It is weird to read what someone else’s experience is about an event that you share. It really depends on what you contribute to it and how that colours how you enjoy it. For example, according to Nicole I seem to have napped most of the time this past weekend and her overriding memory seems to be of the casino. For me, the poor sod who has to drive the car, the experience is completely different. Mostly I like driving, but when it comes to having to drive in torrential downpours and endless traffic jams my enjoyment is diminished significantly. My overriding memory of the weekend then is not the casino, which was a lot of fun, especially since I didn’t really lose any money. It is not the room, which was amazing, a pass through window to the bedroom from the jacuzzi bathroom and a view of the falls and the Casino. It is not our discovery of a brand new shopping and restaurant area in Amherst (I guess this would be like driving from Etobicoke into Mississauga and discovering all the different stores there) including the same ring store where we can now take Nicole’s engagement ring to get cleaned. It is not even the enormous pile of nachos that I had at the British Pub style restaurant at the casino as outlined below:

Their description:
After a busy day in Niagara, come meet friends or simply relax in the warm and inviting pub atmosphere of The Falls & Firkin. Enjoy a wide selection of domestic and imported draught beer, as well as wines and cocktails, while you seek refuge in a variety of comfortable seating overlooking the Falls. Their extensive menu includes traditional pub fare and delicious daily specials, covering lunch, dinner, late-night snacks and weekend brunch.

My description:

After a busy day in the Casino losing all your money and getting bumped from your machine by grumpy senior citizens with menace in their eyes even though you only stood up to stretch your legs, come and relax in the comfortable but oddly low booth seating in the Falls & Firkin. Enjoy watching us eject unruly Asian people as they attempt to eat their own food on our patio and marvel at the inappropriately tight Lululemon pants on our (obviously oblivious) slightly portly waitress. Enjoy a wide selection of food as long as it is fish and chips, nachos or beans and mash since our understanding of British Pub cuisine obviously comes from The Simpsons or Family Guy. You can have a myriad of different beers but in order to do so you have to catch the waiter with the weird hair or try and track down the bartender who is occupied chatting up some pierced face weirdo who looks more like a pincushion than a fashion statement. But take our advice, have the nachos, it will make all the rest of the experience go away.

My overriding memory of the weekend then was none of the above, and no, it was not even the traffic. My overrriding memory of the weekend was how amazing it was to me (if not to her) that Nicole was able to read tiny street signs, to see wonderful cloud formations and to see the beauty of the falls from our room without her glasses or contacts. It took me right back to when I had my eyes done and the marvel it was finally to be without contact lenses for the first time in 20 years. I know exactly how she feels, something which for men and women is rare. I even know how she will feel as the days and weeks pass which is even more strange. But most of all I know that she is happy which to me is the best Anniversary present of all.

The hotel was nice, well appointed, comfortable and clean. The service was good, although we did not use any of the amenities. I would recommend the hotel but only of you can get a good deal on a room. There is no way I would pay $250 a night for it, but then again, there are very few places I would pay that kind of money for. The place is well built, pleasant to walk through which is nice, the lobby area is large and welcoming and the halls to the rooms are equally appealing and clean. The room itself as noted was very nice and interestingly laid out. However, the shower door seal leaked and the door did not close properly meaning that after I had finished showering the floor of the bathroom was completely flooded, not only a pain for me to mop up, but also extremely dangerous. The shower door has a full width handle on the outside but a very small and difficult to grip cylindrical knob on the inside. This makes it impossible to pull the door hard enough to close it should it not have been built properly, which our obviously had not. The windows were a decent size however I think that a flagship hotel overlooking one of the Wonders of the World could have full length windows or at least full width… Anyway, my enjoyment of the hotel was not diminished by these items. There was an amusing item as we walked from the parking lot to the hotel. Each floor has a “Hotel Events” large screen monitor encased in an expensive looking wooden display on which the hotel displays any conference information, helpful visitor tips and so on. The one on our floor however indicated that today’s Hotel Event was that “There are unused items on your desktop”. Maybe someone should call the helpdesk?

I am not sure if we reviewed the casino last time but the review is short and sweet. If you try hard you could imagine you are in Vegas. The casino itself is very nice, large and bright and well ventilated. It is not quite as loud as some of the Vegas casinos and certainly not as large but it is about as close as you will find anywhere around here. The machines play differently, there is no doubt that the payouts are less and that the variety is not comparable however it really doesn’t affect your enjoyment of the place. You can winn enough to keep playing which is the key and if you are very lucky like my wife (in more ways that one!) you can win enough to go shopping in Buffalo. One thing I did notice is that the Players Club works differently than in Vegas. They only bank points for the money that you put into the machine not for the time that you play. In Vegas you can put in $20 and play for an hour racking up credits enough to get you a free buffet in no time. At Niagara, unless you are putting cash into the machine you don’t get credits. Playing isn’t enough in other words, you have to pay! Their system calls for 100 points to get $10 play cash. However it notes that you have to put in between $40 and $60 to get ONE POINT!!! Enough said. Basically if you can’t get to Vegas and you want the next best thing go to Atlantic City. If you can’t leave the country then go to Niagara Fallsview. Just check the weather and the traffic before you go!