Our play on the Vegas Strip has steadily decreased over the years. Changing from out-of-town tourists to residents decreased our need for rooms so we shifted the emphasis away from good plays that included heavy comps. Now we could spread our nets all over town, looking for good plays where often the main advantage was frequent bounce-back amounts and comps were only a side benefit. Then some of the Strip casinos we used to frequent started downgrading video poker schedules and/or decreasing their players club benefits and we had to cross them off our playlists.
Another change that impacted us was that some Strip properties quit mailing offers to locals. I never understood that policy. Our out-of-town friends would tell us about offers they received that included hundreds of dollars of free play, even thousands for big players. No offers for us no matter how much we played. Local Harrah’s properties lost us several years ago because of this. However, recently some top honcho at Caesars Entertainment (CZR), a company that is in deep financial trouble, must have had an epiphany – that the gambling money that Las Vegas residents have is just as good as the money of visitors. I could have advised them of that several years ago – but they didn’t consult me.
But I don’t hold grudges against casinos. I quit them all the time when playing conditions go downhill. Love ‘em and leave ‘em. But if one starts treating me nice – well, I’m not proud – I’m back in their arms, loving them and their generous free play offers. And that is why we have been back playing at Caesars Palace the last few months! So here are some food notes from recent visits.
- We were impressed with the new Bacchanal Buffet. Whether you think it is over-priced depends on your personal economic situation and financial personality. We had coupons so that fit my always frugal pecuniary outlook. However, being organized might help anyone save money. The buffet does not close between meals, open from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. You need to check the hours and prices online as they might be altered, but when we were there, the change between lunch and dinner prices occurred at 3 p.m. We went about 2:30 p.m. for what we call brunch. At 3:10 I saw groups of people coming to the cash register. Why couldn’t they have organized themselves to get there fifteen minutes earlier and each person would save $13 for the same meal! The difference in price between breakfast and lunch is about $7. Hummm… if I had to pay cash that would be a more difficult decision for me – we don’t “do mornings.” I might have to splurge on that issue!
In any case, show your Total Rewards card for an across-the-board $1 discount. And remember this is a very popular choice and the lines can be extremely long. We are 7* so we could use the much shorter special VIP line. Without that I would try to avoid weekends and choose off times during the day. Lunch lines would tend to be shorter than dinner ones which can be brutal.
One quirky thing about this buffet. They gave us a little “rubbery thing” before we entered. Looked like a McDonald’s Fun Meal toy although we couldn’t figure out how to play with it. Turns out it is a device to put on your thumb and another finger so you can hold hot plates without burning yourself.
- We are not heavy eaters so the Diamond Lounge is a good choice for us when we want just something light. They serve hot items between 4 and 6 p.m. We also found another option that is not marked, a lounge in the back of the High Limit table game area. It had some hot food after 6 p.m. They were serving potato leek soup the night we were there, one of our favorites. Since this lounge is not marked, I’m not sure whether you need to be 7 Star to use it – there was no one at the podium at the entrance to ask about requirements. But perhaps if you were Diamond that would work if someone was checking. Remember that magic phrase: “Just ask,” said in a pleasant non-demanding tone.
- Actually our favorite place to eat at Caesars is the PAYARD PATISSERIE & BISTRO. This is located across from the buffet but most people think it is just a bakery and chocolate shop with small tables in front of it where you can enjoy the luscious treats they sell. However if you keep going beyond the bakery section, you will see a small sit-down restaurant that serves breakfast and lunch every day and dinner on selected evenings. I had their specialty, quiche. I am not an avid foodie but I am a quiche expert since I look for this favorite food choice wherever I go. And this one was the best I ever had! I chose the ham and Swiss cheese variety – they have a vegetarian one too – and it was heavenly light and tasty. With the small salad and baked tomato on the side, it was a big meal I couldn’t even finish. Brad also enjoyed an excellent French toast. Prices are very reasonable for such high quality food.
You can use your food coupons at Payard, which isn’t the case at all Caesars’s food options. Always be sure to read the back of all food coupons, where there is usually a list of excluded restaurants, including Central at Caesars Palace. But even if one isn’t named on the coupon, I always ask in advance since many food outlets are leased, not owned by CZR, and do not take Caesar coupons. I’m not sure about CZR gift cards as I haven’t tried to use them in leased food or retail outlets. Sometimes “Just ask” means “Just ask before” to avoid unpleasant or inconvenient surprises.
- And now a word for Caesar’s butler service: Maybe you could forget our room when you pass out the Welcome presents. Turn-down maids. You can skip the treats too. Death by chocolate – we don’t want to check out of this wonderful life any sooner than we have to.