Privilege has
its membership

Apr 11, 2006 4:02 AM

The absence of exclusivity is the bane of many clubs. Groucho Marx stated, with tongue firmly in cheek, "I would never want to be a member of a club that would have me as a member," and it is rumored that Truman Capote quipped about the infamously delicious discriminatory line practices of Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager at Studio 54, "The fun is not whom you invite, but whom you don’t."

Casino slot or player loyalty clubs have become prisms, separating the grey from the non-grey people. Although not all members of Ameristar’s highest segment of the Star Awards club are as glamorous as those waiting to enter Rubell and Schrager’s ode to disco fueled decadence, these approximately 1,200 players who are positioned at the zenith of the Star Awards reward pyramid have access to their own club that is almost as exclusive.

On April 2, with the assistance of Travis Grode, the perpetual motion machine posing as a marketing coordinator, I attended a VIP party celebrating the re-branding of the Mountain High Casino into an Ameristar property.

While many major improvements have been brought by Ameristar, the star of the evening was the locale of the VIP party.

The Star Club is an oasis of tranquility and elegance amidst the chaos and cacophony of the casino floor. The private VIP lounge, located directly adjacent to the main cage, is simply elegant. Ameristar has always been known in the industry as providing a premium quality product, and putting "their money where their mouth is." The Star Club is no exception.

Upon entering, I was warmly welcomed and offered a peach martini by a team member from the corporate office. Ameristar is leveraging their power as a brand and even brought in hosts from sister properties in Kansas City to ensure a smooth transition. The décor of the club is reminiscent of a refined Old West gentlemen’s home library with oil paintings adorning the walls, more-than-comfortable over-stuffed leather couches and chairs, and, of course, a fully stocked top shelf bar.

Having been around this gaming and hospitality business awhile, I was delighted to be satiated by roasted boar with pistachio crusting, spice-infused lobster, oysters on the half shell, fresh prawns, rack of lamb, cheese plates, and trays of delicate cream-based desserts that could make Kirstie Alley fall off the wagon.

This was no ordinary VIP party spread. From the food and beverage alone (a quality trademark of the Ameristar brand), it is clear that this property means business.

To re-enforce their drive to offer the best VIP experience possible, the Star Club is staffed with extremely attractive, elegantly uniformed, and well-trained service staff. Couple this level of amenity with an active host program that is designed to coddle the Ameristar Black Hawk customers, a strategically advanced marketing department, and a reservoir of corporate resources backing a disciplined property team, the new flag on the block is clearly setting the bar high for the whole Colorado gaming market.