Traveling Around - Tunica, Mississippi - Sam's Town Resort
Sam's Town is located about 20 miles south of Memphis, Tennessee, near Tunica, Mississippi. While actually in Robinsonville, Mississippi, on the Mississippi River, and since it is in Tunica County most of the resort activity in the area is identified as being at Tunica. Robinsonville is an unincorporated area and efforts are being made to incorporate the area to be known as Tunica Resorts.
Casino Strip Resort Boulevard is a straight as an arrow road that runs straight west from US Highway 61 to the Mississippi River. Near the western end of the road is a cluster of three casinos. One of which is Sam's Town. Sam's Town is much larger than the two other facilities in the area with almost twice the rooms and suites available in the other two combined.
The main entrance to the hotel is under a portico on the western side of the resort. The parking area is much lower than the hotel and there is a difficult trek with luggage in order to go in the front doors. It has always seemed easier to go around the end of the building and empty the car by carrying luggage up a gradual incline to the back door of the hotel after check-in. The lobby of the hotel is comfortably furnished with overstuffed leather furniture and is comfortable if there is a wait. It adjoins a high counter area provided for checkin. Also in this main area is the Casino Host Office.
To the left as you enter the lobby is the bellman's desk that is in front of a hallway to an older facility that houses the original hotel. It is constructed much like a motel and runs directly away from the check-in with more than one floor accommodating visitors. To the rear of this structure is a swimming pool. On the far side of this pool is a tall structure of modern rooms and suites. The nine story facility and the older motel like facility provide more than 1,000 rooms. The rear entrance mentioned above is on the ground floor of the taller structure.
There is an exercise facility and a conference center on the first floor of the hotel tower. Wi-fi is offered free of charge in the hotel rooms.
A major hallway between the check-in desk and the Casino Host office leads to a central atrium which houses Smokey Joe's (a snack bar), the gift shop, and the buffet. The gift shop has recently moved to this location from a spot nearer the hotel lobby and seems small but offers the necessary items, some souvenirs, newspapers, and packaged snacks. Smokey Joe's is open 24 hours a day and features sandwiches and breakfast items along with soft drinks, coffee, and ice cream. The buffet is a multi station buffet that has beer and wine as complimentary beverages for lunch and dinner. This atrium is also home to some of the promotional games that are offered at Sam's Town. Drawings are held there for cash prizes. An escalator leads from the center of the atrium to the second floor where Twain's Steakhouse and some of the meeting rooms are located. Twain's Steakhouse is the gourmet restaurant of the resort and is open daily at 5 PM for a fine dining experience.
There are meeting rooms and convention facilities both here and in the hotel that can accommodate attendance from 25 to 1600 people.
On the side of the atrium away from the hotel is a parking garage.
The requirements when Sam's Town (and other casinos in this Mississippi Delta) opened was that they be built on the river. Thus they simulated the old time gambling river boats. Sam's Town Casino looks as if it is part of the atrium when actually the patron must cross from dry land to a platform boat. When the Mississippi River occasionally floods, the floating casino is protected by floating but the hotel on dry land has experienced severe damage during the flood season.
There is a main entrance to the atrium and casino that is next door to the hotel entrance. This entrance is directly into the atrium and leads past the Players' Club to the casino. The casino is down a short flight of stairs. To the left is the cashier's cage and to the far right is the show bar. The show bar has video poker in the bar top and a stage behind the bar. Further back in the large area is the main showroom.
Leading into the casino in a sort of backwards L shape are the table games. All traditional and modern games are represented. Most have minimum bets of $5 of $10 and the allowable range spirals upward. Beyond and surrounding the table games are a multitude of modern slot machines. Most of the newest games are featured in denominations beginning at a penny. Next to the showroom bar (which is raised to the same level as the atrium) is an area that is devoted to video poker machines. Many of them are playable at the nickel level and the required minimum ranges upward on a multitude of new games includlng Ultimate X and Spin Poker.
As part of a large chain (The Boyd Group of Las Vegas), the resort mails out a lot of offers to the members of the Players' Club so it is important to register and allow your activities in the casino to be tracked. The casino is open 24 hours a day.
Sam's Town is currently home to three restaurants.
Smokey Joe's is a snack bar that has recently expanded. If offers food 24 hours a day and has a listing of moderately priced sandwiches and snacks. Huge muffins and pastries are highlighted and fries and hot dogs are available. Prices are moderate. Seating is available as is wi-fi.
Twain's Steakhouse is visible from the front door of Smokey Joe's and is on the second floor. It features and extensive wine list and many gourmet dishes. The surroundings are elegant and the service is deliberate and luxurious. Prices are commensurate with the quality offered and most entrees are in the $20 range.
The Great Buffet has several major serving areas sectioned off in its facility. Free beer and wine are served with lunch and dinner. A large oriental section is provided in additional to barbecue and traditional southern dishes such as fried chicken and catfish. There is a hand dipped ice cream station at the center of the desserts. There is a seafood buffet offered one night a week that causes a jump in price to $23 but dinner is normal in the $17 range with lunch and breakfast price lower.
Just off the entrance to the buffet is the gift shop which offers sundry items including the daily newspapers. Because it doesn't open until mid morning newspapers are for sale earlier at the front desk of the hotel.