So, where are Rio’s oldest rooms? Surprisingly, they are located in the hotel’s newer tower. The 48-story Masquerade Tower was added in 1997 along with an expanded casino, new showroom, and now-defunct Masquerade Show in the Sky. Today, the tower holds a mix of rooms; some updated, some not. If you’re going to stay in this tower, shoot for one of the recently unveiled Samba suites. Renovated in early 2013, these rooms are the latest and greatest Rio has to offer. These suites, 380 now available, have been outfitted with new furnishings and remodeled bathrooms featuring granite countertops.
If you can’t get into a Samba Suite, think twice about staying in the Masquerade Tower. While the new suites are great, the majority of the Masquerade’s rooms are yet to be upgraded. Rio performed a mini-facelift in 2012, but they have otherwise gone unchanged since 1997 and frequently lead to poor reviews on TripAdvisor:
Beckycronis Reviewed September 4, 2013:
We realize the masquerade tower rooms are older and pretty dated once we enter. The rooms are spacious with a separate vanity room, but the light from that room spills directly onto the bed as there is no door or closure to the other room. There is no fan in the bathroom. The bathtub and shower are really small for the room. The tub doesn't drain properly when the shower is running and you end up standing in ankle deep water when trying to shower. There's mold in the grout surrounding the tub. Happens to older bathrooms with no ventilation. Plenty of closet space greets us, but only three drawers in the vanity area.
Socalcol Reviewed August 20, 2013:
We get to our room, 12004. It is a large, comfortable room, with a couch and fridge, but the couch is pretty shabby and has no throw pillows for comfort. Then things start going wrong. First there was some biting insect in my bed, I woke up with 7 bites on my legs. I expect that from a motel, not an all-suite hotel. Then after the first day of housekeeping, I walk in to find the floor by the air conditioner covered with lint dust bunnies. It was literally like someone came in shook a very dirty filter out on the floor and left it. I called housekeeping and nearly 45 minutes later, someone came and took care of it. … The next thing to go wrong is when my friend picks up the hair-dryer, it quickly burns out and dies. Another call to guest services, and yet another 45 minutes later they finally have another hairdryer brought up. My friend's hair had air-dried in that amount of time - not to mention it caused her to be late. I'm not done yet. Next, I walk over to the air conditioning unit again to find out it has been leaking on the floor and the carpet is wet. I still have one night left to go, so let's hope nothing else goes wrong.
Other frequent complaints about Masquerade rooms include noise and unusual bathroom design. Upper level rooms can be subject to noise well into the night as a result of the proximity to the rooftop Voodoo Lounge. As for the bathrooms, many were built with a small window that exposes the shower to the remainder of the room.
Rio’s original Ipanema Tower opened in 1990 and was expanded in 1993. Rooms in this tower, while slightly smaller than Masquerade rooms, were fully renovated in 2006. Staying in the Ipanema Tower comes with quite a few benefits over the newer Masquerade Tower. Its location is superior for just about all destinations within the hotel. Ipanema Tower elevators are very close to check in, Rio’s pools, two Starbucks (one of which offers free WiFi), the convention area, and the most active parts of the casino. Ipanema rooms with Strip views face east, directly towards the bright lights, while Masquerade rooms face north or south.
If you are trying to pack a group into a single space, Ipanema rooms offer another useful perk. Some of the Ipanema rooms with two beds also contain a pull-out couch. Masquerade rooms, while slightly larger, don’t come furnished with this luxury. Roll-away beds are an option, but usually come with a price tag high enough to make sleeping on the floor an attractive option.
To recap, Rio’s Samba Suites should be your number one choice if you want an up-to-date room. If you can’t get one, stay out of the Masquerade Tower. Rooms in the Ipanema Tower are recently updated and come with a better location. Regardless of your tower choice, be careful around the mini-bar. All items are on sensors that bill you when touched and they seem to be more sensitive here than at any other Las Vegas hotel.
(Rio Photo: Lindsey M. on Foursquare; Samba Suite Photo: Rio Las Vegas)