Hotel/Resort Review: Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino – Chandler, Arizona

This is part of a continuing series of my impressions and experiences staying at various hotels and resorts while traveling to attend concerts worldwide. This review is for the Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino in Chandler, Arizona for a stay in June 2012.

Property: Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino
Location: Chandler, Arizona
Address: 5040 Wild Horse Pass Blvd, Chandler, AZ 85226
Phone: (520) 796-4900
Room Type/Class: Standard King (Room 430)
Date: June 7-9, 2012
TripAdvisor Page/Reviews: LINK
Booking Source: Expedia
Overall Rating: 3/5 [Note: Score is totally subjective based on price, location, and comparison to “like” properties within same area and price range]

I chose the Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino for my stay, as I was traveling to Chandler, AZ to see the B-52s perform at the property’s own concert venue, Ovations LIVE!, so it seemed like it would be convenient to stay at the same hotel where the concert was scheduled to be held.

I want to preface this by noting that I don’t gamble, which I would imagine is the primary reason most would stay at this hotel, so my perspective might be at odds with those looking for input on staying at this hotel.  I’m not anti-gambling or anything, I just have zero interest in it, and having stayed recently in Vegas for other shows and now here at this venue, did not so much as drop a penny into a slot machine.

I came in the night before, just to ensure I would not encounter any potential travel issues with delayed/canceled flights the day of the concert.

The resort offers both valet parking and self-parking (which is in an open air traditional parking lot within view of the entrance, which is convenient).  Since I self-parked, I don’t know the added cost, if any, for valet.

One thing I didn’t notice until I started writing this review and in referencing my original booking, I was actually given the wrong class of room – I’d booked a Standard King room and received a room with two Queen-sized beds.  Not a big deal, but traveling alone, I did not have any need for two beds.

As it was late at night when I checked in, I did not have any idea what my view out the window was, as all I saw was black, for the most part.  The following morning, I found out why – 70% of my view was a wall – the side of another wing of the hotel.  It was not important to me for this trip, but I would imagine that this was probably among the poorest views at the hotel.  So if a view is important, you would probably want to make a special request in advance of your stay.

The room itself was nice enough; generally what you would expect from a relatively new hotel/casino – clean, fairly modern, nicely appointed, but not lavish for one of their base rooms.

You tend to notice things about casino-based properties that one might assume is by design, to get people out of their rooms and down to the casino level, such as the absence of a mini fridge in the room, etc.  But there were a few complimentary bottles of water and pay per use snacks, as well as a small electronic safe in the closet (i.e. a business-class sized laptop would not fit).

One amenity that is always appreciated in this day and age is free Wi-Fi.  Strangely, there were no instructions on how to access the free Wi-Fi provided in the room.  When connecting to their network and launching the browser to log in, I did guess my room number and last name, and it didn’t work.  So I called to the front desk, and they explained that they would have to create an account for me, and funny enough, provided me with the log in credentials that I had already guessed.  The second day, these credentials did not work, so I called the front desk again, and they said that they credentials were my room number and “guest”.  So there was no consistency with this either.  More, the connection speed was very, very slow – even simple browsing, every image would load so slowly you could see it build in real time.

So there is one major problem that I experienced during my stay…  what felt like a complete lack of any soundproofing between rooms on the same floor.  I would go so far as to say I could hear a pin drop, not just in my own room but in the rooms on either side of mine.  It was really quite extraordinary.  The second example below might have been worsened by the fact that mine and the adjacent room were designed with an optional use door in-between, making them potentially adjoining.  I don’t know how many rooms have this feature, but if you aren’t coming with a group that would use it, I would request a non-adjoining room if any are available to help possibly mitigate the sound creep issue.

In the normal course of things, it was not so noticeable, but in my first of two nights, I had the first adverse experience with this…  I was awoken at about 2:30 am by many guests arriving to the room to the right of mine.  And I am a heavy sleeper.  Obviously the party was in a drunken, “called it a night after spending time in the casino” stupor (not conjecture on my part – I could hear every word spoken), and as drunk and obnoxious as they were, probably had no idea I could hear every word said as though we were all in the same room.

