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New Amenities Coming to Coastal Casinos

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May 04, 2013

Cranes and construction crews are back in South Mississippi, bringing more hotel rooms and added amenities at Coast casinos to draw players to the market.

A crane towers over Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on U.S. 90 in Biloxi and a new hotel tower rises just west of the resort.

General Manager Duncan McKenzie said rain this spring put construction a little behind schedule.

"We're going to make it up and open by New Year's Eve," he said.

He said the 150-room hotel "is a symbol of our great confidence in the strength of this market. We've been performing very strongly," he said.

The owners are investing $32 million to build the tower because the resort's hotel rooms are filled most nights.

"There's a ton of unmet demand," he said. "First class hotel rooms in this town have a ways to go before there's too many."

McKenzie said Hard Rock has more room for expansion. "We still have the Windrifter former site for future development," he said.

At Point Cadet, the Isle Casino is undergoing a transformation and expansion of the entire resort. When Phase I is complete this summer, the resort will be rebranded by the new owner as Golden Nugget Biloxi.

Crews are building new

restaurants and remodeling all 720 guest rooms at the third largest casino resort in Biloxi.

The timeline calls for Rush Lounge, Morton's Steakhouse and Lillie's restaurant to be finished in the first phase. When the work is done in early 2014, according to the current time line, the Golden Nugget will have a new casino and poker room, Bubba Gump's restaurant, retail, spa, resort swimming pool, meeting rooms and ballroom.

"Together these will deliver an exhilarating experience unlike anything available in Biloxi," said Tilman Fertitta, chairman of Landry's Inc., when the company bought Isle Casino Biloxi last year.

Just up the street at Palace Casino, the first casino in the South to go smoke-free, a multi-million renovation of the 236 hotel rooms, including 14 suites, is nearly complete. The rooms were given contemporary look and decor to match the design throughout the resort.

With the expansion and upgrades since 2010, the entire resort has now been upgraded into a clean, smoke-free environment.

"The room renovations complete the transformation of our property," said Keith Crosby, general manager of Palace Casino. "Our associates are very proud of our newly renovated resort, and it is reflected in their attitudes and level of service."

The hotel rooms have flat-screen televisions with game and movie rentals available and refrigerators are concealed within the dressers of every room and suite. The color palette and artwork differs from room to room and images by local photographers Ken Murphy and Steve White display Mississippi scenery and wildlife.

Island View Casino in Gulfport also has seen major upgrades and additions over the last year, and more are on the way.

The new View Showroom, a 550-seat live entertainment venue, will host Lee Greenwood on Memorial Day Weekend on the 30th anniversary of his song, "God Bless the USA."

The Beach Blvd. Steamer moved into the former Vrazel's adjacent to Island View, and now is open for lunch and dinner. Satisfying sweet cravings is The Creamery, where a $40,000 small-bath custard machine imported from Italy turns out custards, gelatos, sorbets and ice cream at The Buffet.

Adding more sweet treats is Coast Candymakers, scheduled to open in mid-June at Island View.

The display kitchen and candy counters will entice shoppers with house-made pralines and chocolates along with a variety of fudge.

Announcements of more improvements and added amenities are expected to be made this month by Coast casino operators.

Return to Mississippi Casinos.

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