Review of the Hotel Rio in Las Vegas

In January of 2010 we traveled to Las Vegas to a conference. We booked our stay at the Rio because that was the host hotel for the conference. The Rio is an older hotel from what I have been told and is not directly on the strip. Since we have never been to Las Vegas we didn’t really have any way to compare hotels so this is a review of our first-timers experience at the Rio Hotel in Las Vegas.

A Quick Summary of the Hotel Rio: The Hotel Rio in Las Vegas is a basic, no frills, hotel that does the job. You won’t be impressed but it’s not bad either. If you are staying at the Rio for a conference it is very convenient but beware there is a lot of walking to and from the convenience venue.

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Hallway to the conference hall.

We didn’t get any photos at the time so everything in this post is stock.

When we arrived and took the shuttle to the hotel we were stunned at how beautiful and colorful the hotel was at first site. It is quite large and has two buildings. I believe it has almost 50 floors as well and as we were to find out, a HUGE conference center.

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When you walk through the main door, which is one of those rotating doors that is large enough for 5 people to fit into one section comfortably, the first thing you see is a bar – the iBar. There is noise and laughter going on and you feel like you are in Las Vegas right away. There are slot machines to the right, behind the bar, and to the left of the bar. The registration desk is to the far left.

The registration process went off without a hitch and we never had a problem signing in.

Our room was on the 7th floor. When you step out of the elevator and go around the corner you see a cool site. Unfortunately I didn’t get a picture of it. There are 4 long hallways for the four corners of the building. The hallways seem to stretch on forever. The carpet is as colorful as the building itself.

Once in our room we were surprised at how large it was. We had a king sized bed and there was also a couch bed too. The room was large enough that 5 more people could have bunked out on the floor. You get a lounge in the corner and a desk. The TV, which wasn’t up-to-date, but an older models, is inside of a cabinet with closed doors. There is also a small refrigerator full of drinks. DON’T, I repeat don’t even pull one of those drinks out to look at it or you will be charged. We learned the hard way once. There is a mechanism under each drink that let’s the hotel know you have taken it out and basically purchased it.

There was a large dressing area attached to the bathroom that had full-length mirrors on the closet door. The lighting was great in this area. The bathroom was standard and nothing fancy.

Here are some of the things I didn’t like. There was no coffee maker in the room at all. I learned, after being in Las Vegas for 5 days, that the reason why they give you cheap hotels and airfare is to get you to Las Vegas and charge you for everything under the sun. Because there is no coffee maker you have to buy drinks all of the time.

Internet Access

The Internet is also not free. Many times hotels charge for this so I understood that concept. What I didn’t like is that the first time I opened up the browser it showed me $13.95 a day with a discount of $36.99 if you purchased it for a week. I decided to do that since we were going to be there for 5 days. When I hit the Submit button it switched to a new screen with a different Internet service shown and the cost doubled. I wasn’t happy and called the front desk who transferred me to tech help. They were no help. I went back to my browser and I refreshed the screen again and got the $36.99 price.

Internet was a big issue. Although they have a network cable there to attach to your computer they require that you use a WiFi compliant computer to access the Internet. Many times it wouldn’t work well so I had to move my laptop around the table to find the best connection. Even though I paid for the entire week the Internet would die at the end of the night and I would have to log in again.

I found out from the guy in tech help that the same Internet company can range from $2.95 a day to $13.95 a day depending on what the hotel wants to charge for it and there isn’t anything you can do about it.

Overall Review of the Room at the Rio

The bathroom needed to be updated a bit but it was clean. They do provide you with the generic shampoo and soap but nothing extra or special.

The bed was really great and comfortable although if you looked at it from across the room you could see a sag. The lamps were a bit crocked – probably from some wild parties – and overall you knew this room got a lot of use. I am sure hotels have a hard time keeping up with changes in Las Vegas.

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But, we were happy with our stay except for the added costs. If you don’t have a laptop you can bring and need to use the computers in the hallway downstairs be warned that they are expensive. I think we used a computer for 15 minutes to print out boarding passes and it cost us $5.00.

The hotel has lots of restaurants, slot machines, poker tables, a shopping mall, bars, and Starbucks so you will find many things to keep you occupied. They even have a show called the Show In The Sky which is their take on the Mardi Gras. While kids were hanging out with their families to get beaded necklaces this is definitely not a show for kids. They had a huge bed on the stage at one point that they used to do a mock up of an orgy. It was comical after you had seen it 3 times but for kids it shouldn’t be something you take them to.

Shopping at the Rio

Oh, and if you go to the Rio and want to get some cheap handbags, scarves, jewelry, and accessories you will want to check out the $10 store at the top level in the far corner. I got a great handbag for $10 that isn’t made all too bad and I am using it everyday now. The store is called Bijoux Terner and they have them in airports and other malls throughout the country. They really have a great concept with this store. You need an evening bag or a piece of jewelry but you don’t want to spend a lot on vacation so you just spend $10 and get exactly what you need for your event or vacation.

Restaurants at the Rio

American Grill

You can get food almost all times during the day until the wee hours of the night. The prices are very fair and their food is good. You will mainly get sandwiches and breakfast at this restaurant. It is casual and not fancy. The service is also good.

World Buffet

I am not sure who told us buffets were cheap in Las Vegas but this one sure isn’t. We paid $24.99 a person. Across the street at the Palms the buffet is $6.99. The food is great here and the buffet goes on for 100 feet on two sides. They have everything under the sun from Mexican, Chinese, Italian and American food and it is all cooked fresh. I saw the Chinese food being prepared while people were waiting. They have a killer dessert bar and lots of fresh fruit.

Cafe Martorano

This is one of the high-end restaurants. I went there to meet up with new affiliates I wanted to talk to. I thought the dinner would be around $35 but $85 later I was not happy. Since this was a large table with many people eating we all had the same thing. They served appetizers, a salad and then the main course which was Italian. It was really good food but nothing any more special than I could have gotten anywhere else. You are paying for the atmosphere I guess.

Our time in Las Vegas was great and we did enjoy staying at the Rio because everything we needed was in one place. If we hadn’t gone to Las Vegas for a conference we probably would have stayed somewhere on the strip because you have to take the shuttle to get there.

Oh, and the Rio has men and women who get up on platformed stage throughout the day to sing or dance. There was definitely a since that you were in “sin city” at the Rio. After visiting other hotels and casinos while we were there we found that the Rio was flashy and what you think of when you have never been to Las Vegas. If you get the chance try Caesar’s Palace for a more upscale experience.