Check-in at Bally’s doesn't begin until 4 p.m. I arrived early and decided to take my time and self-park before heading to registration. The parking garage had plenty of space, but wasn't a nice place to be. Empty beer bottles and discarded fast food bags were everywhere, and the sole trash can I passed was stuffed far beyond capacity. The garage elevators were also in poor condition, but got me inside quickly. I traveled through a long hallway, then down through part of Paris before entering Bally’s. On the way, I passed a sign advertising some type of TV pilot viewing program that is running here. Several shows were highlighted, including Monk. I don’t watch a lot of TV, but I’m pretty sure that Monk ended its run at least a couple of years ago. In what year was the show being pitched as a pilot? And, how long has it been since they put up this sign? This was the first indication that the outdated decorations out front were not an anomaly.
I arrived at registration just before 3 p.m. and found the cattle pen jammed full of people waiting to check in. Fortunately, I had an upgraded Total Rewards card that allowed me to use one of the shorter lines. I was issued some uniquely shaped keys along with the usual handful of flyers and coupons offering ways to make your trip more
expensive enjoyable. Sadly, there was no Hash House coupon to be found this time.
The hotel elevators at Bally’s deserve mentioning. There are two banks, each with eight elevators, ensuring there will never be a line. The elevator cars are heavily mirrored and provide the first glimpse at what I believe to be the hotel’s theme. As I exited at the 11th floor, I felt as if I were stepping into the hall of mirrors in a carnival fun house. The hallway contained multiple turns and most of the wall was covered with mirrors. As I made my way left, right, and eventually down the hall, I patted myself on the back for arriving sober. This would be a hazardous, and potentially frightening, trek when inebriated.
As I reached the door to my room, I wondered what theme lay beyond it. Would I find more of the abandoned EPCOT motif that Bally’s is so well known for? Or, would the hall of mirrors I had just escaped be back for a second round? Soon enough, I found a combination of the two.
Inside, there were plenty more mirrors, especially in the bathroom. Reflective chrome surfaces throughout the room kept the theme going, but weren't as overpowering as in the hallway. The furniture was a bit faded and bland, but otherwise fine. The room was sizeable, and with four chairs there was no shortage of places to relax and watch the loop of advertisements for VÉRONIC Voices on TV.
This room had a few things going for it. The beds were very comfortable and looked like they had been recently replaced. The blackout curtains were among the most effective I've seen. I really liked having two separate desks, and three desk chairs, to work at. The dresser contained a decent TV and provided ample storage space. The bathroom’s marble surfaces were the most impressive things I found here. The numerous mirrors made them, and the room, feel even larger. The bathtub-shower combo was spacious and had plenty of pressure.
That was the extent of the good; there was plenty of bad. This room was bland. Bally’s bills itself as being in the center of the action, but nothing in this room even hints at action or excitement. This felt like the hotel equivalent of an office cubicle, complete with generic artwork carefully crafted so as not to distract or offend. Neutral tones throughout the room nearly put me to sleep. I searched everywhere for a coffee maker, surely the $18 resort fee would cover it, but had no luck. I did manage to locate the safe, another item not covered by the resort fee. Three dollars to lock up my valuables… just what did the resort fee pay for? Not the moving walkways out front, I learned, as they were non-operational every time I passed. If the flickering neon rings surrounding them are any indication, Bally’s may have given up on the idea of maintaining the area until the Grand Bazaar is up and running.
Poor maintenance is not limited to Bally’s exterior, I found. In the bathroom, I discovered peeling and damaged wallpaper, along with splattered mirrors that had only been partially cleaned. While the beds and chairs were in good shape, the lamps were not. One had a shade that had sustained damage, while another had a disconcerting stain.
As my stay came to an end, my opinion of Bally’s was marginally favorable. It’s bland and boring, but clean enough and offers a great location. Navigating the maze of mirrors is a trip, but this hotel is otherwise very dull. While I wouldn't turn down another free stay, I doubt I’d pay for a room here when so many better options are available. Prior to finishing this story, I checked the Bally’s website for their current rates. I was going to conclude by recommending this hotel as a budget option, but was astounded by the current prices. If you ask me, Bally’s is delusional in thinking anyone would pay $200 for one of these rooms, yet there are days on the calendar marked as sold out. I feel truly sorry for anyone who makes the mistake of paying those rates.