Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
A modest, 711-room hotel with a bowling alley and bingo hall, the Gold Coast attracts a crowd looking for gambling and mellow good times, not hard partying.
Inside, Gold Coast guests will find a mellow scene, but not a dead one. The 86,000-square-foot casino feels cozy, and, unlike the similarly sized mazelike casino floor at Harrah's, it's easily navigated. A cocktail waitress offered me a drink when I was merely talking to someone at a slot machine, not gambling myself -- a rare thing in Vegas. The 48 gaming tables draw a steady crowd, especially for a hotel this small. With free parking and a lively 70-lane bowling alley with league programs, the crowd skews local and more mature than the twentysomethings on bachelor(ette) binges on the Strip.
Outside, the hotel's pool isn't huge, but it's nicely landscaped with large palms and small flowers and more pleasant than you'd expect at such a low-priced hotel. Unlike at many Strip hotels, you'll find no scene or pretension here -- just a few kids splashing in the pool, a few adults soaking in the spa.
Located a mile off the Strip (a five-minute, $8 cab ride), the hotel doesn't feel too far from it all. The Strip skyline is clearly visible. The Rio is right next door, and the party-hard Palms is across the street. It's not isolated in the way that far-off-the-Strip hotels like the South Point are. Just a half-mile from Las Vegas's Chinatown, the hotel has not one but two genuine Asian restaurants. In a town where much of the cuisine is a cheap American facsimile of ethnic food or a fancy fusion version of it, the affordable, authentic dim sum at Ping Pang Pong is a little dumpling cart of fresh air.
The Gold Coast isn't fancy, and guest rooms are quite simple, but it's not without its charms. For those on a budget looking for clean, quiet accommodations just off-the-Strip, this is a solid pick.
Service is minimal but helpful and easy to reach
The hotel lacks some of the features like regular poolside drink service that you typically find at Vegas hotels, but service is also easier to get.
As at the South Point, another midpriced hotel-casino off the Strip, the Gold Coast has no bellhops to help with bags. However, unlike the South Point, the hotel doesn't keep guests waiting at check-in. I had my room key within a few minutes of entering the building.
Once in my room, I could pick up the phone, call the front desk, and find a real person on the line. This is a rarity at large, moderately priced Vegas hotels, where getting through to the front desk typically requires a tedious series of switchboards and holding.
My request for extra towels to my room was fulfilled in just 12 and a half minutes. But the biggest surprise of all was when I ordered hot water with lemon and honey from room service early one morning. I expected to be charged for a pot of tea, but when the server brought it my room she didn't have a check. "Oh, there's no charge," she said, "it's just hot water." It wasn't just hot water. It was accompanied by a heaping bowl of lemons and honey packets, per my request. All that delivered to my door at no cost.
Room service is 24 hours, and it'sfriendly, accessible service make it feel cozy-- for Vegas at least.
One mile west of the Strip, the Gold Coast is a five-minute, $8 cab ride from the center of the action.
The architectural wonders of the Strip are visible from the hotel's quiet -- but not entirely isolated -- location on Flamingo Road. The Rio is next door, and the lively club scene of the Palms is across the street. But crossing the street is no easy feat. Flamingo Road is a busy, four-lane highway that can be safely crossed only at a stoplight. Luckily, there's a light and crosswalk in front of the Gold Coast's entrance.
Between 9:30 a.m. and midnight, the hotel operates a free shuttle to the Strip, the densely packed three-and-a-half-mile-long stretch of hotel-casinos that's a mile to the east. The shuttle runs every 15 to 20 minutes and drops guests off at Bill's Gambling Hall, across from Caesars Palace. Another free shuttle runs every 15 to 20 minutes to sister Boyd Gaming property, The Orleans, another off-the-Strip casino.
Most Las Vegas visitors want to explore all of the big properties along the Strip. Cabs are easy to find at virtually any time of day or night. A generally less expensive option is the Deuce, a double-decker bus that runs up and down the strip 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and costs $3. There's also a monorail system, which stops at MGM Grand, Bally's/Paris, Flamingo/Caesars Palace, Harrah's/Imperial Palace, the Las Vegas Convention Center, the Hilton, and the Sahara. A single-ride ticket is $5; a one-day pass is $13. If you're traveling along the Strip with at least one other person, a cab is often the least expensive option.
The airport is a 15-minute, $35 cab ride (the hotel does not provide airport transportation).
Besides the addition of 32-inch Philips flat-screen televisions, the modest standard rooms haven't been renovated since the hotel opened in the 1980s. Decor is dated -- cottage-cheese ceilings, yellow faux-marble wallpaper, and pine-veneer furniture. At 360 square feet, the standard room is average size for a low-priced Vegas hotel. For another $20 to $30, guests can update to Premium rooms, which are the same size but were thoroughly renovated in July 2006.
One big problem with the room is that the cramped bathroom isn't fully separated from the rest of the room. While the toilet and shower/tub are behind a door, the sink is out in the open, creating little privacy. Premium rooms have a larger bathroom and more modern décor. But another $20 to $30 goes pretty far in Vegas. Guests willing to spend that extra cash can get more bang for their buck at the Tuscany Suites Casino.
