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I am a Denver-based writer, travel lover, and author of The Drive North and Destination Paranormal. I have several other books in the works, including fiction.

A Night at the Rio in Las Vegas

On any trip I’ve taken to Las Vegas, I have always stayed on the Strip. Not once have I spent the night downtown or anywhere else off the Strip. But, as I passed through on my way back to Colorado from my road trip through California, I knew I had the prefect opportunity to finally stay somewhere else, particularly since I was only going to be there for a night. So, without hesitation, I booked a night at the Rio in Las Vegas.
It had been years since I stepped foot in Rio’s hotel and casino. The once-amazing buffet had disappointed me too many times on consecutive stops, so I decided to skip the place altogether for restaurants I knew, without a doubt, were sure to impress. But, on this visit, I wanted to spend it solely exploring the various options the Rio offered.

I checked in asking for a room with a view, but was instead given one generally with parking lots; only a sliver of the mountains showed to the west. Disappointment instantly set in, since I was hoping to see the bright lights of the Strip and be able to take a great panoramic photo of all of the hotels. This feeling of disappointment stayed with me throughout my stay with the exception of my time spent at different hotel restaurants.

I didn’t eat anywhere lavish, nor did I make a return trip to the buffet, instead I visited a sports bar and the food court. They both offered several excellent options that left me all-around impressed; I was once again sold on returning to the Rio for at least lunch or dinner. The rest of it was less than satisfactory.
I wandered through the casino several times, cutting my own pattern in the floor’s carpet, that ended up attracting the attention of more than one bored sercurity guard. Looking at them over my shoulder, it dawned on my that they probably thought I was hunting for a hooker; so, hoping I’d be fresh meat, they followed me throughout the casino. I laughed at this later when I saw an older man exchanging phone numbers with a woman who was obviously a working girl – neither of them would get busted.
The tables weren’t kind to me, and The Show in the Sky was horrendous, so I left to return to my room, since I wanted an early start the next day as I continued my drive back to Denver. Unfortunately, though, upon returning to my room I could not find a light switch. Night had fallen and the room was similarly dark, but no where near the door was there a light switch that I could find. Finally, after pawing my way through the bathroom, I found one to partially light my way so I could flip on lamp after lamp throughout the room.
This perpetuated my disappointment with the hotel as a whole. Nevermind my losing in the casino or sitting through a horrible show, I was simply annoyed with the general design of the room. It wasn’t uncomfortable, just stale and poorly laid out. And with no view to speak of, despite my request, I felt it best to flip off the lights and close my eyes. At least then I could dream of a return to that would crown me the World Series of Poker champion.

In truth, though, I would stay somewhere else while playing in the event. The Rio just isn’t worth its reputation or what I paid for it. I could have easily stayed somewhere else for less and had a much better experience.
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