Escape with the perfect casino vacation at any of these luxurious resorts
By Sean Chaffin
The bags are packed and airline tickets booked. It’s time for a getaway from the daily grind – and one of the country’s most luxurious resorts is calling your name. Whether it’s a spa retreat, golf getaway, fine cuisine, or some high-limit gaming, a casino resort can be the perfect prescription for muchneeded rest and relaxation. Casino Player takes a look at some of the best spots for that well-earned vacation.
BEAU RIVAGE RESORT & CASINO
The Gulf Coast is calling and this property leads the pack. The Beau’s brand of southern comfort offers quite a bit of luxury for those seeking a high-end getaway. The property has even been named as the only Forbes Travel Guide Recommended Hotel in Mississippi, quite a distinguished honor in the industry.
STAY & PLAY
What’s a stay like at this full-service resort? The style and sophistication begins in the atrium and lobby area with thousands of plants and flowers in an inviting atmosphere. The hotel features 1,740 more-than-comfortable guest rooms and suites, complete with warm, subdued colors and a modern, yet “homey” atmosphere. While you may be away from home, take some comfort in the sleeping and lounge areas in guest rooms and 32-inch flatscreen TVs. The bathrooms also offer a decadent style—complete with Italian marble floors and surfaces and separate soaking tub and stall showers to wash away some stress.
Ready for some action? The 85,000-square foot gaming space has got you covered with some of the latest in table games, slots, poker, and high limits. Take a chance at more than 80 table games with favorites like blackjack, craps, baccarat, and various forms of poker including, of course, Mississippi stud. The more mechanically-minded have their choice of 1,900 slot and video poker machines. Management constantly adds new machines and a few of the favorites include Ellen DeGeneres, Big Bang Theory, Britney Spears, 88 Fortune, and more.
“Guests love our slot floor because we keep a great selection of games, new themes,” says Mary Cracchiolo Spain, regional director of communications for MGM Resorts International. “Guest service is our primary focus— quick and friendly service.”
For a smoke-free alternative, the Beau’s non-smoking “casino-within a casino” houses 270 slots. The expanded and updated poker room includes 16 tables with weekly and monthly tournaments in a comfort- able setting. The casino also boasts some of the biggest regional poker tournaments with a chance for rounders to make that big score. As if that weren’t enough, those wishing to raise the stakes in a bit of seclusion can check out the all-new high-stakes salon—complete with eight table games, a high-limit slot room featuring 126 of the latest machines, an exclusive cocktail bar, private restrooms, and a 24/7 concierge service.
CUISINE & BEYOND
Worked up an appetite? The fully-integrated resort offers up 10 restaurants and four lounges and bars to suit any palate. For fine dining, BR Prime is a great option for steak and chops with delectable seafood and wine options in a sophisticated, well-designed atmosphere. The restaurant was the only eatery in Mississippi to be recommended by the Forbes Travel Guide. Stalla offers award-wining Italian and Jia is another option for the best in Asian cuisine. Favorites include dim sum, sushi, and Asian inspired seafood as well as a wide range cocktails, Asian beers, and sake. Casual and quick-serve options include: the 24-hour Terrace Café, offering up contemporary and classic American fare with sandwiches, salads, and decadent desserts; The Buffet offers meal options for every taste; and The Roasted Bean with scrumptious sandwiches, salads, pizzas, desserts, and fresh-roasted coffee. Other dining options abound.
When it comes to entertainment, the Beau offers the best headlining acts to visit the Gulf Coast. The property’s theater is a modern, yet intimate 1,800-seat venue and a state-of-the-art sound and lighting system. Major upcoming acts include The Band Perry (June 10), the Steve Miller Band (July 22), and Boston (Aug. 5). Other options for a fun night out include the EIGHT75 nightclub and bar offers the best in liquid libations in a cool atmosphere. Also, Coast is a sports bar and seafood restaurant by day that transforms into a nightclub with the best in live music and dancing by night.
