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Our Nov Beau Rivage Trip Report

Last edit: wpsteel66 on Tuesday, 24th November 2009 5:37 am
Last response by vespajet 24th November 1:58pm

This report describes our weekend trip to the Beau Rivage and includes hotel, casino, and crowd conditions plus restaurants, and a review of the Jay Leno show.

In short, another great stay at this hotel, excellent casino conditions, ate at good restaurants, fabulous spa/work-out facilities, okay crowds, but a bummer of a Jay Leno show.

I posted a report of the Beau Rivage resort/hotel/casino on this website a few months ago (May 2009). So I am not going to restate all the details of the rooms, casino, pool, and spa. We had a great corner room on the 17th floor with a view that looked ‘down the Biloxi casino strip’ and looking north at the other casinos on the back bay. The Beau sits at the western side of town on the gulf coast. Most other Bixoli casinos are on the coast with a few casinos located on the back bay (about 1 mile north of the coast). If you travel east along the coast, you will see the Beau, Hard Rock casino, then the Grand (Harrahs) and the Isle (of Capri). Before Katrina, Casino Magic was between the Grand and Isle. The hurricane inflicted heavy damage to this place, so Casino Magic was sold to Harrahs and they are building Margarittaville casino/hotel (with Jimmy Buffet). However, construction has been suspended and they are awaiting for better economic conditions and trying to find a partner to help fund this project.

The three casinos located on the back bay are IP, Boomtown, and The Palace. We were able to see all of these casinos from our room. Plus we could still see down the west side of the gulf coast. Biloxi has another casino, Treasure Bay, but this is about 5 miles west of the Beau.

Again the room was spacious, clean, and comfortable. The casino was still well-manicured with professional and polite dealers. The property was decorated for the fall season that was elegant and in good taste. They no longer had the ‘upcoming events’ banners hanging from the ceiling in the atrium, which was in my opinion tacky for a resort like this (would be similar to the Wynn or Bellagio hanging a banner saying “Coming Soon: The Village People, December 16. Order your tickets Now”).

We arrived late Thursday night (almost midnight, Nov 19). Both of us had to work on Thursday, but driving to the Beau after work is not an issue. The trip is almost 310 miles but 304 miles is interstate; so we can be at the Beau about 4 hrs 15 mins after leaving the house. I did not have to wait to be checked-in and the process was quick. Up to the room we went and she immediately went to bed. I went to the casino and played for about 2 hours. About 95% of my casino play is craps. They had 3 of the 8 tables open at $10 with 10x odds. I ended the evening being up pretty good. Not a lot of people in the casino, but it was late.

Normally Friday morning we go to the pool at 8am, but since the weather was not conducive for the pool, I went to the Grand casino (Harrahs) to play for abit in the morning and she went to the hot tub. We first we went to the Beau coffee shop for breakfast. This is one of the best coffee shops I have ever been to; great tasting coffee and a lot of food options (pastries, bagels, sweets, breakfast sandwiches) to select. After breakfast, I went to the Grand casino. This casino is located less than 2 miles from the Beau. I walked in and only one craps table open and no one playing. They reduced the number of craps tables to two (from three) and the odds to 10x. The table minimum was $5, typical for early Friday mornings. During my one hour of play, maybe three other people joined the game, but no more than three of us playing at one time. The dealers were nice and professional and appreciated the tips I was giving them. Overall, I rate this casino as “okay”. The casino is still located in the hotel since Hurricane Katrina destroyed their casino barge. As I mentioned, they started to rebuild the casino on the waterfront, but due to economic conditions, temporarily halted construction. I did not do that great at the tables. But that happens at times. The crowd playing other table games and slots was kinda small, but I was there early Friday morning.

After leaving the Grand, I went to a historical site about 5 miles west of the Beau right on the coast. The place is called Beauvior, the last home of Jefferson Davis. This historical mansion was pretty much destroyed by Katrina. But amazingly they rebuild the home to the same appearance as before Katrina. If you are an antebellum home enthusiast, this is a must do. I was amazed by the antiques and fine art work on the walls and everything else in this home. They displayed pictures of before-and-after Katrina and just amazing what it took to restore the home. Yes, many other buildings on this property were destroyed along with some home furnishings, but just seeing the restoration results to the original is incredible. A tour guide is in the house to provide information and answer questions. Afterwards, you are welcomed to walk the grounds to see the other attractions. I spent three hours on this property “sight seeing”, reading the description plaques, plus watching a history video of this property. I consider the entrance fee ($7.50 but discounted from $9) to be well worth it.

