It will take you 90 minutes by car to the southernmost Nevada town of Laughlin. Directly on the banks of the Colorado River, this quiet town of casinos and entertainment opportunities allows the tranquil minded visitor a credible alternative to the hustle and bustle of big city Las Vegas. Just take NV State Route 95 toward Needles. Some 25 miles beyond Searchlight NV, take the turnout east toward Hoover Dam/Kingman AZ. Right before the bridge across the Colorado River, you find yourself in Laughlin. It is indeed; rather difficult to miss the well signaled turnoff.
To reach the AVI Resort from Laughlin, drive south on Casino Drive or hit the main thoroughfare a few blocks west of Laughlin, south towards Needles. This shortcut will take you directly to the AVI Resort turnoff. From there, it is another 15 leisurely minutes on a two-way black top to the big billboard „AVI Resort“. Take a left turn and momentarily you see the AVI Hotel & Resort.
The AVI Hotel and Casino is located on an Indian reservation, perhaps the reason for the warm and spontaneous welcome shown by the hotel staff to the guest. On checking-in you feel the difference with an ostentatious hotel of the Vegas kind where you are intimidated by 10 to 20 check-in positions and long queues form around 4 p.m. At the AVI, 5 check-in positions handle effortlessly the surge of arrivals no matter that this hotel is all but small. Counting 455 standard rooms and 29 suites with whirlpools, the AVI fears no comparison with most European hotels. All rooms are quietly temperature controlled with icemakers and beverage vending machines on each floor.
The 8000 square meters casino area provides some 800 state of the art slot machines and 20 gaming tables where Black Jack, Roulette, Craps, 3-Card Poker, Caribbean Stud Poker, Poker, Let-it-Ride, Pai Gow Poker etc. may be indulged in.
Also for the non-gambler, the AVI is a smart choice for a visit. Immediately adjacent to the casino, three championship 18-hole golf courses on the banks of the Colorado challenge the avid golfer.
The sunseekers have the option of enjoying the swimming pools, Jacuzzis or the private sand beach on the Colorado. A word of caution, summer temperatures sometimes reach the 50 degree Celsius mark. You may keep this in mind unless you are heat resistant, else travel to Laughlin in spring or fall.
The gaming menu is as comprehensive as the culinary delights. The various restaurants of the Casino include a first class buffet overlooking the Colorado River and the Arizona desert. For families with small kids, a Kids Quest is provided, and a theater screens recent movies for 5.50 USD until 6 am. The projection rooms are equipped with deluxe seating, first class air conditioning and the best sound anywhere. For the young and young-at-heart, the AVI features a disco where Hip-Hop and other modern rythms delight the dance aficionados.
But now to the promotions: The AVI rightly deserves its fame for allowing Comps (freebies) to moderate players, extending Cash-Back even to Penny or Nickel players. As you check-in, you receive two vouchers good for 40 USD gaming chips valid at table games. Two vouchers per guest and visit are handed out. Those that check-out and check-in again receive two new vouchers once more. For the bargain hunters, the AVI holds forth a free Video Poker Tournament each Wednesday where the lucky ones may win 1500 USD. On weekends, complimentary beach parties with free food and drink are hosted by the AVI.
Most table games require a modest minimum bet, making sure you get a lot of fun for little money and then – with luck you might strike it rich. For the high rollers, the AVI may not be the place to be. The highest limits we observed were 300 USD or 500 USD per Black Jack bet (box). Rarely did we see players wagering more than 100 USD to 150 USD per individual bet. Now that Poker has overwhelmed the U.S. – the AVI makes availabe two tables for low-limit Texas Hold‘em action.
During the week, rooms cost between 13 USD and 15 USD per night. On weekends (Friday – Sunday), the rooms run between 40 USD and 50 USD according to the season. For serious players, special Casino rates or complimentary rooms are on offer.
You are mistaken if you expect a cheap dive for 15 USD a night. Surprisingly, every room counts with the usual standard features such as air conditioning, TV, room telephone etc. Many rooms even provide dedicated Internet access or else, you can dial in through the hotel telephone line. Rooms are available with 2 Queen size or one King size bed. Smoker and non-smoker rooms may be requested. Entire hotel wings consist of non-smoker accommodation only.