Getaway plans at the Beau also include shopping at the casino’s 12 retail shops. Or relax in style with a visit to the fabulous spa and salon for a makeover or massage. Check out the wonders of the Gulf Coast at the pool with exquisite views of the gulf amidst brilliantly landscaped tropical surroundings with private poolside cabanas and private concierge service available. More amenities at the resort include a business center, 50,000 square feet of convention space, and of course, the award-winning Fallen Oak, featuring some of the most beautiful surroundings in the country with more than 1,000 mature oaks, pines, and magnolias. Beau Rivage offers a getaway like none other for those seeking a combination of luxury, pampering, and of course, a whole lot of fun.
BraVeau Comes to Beau Rivage
This summer, leave reality behind and travel to an imaginary world as the cirque-style spectacle, BraVeau, takes the Beau Rivage Theater stage June 7–Aug.7. Audiences will be engaged and entertained by eccentric characters, fanciful creatures and skilled performers who execute feats of beauty and unparralleled agility. BraVeau infuses traditional commedia dell’arte with modern cirque sophistication and drama. A show produced exclusively for MGM Resorts International by DreamCast Entertainment, it features an internationally renowned cast of acrobats, aerialists, dancers and stunt performers who come as far away as Russia and Mongolia to inspire and amaze. Renowned circus sensation and comic dare devil Bello Nock returns to Beau Rivage in this 80-minute non-stop, production.
“DreamCast Entertainment has produced many successful cirque-style shows for MGM Resorts International,” said Anthony Gibson, Beau Rivage executive director of entertainment, “BraVeau is raising the bar and is sure to delight audiences. BraVeau’s artists are some of the most respected entertainers and athletes worldwide. The beauty they bring to human performance art is breathtaking.”
There’s nonstop action throughout BraVeau, which blends traditional circus acts with theatrical elements of dance and dare devil stunts. The international ensemble of performers include trapeze acts, precision acrobatic and hand-balancing artistry, the Wheel of Wonder, impeccable dance routines, the Sphere of Fear motorcycle globe, astounding contortionists, and comedic interludes by Europe’s most beloved clowns.
BraVeau performances are 7 p.m. Monday–Thursday; 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday; no performances on Friday. Tickets are $12.95, $16.95 and $24.95 plus tax and service fees, and available for purchase by phone at 888.566.7469 or online at www.ticketmaster.com or www.beaurivage.com. A family four pack of tickets is available for $40 (offer code BraVeau). BraVeau room packages start at $129 plus tax and fees, and include deluxe accommodations and two tickets to the show. This offer is valid Monday–Thursday. Mention offer code BraVeau2016 when booking. For more information visit www.beaurivage.com.
FOXWOODS RESORT CASINO
Enjoy yourself at one of the Northeast’s favorite casino spots. Owned and operated by the Mashantucket Pequot Indians, Foxwoods offers the perfect solution for a gambling getaway in style, featuring six casinos as well as AAA Four-Diamond hotels, gourmet restaurants, a state-of-the-art theater, shopping, and much more.
STAY & PLAY
A stay at this property comes with four fantastic hotel options. The Grand Pequot Tower boasts style and sophistication with 23 stories of rooms and suites. The Villas at Foxwoods, located within the Grand Pequot Tower, feature 23 sumptuous suites with 1,400 square feet of well-designed space, 24-hour butler service, a big-screen TV, Jacuzzi tub, living room, and complimentary valet services. Other options include: the spacious AAA Three Diamond Great Cedar Hotel, located in the heart of the casino; Two Trees Inn, offering the feel of a country inn; and AAA Four Diamond Fox Tower is the perfect sensual experience with modern design and beautifully appointed rooms.
When it comes to gaming, there are plenty of options at the Foxwoods in its 340,000-square feet of casino space (the largest in the U.S.). Get in on the excitement with your choice of 380 table games including baccarat, blackjack, craps, pai gow, and more. Slots fans will be pleased from a selection of 4,800 machines from the latest games, pop-culture sensations, progressives, and classic favorites. From penny slots or to $100 machines, there’s something for everyone including daily tournaments. Just a sampling of the favorites include the Flintstones, Quartermania, and Elton John. Other gaming options include high-stakes bingo, a race book, and the largest poker room on the East Coast with every game and limit imaginable.
