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Harrah's Las Vegas
Despite the facelift, Harrah's is still an old gal in the age of glitzy teen stars.
Since 1931 when gambling was legalized in Las Vegas, countless hotels, casinos and resorts have invested billions into making their business the most recognized establishment in the city. The result has been a blazing sky cape of high-rises and mega-themes, igniting the imagination and creating a general expectation that whoever opens up shop on The Strip should be able to personify the Vegas legend of cutting-edge flamboyance and style.
Completed in 1973, Harrah's originally opened under the strikingly original name, "The Holiday Hotel" and successfully confused its customers with its "Riverboat" theme into believing that it was actually "The Showboat," a resort not situated on the Strip.
Flawlessly placed in the exact center of the Strip, the Holiday Hotel was a massive hit and enjoyed a fair few years of success. Eventually, the hotel began to show signs of age, made all the more evident as other casino giants sprung up around her. These new casino-resorts all sported international themes, monolithic monuments (such as a replica of the Eiffel Tower,) and mercilessly aimed to provide the latest comforts and entertainment that technology would allow.
Inevitably, in light of the multi-billion dollar benchmark set by Holiday's neighbors, the owners changed the name to Harrah's Las Vegas in April 1992 and authorized $200 million worth of renovations that took place in 1997.
If something can be said about Harrah's, it's that it tends to leave its visitors unimpressed, although mildly content.
Sporting six 32-foot, 22,000 pound gold-leaf court-jesters who wear size 43 shoes, Harrah's decided to opt for a carnival theme, rather than the traditional international theme that most of Strip hotels have chosen. Everything, including the rooms, is doused with festive colors and holiday cheer. Harrah's is also very conscious of city tradition and dutifully placed two massive murals behind the front desk telling the story of Las Vegas.
Spread over 87,000 square feet, the casino contains 80 gaming tables, eight different types of poker, and approximately 1200 slot machines. For those who like live-action, there's a sports and keno pit which is also operated 24/7.
What goes on
If carnival is the order of the day, then Harrah's ensures a good gaff with its strong focus on comedy. Besides the Improv Comedy Club, which lets up-and-coming comedians shine in the Las Vegas lights, Harrah's also showcases professional funnymen such as Rita Rudner, who is laughably claimed to be the funniest woman in Vegas.
On the menu, Madam...
For those who love food, Harrah's has a pancake stack of 10 different food venues, each aspiring to create its own individual smell and taste. Definitely worth a mention is "Toby Keith's I Love This Bar and Grill," which packs an excellent meat menu for the carnivorous gambler. Oddly enough, there is even a Toby Keith gaming pit in the casino.
All in all
As said above, Harrah's tends to leave visitors less impressed than the other Strip resorts do, mainly owing to its age. The ceilings are low and at times claustrophobic and the carnival theme is outdated. But despite these small drawbacks, Harrah's pulls through with genuinely high-quality customer service, decent prices, and the secret to all successful businesses; excellent location.