Beau Rivage, Biloxi
It’s my first real trip report for TravelZork! So let me get to the reality of what you’ll experience. I have a bit of a smarmy attitude. No, I don’t hate people. Well, I don’t hate ALL people. I’m cynical but not an unhappy person. I just naturally tend to look at things with a bit of slant toward bitter reality. But I hope you take my “reality” with a grain of salt…and if not, OH WELL. #suckstosuck
That said I do enjoy Vegas and gambling and road trips to casinos…and the occasional free casino air charter. So, let’s talk about my recent trip to the Beau Rivage in Biloxi, MS shall we?
It’s been a while since I’d received an air charter offer to any casino…well, other than Harrah’s Laughlin. Being as that I am not quite yet 98 years old, I don’t plan on ever returning to Laughlin (everyone has to go once…). But the Beau… What a beautiful and weird little stretch of Gulf Coast this is… a little over an hour’s drive East of New Orleans…or a little over an hour’s flight from Houston, TX and boom you’re there.
Biloxi has a lot going for it, but don’t get me wrong…if you’re not a gambler you’ll be hard pressed to do much else during your down time. There are a slew of casinos on Beach Boulevard with most concentrated in a stretch East of the I-110 bridge. The Beau, in fact, is the first casino resort you hit when you reach the end of this bridge and exit East onto Beach Blvd.
Here’s the brief version of getting there on the air charter. From Houston’s Hobby Airport (HOU) to Gulfport’s Airport, travel time is about 75 minutes gate to gate. Our company was Sun Country airlines, although the counter was haphazardly labeled as Buzz Air and a bit difficult to find with little signage in the airport otherwise overrun by Southwest Airlines. The charter required advance reservations and charged a $40 fee per person. This is returned to each individual in the form of $40 Free Play once you arrive. So, you have to have an Mlife player’s card for each traveler when you book. Which, to be clear, is usually pretty evident since these are casino-sponsored charters that cater to players based on previous play. Still, my wife’s account required some searching, but they found her card and she received her Free Play. However, I was told that if they had not found her account, they would have just created one to issue the play. Also, there are limited “first class” seats you can buy at $150 per person. But you still receive only $40 in Free Play. For such a short flight, it really isn’t worth it (yet these were also sold out when I booked so someone likes to throw their money around on fancy budget airline charter seating).
Either way, the Wednesday afternoon flight was full. We were given exit row seats and were able to board first. The folks on our row quickly realized we were selected for this row because we were considerably younger than the others on our flight. Average age on our row was 37. Average age of flight? 1000. But who else can fly to a casino on a weekday?! More power to you folks…I aspire to your life one day. Hell, why not today?!
Also, I’m sorry folks, while I agreed to save lives if in an emergency situation, I really just wanted the extra leg room. In truth, if ever in a scary situation I’d most likely just scream like a preteen girl and throw my wife out the door in my last magnanimous act on this Earth.
So we boarded, we flew, the pilot thought there was too much turbulence (there wasn’t…suck it up!) so no free casino “get drunk now so you gamble stupidly and immediately” drinks on the plane for us. LAME. LAAaaAAAAaaaaaame. Still, we get there, we get sent to a bus, we get on the bus, we take a 25 minute ride and tada! THE BEAU.
I’ve heard the Beau Rivage was supposed to be the name of the Bellagio on the Strip in Las Vegas. But builder and former owner, Steve Wynn, saved that name for this location. (Umm, and by “I’ve heard…” I mean I looked it up on Wiki…so we’re all clear, it’s like an internet game of telephone that we treat like the Encylopedia Brittanica.) There is a Wynn-esque stamp all over this property and current owner, MGM Resorts, does a pretty good job keeping up with the high quality standard of service and appearance. Some even say it looks like the Bellagio. The casino definitely has similar elements and the exterior’s mini-me doppelganger-ness cannot be denied; but, I feel that the resort as a whole seems more “Southern charm” than “Lake Cuomo”. But enough of a history lesson, let’s talk trip report.
First, let me get the pain out of the way. I have no amazing win photos to share because I had no amazing wins. Last time I was at the Beau, I did move away from an obnoxious woman who was slapping the buttons and hitting the screen (with her hand full of rings) so that I didn’t have my pupils sliced by shards of glass flying at my face. Sat down at an STP machine, chose DDB, stuck in the TiTo and on the first hand was dealt 5s and then had an 8x multiplier show up. HANDPAY!
But that was last time. This time. NOTHING.
I had $280 in Free Play this trip and I tried everything. Penny slots max bet. Penny slots min bet. Dollar slots. Video poker. I might as well have run into the wall head first multiple times because that’s about as much fun as I had trying to turn my free play into something. $280 in…$110 out. That is about the worst ROI on Free Play ever.
The great thing about the Beau is there is a good mix of stuff to do if you don’t want to gamble. A slew of good restaurants. A new minor league ballpark across the street (which is also home to a smaller version of the gold MGM lion statue). A beach next door. A nightclub…I think…I mean, I see hos and bros walking toward a corner of the casino at night…it might be a secret distribution point for hooker heels and Axe body spray. Who knows?!
There is a ridiculously large retail promenade that never seems to have much business. But it’s always there and has a shoe shop, a couple of jewelry stores, a men’s attire store that seems to cater to the golfing fishing crowd that enjoys Hawaiian shirts and banded straw hats, the kids arcade (attention future gamblers, skill-based games that dispense tickets as currency!), a Haagen Dazs, and the best casino coffee shop in the nation: the Coffee Bean. Sure, it’s a chain but this location has plenty of seating, moves the line quickly, has some quick bite options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner AND gives you free refills all day with your cup and receipt. And the drip coffee is delicious. There is a nice small patio outside with tables which is a nice spot to enjoy your morning coffee on a nice day. Yes, damn it, it’s NICE. Each morning was in the 70s during our trip and this patio was just perfect to start the day. As much as I enjoy this place, I didn’t take a single picture. FAIL.
But among the other great offerings is a simple but well-serviced pool. After losing on Wednesday night, we decided to hit the pool Thursday. The forecast was all clouds and rain during our visit. Indeed, it was raining on the bus ride in. It was raining last night…thunderstorms even. But today we had sun! GLORIOUS SUN! To the pool! You’ll have to wait till Part II is published to find out more…….