Day 2 of the trip was planned literally minutes before I got in the car for the drive to Vegas. Being a Saturday during NFR, only place half decent place in town under a $100 was the Riviera. As an added bonus, it also happened to be the last of major Strip hotels that I have yet to stay. I checked in around 1PM, which was fast with no wait and I was up to my room in the Monte Carlo Tower in just a few minutes. I was on the 12th floor, looking north towards Encore and Wynn in a recently remodeled room. All new furniture included a table a two chairs by the window, 2 small dressers plus a vanity area. The bathroom has also been redone with stone through-out but is a typical old-school Vegas bathroom with a single sink and tissue dispenser embedded in the counter. There was also a safe, mini-fridge, iron/board and blow dryer in the bathroom.
Everything in the room was still in good shape with no major damage or stains and the new decor was certainly nice enough but the furniture was all on the small side. The room was slightly larger than a normal room and as a result, the somewhat sparse furnishings left an empty feeling. The under-sized 32" TV didn't help the matter combined with the underwhelming table and chairs and 2 dinky dressers. The bed was also new, firm and comfortable. The only real issue with the bathroom was the showerhead placed for a midget. I'm hardly the tallest guy in the world and it barely worked; if you are over 6 foot, you would be completely screwed!
Downstairs, a decent amount of money has been spent renovating the casino floor and they have done a nice job. I always remember the casino as being a bit depressing but the make over has definitely cleaned that up. They have a new sports book and added restaurants along with new tables and machines. The ABC Store in the lobby is nice plus with very affordable room supplies.
All in all, my stay at the Riv was pretty good. The remodeled rooms, while certainly can't compare with the Aria or Cosmo, are nice enough for an older hotel and the public areas are much improved from the past. It still has a pretty weak collection of restaurants and the pool area leaves something to be desired but the biggest downside is probably the location. Being on the north end of the Strip, the only thing in the immediate vicinity is Circus Circus with a sizeable walks to its other closest neighbors, Las Vegas Hilton and Wynn/Encore. If you want a just a decent room at a decent price and have a means of transportation, the renovations have made the Riviera a more appealing option than ever. However, if you want to be in the middle of the action, plan on seeing Vegas on foot or want to party at the pool then you will definitely want to look elsewhere.
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