After the sight seeing, I returned to the Beau and went to the casino. The casino crowd did pick up some, but still not overly crowded. I was at the craps table for almost 4 hours. I was shocked to see one craps table at $5, something I never seen after Katrina. However, the table was raised to $10 not much later. Overall, I did okay but the most enjoyable part was watching a guy right next to me. He gets a marker for $5000 and within 5 mins he gets another $5000 since the first $5k was smoked. He cashed out about 35 minutes later up almost $20,000. He was playing the hardways at between $400-$500 for the 4 and 10 plus $500-$1000 for the 6 and 8. Needless to say, some people were able to hit the hard 6 and 8 a few times. He was having a great time and tipping the roller a black chip for each hardway they hit. Right after he give his chips to the boxman to color up, the six is set as the point. He throws out $500 in cash on the hard 6. Three rolls later, she hits the hard 6. Everyone is cheering. But on the flip side to this story, the next day some guy walks up to the table, throws 4 yellow chips out ($1000 each) and says all the hard ways. The next roll, 7-out. He looks up and says, “Well that is just how it goes at times” and walks away.

Friday night we went to another casino for dinner, Treasure Bay about 5 miles west of the Beau. We had reservations for the CQ restaurant, located at the top floor of the hotel. Similar to the Grand, the casino is in the hotel since their casino barge was destroyed by Katrina. Appears the owners remodeled the suits on the top hotel floor into a restaurant. The view was really nice, of the gulf coast; the wall was all glass and we sat at a table next to the glass wall. Service was very prompt and the menu has many different offerings. Not very many people were dinning for a Friday night, but just could have been early (we arrived at 7pm) and left at 9pm. We both ordered one of the nightly specials; she ordered the grilled halibut with rice and I ordered the sirloin steak with ‘special potatoes’. We also ordered crab cakes and spinach salad. Dinners are served with two different freshly baked breads. Everything was properly prepared, cooked to ordered, and nicely presented. We enjoyed the meals. Total price for the meal, appetizers, salads, soft drinks, and tax was $98, kinda on the lower price side compared to other casino steak houses (and a lot less expensive than the steak house at the Beau). After dinner, we walked thru the casino. Really cramped conditions with low ceilings and a lot of smoke. Nothing special or fancy about this casino. Only one of the two craps tables was open (12 footers with $5 minimums and 10x odds). We went back to the Beau and ate gelato; again, excellent quality. We went back to the room since she was tired. I hung out in the room until about 12:30am, and then went to the casino. The crowd was not too bad and got onto a good craps table. We had some good rolls and ended the evening up pretty good.

Saturday morning after our coffee, I went to the casino and she went to the spa/workout center. I played for about 4 hours and results were up and down. In the afternoon, she had an appointment with her favorite massage specialist; another great session. I stopped playing for around 2pm since the craps tables were getting really crowded. They only had 4 tables open, but one at $25, which was the crapless table. So the $10 tables were packed and not ideal for me. I do not like hands over or on the table when the dice are being thrown, people not knowing their bets and arguing over the $1 hard 4 bet, and people squeezing between others to place $1 yo bets.

After church we went to the Coast restaurant at the Beau. This place has many tvs, plus one massive big screen so we can watch college football games. The LSU/Ole-Miss game was on and a zillion LSU fans in this place. Once the game was over, the place literally emptied out. Each time we have been to the Beau this year (third time in 2009), this restaurant was not busy with people eating on a Saturday night. Usually we have to wait for about 20-30 minutes to get a table. Now, you just walk in and immediately seated. In fact, many empty tables. But again we had a very good meal and service. After dinner we sat in the lounge area of this restaurant and continued to watch college football. They have a very good set-up at the restaurant entrance area and “open” to the casino with couches and nice seats to watch tv and even eat an appetizer and have a few drinks.

We had tickets for the 10pm Jay Leno show. The primary reason we went to the Beau this weekend was to see this show. We attended two of his shows in the past (2006 in Tunica and 2008 at the Beau). Both were extremely funny and entertaining. One thing that is really good is Jay uses no profanity in his shows. He at times has some adult content, but all in good clean taste. The second time we say his show, he was on stage for just over 1 hr, 15 mins. Of this, only the last 15-20 minutes was a repeat of the first show that we saw in 2006. The weekend, he again had a 1hr-15 min show, but only 15 minutes was new material. We were really bummed that we heard a lot of the jokes before. Then the last 15-20 minutes was the same for the prior two shows. So overall, we still enjoyed the show, but were disappointed he did not have much new material compared to his show last July.

