More Resort than Casino
I recently had the opportunity to visit the Rocky Gap Casino and Resort and while we tend to stick to Las Vegas and Atlantic City casinos for our Reviews on this website, it seems appropriate (as casinos are spreading throughout the country) to include Reviews of casinos outside of these two cities when possible.
I was booked for a one night stay at the Rocky Gap Casino and Resort and would certainly recommend the property for people who consider themselves, ‘Resortists,’ but not necessarily for people who consider themselves gamblers.
As one approaches the Rocky Gap, they are treated to stunning views of an immaculate golf course as well as a lake with some Yolo Boards, Canoes, Paddle Boats and Kayaks all of which are available for the rental and enjoyment of guests of the property. Combine this with the golf and fishing and there is no question that this Resort offers a wide range of activities (Volleyball is another one) to be enjoyed by visitors. Furthermore, the grounds appeared to be immaculate all around.
I had a standard King Room at this property with a, ‘Resort View,’ that was enjoyable and overlooked the lake. Surprisingly, the room was a bit smaller than one would expect for such a new property, but was equipped with a Microwave-Refrigerator, LCD HDTV that I would put at 32-40 inches (somewhere in there) and a King-Size bed with a pillow-top mattress. The bathroom was a fairly standard size and the shower pressure and temperature were both more than adequate with a shower head that featured several settings.
For those who wish to remain indoors, or who suffer a rainy day, this property also includes a Salon/Spa with several choices for guests to enjoy. This area features the expected Massages, Facials, Salon Services, Waxing and Manicures/Pedicures. Unfortunately, I did not have the opportunity (or, frankly, the inclination) to avail myself of any of these services, so I cannot make much of a report on them other than to say that they exist.
With respect to other indoor activities, there is a Pool and Whirlpool which features a brilliant skylight and is positively huge and immaculate. In fact, in the event that I return to the property, that is actually where I could envision myself spending most of my time. The property boasts five eateries, but one of them is essentially entirely a bar while another is a sandwich stop. There is also a buffet, as one would expect at a casino, that a few people that I talked to had positive things to say about even though I did not personally have the opportunity to eat there.
The casino floor is nothing short of underwhelming, but again, this property is clearly meant to be primarily a Resort as opposed to a Casino, so much so that I would be inclined to call it Rocky Gap Resort and Casino rather than its current name which is the other way around. There is a Table Games area that, while fenced off, strangely spills into the hotel check-in and bar area a little bit as though it were not originally meant to be there and there did not end up being enough space for it. I don’t know whether or not that’s the case, but it is the impression that one gets. The casino floor is majority non-smoking, although, there is a small smoking room that has a limited number of machines, perhaps fifteen, and none of which are Video Poker.
For those of you expecting a full complement of Video Poker choices, unfortunately, I would have to encourage you to go expect somewhere else. While there is some Spin Poker and Super Times Pay available along with Ultimate X machines, there really is not too much in the way of the newer novelty-type Video Poker variations that can be enjoyed at larger casinos.
When it comes to not having the absolute newest games, Slots are also no exception as the casino which, on its website, boasts, ‘Over 600 slot machines,’ seems to prefer to stick to staple-type games rather than try out new slot machine titles. For example, the website even boasts about their Wheel of Fortune and Red Hot Respin games and I can understand Wheel of Fortune as it is a title that continues to be extremely popular, but Red Hot Respin? Red Hot Respin is a slot game that has probably been around over a decade, is relatively underwhelming compared to some of the more recent games that are out there, and, as far as I can tell, enjoys JUST enough play to remain on the floor of some Locals casinos...which is to say that the banks are almost always empty.
Either way, the casino floor is well-lit and features a self-serve beverage area which is pretty convenient. One downside to the casino floor that I must admit is that, at least compared to other Resort-Type casinos I have visited such as Lady Luck Nemacolin and Valley Forge Casino and Resort, is that the music on the Gaming Floor of the Rocky Gap is EXTREMELY LOUD!!! I have no idea why they would need to have such loud music in such a small casino with so few people in it at the time. There were, perhaps, less than fifty people playing with only the bar area (assuming all of those people were playing) putting it over fifty. In fact, the small smoking area enjoyed the best players/machines ratio.
Equally limited is the Tables Game selection at Rocky Gap which features Blackjack, Craps, Mississippi Stud, Roulette and Three Card Poker.
One really strange aspect of the casino, as I played a very limited number of machines, is that there were several staff members that came through and seemed to stare at me a bit without really saying anything. It almost felt like I was getting a little bit of heat there even though I was doing exactly nothing that should generate any heat. I asked another player if he noticed this and he said, ‘It always seems like that, here,’ the tone of his voice suggested that he played there with some frequency, so I have no idea why they seem to have a tendency to stare down their patrons.