Mattresses are adequate, but they're topped with scratchy sheets and cheap pillows. The king-size bed in my room had one foam pillow and two low-quality poly-fill pillows that felt like foam. With larger, brighter rooms and more comfortable beds, the comparably priced South Pointe bests the Gold Coast in the room department, but it's further from the Strip.
Televisions have basic cable channels, and dozens of regular and adult films are available for purchase, but there is no family movie section. Still, when I visited kid-friendly titles like Madagascar and High School Musical were on the pay-per-view menu.
Wi-Fi is $9.99 a day. The TV also offers an internet access code for $12.99 a day, but I didn't get a prompt to enter that code when I found the network on my laptop.
The free-form pool isn't huge, but it's clean and pleasant, with palm trees and views of red-tiled roofs lending it an almost Mediterranean feel. It's certainly more pleasant than the under-landscaped pool at Harrah's.
The small gym next to the pool isn't spectacular, but it's nice enough and it's free -- a rarity in a town where most hotels charge at least $20 for a daily gym pass. The gym has eight cardio machines, a multipurpose strength training machine, and some small free weights. Life Fitness cardio machines don't have mini TVs, but they're modern and clean and look out onto the pool. The gym is open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
The small, 24-hour business center costs $5 for 20 minutes of Internet access, but the front desk was quick to offer to print a boarding pass for free.
The easy-to-navigate, 86,000-square-foot casino has 48 tables, more than 2,100 slot machines, and a 720-seat bingo room.
Tables feature craps, blackjack, pai gow poker, Super Fun 21, roulette and mini and midi baccarat. The poker room is nonsmoking, like many in Vegas. Club Coast, the casino's rewards program, works across all Boyd Gaming properties. Club Coast members also get discounts at the Ports of Call Buffet.
The Gold Coast isn't geared toward children, but families could do worse. Its T.G.I.Friday's has a kids' menu, and the Ports of Call Buffet offers discounts for children. The small, mellow pool isn't particularly aimed at children -- no wading areas, no waterfalls. But at least it's quiet enough at times to let kids have it all to themselves for a game of Marco Polo. The bowling alley, which has a small arcade, can provide some family fun.
Adjoining rooms are not available. Rollaways can fit in standard rooms and cost $15 a night. Cribs are free. One-bedroom and two-bedroom suites lack pullout sofas, but two-bedroom suites do have two bathrooms. For more family friendly accommodations at a similar price and a location that's just off the Strip, try the Tuscany Suites Casino.
Rooms are old, and while they don't feel fresh, they're clean.
Aside from getting new appliances, most rooms haven't been renovated since the hotel opened in the mid-1980s. The heavy decor -- yellow faux-marble wallpaper and gold-and-navy carpet -- doesn't feel fresh and new, but rooms are pretty clean. Furniture has the occasional scratch, and the tiles on the bathroom floor appear slightly worn. However, while the prefabricated shower/tub combo doesn't exactly look classy, it's totally seamless -- no crevices to be filled with mold or mildew, no caulking to get old and peel away.
The pool and common areas were also quite clean on my visit. The gym was so clean as to smell a bit like chlorine, but better that than sweaty gym socks.
Within its modest, Mediterranean-style building, the Gold Coast has a tasty little surprise: a noted Chinese restaurant. Ping Pang Pong serves what some diners consider the best dim sum in Vegas. The dumpling carts are rolled out every day from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. The little treats I tried, like plump pork bao, were delicious and authentic. The hotel is just half a mile from Chinatown, and both its restaurants and gambling tables are popular with locals. The restaurant is also very reasonable. Two people can fill up on dumplings and tea for less than $20, with tip. Travelers inexperienced in the ways of dim sum should take note that not all servers speak English and some dumplings may contain animal parts they're not used to eating. After dim sum hours, Ping Pang Pong serves dinner from 5 p.m. to 3 a.m.
A second Asian restaurant, Noodle Exchange, also serves fairly authentic Asian food, especially compared to the bizarre facsimiles of ethnic food served in many casinos. The lunch specials are $6.99, and dinner entrées range from $6.95 won ton noodles to a $15.95 shrimp with lobster sauce bento box. I tried the Asian grilled beef salad for $10.95 and found it pretty tasty, especially when accompanied by a glass of fresh iced green tea.
The hotel also features more typical Vegas fare, like a steak and seafood place Cortez Room, which has reasonable for Vegas prices (an 8-ounce filet mignon for $23), the Ports O' Call Buffet, a Seattle's Best Coffee Shop, and a Kate's Korner ice cream shop. The T.G.I. Friday's, open 24 hours, serves the chain's extensive and affordable menu, including $3.99 breakfast specials.
Hotel room service is 24 hours. I ordered hot water with lemon and honey one morning and was utterly shocked when the woman brought it and didn't charge me. "It's free," she said, "it's just hot water." Free room service, especially at a low-end hotel -- a pleasant surprise.
A modest property just off the Strip, the Gold Coast caters to locals with free parking and a 70-lane bowling alley. Rooms are bare bones, but the hotel itself offers some pleasant surprises: a small but nicely landscaped pool, authentic dim sum, and a staff that's easy to find.