After the Jay Leno show, she was tired. We went to the room and I hung out for abit then hit the casino for a few hours. The casino was really crowded from 7pm and continued after the Jay show. In fact, before and after we went to the show, all 8 craps tables open and packed with people. I did have to wait for a few minutes to get my favorite spot on the craps table, but by 1am, things really calmed down and they closed 4 of the craps table. I did okay for this session and we all were having a good time. Again the dealers were friendly, knowledgeable, and efficient.

Sunday morning I went to see the casino host to see what my play would get me. He did an acceptable job of comping me some things, but not everything. Room nights are usually always taken care of before we get there. I have noticed over the past 12 months that the comps are getting less, but still present. I have talked to a number of people each trip and all are saying the same thing about lower comps. Normally I would play for a bit on Sunday, but we wanted to get an early start home. We went to the front desk by 10am and immediately checked out.

So in the end, another great time at the Beau. Even though she does not gamble, so many amenities for her to do (great workout center/spa, restaurants, gelato, shows, relaxing places to sit and read, etc) that she looks forward to these trips. However, the restaurant Olives is still closed (almost 1 year now) and no new restaurant has taken this place. Overall, not a lot of people walking around in the atrium or shops during the times we were in these areas, but did pick up some in the evenings. But you can tell that less people were in the hotel/casino compared to many of our past trips before 2009. I do not know the next time we will be going to the Beau since we will be going back to Vegas before Christmas and then I will be going back for NASCAR weekend. Hopefully we will make a trip back to the Beau during February. If so, I will post a trip report.

I did not visit any other casino besides the Grand this trip. I do not care for the craps tables at the other casinos other than IP. Also, the only casino in walking distance from the Beau is the Hard Rock. But the Hard Rock craps tables are like trampolines (really bouncy) plus their slots are really tight (in my opinion). Although, the Hard Rock is a cool place to visit for some sight seeing and different scene than the Beau.

Chuckmonster, sorry I had my digital camera and iphone with me but did not take any pictures. Sorry about that. I was just not thinking of doing this and posting to the website. You requested this of any trips to Biloxi or other places. I will next trip to Biloxi and any other non-Vegas casino trip.

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 RockChickX51 responded on Tuesday, 24th November 2009

We did a last minute Biloxi trip over Thanksgiving last year and stayed at the Isle of Capri. There's a review of it posted on FeltJungle. Biloxi does look kind of bad still ever since that hurricane hit (hell, New Orleans still looks like crap in a lot of places).
Have they finished dredging the beach? When we were there it rained a lot on Saturday and when the high tide came in, the water from the ocean was almost up to the street. I'm talking waves were crashing about 4-5 feet from the road. Once the tide went out they started dredging the sand but it didn't look like it was doing much.

Beau is a nice hotel. It's like a mini-Bellagio inside and out.

 vespajet replied on Tuesday, 24th November 2009

If you haven't read it yet, you ought to pick up "Winner Takes All" by Christina Binkley. There's a chapter all about the Beau Rivage and the mistakes that were made along the way. Mirage Resorts' intentions were to do for the Gulfport/Biloxi casinos what the Mirage did for the casinos in Las Vegas. Barry Shier pretty much had carte blanche from Mirage Resorts in building the Beau Rivage and the final cost of $680 million was quadruple the original budget. The problem was that Steve Wynn was so tied up with Bellagio that by the time it opened and he could focus on Beau Rivage, it was past the point of no return. They subsidized AirTran's flights into Gulfport (Something that continued with MGM Mirage and some of the other resorts until last year.) and even paid for them a gate in Nashville (Mainly because the airline had previously served Nashville and owed the city $$$ and as a result, could not get a lease on a gate unless they paid their outstanding bill.). Things were so screwed up with the Beau Rivage, they brought in a fixer to get things sorted out. Some say that the Beau Rivage weakened Mirage Resorts enough to make a takeover inevitable.

Even though the casinos in Mississippi are so close to me, I've yet to hit any of the casinos there. I've been tempted to hit the Pearl River Resort in Choctaw though. The only casino in the South I've even ventured into was the Harrah's in NOLA over nine years ago. It was fun playing nickel slots.