Ultimately, this is a place that I would suggest for Resort-Goers who believe they might enjoy a casino, and the Resort certainly offers a few packages (when available) that may take a little of the sting off of the prices. For example, the, ‘Ultimate,’ package includes a $20 Gift Card that can be used anywhere at the Resort with exception to the casino as well as $60 in Free Play, so that’s not a bad offer. Furthermore, the property once had an off-season offer (that may come back) by which rooms were only $99, but a guest would also receive $99 in Free Play. If the guest plays that right, then the expectation is very close to essentially a Free Stay if one avails oneself only of the amenities (such as the Pool and Whirlpool) that come included with the room.
With all of that said, if you are travelling with the casino aspect of the Resort as your main priority, it is very difficult for me to recommend this property as the casino has very limited offerings. Furthermore, the Video Poker denominations available tend to be quarters or above, so this is also a place where you might want to bring a few hundred dollars if you intend to play for awhile.
For resort-goers for whom a Casino is either secondary or a non-consideration, I must admit that I do not really know what particulars a true resortist might be looking for, but this property certainly seems more than adequate.
Customer Service 7
While my customer service experiences were limited, everyone that I encountered other than the casino floor staff who seemed to be unduly staring me down were very courteous, prompt, knowledgeable and polite. For people who place a high priority on being treated well at a resort, casino, or anywhere else for that matter, I should imagine that the Rocky Gap is a pretty good destination.
For such a small casino, which is also a downside, this casino plays extremely and pointlessly loud music that is usually inconsistent with resort-type casinos. Resort-type casinos, pursuant to my other experiences with such properties, really seem to generally be more, ‘Casual,’ than most other casinos and tend to prefer to keep things relatively quiet. In fact, when I think about a Resort Casino, the Lady Luck Nemacolin comes immediately to mind as the quintessential type of atmosphere that I would expect.
In any event, given the poor game selection on both Tables and Slots combined with the unduly loud atmosphere and the impression that the place gave me of being watched for no apparent reason, I find it really difficult to recommend this property at all for the casino aspect. In fact, this is probably one of the few occasions in which, speaking of a property I might return to one day, I would probably play very, very little at the casino if at all.
Honestly, the casino area only gets a score this high because it is clean and well-lit, so the casino experience is not as negative as it could possibly be, I guess. Unfortunately, other than the fact that they have a few of the basics covered, I really do not have much positive to say about the casino itself.
I did not eat at any of the establishments offered at this resort at all, so please do not take this score as being based on personal experience. Essentially, I am scoring this based on the availability and hours of the eateries at the property as compared to the property size, and looking at things in that regard, I would suggest that the property is almost exactly adequate.
One thing that might be lacking is some sort of specialty or Ethnic-type restaurant, so I think that they could improve in that regard a bit.
The room was a little smaller than one might expect, especially at the prices that they have advertised (fortunately, I had a comp room) but with that said, the room was certainly quite clean and the bed was very comfortable. The bathroom was more than an acceptable size, and the in-room amenities were pretty strong as Microwaves, Refrigerators and free Coffee was included in all of the rooms, that’s not always the case with properties that offer their own eateries.
Once again, my experience with actual resorts is fairly limited, but they do have a fair amount of activities such as the Pool, Whirlpool and Volleyball available at no additional charge combined with some other pay activities for which the rates seems more-or-less consistent with other properties that I have had occasion to visit. Furthermore, everything is pretty much contained within a limited area which is nice because there are many resorts that essentially require driving all around a resort of several square miles to enjoy the different activities.
This property receives a 6.5 from me overall with an asterisk, essentially, because I would actually score the property better if the casino score were not bringing it down. I certainly think that this property is a good visit for anyone who primarily prefers the Resort aspects to the Casino aspects, or alternatively, does not care about the casino at all. Furthermore, for such people, the property also offers other packages that do not necessarily involve Free Play but might rather include a round of golf, some food or some combination of their other amenities.
Ultimately, I might return to the property at some point, but it would probably require me to be passing through the area and needing a place to stay, but also having an adequate-enough amount of time to avail myself of some of the features/amenities of the Resort. In other words, I certainly would not avoid the place, but it would take almost a perfect storm of circumstances for me to return. With that said, if I ever make a return trip to the property, I will probably play extremely little at the casino, and perhaps not at all unless a package that somehow involves Free Play ends up being the best offer I can get from a value standpoint.