My wife and I recently went to Biloxi, Mississippi, where we stayed two nights at the Beau Rivage and I’d like to share our experience with you. Maybe it will give you some ideas or help you decide whether a Biloxi trip is right for you.
The Beau Rivage is an MGM property on the Gulf of Mexico in the heart of Biloxi. My wife needed a break from work, so we decided to make the two-hour drive to Biloxi. I checked online for resort rates in the area and found that the Beau’s were the most competitive of all the resorts in town for our chosen Sunday and Monday nights (we always travel on a weekday because the room rates are so much cheaper than on the weekend). This was a pleasant surprise because the Beau Rivage is unquestionably one of the most lavish resorts in town. I know from experience that having a player’s card can usually get a lower rate, so I asked my wife if she still had her old Mirage player’s card from our Las Vegas trip three years ago (the Mirage is also an MGM property). Luckily, she found her card at the bottom her dresser drawer, so I called the number and found that the player’s club had been replaced by MGM’s new program called “Mlife.” And even luckier, my wife’s old player’s card number and her remaining points had been transferred to the Mlife program.
The Mlife representative on the phone was very helpful and courteous. Not only did she clearly explain the benefits of the new program, she also gave us a sweet discount on the room rate, which was too good to pass up, so I made the reservation. If you’re a member of a resort’s player’s club (no matter what level), call and ask if you can get a discounted room rate. If you’re not already a member, sign-up online and then call. You never know what kind of discount you might get. For example, I know of a Vegas resort that gives a $10 discount on the room rate (each night) just for being a member of their player’s club without having any points at all.
We arrived and self-parked in the Beau’s covered parking garage at about 10:30am. Knowing their advertised check-in time is 3:00pm, we walked around the casino getting the lay of the land. We found the snack and coffee shops, the Mlife counter, the craps tables (for me), my wife’s preferred machines, and the nearest restrooms. By now, we were getting hungry, so we got back in the car and drove to a nearby local seafood restaurant right on the Gulf. Before driving to Biloxi, we did our homework about local restaurants and we decided to do local places for lunch and dinner. The Gulf view was great, the beer was cold and good, and the staff was friendly, but the food was a big disappointment for me. My wife enjoyed the shrimp salad, but my crab-cake poboy was literally the worst crab cake I’ve ever eaten. As a result, we had second thoughts about eating our meals outside the resort.
We returned to the Beau Rivage around noon and decided to check in early. We’ve learned from experience that checking in around noon is ideal because the cleaning staff has had time to prepare enough rooms so that a good selection is available before the rush arrives in mid-afternoon. The hotel staff accommodated us with an end room, but it was with a view of the city instead of the Gulf. We couldn’t care less about the view because the only time we spend in the room is to sleep, shower, and brush our teeth. We prefer an end room as far away from the elevators as possible because the noise from loud guests returning to their rooms late at night and slamming room doors is kept to a minimum. So, we took the end room without the Gulf view. Although a standard room, it was very nice. My wife especially liked the huge bathroom (“huge” for a hotel room) and all the marble tiling on the floor and shower walls. The king bed’s mattress was perfect and we were surprised at how comfortable the pillows were. I called the front desk and told them how pleased we were with the room.
