Terrible's might seem like a terrible name for a resort.
"You would think from a marketing standpoint it would be bad because everything you do would start with 'Terrible,'" said David Nolan, who took over as general manager of the casino less than two years ago. "Unless they know us, people would say, 'Why would I want to stay at a place called Terrible's?' But lots of people do know us, and for locals, it's actually a pretty strong brand."
This year, Terrible's Hotel and Casino, at Paradise and East Flamingo roads, got even better. Owners put the finishing touches this month on a $7 million, 18-month renovation that included room upgrades, a new sports book and an expanded bar.
It was the first renovation for the casino, formerly the Continental, since the Herbst family spent $65 million in 2000 to gut and refurbish it. A tower was added in 2007.
No longer affiliated with the family that runs the Terrible Herbst convenience stores, the resort was bought out of bankruptcy by Affinity Gaming in 2009. The new owners kept the name because locals recognize it, and they make up 70 percent of its clientele.
Since word spread about the renovation, Terrible's 327 rooms have consistently sold out, Nolan said. Customers are both locals and tourists, and room rates start at $34.99.
"We have a real diversity in our crowd," Nolan said. "Our goal with this renovation was to provide a clean, safe and fun atmosphere because that's what our visitors are looking for."
Here's a look at some of the new features at Terrible's:
From the carpet to the couches to the wallpaper, all of the decor and furnishings in the original tower's hotel rooms are new. Owners chose blue for the dominant color and added brown, gray and orange accents.
"We figured it gets hot enough in Las Vegas most of the year, so people would feel comfortable coming back to a room with this cool blue," Nolan said.
The sports book
One of the most noticeable changes came to the William Hill race and sports book. New paint and a contemporary design adds a modern feel to the casino, which was built in 1975. Flat-screen televisions and leather chairs make watching games more comfortable.
The spot where the bar now sits originally was an entrance to a McDonald's. The space was renovated to accommodate more slot machines. The bar was extended to include more seats and video poker games, and it now offers a view of the sports book.
Guests "want to sit at their favorite game with their favorite bartender and have their favorite libation all within arm's reach," Nolan said.
The meeting space
A small meeting room that seats about 20 opened at the beginning of the year and already has been booked consistently. Casino officials now are looking for ways to expand their business offerings. Many reservations for the hotel come from groups working with the International Gaming Institute at UNLV next door, Nolan said.