My wife and I visited the Plaza Casino in downtown Las Vegas tonight for their soft launch before the official reopening on September 1st. Today was the first day the hotel has been open in nearly nine months. During this time the casino, sportsbook, restaurants and bars also went through periods of closure. At one point the entire property was closed to the public.
My wife and I were offered a free hotel room for the reopening. We took them up on their offer. When we got there I tried to park in the normal area behind the casino but it was full of construction vehicles. Although the old valet signs were up there was no valet. We went across the street and used the valet at the Rush Tower of the Golden Nugget and walked back to the Plaza. We then found out that the front entrance at Fremont Street and Main Street had valet even though there were no signs.
When we checked in the front desk was unorganized. That was expected for their first day. The front desk has an odd corner configuration making it hard to make an organized line, especially without any type of ropes or instruction. Hopefully the Plaza will make some improvements there when the dust settles. The front desk employees were very polite and tried their best among the first day chaos.
We got a room on the 9th floor in the South Tower. Apparently the entire North Tower, the one seen from Fremont Street, is not finished so there were no rooms open in that tower. The South Tower seemed to only have hotel rooms finished on the 6th-10th floor of the 24 story tower. To get to the South Tower you have to walk through the casino. All of the table games were open although it was not especially busy. About half of the slot and video poker machines were online. Virtually all of the machines in the back half of the casino were offline. The sportsbooks and back bar were still closed. The poker room will not be coming back. The only restaurant open is the small coffee shop across from the front desk. The food court and all of the new restaurants have yet to open.
There were some noticeable changes on the casino floor. All of the tables were brand new or at least refurbished. Most of the slot and video poker machines were new. Some appeared to be the next generation server based games but when I asked the machines I was told the machines are not yet server based. The carpet, walls, decoration and cashier cage were all upgraded. The air was also clean and virtually smoke free although smoking was allowed.
We got on the elevators after walking through the casino floor and noticed a very clean and well done elevator lobby. The same can be said about the elevator lobbies on the other floors. The room was very nice compared to the old hotel. Furnishings from the failed Fontainebleau project on the Las Vegas Strip made the room very appealing.
From the 9th floor we could see the sports complex on the 5th floor above the casino. This complex includes basketball and tennis courts as well as a pool. None of those items had been renovated. The pool was empty, the tennis court deteriorated and the basketball court neglected. I would assume these items will be upgraded later. Currently they are an eyesore. When we tried to check out the 5th floor there was too much construction debris to see much. We also tried to check out the 3rd floor where the theater is but were stopped by security as there was active construction.
The best video poker games on the casino floor seemed to be 9/5 Jacks or Better. Double Double Bonus was 9/5/4, Bonus Poker was a only 7/5. Carelessly, the Plaza also left payback percents on many of the slot machines that were not yet online towards the back of the casino. Typically the paybacks were 90% although I found one that was as low as 88%.
I hope that the Plaza succeeds. Times are tough in all of Las Vegas but especially for downtown. Taking on the Golden Nugget at a time of historically low hotel room rates will be an uphill battle. From what I saw I think that they are on the right track. Here are some of the Las Vegas Plaza pictures that I took during my visit.