After unpacking, we headed for the casino. We split up; my wife went to her favorite machines and I went to the craps tables. Three tables were in play, and all three were $10 minimum. If you decide to go on a Friday or Saturday, ensure you call first and check the table minimums before deciding where to play because the weekend minimums might be a lot more than $10. (NOTE: I usually don’t like playing a $10 table, but one of them was crowded so I figured it must be fairly warm. If all the tables had been empty, I would have left and driven the short distance to the Boomtown Casino for their $5 (on Sunday) and $3 (on Monday) craps table. The Boomtown is an okay local’s casino that I like simply for its low-minimum craps table.) I took one of the two opens spots and dropped my $200 buy-in. The layout was covered with lots of green and black chips. I even saw a few $500 chips in play. With that many green, black, and pinkish-purple chips on the layout, I thought the table must be hot so I immediately asked for Place bets on all the numbers, including the point (that’s $64 dollars across). I was nervous because one third of my $200 buy-in was now at risk on the table and the dreaded 7 could lose it all in one roll. On the contrary, the table was, indeed, hot. I alternated between taking profit and pressing as each number hit. I even went against my own hard-and-fast rule about making Hardway bets by putting $5 each on the Hard 4 and 10. They hit several times! After about 45 minutes, the shooter rolled a losing 7-out. I stayed a while longer as the table began cooling down. I eventually colored out with $580. Not a bad first session at the table!
After cashing out at the cage, I found my wife hidden at a corner machine away from the crowd where I plopped onto the chair next to her. I think machines (slots, video poker) are extremely boring, but my wife likes them so I tolerated it for about an hour until she was ready for dinner. Because my choice for lunch was so disappointing, we abandoned our original plan to eat at local places and, instead, walked over to the Beau’s Italian restaurant, Stalla. It was not crowded so we didn’t need a reservation. The Beau calls it one of their “casual” dining experiences, but we found it to be very nice and romantic, and as far as we were concerned, it could easily fall into the category of “fine dining.” The menu was reasonably priced with a good variety, including gourmet pizzas. Our server was polite, courteous, and knew the menu cold. The olive oil for the bread had an herb mix with an unusual taste, so we asked what it was. He rattled off each of the 10 or so ingredients as if he were the chef making it in the kitchen. My wife ordered the chicken parmesan and I the tortelloni (stuffed pasta, similar to tortellini, but larger). Instead of house salads, we split an order of caprese. The server was kind enough to separate the caprese onto two separate plates for us (a nice touch).
I bit into a tortelloni and thought I was in heaven. It was so delicious. Would the caprese taste as divine? I stabbed one of the half-cut heirloom tomatoes together with a small piece of mozzarella and used it to soak up some of the balsamico. Once again, heaven! My wife couldn’t eat all of her chicken parmesan, so she gave me half of it. Absolutely delicious. The meal was wonderful; we were completely satisfied and we’ll definitely eat there again on our next trip to the Beau Rivage. We charged the meal to our room to ensure we got the credit (points) on my wife’s Mlife account. (NOTE: You receive credit (points) for money spent on anything in the resort, including food, merchandise, and, of course, gaming.)
After dinner, we split up again. For some reason, maybe because it was a Sunday, the craps tables weren’t full. I didn’t realize it at the time when I played the earlier session, but the Beau Rivage offers two different craps layouts. One table was “crapless craps.” The only other place I’ve ever seen crapless craps was at Vegas World in Las Vegas (now the Stratosphere). On the come-out roll, you can’t lose because there is no craps. If the shooter rolls any of the traditional craps numbers on the come-out (i.e., 2, 3, or 12), then that number becomes the point. The same is true for the 11. The layout has point boxes for every number 2 through 12, except 7. Therefore, with crapless craps, there are two possibilities on the come-out roll: (1) You win with a 7, and (2) Any other number becomes the point. You can even Place bet the 2, 3, 11, or 12. This is an intriguing variation of the game, but I didn’t play it because the other tables offered another unusual layout that I found more intriguing.
