While in Laughlin, we stayed at the Aquarius and the Avi. In Las Vegas, we stayed at Sam's Town.
One reason we make this trip each year is that we receive offers from the casinos where we've played in the past. For this trip, all of our lodging was complimentary except for the hotels on our way out (Holbrook) and back (Santa Rosa) and for our 3 night stay at the Avi. And our room at the Avi was minimal. All told, we paid less than $300 out of pocket for all of our lodging. We were also able to use points for many of our meals. As a result, these trips do not cost a lot. With gas prices low, our total fuel cost was about $180. So, our out of pocket cost for a 2 week trip was less than $600.
In the past, Sam's Town in Las Vegas has been one of our favorite casinos. However, I did not enjoy our stay there as much this time. First, they have reduced the number of good video poker games they have. Their inventory of Full Pay Deuces Wild has been cut by 60% or so. Second, I've never cared for their buffet. I find the food there poorly prepared and admittance is very slow. And this time, I found the clientele throughout the casino a bit different. In the past, Sam's Town attracted mainly senior citizens. It's always had a country/western theme. But this trip I saw a different crowd frequenting the place, and I wasn't always comfortable.
On our last trip to Laughlin, we scouted out the Avi. We liked the promotions they offered, and they had some games we felt we could play successfully. We did not play long enough on the previous trip to warrant any offers, but decided to stay there and pay the low room rate. We think we played enough this trip to earn us some future room and play offers. However, to be honest, I didn't really enjoy our 3 days there. The dining options leave a bit to be desired. There are a few fast food places and the required buffet and other casino owned eateries. But there was no place to get a decent cup of coffee. Also, I found the casino to be quite smokey. Everywhere we went, people seemed to be smokers, and heavy smokers at that. Seems the smokers at the Avi don't know how to use ash trays, either, as machine after machine was covered with a layer of ashes. You'd have to do some housekeeping before you could even sit down to play. Pretty disgusting stuff. But the Avi has a beautiful pool area, and it has a nice beach on a cove of the Colorado River. A negative for the Avi is that it is about 15 miles from the other casinos in Laughlin. However, just to the east across the river is Fort Mohave with a collection of dining, reasonably priced gas, and groceries. The Avi also has a pretty good RV park which might attract us when we are in the area with our travel trailer.
So, we were happy to get to the Aquarius. Ah, the Aquarius has always been our favorite place in Laughlin. First of all, they have the absolute best video poker on the river, hands down -- at least for low rollers like us. They also have good eating. For fast food, there is Subway, Panda Express, and McDonalds. We like McDonalds because their coffee is reliable and they post calories on their menu for food items. We love their little yogurt-based parfait. There is also a Duet's, which serves up a good cup of coffee much like Starbucks. Our last night there we enjoyed the seafood buffet. I'm not a big seafood eater, but Donna can eat her weight in crab legs, and I think she did so this time. There is also an Outback and a nice garden cafe where we can use our points. The Aquarius also has non-smoking sections. Our favorite place to play is at the Cove bar, which is completely non-smoking. We can sit at the bar, play some good video poker machines, enjoy a good draft beer, and look out over the beautiful Colorado River and the mountains of Arizona. It's fun to watch the river taxis, tour boats, jet skis, and other water craft moving up and down the clear waters of the river while playing some very good video poker.
The rooms at all the hotels are similar. We prefer to stay and play in Laughlin, though. It is a small town without the hustle and bustle of the much larger Las Vegas. I don't know if I will play again in Vegas. I probably will, but I'm just as happy to avoid it.