In the beginning (1985 A.D.), all Northwest Las Vegas was without form, and void. And the spirit of Howard Hughes moved upon the face of the hills of dirt. And Howard said, "Let there be Summerlin". And there was Summerlin.
Now Hughes gathered the people from lands near and far, and said unto them, "Lo, I have created an upscale housing development for thee. It shall be called "Summerlin Village", and there will be shops and parks and libraries and schools and restaurants. Nowhere will be seen those dens of evil, the casinos. I have cast out the gamblers and forbidden them to worship their slot machine idols. Thou mayest buy with 5% down and acceptable credit." And the spirit of Howard saw that it was good.
But alas, those worshipers of Mammon were cunning. They built a casino, not in Summerlin, but right next to it. You can stand in the Suncoast parking lot and throw a rock and hit Summerlin, but you're not in Summerlin at that moment. And so, starting in the year 2000, the Suncoast was available to serve the gambling needs of the good citizens of Summerlin.
The Suncoast may be found on Rampart Blvd, just south of the "Freeway to Nowhere" (Summerlin Parkway). It is adjacent to the Rampart casino. The property features several large free parking lots, valet parking, and garage parking.
The Suncoast's clientle is almost exclusively locals, many of whom live in nearby Summerlin. It is that somewhat oxymoronic Vegas phenomenon, a "family casino", where whole families often eat together at the buffet, then the parents hand them several twenties and point them at the movie theater, arcade, or bowling alley (if they're older, and especially if they're good at guilt-based blackmail), while Mom and Dad hit the slots. The family that plays together (in the same casino, at least) stays together.
The Suncoast is a full-service casino, which means they have all the usual stuff:
Table games: the best blackjack game is double-deck, 3-2 blackjack payoff, dealer hits soft 17, hand-held, some with autoshufflers, some without. Minimum is usually $10, though the occasional $5 game appears during slow hours. I find it ironic that this is actually one of the better games in town, when ten years ago, it would have been one of the worst. There are also 6-5 single deck games, and several 3-2 six-deck shoe games, each with $5 minimums.
There are several pai gow poker tables, as well as Let it Ride, Three Card Poker, and Ultimate Texas Hold'Em. There are two roulette tables in the pit, but I've never seen more than one in operation. Most of the game mentioned above have $5 minimums, except for pai gow poker, which is usually $10.
The Suncoast has a large race and sports book, offering lines on just about every kind of sporting event, as well as betting from most major horse racing tracks. The layout is very open and comfortable. Many player betting alcoves have individual TV screens, and there is one big screen usually showing the current major event, and a couple of dozen smaller screens showing other action. I must mention the sports book 75 cent hot dog cart. It's manned (or womaned) from 10 to 5, and it serves not only a cheap 75¢ hot dog, but a very good one&mdsah;you would cheerfully pay $3 for it. You also get mustard, relish, onions, ketchup, or sauerkraut if you desire. Together with the fast, friendly, and free cocktail service, this makes the Suncoast sports book a great place to kick back, relax, and watch the game. Even if (as is usually the case with me) the wrong team wins the game, cruelly ignoring the $50 you bet on the other guys.
Bingo Upstairs is a cavernous bingo hall. They play from 9 AM to 11 PM, every odd hour. The hall holds about 500 people, but I've never seen it very full (you want to have as few opponents as possible, since the prize amounts are fixed). They offer both paper-based and electronic bingo.
The Suncoast has all the usual slot offerings, with a fairly heavy concentration of gimmicky/themed/bonus game slots. The Suncoast seems to make an effort to get the newest games and keep their inventory rotating; this might be because locals get jaded more easily. The slot club is the "BConnected" club shared by all Coast casino properties, with a base ("Ruby") cashback rate of 0.1%, or 0.166% comps. The higher tiers, Sapphire and Emerald, double and triple these rates, respectively.
The Suncoast offers discounts and deals for seniors, which means people over 50 years old. For example, their current "Young at Heart" promo offers 9x points on slots, 7x on reels, $4 movie tickets, half-price bingo, and other goodies. However, the Suncoast doesn't offer much in the way of promotions in general, and what is offered is carefully calibrated so as not to offer the player any advantage.
Video poker offerings are not very good. There are no 100% games, and only a very few games over 99%. For whatever reason, when the Suncoast decided (a few years ago) to gut its video poker offerings, it REALLY gutted them. The vast majority of video poker on the casino floor is not merely lousy; it's truly awful. Games like 7/5 Bonus, 8/5 Double Double Bonus, and 12/10/4/4 Deuces (all well below 98%) abound. Given the poor games offered and the not-terribly generous slot club, I cannot recommend the Suncoast as a video poker player's destination. (VP players should go next door to the Rampart.)
The Suncoast hotel rooms are very nice. They are quite large, and all of them have outsized picture windows with a nice view of either the surrounding mountains, or the lights of downtown Vegas/the Strip. For that reason, I would recommend staying as high up as possible, and for those who gamble heavily and are subject to fits of depression, don't worry, the windows don't open.
I have to say that the bed in my room was one of the most comfortable I've ever slept in. I have a bad back, as well as a touch of sleep apnea, and it's very, very rare for me to sleep the whole night through--but I did here. Eight hours without interruption. Given the highly variable nature of the quality of sleep you get in hotel rooms, this is a deal-maker for me right there. Below is a photo of my room and that comfy bed (zzzzzzz.........):
One thing that might encourage out-of town visitors to give the Suncoast a try is a free shuttle service between the hotel, the Strip (Tropicana), and the airport. It is run by Bell Trans, but the Suncoast picks up the tab. Call 877-677-7111 to reserve the shuttle.