I learned that a new trend at numerous casinos, not just at the Beau, is to offer a new series of craps bets called “Small, Tall, and All.” With the “Small” bet, you bet that all of the “small” numbers on the low side of the 7 (i.e., the 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6) hit before a 7 shows. With the “Tall” bet, you bet that all of the “tall” numbers on the high side of the 7 (i.e., the 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12) hit before a 7 shows. With the “All” bet, you bet that all numbers (both “Small” and “Tall”) hit before a 7 shows. If a 7 shows at any time before the complete set of numbers hits, the bets lose. The minimum bet is only $1. There’s a maximum bet amount, but I forget what it is (I never have to worry about a casino’s maximum bet!). If I remember correctly, the payoff for the “Small” and “Tall” is 34:1, and the payoff for the “All” is 175:1. Whoever dreamed up these bets was a genius because it was easy to see how they suck in a lot of players. As soon as someone rolled a 7, almost everyone at the table tossed in $1 and $5 chips asking for a “Small,” or a “Tall,” or an “All.” As a disciplined player, even I fell prey and became hooked on it. After the first time I saw the “All” hit, I found myself tossing in $2 for $1 on the “Small” and $1 on the “Tall.” I never went for the “All” because I felt it was too improbable that all numbers would hit again while I was at the table. I must admit, although those bets are probably sucker bets with a high casino advantage, I hit the “Small” twice. Even if the casino advantage on those bets is high, they’re fun and exciting to make. When there’s only one number left to hit in either set, everyone at the table roots and cheers for the shooter to roll it, including the players who don’t make the bet.
The players at the Beau’s craps tables were generally polite and respectful. Most everyone was drinking and having fun, but no one got out of hand and no one got mad when they lost. Also, there were only a few smokers at the table during every session that I played. The one time I had to stand next to a smoker, he was courteous and blew the smoke straight up instead of directly into his neighbor’s faces. The fact that there weren’t any obnoxious drunks or chain smokers at the tables made the whole playing experience much more enjoyable.
For breakfast, we decided to eat at the Beau’s buffet. We usually don’t do buffets because the food just isn’t as good as in restaurants, but it’s hard to mess up breakfast food. The $11.99 price (plus tax and tip) was the same price as a single breakfast dish at the Terrace Café in the resort’s lobby. So, for the same price as an omelet alone at the restaurant, I could get an omelet, sausage links, slice of ham, a glass of orange juice, and a glass of 2% milk, plus a donut for dessert (and seconds if I wanted them) at the buffet. This made the breakfast buffet an easy choice. By the way, no matter what resort property you may visit, if you go to a breakfast buffet and get in line at the egg station for an omelet or custom-ordered eggs, be a sport and drop a $1 bill on the counter for the cook. The cooks work hard making your custom eggs, so thank them by leaving a small tip. They’re not allowed to solicit tips, but they’re allowed to accept them. Do the decent thing and give drop them a buck. And don’t forget to say, “Thank you.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen the cook put the freshly cooked eggs on a person’s plate and then the person walks away without saying a word.
After Monday’s breakfast, the Beau’s craps tables were empty. I didn’t want to play a $10 table by myself because that can get expensive quickly. When playing alone, the pace is boom-boom-boom. Before you know it, if the table is cold, your buy-in is gone, and you stand there dazed wondering what happened. However, in the evening when the tables are crowded with lots of bets working, it seems like 5 minutes go by between each roll because the dealers have so many payouts to make (i.e., Come bets, Place bets, and all the different proposition bets), so the game goes much slower. I made my way to the Boomtown and played their $3 table, which was also dead. I didn’t mind playing craps alone because I could make cheap $3 and $5 bets. It’s a lot easier to stomach losing $100 in 60 minutes at a $3 table than it is losing $200 in 30 minutes at a $10 table.
We decided to have dinner early, so we went to the Beau Rivage’s Terrace Café, a casual dining restaurant adjacent to the hotel’s lobby. I chose the chicken pot pie and I forget what my wife had. The pot pie was quite good. In fact, if my wife had allowed me, I would have ordered another one. So, once again, we had a good meal at the Beau. As a result, we’ll likely stay at the Beau for meals on our future visits, not only for the food quality and reasonable prices, but also for the convenience of not having to leave the resort (and losing our great parking space in the parking garage).
In summary, our two-night stay at the Beau Rivage in Biloxi, Mississippi, was very good and left us very satisfied. We’ll definitely go back. In fact, we can’t wait to go back!
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