We were looking for a quickie getaway during our Christmas break and found a great deal to Laughlin through Suncountry airlines (less than $500 for air from Minneapolis and hotel for 4 nights at the Riverside for the two of us.)
Rooms: Nice and roomy with a good sized balcony and a river view. Large vanity area with a stool, which is a nice touch for us ladies who like to sit down while we do our hair/makeup. A tad outdated and "worn" around the edges, but not horribly so. The beds weren't the most comfortable in the world, but for $9.33/night, I can hardly complain! The furnishings/decor are basically what you'd expect to find at a 2-star type hotel, like a Days Inn.
Maid service was excellent. We slept in late most mornings but our room was usually serviced after we came back from our late morning meal. They always replaced the towels, coffee, etc. Sure, you expect that, but I've stayed at plenty of hotels where I've had to call for that stuff. My only complaint is the one-serving coffee maker. Not a huge deal, but it would have been nice if we could have both made our coffee at the same time.
Food: Buffet was OK. Fairly priced with a decent variety (i.e, Mexican, Asian, American) of average-quality food. We ate here once for lunch.
Prime Rib Room was excellent. Our meal was comped, but it's still a good value for the money even if you have to pay (about $30 for two people). Nice salad/potato/dessert bar and a HUGE slab of some of the most tender prime rib around.
We also had a comped meal (breakfast) at the Riverview restaurant. Basically a Denny's type of place. Food isn't bad, but a little overpriced.
Casa Serrano is a reasonably priced Mexican restaurant. Decent food, good salsa.
Most of the fast food places were overpriced (i.e., the gas station style pizza hut/cinnabon "food court."). The worst ripoff was the sidewalk cafe. We paid almost $14 for 2 sodas and 2 microwaved jimmy dean breakfast sandwiches. The one bright spot for a quick bite was the Rice Garden. Reasonable prices and generous portions of pretty good Chinese food (keeping in mind that this IS fast food we're talking about.)
Tip # I would highly recommend going to a grocery store (or even a gas station) to stock up on soda and/or water to keep in your room. Everywhere you go it's $2 for a coke, including the vending machines. The one exception was the bingo hall snack stand...$1.50 for a decent-sized soda in a cup you can keep.
Tip #2 If you're a Bud drinker, you're out of luck. Apparently old Don had a falling out with the Anheuser-Busch folks some years back and has refused to stock their products ever since.
Casino: As others have mentioned, this definitely isn't the glitziest place. The casino floor is kind dark, chopped up and confusing. The walls, light fixtures, etc. are very 1982. With that said, there is a lot to do here. You can catch a movie, bowl, play bingo, sing karaoke, look at the classic car museum (free!) or take in a live show all under one roof. We did visit a couple of the other casinos and they were much more modern looking and "open" feeling...but we kind of felt like we were back "home" when we returned to the Riverside.
Tip: Check out the Watch Man store. All the watches are under $20 and they have a HUGE selection (they claim to be the biggest watch store in the world.) They also have drawings every hour for a free watch and it doesn't cost anything to enter. My husband actually won one! It was kind of a cheesy plastic watch (they spin a wheel to see what you get), but it was fun to win something. Oh, from time to time they also put out a real Rolex among the other watches. If you find it, you can buy it for $19.99!
Staff: This, to me, was the most impressive thing about the Riverside. With the exception of one grumpy bartender, everyone was VERY nice and seemed to genuinely care about their guests. Mr. Laughlin should be very proud of his employees!
Overall: We had a great time and were made to feel welcome at the Riverside. We look forward to coming back again soon.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.