By Rick Alm
Harrah’s North Kansas City
Harrah’s North Kansas City offers two sprawling floors of gaming action and plenty of other grown-up fun.
Located just six miles from Kansas City’s downtown Power & Light convention and nightlife district, Harrah’s suburban casino complex offers 392 hotel rooms, six restaurants, convention and meeting facilities, and the red-hot VooDoo Lounge for concerts and weekend dancing to live bands and DJ acts plus entertaining diversions like the room’s Doll Dancers and flair bartenders.
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The hotel at Harrah’s North Kansas City
The upscale VooDoo is the featured attraction among several that spin off Harrah’s non-gaming “District” rotunda, the complex’s central point and main entrance that was made over a few years ago that links the hotel and ballroom wings to restaurants, bars and the 63,300 square-foot gaming floor.
Located on two levels, the upper gaming floor is accessed by a grand staircase in the middle of the room (along with escalators for those conserving their energy for the games) which includes 62 tables and nearly 1,800 slots including almost 1,000 popular penny devices. High rollers can wager up to $100 a spin in the High Limit area. Harrah’s electronic games collectively paid back 90.63 percent in April, the latest available data at this writing.
Harrah’s smoke-free, 15-table poker room includes six large-screen plasma TV’s usually tuned to live sports events. The room also is the Kansas City market’s connection to the Harrah’s-owned World Series of Poker televised, international Texas Hold ‘Em tournament.
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The Casino floor at Harrah’s North Kansas City
Harrah’s is the world’s largest casino operator and its Total Rewards player loyalty program dishes out credits that can be cashed at nearly 40 Harrah’s casinos nationwide plus selected retailers in many areas with a Harrah’s brand casino.
In Kansas City, Harrah’s Reward Credits can be redeemed at the Spa Tuscano, the Adam’s Pointe Golf Course, at nearly 50 local Price Chopper grocery stores, and at almost 100 BP filling stations. General Manager Tom Cook says the “exchange rate” works out to 50 cents per 100 Reward credits. ($5 coin in equals 1 Reward credit; $10 for VP play.)
“What sets us apart,” said Cook, is Harrah’s national network of casinos “where you play at one place and redeem at any other” through automated comping systems and other reward benefits delivered via direct mail.
Like all casino operators, Cook boasts about Harrah’s employees and their high level of customer service. But Cook backs up the boast with a local business publication’s second consecutive “Best Place to Work” award. “We didn’t win that two years in a row for nothing,” he said.
Never mind Missouri’s infamous $500 “loss limit” cramping your gaming style. Voters last year repealed the state’s unique wagering restriction and its mandatory player ID-at-the-door rules.
It’s hard to go hungry anywhere in Kansas City, but especially at Harrah’s.
You can grab a bakery snack and a cup of Joe at Starbucks, or hit the Corner Grill just outside the casino entrance for something fast and more substantial like the burger basket for $7.99 that provides a trio of baby-burger “Sliders” with your choice of seasoned toppings.
There’s an all-you-can-eat buffet, naturally, and the all-day “brunch” Mondays through Thursdays is a big-eater’s paradise at $9.99.
For fine dining head for Mike & Charlie’s Italian Restaurant or Harrah’s own trademark The Range Steakhouse where grilled-to-order steaks, prime rib, seafood and poultry entrees are presented in an intimate Southwestern setting.
Mike & Charlie’s represents the culinary marriage of two legendary Missouri restrauteurs, Michael Garozzo of Garozzo’s Ristorante in Kansas City (“Where Chicken Spiedini was born”) and Charlie Gitto of Charlie Gitto’s on The Hill in St Louis. Local bargain hunters hit the restaurant’s “Before 6” menu or its daily $9.95 three-course specials that include salad, entree and a scoop of spumoni. The day we visited the special was a chunk of six-layer lasagna.
Country cooking and country music make up the menu at Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill.
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Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar
Besides the franchise eatery’s famous Whiskey Girl servers and the country crooner’s own favorite fried bologna sandwich ($8.99) the room also just steps outside the casino’s main entrance offers a small stage and live entertainment and line dancing for those who dare on Friday and Saturday evenings.
If you’re at Harrah’s for a bit of work between play times, the Executive Boardroom, the Laughlin Room and a 10,000-square-foot ballroom offer meeting, banquet and trade show facilities suitable for events ranging from 10 to 400 attendees.
The VooDoo also is available for events and the room can accommodate 700 in theater-style seating, or 1,200 in a mix-and-mingle stand-up format serviced by a massive bar on the main floor and a wrap-around balcony for a bird’s-eye view of the goings on.
Under local restrictions smoking is permitted only on the gaming floor and in a percentage of hotel rooms.
Upper level rooms offer a commanding view of the Missouri River. The accommodations, which range from $49 to 229 a night, offer big-screen tv’s, plush carpeting and over-sized marble- and granite-sculpted baths. The hotel’s big Rio suites include a bar, dining and sitting rooms, a walk-in shower and a jacuzzi tub.
The hotel is short on standard destination amenities. There is a small business center with internet and printer services, but the hotel closed its indoor pool. There’s no spa or fitness center, but guests can take advantage of a nearby community center’s workout facilities.
Harrah’s North Kansas City is located at One Riverboat Drive in North Kansas City, Missouri. For more information or reservations, call 816-472-7777, toll-free at 1-800-427-7247, or visit the web site at www.harrahs.com
Freelance journalist Rick Alm is the recently retired gaming and tourism
beat reporter for The Kansas City Star.