Sunday, January 5, 2014

The Sun Sets on the Hacienda

If you're driving from Kingman to Vegas, the first casino you come to after crossing the Hoover Dam is the Hacienda, just one side of Boulder City. The good residents of Boulder City declined to allow gambling in their city when it was established to house the dam workers back in the day, hence the Hacienda sits on one side of the town as you arrive and the Railroad Pass on the other as you leave.

Or at least so it has been over the last several years. In November, after we arrived for a two-night stay there (which I booked, ironically, so I could keep my membership current in their players' club), we learned that they had been bought by Dolly's, the proprietors of dozens of little slot joints throughout Vegas, and would be the Hacienda no more. Worse, word was that the live gaming tables would be removed and only slots remain. This was heartbreaking news to us as we rather liked the place. The rooms were pleasant and cheap, the blackjack and craps tables had low limits, and at night there was a groovin' band playing in the lounge, giving the place a nice vibe. You could even get a 99-cent shrimp cocktail in the diner, a third of what the Golden Gate downtown charges for their anymore. (Okay, maybe you get a few less shrimp, but still.) And to top it all off, a whirlybird will fly you over Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam for $29.

We stopped by in December to see if the tables were still there, and surprise, they were. We then played what might have been the last hands of blackjack dealt at the Hacienda under that name, as the dealers told us that as of three o'clock that morning all gaming operations would cease. We made sure to scoop up lots of souvenirs on our way out.

Word on the street is the place will be remodeled and reopen as the Hoover Dam Lodge, but as we drove back through on our way from Vegas, the Hacienda sign was still up and the parking lot was fairly full, so I guess it is a transitional process. In any case, I have created by own memorial shrine for the dear old Hacienda that was.

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