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What’s wrong with Caesar’s Palace?

Registration lobby at Caesar's Palace Las Vegas

Registration lobby at Caesar's Palace Las Vegas

This past week, my wife and I spent four nights in a deluxe room at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. I was attending TheServerSide Java Symposium, and she went along for three days of pampering and relaxing.

Caesar’s is a fine place, a grand old warhorse of the Vegas strip. It’s probably known good times on its own, but is now part of the Harrah’s conglomerate of gaming properties.

While the building seems tired, it’s clear that it has seen much refreshing and remodeling over the years.The gaming and shopping areas are opulent and clean, with very attractive eye-candy sight lines throughout the property. In the rooms, the marble bathrooms are luxurious, and the suite appointments are in good condition.

(It amazes me that they fill the suites with flat widescreen TVs, but can’t manage to feed them with any high-definition content. The delivered video quality is really bad. The same is true for the giant standard-def projectors in the sports book.)

So why do I feel uncomfortable at Caesar’s Palace?

Everywhere you go throughout the property, there are subtle signs that “we don’t want you here.  You’re not good enough.”

Start with the key-locked gilded private elevator in my elevator bank in the Augustus tower. In the casino, everywhere you look are private exclusive gaming areas where you aren’t welcome. There are the empty lines for “Platinum” casino guests only, closed doors marked “7-star Registration,” a gold rope around the sports book seating for “VIP reserved” customers only. My wife drove back to the hotel on Friday to find the valet parking limited to “Platinum and 7-star guests” only.

Sure every big Las Vegas casino has its exclusive services for the whales, and private luxury gaming areas and apartments. Certainly you want to encourage people to play more, and perhaps tease them with the promise of forbidden pleasures.

But nowhere else on the strip have I been to a place where the number of closed doors seemed so plentiful or so obvious. Not at Harrah’s other properties, including the Rio, and Harrah’s Las Vegas. (Harrah’s casino is really a festival of the everyman.) The subtle hidden message is that Caesar’s is mostly for the whales. We might let you walk through our halls and play at our slots, but we really don’t want you here.

Okay Caesar’s, I get the message!

P.S. This should not reflect at all on the fine employees at Caesar’s who made our stay very pleasant. Nor on the top-notch convention facilities and services provided for TheServerSide. Indeed Jane and I left a few personal items behind in our room, and I’m certainly grateful for the time taken by their staff to bundle up the package and forward them. I think the subtext I write about above is built into the very bones of the place. It’s just how it is. — Mojo

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