to use your entire $500 credit.
When you check-in, be sure to verify that your $500 comp account has been set-up. Alcohol charged to the room counts toward your $500 in expenses, but not gratuities. Best advice is to keep all your receipts until you settle your final bill.
*subject to change, revision or cancellation