The Suncoast has a fitness center, a quite nice pool (I wasn't inclined to use it during the 50 degree weather and heavy rains prevalent during my visit, but I used it last summer), and a multiplex movie theater. I rate the theater as one of the best in Vegas--the seats are comfortable, and the quality of the projection and sound is better than most.
For the month of December, rates quoted on the Suncoast website ranged from $37 on weekdays to $69 on the weekends, These prices, while quite reasonable, are more than at other Coast properties, but I think the rooms are considerably nicer. There is a $6/night resort fee added to all quoted rates, which basically covers the amenities mentioned above (fitness center, shuttles, and a morning paper at your door).
Cafe Siena: This pleasant coffee shop serves standard casino coffee shop fare, but with the added bonus of several excellent Chinese food options. When I was there, they were offering several Chinese diner specials for $7.95. Curving low walls and flower arrangements subdivide the room into several small sections, which makes things feel more intimate and secluded, two things that many casino coffee shops are anything but.
Buffet (St. Tropez International Buffet): Man, this one stank. I mean, it was AWFUL. The ingoing quality of the food was mediocre at best, and it didn't age well. The buffet was not very busy at 6 PM, which surprised me, but I soon found out why. Everything was dried out, except the stuff that was supposed to be dried out--that food was soggy. Many things that I expected to have some kind of taste, like enchiladas or minestrone soup, were bland and unappealing. I was very disappointed in what I remembered from several years ago to be an excellent buffet. I seriously considered asking for my money back--that's how bad it was. Eat in the coffee shop instead.
Senor Miguel's: Semi-authentic gringoized Mexican. Bland and uninspiring compared to actual Mexican food. Portions are ample and the prices reasonable. But you can do better elsewhere (and it's a crime to eat blah Mexican food in this town).
Salvatore's: Italian/seafood/steak. I have never eaten there. Prices are highish.
SC Prime Steakhouse: This is a very good steakhouse. Dinners (a la carte menu) will run you about $50 without wine, plus tax and tip. They also offer a 3-course meal special for $36. I enjoy the atmosphere, which is very low-key and features a large window on one wall that looks out on Vegas. I thought the service was absolutely top-notch.
Oyster Bar: Oysters (duh), crab cakes, chowder, seafood over pasta, and so forth. Prices are reasonable, usually under $20. I haven't eaten there in a couple of years, but if memory serves, it was very good. The Wizard says he highly recommends it.
There is also a ice cream parlor (Kate's), and a Seattle's Best Coffee.
The Suncoast features a 70-lane bowling alley that uses state-of-the-art scoring equipment. Many local leagues use this alley, but there are almost always lanes available. The Wizard says he has been rebuffed by the bowling leagues almost every time he showed up, hoping to play. I guess my timing is better than his.
I stayed in the same room as a friend who booked the room for the week of December 12-19. I gambled on two separate occasions.
My two encounters with the video poker monsters, uh, machines were unsatisfying. I lost about $200, twice, in separate marathon sessions of about five hours each. The machines never seemed to twig to the fact that it was MOI playing, as Miss Piggy would say. At least I was playing on Old and Decrepit Day (Tu/Th), so I earned lotsa comps. I used these to take my friend to the steakhouse.
I played double-deck $5 blackjack, but the deck was never cut very deep so I couldn't count with any effectiveness. Plus, I couldn't hit my way out of a paper bag (hard 12s attract face cards). I got pummeled twice, and left licking my wounds each time, minus $100.
Pai gow poker was kinder to me, and I recouped my blackjack losses there. The coolest moment was when I squeezed out the 3-4-5-6......of clubs....just ONE...MORE....ding ding ding! Joker, for a straight flush! My $2 bonus bet netted $100 (the Fortune bet has a high house edge, but I play it anyway). The dealer, Maia, was genuinely happy for me. In fact, she made the whole experience pleasant, which isn't exactly something every dealer does. I did find the Suncoast dealers generally very friendly and helpful.
Can't I Even Beat Fifty Little Old Ladies?
I used my half-off coupon to play the 1 PM bingo session. The joint was deserted—it was maybe a tenth full. This was a particularly good situation, as there were $2000 worth of coverall prizes, for which any card was eligible. Anyone buying the minimum number of the lowest priced cards was getting something like a 400% overlay (bingo is a loss leader for the casino just about all the time, but since the prizes are fixed, when the crowd is small, the players have a HUGE advantage).
Needless to say, the person to my right got a bingo, then the person to my left got a bingo, and though I cried to the rooftops, "Why not ME?????", my pleas and whining were ignored. Well, except for the LOL who poured hot chocolate on my head to get me to shut up. We reached the $1000 coverall (with two $500 "second chances"), and I thought my time had come as I was down to four numbers after only 42 of them had been called. Ha. Fat chance. The %$$^^%#$ bingo caller, whose primary object was obviously to torture me, never called another of my numbers, until finally some much less deserving person won. Waaaaaaaah!
This is a very nice hotel with great rooms (the beds! zzzzzz.....) at very competitive rates. The food is good as long as you stay clear of the (GAG! ACK!) buffet, and the gambling is fair to OK. Quite frankly, this is a good place to stay at and NOT gamble, with the movie theater, sports book, and good food. The only real negative is its relative isolation from the rest of Vegas, but if you have a car, freeway access is good. You could also treat the Suncoast as a "destination resort:--you could truly spend several days there and not really lack for anything.
The Wizard would like to thank Kevin L. for the review and Karina for modeling in the pictures.
Address: 9090 Alta Drive, Las Vegas, NV 89145
Web site: suncoastcasino.com
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