This went on for quite a while (to the point where I speculated it would not end without intervention until the parties in the next room were all passed out), so I contacted the front desk and they said that they would send security up to the room.  This did ultimately put an end to the most inappropriate noise, at least, though I had to turn on the A/C and television to drown out some of the noise.

The second night, with the room on the left (with the aforementioned adjoining door), was actually worse, even though it was at a more reasonable hour, just due to the context.  This was at about 11 pm, and I could hear two people talking, in normal voice, but so loud and clear it was as if they were three feet away from me and in the same room.  I was working on my laptop at the desk in the room, and the noise was coming from the other side of the wall.  I will leave out the graphic details (all of a sexual nature, and talking in detail about what they were doing, as they were doing it) but I eventually heard a third voice and person involved (!) and basically everything going on in that room I could hear as clearly as anything.  It was so bad, I ended up leaving my room as it definitely changed my plans to order room service.

I stopped at the front desk to ask about what I was supposed to do with these circumstances, and they said that they would send security up.  This seemed odd to me, to be honest, in that as much as I was disturbed, and actually felt kind of violated being subjected to forced eavesdropping on strange goings on in a neighboring room, they weren’t intending to disturb other people (as far as I know).

I ended up having dinner in the casino, and eventually made my way back toward my room, hoping the “noise” was over.  Well, wouldn’t you know I ended up in the same elevator with the threesome from the neighboring room?  How did I know?  Their voices, their conversation, and that one made a sarcastic comment about needing to be quiet or they’d get in trouble again…  The last thing I needed was a visual of the participants to go with the voices and all of the “activity” I’d heard before I fled my room.  Once we got to the same floor, I went down the opposite hallway toward the ice machine so as to avoid further awkwardness.

The only other issues I had with the stay were from the first night – just walking through the casino to the “Cafe 24/7” restaurant…  I would say it is easily the “smokiest” casino I’ve ever been in, by a longshot.  I have an allergic reaction to cigarette smoke, and am therefore very attuned to it, and it was really bad; noticeably worse than any casino I’d walked through in Las Vegas in a stay there last month.  Even staying in my room (which thankfully was smoke-free), I heard constant coughing from other guests through the thin walls from other rooms and walking up and down the hallway.

I also was unfortunately not impressed with Cafe 24/7 restaurant.  I had a feeling that the wait staff had no concept of Food Service and Hospitality 101.  It was one of those dining experiences where you give someone your order, and never see them again; someone else brings your food, and you never see them again, and a third person drops off a check, and no one ever asks you if you want/need anything, or even refills your empty beverage.  Strangely, the meal was brought to my table in what I would call room service style – a plate covered by a metal dome, with condiments packaged in little “to go” plastic containers.

Having said all that, I hope these complaints don’t come across as really nit picky… there were just my own, first hand experiences, and perhaps those who read this might fare better knowing them and anticipating such issues.

In stark contrast with these quibbles, I was greatly impressed with the Ovations LIVE! venue, how it was managed, and the staff employed for the concert event.  All top notch and nothing but compliments with that aspect of my stay.  Really a spectacular concert venue, and would definitely return (and even try another stay at the hotel) if another artist that I enjoy scheduled a show there in the future.

When I checked out at the front desk, I did share my dissatisfaction regarding the noise on both nights of my stay, and asked if they ever make adjustments to the bill as a result (since, in my opinion, a proper night’s sleep is a hotel’s primary responsibility to its guests).  He did not provide a “yes” or “no” answer to my questions, and instead asked if I had called the front desk to complain at the time of the noise (I got the sense he anticipated my answer would be “no”).  I told him that I did in fact contact the front desk both times, both nights of my stay.  He said that there is nothing that they can do if other guests are rude and noisy.  He offered to buy me a cup of coffee in consideration, and I politely declined.

In conclusion, as I somewhat intimated in my opening, I believe that most guests are there to partake in the casino gaming and partying environment, so probably most of my complaints would not be an issue for the partying/gaming crowd.

Below are photos I took of the Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino during my stay:

Jason DeBord


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