Sunday, March 3, 2013


I'm not interested in gambling or gaming of any kind, but I stayed in a casino resort this weekend in Richmond, British Columbia. However, I would never have gone without a reason.

I spent a whole day in the conference centre at the River Rock Casino Resort learning more about travel writing at the Travel Media Association of Canada Spring pro-d day. (Seminar details soon at my Beacon Blog for Writers.) So, okay I thought, there's a first time for everything and I booked myself a room for the night with a plan to explore the property. The valet parking cost less than I expected – only $12.00 per day.

I arrived early and was astonished that the casino was busy at 8:00am. Slots were whirring and the blackjack tables were full. Each gambler had a grande coffee at hand and their faces were intent, focused. The conference centre was buzzing with activity too and separate from the casino, right on the water overlooking the Fraser River and a big marina.

Our TMAC lunch was excellent and later the reception canapes were imaginative and delicious in the Curve Bar in the lobby of the casino We sipped BC wines and networked until 5:30pm.

Check-in had been a breeze at The Hotel across the street (the casino also has a hotel) before breakfast and now I was keen to settle into my room. My bags had already been delivered. Whisking the drapes aside, I looked over the casino to the river and Vancouver International airport. The lights twinkled as the wind scattered the rain clouds.

My room was large, clean, and I had free wireless. A gift awaited me – a leather business card case and a pen. The desk had all a writer could wish for.

I ordered room service for dinner and was in for a surprise. The service was fast and helpful given that Saturday night is the busiest night of the week. I ordered lamb sliders and fries. The lamb was excellent, but the buns were stale and the fries soggy. The food during the seminar had led me to expect a higher standard.

After a wonderful, restful sleep, from my bed I could watch the planes at the end of their final approach to YVR as they flew over the casino hotel. Yes, I could hear them, but the noise was not obstrusive.  I loved having an espresso maker instead of a regular coffee pot.

Breakfast was not much better than dinner – I went to The Buffet, a huge cafe-style dining room packed with visitors. Granted, the sheer numbers of guests meant that a way to feed us all had to be devised. We lined up at various stations to load up our plates from a large selection of hot and cold dishes. As I was a senior, the cost was $14.95.

I chose Eggs Benedict which sat upon a thin piece of processed ham and about a teaspoon of package-made Hollandaise. Bacon was okay. Coffee was weak.

The view from The Buffet was gorgeous and the service cheerful and efficient. But I'd hoped for more.

IMAGES: © Photos by Pharos 2013. All rights reserved.

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