California Hotel & Casino : The VT Review 2009
In Search Of The Spirit of Aloha
I've had an interest in staying at Sam Boyd's California Hotel and Casino since they unveiled brand new room redesigns in the middle of 2008. My posted opinion was "I'm impressed enough to put The Cal on the short list for a future visit." For $72.38, the future was booked to reality.
A second component of my interest in the Cal was to take a short dip in 'The Spirit of Aloha' by proxy. Huh? Spirit of Aloha? At a casino in Las Vegas called The California? Yes. I'll explain.
In case you haven't noticed, approximately 32.4% of the people in and around Downtown Las Vegas at any given moment are Hawaiians. One of the main reasons why is the man whose name is written in neon all over the joint - Sam Boyd. For five years, before World War II, Sam Boyd lived in Hawaii and spent a lot of time hanging out with second generation Japanese living in Hawaii. In 1941, Boyd moved to Las Vegas and worked his way from dealer to owning a piece of the Sahara, The Mint and countless other casinos for the next 50 years.
Boyd Gaming opened The California in 1975 with 300 rooms. Its lousy location away from The Strip was compounded by an even lousier location - one block away from Fremont Street. Boyd decided to market the property to gamble hungry Hawaiians as a comfortable, cozy, easy going place where The Spirit of Aloha was alive and well. It worked.
Part of the success of The Cal is acompany called Vacations Hawaii - a Hawaii to Vegas travel junketeer. The Cal - along with other Boyd Gaming properties Main Street Station, Fremont, Sams Town, The Orleans and future Stardust replacement, Echelon - are the primary entry points for Hawaiians visiting Las Vegas.