Horseshoe Casino Hammond
(click any image to enlarge)
A 25-minute drive from downtown Chicago and located in the middle of an industrial area, Horseshoe Casino Hammond was originally the Empress Casino, opening in 1996 as a 54,000-square-foot, four-level gaming vessel.
It was re-branded as Horseshoe Casino Hammond on May 4, 2001. In 2004 Harrah’s Entertainment bought the Horseshoe and built a new vessel. The current casino facility – a combination of the vessel plus a pavilion – opened on August 8, 2008.
The vessel boasts two public areas: a main gaming floor with special high limit, poker, and Asian gaming sections; and additional gaming space, a 3,400 capacity entertainment space – The Venue, and a buffet.
The vessel is adjacent to the pavilion that houses additional food outlets (see below), as well as a gift shop and ballroom/meeting facilities.
There is no hotel, but qualified players may be accommodated at any number of partner hotels, some of which are in downtown Chicago (Hyatt Regency McCormick Place, Hyatt Regency Chicago, Hotel Monaco) or about a 10- or 15-minute drive down the road in Indiana (Ramada Inn or Courtyard by Marriott).
The words "mammoth," "huge" and "overwhelming" are the first to come to mind. At times I thought I was onboard a luxury ocean liner in the 1930s. Wood paneling, marble and crystal chandeliers are the basis for the decor. Wide sweeping staircases leading to a second-floor concert venue and buffet are truly spectacular. With more than 3,000 slot machines, nearly 100 tables games, Keno and the largest Poker Room in the Midwest, there is something for everyone. And don't forget to check out the beautiful Asian gaming area, Le Cheng.
The casino is equipped with Caesars proprietary Total Touch system that allows customers to order drinks, redeem free play, check their Total Rewards account balances, and receive real-time offers based on play.
Unlike at some casinos, alcoholic beverages are not complimentary, but there are self-serve beverage stations, right, that dispense complimentary soft drinks.
In addition to two bars and lounges – Push and Sixth Street Bar at Horseshoe Hammond – there are four food outlets ranging from Jack Binion's Steak House and the Village Square Buffet to JB's Gourmet Sandwiches and Foo Noodle Bar. Note, though, that no one younger than 21 may enter the casino, so don't plan to take members of your family or friends to the casino for a meal or to see a show.
An additional dining option is Horseshoe's $5 million food hall adjacent to the casino floor.
The Eatery includes H Burger, 360 Pizza, Fresh and Café. H Burger's signature prime burger features Angus beef with shaved prime rib, horseradish mayonnaise, sweet onions and provolone cheese on a caramelized bun; 360 Pizza serves brick-oven fired pizza; Fresh offers sandwiches, salads and wraps with deli meats, seasoned roast beef, marinara meatballs, pulled pork and other ingredients; and Café features coffee and pastries, including éclairs, tiramisu, cheesecakes and brownies available 24 hours a day.
Special Seven Stars Benefits*
There is a Seven Stars Lounge (see below), dedicated lines at the buffet and Total Rewards, and priority valet parking service.
There is a dedicated Seven Stars self-parking area, right,
but it requires a special access card, left, which you can get at the Seven Stars Lounge or at the Total Rewards Center. It can take up to 24 hours to activate. The entrance to this special reserved parking is past the Self Park garage and just prior to Valet.
There is a free cocktail hour in the Seven Stars Lounge on Fridays and Saturdays. Check for hours.
- Seven Stars and Diamond cardholders can get a free shuttle pass – a $20 value – back to Chinatown in Chicago (Red Line stop). Go to the desk inside the bus pick-up/drop-off area.
Seven Stars Lounge
With the exception of the two Seven Stars Lounges in Atlantic City, the Horseshoe has the only other in the country. The lounge, left, is open Monday through Friday from 4 p.m. to midnight, and on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to midnight.
The lounge – overlooking Lake Michigan and furnished very elegantly – was the first in the country and was built specially for this purpose. There are several groupings of two, four and more, as well as comfortable sofas and a bar that seats about 10 people.
Guests order food from a small menu that includes salads, fish and chips, sliders, chicken wings, etc.
While alcoholic beverages are not complimentary (see above), they're priced "below market". For example, a single pour of Tanqueray gin or Grey Goose vodka is $4.
Stars cardholders who happen to be at Horseshoe Hammond on the seventh
of any month from 6 to 10 can enjoy a special themed evening, e.g., a
bourbon tasting and cigar night, in the Seven Stars Lounge. (The desserts shown are from a December holiday-themed party.) The lounge
also has Taco Tuesdays and a mystery menu on Thursdays.
A Diamond Lounge, one flight up, with similar lake views, is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
There are plenty of tables of two and four, as well as a bar that seats approximately 15.
Guests place their orders from a menu, help themselves to the soup and salad bar, then return for the dessert buffet after their meal.
On Fridays and Saturdays there is buffet service only due to increased volume on weekends.
Total Rewards Center
The Total Rewards Center is open daily at 8 a.m., until 1 a.m. Sunday through Thursday, and until 3 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
Should You Choose This For Your Annual Retreat?
I know several people who have chosen Horseshoe Hammond, were housed downtown in any number of nice hotels, and had their $500 folio credit split between the hotel and the casino.
It's a great opportunity to take in all the sights in downtown Chicago and still have the casino atmosphere at night, but it's not terribly convenient to commute back and forth from a downtown Chicago hotel and the casino.
Also, note that casinos without hotels are under no obligation to host your annual retreat, a Diamond Aspiration trip, or even provide you with a complimentary hotel room during any visit.
Where Horseshoe Hammond Is Located
*subject to change
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