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A Taste Of The Good Life

Gambling in luxury

By Karrie L. Zukowski & Lisa Robertson-Dziedzic


Some casinos focus almost exclusively on gaming, but a popular trend over the past decade has been to offer compelling—often breathtaking—non-gaming enhancements designed to showcase the property beyond a gambling hall. Indeed, some spectacular casino resorts have gone to great lengths to create an awe-inspiring environment with such a range of amenities that for some, gambling has become only part of the fun. Here are a few of the best casino resorts for guests hungry for a taste of luxury.


Reno is often thought of as a “cowboy town”—a slowed-down, rural alternative to the uber-modern luxury found down south in Las Vegas. People rarely think in terms of high-class or top-notch when they think Reno. Rather, words like “rodeo” and “Wranglers” come to mind.

This is a mistake—especially these days.

Reno is on the rise as it continues a string of major economic development victories for Northern Nevada that includes landing Tesla Motors’ $5 billion gigafactory battery plant, Apple computer’s data center and the recent announcement of Las Vegas-based Switch’s $1 billion data center expansion into the Reno market.

If you still have any doubts, just check out Atlantis Casino, Resort and Spa. This AAA Four Diamond Resort is located in the heart of Reno’s restaurant, shopping and entertainment district. Nearly $150 million has been spent upgrading the property that features Reno’s only Concierge Hotel Tower, with its own 25th floor Concierge Lounge, where guests can enjoy a complimentary breakfast or afternoon hors d’oeuvres, business services, and dramatic views of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Concierge tower guests receive VIP check-in and a glass-enclosed elevator ride.

But nothing says luxury more than the state-of-the-art Spa Atlantis and for good reason. Named one of the Top 10 spas in the world by Spa Finder, Spa Atlantis is the property’s crown jewel—all 30,000 square feet of it.

Attention to every detail was given to the development of the facility and the exclusive treatments it offers. The Spa menu reads like a tribute to tranquility. There’s the Hydrating Sugar Polish, which promises to leave you polished and revived; the Cleopatra Milk and Honey Hydration Wrap, where the skin is regenerated with a recipe of milk, honey and nourishing oils while you float weightless on a warm Soft Pack cocoon bed; and the Rasul Ceremonial Chamber—arguably one of the most unique settings found in any spa—inspired by the ancient bathing treatment of royalty.

Spa Atlantis soothes all your senses, from the moment you enter its sanctuary. Water art calms the mind while adding visual appeal. Light therapy—colors chosen for their specific therapeutic values—reflect of a waterfall of Brine, cascading over stones, to the backdrop of relaxing music in the Brine Inhalation Therapy Room. And in the Laconium relaxation Lounge, a heated floor, captivating water feature and mild temperatures stimulates circulation, reduce stress, and purify and detoxify the body.

The elite have been reveling in elaborate baths for centuries and the Aqua Spa Lounge is no exception. This soothing environment houses a number of Jacuzzi pools with alternating water temperatures, designed to refresh tired muscles and relax the body; while cold water pools will invigorate and strengthen the immune system. Even the showers are customized with your specific needs in mind. The Experiential Shower features four choreographed water experiences—Ice Fog, Tropical Rain, Thunderstorm, and a Waterfall—will accomplish everything from restoring balance to the mind, body and spirit, to gently washing away the stress of everyday life.

The Spa is also one of less than a dozen U.S. spas to offer the highly specialized Pantai Luar treatment. An Eastern Asian massage geared toward total well-being, the Pantai Luar massage utilizes two heated sachets filled with the world’s highest quality herbs, coconut and limes. As these exotic fragrances envelop you, the heated sachets are passed over the body and then cooled, while stretching and pressure are applied to the muscles, releasing herbs and essential oils into the skin. It’s 80 minutes of sublime sedation.

With everything Spa Atlantis features, even the most seasoned spa-goer is certain to be impressed with this amazing facility. Be sure to check out Atlantis’ website for an array of spa packages that include luxury overnight accommodations. For more information, visit


A favorite among casinophiles, Pechanga Resort & Casino offers one of the largest and most expansive resort/casino experiences anywhere in the country. This Temecula, California casino has been rated a Four Diamond property by AAA since 2002, and provides an unparalleled getaway, whether for the day or for an extended luxury stay. Offering more than 3,000 of the hottest slots, table games, world-class entertainment, 517 hotel rooms, dining, spa and golf, Pechanga Resort & Casino features a destination that meets and exceeds the needs of its guests and the community. If you’re looking for that extra special indulgence during your stay, a Jacuzzi suite is the way to go.

