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HARRAH'S

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Center Strip

3475 Las Vegas Blvd. S.

Las Vegas, NV 89109

800-392-9002

website

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2,700 Rooms

$65 and up double

$125-$175 per night

$30 per night plus tax

$18 per day valet; $10 per day self

74

AT A GLANCE

Highs

Terrific location; light and bright carnival theme.

Lows

Sometimes it's too expensive for what you get.

Location: 9

Steps from the famed 4 Corners on The Strip.

Price: 6

Not as much of a bargain as it used to be.

Value: 7

You get a lot for you money if prices are moderate.

Rooms: 6

Nice, extra large, comfy furnishings.

Casino: 8

A little cramped in spots but overall very good.

Amenities: 9

Rooms come with just about everything you may need.

Facilities: 9

Tons of shows, great restaurants, shopping, and more.

Service: 8

Usually very friendly and efficient.

Fun: 6

More "dependable" than fun.

Bonus: 6

Nothing wrong with "dependable."

Total: 74

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FULL REVIEW

Over the years, Harrah's has gone from being an "also ran" to a "contender" and now somewhere in between. To be sure, the place as it is these days is a tremendous improvement over what it used to be but it has a hard time competing against its grander and gaudier neighbors. It's somewhere in the middle, but maybe there's something to be said for striking a happy medium.

Harrah's has a fun carnival in Rio feeling that manages to be both upscale and whimsical at the same time. For every bit of marble you have a touch of humor that seems to say,"Relax, it's just Vegas! We aren't taking this too seriously and neither should you."

The casino is a large meandering affair that feels more crowded than it actually is, probably because of the low ceilings. They offer up all of the usual slot, video poker, and gaming action plus their trademark "party pits" that throw in some pretty women for you to look at when the cards aren't holding your attention.

The rooms in the two main towers are spacious and comfortable, each with an extra triangle of space at the end for a sitting area. The furnishings are simple and modern and there is not a single trace of the "party" theme that you see downstairs - a blessing when you think about it but it does make the rooms a little bland.

Bedding and carpets are fine, but it's nothing you can't find in your nicer chain hotel. Amenities include mini-bars, high-speed Internet, irons and boards, and some rooms have coffee makers and flat screen TVs. It's all very well-maintained, clean, and comfortable.

Newer rooms in the South Tower offer an updated design scheme heavy on the Mardi Gras purple with bigger TVs, nicer furnishings, a makeup table, and completely redone bathrooms. Not that there's anything wrong with the older rooms really, but these are much nicer. Whether they are worth the $30-$40 per night premium you'll pay to get into one is up to you. Eventually all of the rooms will get redone with this design, a project that is expected to take most of 2016 to complete.

As you expect in a place this big there are several restaurants, several bars, a giant pool, a simple but satisfying healthclub/spa, some shops, and a few shows. Check the related reviews for more information.

Improving the level of service has been high on the to-do list for all Caesars Entertainment properties and it shows here. Everyone I dealt with was friendly, attentive, and eager to help. That makes a big difference.

Prices are often all over the map and sometimes too high for the product they offer here, including the $30 per night resort fee that is tacked on to your bill for things like Internet service. Parking also costs you - $18 per day for valet and $10 per day to self-park. But when rates are reasonable, this is one of those safe-bet hotels that will offer you a dependable, comfortable, middle of the road experience every time. Like I said, there's something to be said for striking a happy medium.

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