Resorts World Las Vegas North Strip: Hotel, Poker, Restaurant Review
It was great to play poker live in Vegas again, for the first time in two years. Last time I was here for “Doyle’s Game” on PokerGO in October 2019.
The WSOP, normally June/July every summer, took a year off in 2020, and this year moved to October/November for the biggest tournament in poker.
I didn’t end up playing any WSOP events. Instead I played in one of the daily cash games that migrate to Vegas for every World Series. Our game was at the new Resorts World hotel and casino. After two week on location, this is my review.
Resorts World LV is not just a hotel casino, it’s a $4.8B complex consisting of
- Three hotels in two towers
- A night club, a mall, and many restaurants
The developer and owner is the Genting Group, of Malaysia, operating under its Resorts World brand. This is one of the largest casino operators in the world, with locations in Asia, America, and anywhere you can get a bet down.
The hotels are operated by Hilton. There are three hotel brands present
- Hilton (lowest end)
- Conrad (mid level)
- Crockford (highest end) — owned and operated by Genting
The top tier Crockford competes with five star places like Wynn LV or Bellagio. It’s hard to describe mid tier Conrad rooms. They aren’t comparable to the Wynn. Maybe Aria or Vdara, minus the kitchenette. I had a high floor Strip view Conrad room and it was rather nice — but not the Wynn, not even close. The Hilton rooms are all right — but small and decor is almost purposefully tacky. It feels like staying in a Times Square Hilton. Albeit brand new and with a decent view.
There were also some mistakes around the edges that should be ironed out.
- Sparse and often rude hotel staff
- $50 late checkout fee — inappropriate for Vegas
- High resort fee, clunky login for internet, room charge, etc
Poker & Gaming ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
We played a pretty big game, so not relegated to the poker room. Instead, the games ran in the back of the high roller gaming area.
The room was great, and the games incredibly well run.
This was not surprising:
- Genting hired experienced staff, many from Wynn
- The dealers were also poached from places like Wynn and Bellagio
- Genting gets gaming and high rollers — given their Asian gambling experience
Shout to Gary, whom most of us knew from the Wynn days, who does a great job orchestrating the poker room. He’s also someone you can talk to, and even have a back and forth with about improvements and why things are done a certain way.
For those who care about these things, we paid $100/dealer per table. And $50/dealer tip. This was a bit more than most places, but what we got in return was well worth it. A very clean, high ceiling private room. Free drinks within reason, from the high limit gaming area. (Same as if you’re playing $100 minimum blackjack.) We also got the high limit waitresses: beautiful, well dressed, prompt and very friendly. Way better than you usually get in the poker room. Great for the game, and high end customers.
I rather like this high service, no comps model for poker. Very straightforward. Bargain hunters can go elsewhere 🤷♂️
The one downside was the hotel reservations via poker rooms. Unless you play big in the casino, they can’t guarantee you a room. They can usually get one, and at a good rate — but on the weekends the hotel sold out at 104% and nothing could be done. This seems like poor planning on the hotel’s side. Perhaps something to be managed later… but inherently a problem with so many competing independent entities with separate PnL operating in one location. An integrated operation like Wynn or Bellagio back in the day, handles this much better.
Me and a buddy also played blackjack. “Best rules in Vegas” he told me, and indeed was right. We really enjoyed it, we ran good, and I was lucky enough to win $4k to boot.
The casino also offers a 66th floor “Starlight Lounge” with a bar lounge, great views, and high limit blackjack. Unfortunately the nosebleed casino wasn’t open on a Monday evening. 🤷♂️
Food / Restaurants ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
The Asian “street food” court is excellent. My favorites were the Thai beef broth at Ten Suns, and also the Aoki Brothers yakitori. The beef clay pot, and Hainan chicken are also to die for.
The breakfast place Buns Out Suns Out is excellent. Great egg sandwiches, fresh squeezed OJ, and sneaky good fried chicken sandwich.
I ate at these places every day — especially the beef broth — and a slice at Mulberry pizza. The cheese slice was thin, crispy and at least 8/10. Great late night 🍕.
Of the high end restaurants, Genting Palace was great. Impeccable service, and not bad prices for high end Chinese. $150 A5 wagyu 🥩 on special! Although the service a bit slow.
The other gem is Wally’s — an LA restaurant and wine shop. Great for ordering a $400 bottle for your poker game, at reasonable retail markup. Excellent selection.
Overall the food was great.
- Great selection from bottom to high tier (though a little light on the very best)
- Very reasonable prices.
- Solid speed and service.
You see the benefit of running a mixed-hotel operation in the food offerings. Big market, tilted toward the mid tier, for all kinds of niches. That food court is 🧨
The one downside was not much ultra high end dining. No premium steak house. For poker dinners with a sophisticated audience… we took the Crockford limo the Wynn.
Misc: pool, transport, 😷, etc ⭐️⭐️
Everything else was meh or worse, to be honest.
The pool was nothing to write home about. Getting a cab or Uber, while not difficult, was a bit of a mess. In general the place seemed short staffed, and the staff a bit inexperienced in secondary roles.
The hotel service and 😷 enforcement were pretty brutal. The one clear 👎 in the joint. Barking at the customers, making people wait forever and then being rude to them. Something you don’t see in Vegas too often, and a noticeable difference going to Wynn, Aria or Venentian, even on the weekend.
It seems that to a large extent, the place is run by accountants. Gaming is well run by employees poached from the top joints in town. There’s a high end hotel and Rolls Royce service for the biggest gamblers. Service in the high roller casino is very good.
Food is great, as you’d expect for a new casino. The first new Strip resort since 2010! Can’t believe it’s been a decade.
There’s no game at Resorts today; everyone’s at the Rio for a tournament. A couple of old school gamblers here at Aria, are telling me that Resorts world is NGMI.
The arguments are as you’d expect
- Too far north — anything further past the Wynn is dust
- New casino operator — isn’t used to Vegas, not connected
- Too much capacity
I think the second argument holds the most weight. Some top tier restaurants and retails stores — like LVMH group — won’t do Resorts, so as not to piss off Wynn, MGM and Caesars. As a result, the retail at Resorts indeed might NGMI.
I’m not sure about the Zouk club either.
The food, casino and the service is mostly good though. Genting runs casinos all around the world, and I assume has deep pockets. Most of the problems they have now can be fixed or upgraded.
The place has no real theme — no soul, other than a bit in the 66th floor lounge and the high stakes gambling room. But it’s great to have a new casino resort in Vegas again. I think it’s gonna make it! And I hope that it does.