Of the 84 total suites in the 517-luxury room hotel, 19 are Jacuzzi suites that evoke modern, spa-like warmth. Nature-inspired red, aqua, turquoise and rich brown hues accent the emphasis on the rooms’ contemporary comfort. Floor to ceiling windows bring in natural light while remote controlled shades offer the right amount of privacy. Earth elements bring the outside in by way of glass-etched artwork, wood inlaid oversized mirrors and glass bead walls symbolizing water behind the headboard and next to Jacuzzi tubs.

Designers also created the suites with careful attention to how guests interface with technology. Headboards feature integrated surround sound and a 42-inch, flat screen television that can be viewed perfectly from the room’s king bed, or any other location in the room. Guests can plug smart devices into the complimentary Guest Link technology panel or to the bedside table docks. Customized dimming panels and concealed LED lighting reduce eye strain. Shades on the floor to ceiling and Jacuzzi-facing windows can be raised or lowered with an intuitive remote control. The whirlpool effects are controlled by an easily accessed water-proof button panel. Guests staying in Pechanga Resort & Casino suites receive spa-grade Tarocco bath products, 24-hour room service, complimentary valet and concierge service, free WiFi and access to the pool, sundeck and work-out facility. For more information visit


Only 30 miles east of Sacramento, Thunder Valley Casino Resort in Lincoln, California, is Northern California’s premier AAA Four Diamond Resort experience, offering over 250,000 square feet of gaming space, a luxurious hotel, award-winning restaurants and bars and much more.

Thunder Valley joined the elite ranks of AAA Four Diamond award-winning resort destinations in 2011 and is home to a luxury, 17-story hotel with 297 rooms, including 40 suites. All rooms are beautifully appointed with lavishly oversized marble bathrooms, European spa showers and flat-screen televisions. While staying in the hotel, guests have the opportunity to enjoy Thunder Valley’s expansive outdoor pool, complete with private cabanas and Coconut, a poolside bar.

For the ultimate in relaxation, The Spa at Thunder Valley features a wide variety of services and treatments designed to energize the body and mind while neutralizing physical and mental toxicity. From manicures and pedicures, to the Cabernet Grape Seed Crush Body Scrub and Resurfacing Peel, guests can rejuvenate the body and mind amid ten treatment rooms of serene ambiance.

Thunder Valley offers world-class gaming space—including over2,500 slot and video machines, 103 table games and a live Poker Room with space for 240 players. From classic reel favorites like Triple Diamonds and Quick Hits to the hottest and newest digital machines in dazzling detail, the choices are nearly endless.

Thunder Valley is home to 14 restaurants and bars, including High Steaks Steakhouse, Red Lantern, Thunder Café, The Buffet and an expansive Food Court. The award-wining High Steaks Steakhouse is the region’s only AAA Four Diamond accredited outdoor resort dining experience, offering the finest cuts of prime dry-aged steaks, market fresh seafood, a prized wine list and elaborate dessert selections made by Thunder Valley’s pastry team. Or satisfy your appetite at Red Lantern. Red Lantern brings together the flavors of authentic Chinese cuisine and the elegant and stylish atmosphere of a luxury resort, while Thunder Café offers a classic selection of American cuisine in a friendly, casual setting.

For more than just “a night out”, Illusions is Thunder Valley’s newest bar and ultra-lounge. Illusions offers guests an upscale venue with elite and luxurious appeal. The two level ultra-lounge occupies 3,500 square feet in the center of the AAA Four-Diamond resort destination. Illusions is a modern space with decorative flair that combines art deco opulence with a contemporary edge. The center of the ultra-lounge is adorned with a cloud of over 350 floating lights. Twenty foot high brass screens also embrace the canopy of lights and provide visual richness and drama to the space.

Private booths and generous shared seating surround the glistening dance floor. Upstairs, a very luxurious lounge, rich with modern design, offers the ultimate intimate refuge from the party below. With great sightlines to the dance floor, it is the place to see and be seen.

Illusions offers a delicious food menu with a variety of signature flavorful beverages. The drink menu features the most recent trend in mixology: cocktails that are infused with flavored smoke. Guests can also enjoy four levels of VIP bottle service packages. Illusions is open from 10 2 a.m. every day of the week. On Friday and Saturday evenings from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., a live DJ provides entertainment to Illusions guests with upbeat musical mixings.

Whitney Oaks Golf Club is another spectacular resort amenity. Located just 10 miles from the casino, Whitney Oaks Golf Club prides itself on providing first-class service and features an immaculate 18-hole course, driving range, clubhouse with bar & grill, a well-stocked Pro Shop plus facilities large enough to accommodate weddings and banquets. For more information about Whitney Oaks Golf Club, visit or call 916.632.8333.

For more information on upcoming promotions, entertainment and ticket sales, or to make reservations at Thunder Valley’s AAA Four Diamond resort, visit



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