BILOXI, Miss. -- She tossed the dice hard at the far side of the
craps table, hoping for a pair of fives. Instead, the dice bounced
over the edge and flew across the casino floor.
The woman, a guest at Beau Rivage Resort & Casino here,
apologized, confessing she'd taken her first craps lesson earlier
"Don't worry about it," said a fellow player after retrieving
the dice. The dealer nodded: "Just throw 'em out there again, lady.
You'll get the hang of it."
The beginner didn't last long at the craps table, but she left
smiling. Beau Rivage is like that. It has been leaving visitors
smiling since it opened nearly five years ago.
The largest of the Mississippi Gulf Coast's 12 casinos, the
1,740-room Beau Rivage has all the amenities clients would expect
in a Las Vegas or an Atlantic City casino-resort: a huge gaming
area; a luxurious spa; attractive rooms; and more than two dozen
restaurants and shops.
But the resort, which was built by Las Vegas casino mogul Steve
Wynn and is now a wholly owned subsidiary of MGM-Mirage, also has a
distinctively Southern graciousness.
"Inside and out, Beau Rivage reflects the special features and
personality of the Mississippi Gulf Coast," said a resort
spokeswoman. "It's not just another casino that could be anywhere.
It has a style that's distinct to Biloxi and to the South."
And, it's an increasingly sophisticated style, too. Beau Rivage
(which means "beautiful shore" in French) recently completed a $10
million renovation that converted an entire floor into suites,
bringing the total available to 95. Two new upscale restaurants
also opened earlier this year.
Anna Mae, a chic Pan-Asian restaurant, serves the area's
freshest sushi as well as traditional Asian cuisine. Diners can sit
at a teppan yaki table, where the chefs turn cooking into live
theater. At Port House, the resort's signature restaurant, guests
dine on prime dry-aged beef and fresh lobster prepared 17 different
Beau Rivage has also stepped up the caliber of its entertainment
offerings. Top-name talents such as Cher and Chris Rock as well as
production shows such as "Cirque du Soleil's Alegria" appear in the
resort's 1,550-seat theater.
"If we have a headline act in the theater, we fill up, and
neighboring hotels do, too," said Cathy VanDeMark, director of
hotel operations at Beau Rivage.
VanDeMark said occupancy levels at Beau Rivage are higher than
they've ever been, and she predicts steady growth in 2004.
Linda Spruill, leisure sales manager, attributes some of the
recent growth to more wholesalers offering packages to travel
agents and their customers.
"But I still meet a lot of agents who tell me they had no idea
what this area had to offer visitors," she said. "We've still got a
lot of work to do in the Midwest to introduce ourselves to agents
and their clients."
Once agents know about Beau Rivage, Spruill said they and their
clients keep coming back.
The resort is considered among the best in the Southeast.
Earlier this year, Travel + Leisure magazine named it one of the
world's best hotel values and ranked it fourth in the
under-$250-a-night category. AAA designated it a four-diamond
resort in 2002, making it the largest resort in the Southeast to
win that distinction.
The 32-story Beau Rivage, which cost about $650 million to
build, now has the third-largest gaming revenues behind Las Vegas
and Atlantic City.
Guest rooms are spacious, tastefully decorated and offer
panoramic views of the Mississippi Sound and the Gulf of Mexico or
of historic Biloxi and its Back Bay. Bathrooms have marble vanities
as well as shower stalls and soaking tubs.
The atrium lobby resembles an indoor arboretum. Eleven 25-foot
ficus trees are surrounded by colorful flowers that are changed
monthly. (When I was there in October, boulder-sized pumpkins were
arranged in beds of gold chrysanthemums.)
More than a dozen shops and eateries open onto the walkways
between the atrium, the casino and the parking garage, creating the
ambience of an indoor shopping mall. Upscale boutiques sell
jewelry, clothing and accessories as well as art and eclectic
Beau Rivage's 12 restaurants include a buffet with more than 200
hot and cold food choices.
At La Cucina guests can experience the sights and aromas of
Italian cooking in an open Tuscany-style kitchen. There's also an
authentic Chinese restaurant and a Memphis-style barbecue joint.
Other eateries offer late-night snacks.
A popular evening entertainment option is the Coast Brewing Co.,
the state's oldest brew pub; there's usually a live band
Plush sofas enhance the atmosphere of the resort's Spa and
Salon, which was recently expanded to include two massage rooms for
couples. The spa, which opens onto the pool area and has views of
the Mississippi Sound, offers massages, facials and hydrotherapy
Hair, skin and makeup consultations are available in the salon.
The fitness facility, which is stocked with Cybex exercise
equipment, has steam rooms and saunas.
A large, outdoor pool is situated on a deck overlooking the gulf
coast. Poolside cabanas can be rented for the day; an outdoor
pavilion is available for special events. From the pool deck,
guests can watch the sun set and the shrimp boats sail out to
West of the pool is a 31-slip marina, which can accommodate
yachts of up to 200 feet.
An expansive room with arched promenades, the casino has a
complete array of gaming tables surrounded by thousands of slot
machines of all denominations. (There's also a designated
nonsmoking area.) Several bars are equipped with video poker
When players are ready to spend their winnings or forget about
their losses, the resort's specialty restaurants are just a few
steps from the casino. The floor beneath the casino contains
meetings rooms, including a ballroom capable of holding 1,800
people. A business center offers mail, fax, photocopying and word
processing equipment. There's also a boardroom with an adjacent
To contact the reporter who wrote this story, send e-mail to
[email protected] .
It's not all gaming
eau Rivage is offering several
room-only packages. All are based on double occupancy. Here is a
• Southern Exposure Package starts at $129 per person for two
nights, Sundays to Thursdays, and comes with two breakfasts and one
buffet along with a welcome drink.
• Spa Package starting at $249 per person, Sundays to Thursdays,
includes one night in an oceanview room with a one-hour Swedish
massage, manicure/pedicure or facial and a spa lunch. For spa
reservations, call the Spa directly at (888) 750-7111, Ext.
• Beau Rivage Golf Package includes a round of golf at one of 30
golf courses in the state. Prices vary. Call for rates at (877)
805-4657 or e-mail [email protected]
Several packages including air also are available from Atlanta
and Fort Lauderdale and Tampa, Fla., via Air Tran Airways; and from
Houston, on Continental.
Prices begin at $226.50 per person, double, for two nights. One
buffet meal per person, per day, is included. The packages are good
through April 30. Commission is 10%.
For more information about room-only rates, call (888) 595-2534.
For information about air-inclusive packages, call Beau Rivage
Vacations at (800) 261-9548 or visit www.beaurivage.com.