And now a AVI special highlight: If you visit the AVI homepage, you will notice that there are ways to obtain hotel accommodation completely free of charge. All you do is register your e-mail address. Then play various fun-only casino games on the AVI homepage and score points, win or lose.
The AVI system is similar to the well-known Nevada players clubs except you bet without money. Once you have spent your so-called casino credit, go to the „cashier“ and click „replenish account“ for another 1000 chips to continue your game. Once you accumulate 35.000 points you will be rewarded with 3 nights’ accommodation and 6 free buffet breakfasts and this without any strings or commitments attached. The breakfast buffet serves a wide variety of fresh foods including fruit as well as an „Omelet Station“. The dinner buffet features a „Flambee Station“ where ice cream with flambeed fruit is served to your liking.
Everybody knows about the All-you-can-eat buffets found in most Nevada casinos. Perhaps one gains a few pounds but alas, the AVI minds your silhouette. A 24 hour gym fully equipped with the most modern running belts, stationary bikes and whatever your mind and body desire is there along with TV screens and radio to dispel ennui while perspiring.
ISA-CASINOS conducted this survey. The casino was flawless. Compliments to the marketing people of the AVI. The room reservation was promptly confirmed by e-mail without any hassle. The rooms were highly satisfactory and clean.
The Casino Players Club, called Advantage Club at the AVI further enhances the bargain. The Casino will pay Cash-Back to the player in according with his or her play turnover. If you play some during your stay, you receive your cash back on departure or before, regardless whether you won or lost. The AVI Cash-Back program is solely based on the players gaming turnover, no matter whether winnings or losses are incurred. On top of the cash-back, guest receive the usual complimentary restaurant vouchers and more. Details are available at the Advantage Players Club Booth.
The quality of service at the AVI left us pleasantly surprised especially the welcome and treatment afforded the visitor. An example: while picking up our vouchers for the free buffet meals, the friendly lady at the desk lost no time in registering us for the Advantage Club to qualify us for benefits and Cash-Back. When we got to the Advantage Club, our Players Card were printed out and ready. So much for Service Quality -–a compliment to the AVI team.
To return to the matter of food and drink: Even without vouchers for free and/reduced meals, the food at the various restaurants is excellent and very reasonably priced. An example: at the Feathers Café, a unique special that has no equal, where for 99 cents your breakfast includes ham and eggs to your specs with hash brown potatoes and toast and unlimited coffee refills. This bargain is hard to beat and very popular at the AVI. A generous and tasty breakfast including a 1 USD tip puts you down 3 USD. We noted that practically all guests of the Feathers Café asked for the 99 cents special. No doubt, word of this bargain has spread far and wide. The 99 cents breakfast is available 24 hours every day at the Feathers Café located in the rear part of the casino beside the buffet. The buffet opens at 7 am and serves hot food until 10 p.m. at prices we Europeans can only fantasize about. If you hold an Internet Casino Gaming voucher, all you pay is the tip, a bargain of the special kind.
Of lesser interest to the overseas guest, but to round out our report, it is worth mentioning that the AVI offers a superbly equipped RV-Park (Recreational Vehicle) park, offering full freshwater/sewage/electricity hookups to the long- term visitor (fees charged). For the thrifty visitor forgoing such amenities, the AVI provides a Dry-Park where camping vehicles may be parked free of charge. The long term visitor will pleased to find laundry rooms with washing machines and dryers. Laughlin is a well known winter haven for retired people called Snowbirds from the north including Canada, who wish to escape the rigors of ice, snow and sleet.
We received all pertinent information on the Resort and Casino from the Marketing Department of the AVI. A special thank you goes to Chuck Brandt, the manager in charge of Internet and Keno at the casino. Chuck has supported our survey providing key information and showed us the resort. He made sure that our reservations and special needs were flawlessly attended to. For the transatlantic visitor, it is sometimes not that simple to have a weekend room reservation confirmed although in all fairness, this is no problem at the AVI excepting important holiday weekends and special events. Thanks again to the team at AVI for their terrific support and customer service. We’ll be back soon.