CUISINE & BEYOND
There’s no end to the dining options at the Foxwoods. For fine dining, check out Al Dente for the best in Italian fare or take in David Burke Prime for the perfect New York-style steakhouse. Red Lantern offers tasty Asian fare in stylish surroundings. There are numerous other dining options and bars to suit every taste. For a nice cocktail, visit Live@Atrium Bar & Lounge for unique creations and the best in live music. Other clubs offer unique nightlife, cocktails, and music.
For the hottest shows and entertainment, visit the Fox and Grand Theaters for the best concerts, comedy, and athletic events in the country. A few upcoming acts include Cedric the Entertainer (June 25), Bob Dylan (July 3), and comedian Jim Gaffigan (July 13) and Jerry Seinfeld (July 16).
Away from the crowds, relax at the Norwich Spa or G Spa for a treatment in the whirlpool, steam room, sauna, and lounge area or massages, scrub and body therapy, facial, body treatment, and mani/pedi combinations. If golf is more your style, the award-winning Lake of the Isle features two courses: the technically challenging 7,300-yard South Course; and the North Course, with rolling terrain, island greens and tees, and extraordinary views of the 900-acre wooded countryside.
Numerous other activities abound at the resort including bowling, an arcade, the Pequot Museum, world-class clubs, high-end shopping, and more. At Foxwoods, there is literally never a dull moment.
GRAND SIERRA RESORT
Live life large at the Grand Sierra. This resort offers plenty of action, elegance, and fun for the perfect Reno-Lake Tahoe vacation.
STAY & PLAY
With more than 1,900 spacious and elegantly-designed rooms and suites with a contemporary feel, the Grand Sierra provides the most accommodations of any Reno hotel – complete with beautiful views of the Sierra Nevada, downtown Reno, and pool. Rooms and suites range from 450 to over 2,000 square feet and the hotel offers special seasonal packages and discounts including ski, hotel, golf, and wedding packages. For RV travelers, 164 easily accessed pads are available with full hookups, some with views of the Truckee River.
For a fantastic gaming experience, the GS offers the largest casino in northern Nevada. The 80,000-square foot facility offers the best in slots, table games, video poker, sports wagering, and even bingo. Table games include baccarat, blackjack, craps, pai gow poker, roulette, three card poker, and more. Check out a wide variety of slot machines with numerous denominations, player favorites, and progressives with favorites like Towers of the Temple, Spartacus, and Twin Win. The expanded non-smoking gaming area offers 125 popular games also. The Poker Room has a game for every interest and skill level and includes a free players buffet twice daily, as well as regular tournaments, promotions, and cash drawings.
For sports and racing enthusiasts, the 14,200-square foot William Hill Sports Book offers 130-plus TV screens, VIP viewing rooms, easy mobile wagering from anywhere in Nevada.
CUISINE & BEYOND
Why not sample some of the best dining in the city—with 11 restaurants from fine dining to casual and to-go options. Among these are two restaurants from Chef Charlie Palmer. Charlie Palmer Steak is a progressive American steakhouse in the classical French style, and Briscola’s Italian fare includes hand-cut spaghetti or mussels glazed in a spicy lobster broth. Other delectable options include: pan-Asian selections of Rim; fresh Mexican offerings of Cantina; international indulgences at the Elements Buffet; and quick-serve options like the Grand Café, Johnny Rockets, Round Table Pizza, and Yogurt Beach. For spirits and cocktails, Reserve 888 Wine Bar provides more than 80 international hand-selected wines. Sample sushi, sake and assorted cocktails at the Rim Bar. For drinks and a night out, check out the LEX Lounge to imbibe a bit and hit the dance floor.
Ready for even more fun? The Grand Sierra brings in major name entertainment to the newly renovated Grand Theatre. Upcoming shows include: The Cult on June 4; Michael McDonald on June 11; Chicago on June 25, 2016; and Counting Crows and Rob Thomas on Sept. 11.
For some peace and relaxation, head to the Spa for sensual delights from a therapeutic massage or a full-body wrap to smooth and soften the skin. Massage therapists work out the tension in those muscles accompanied by exquisite aromatherapy. The Beach pool also offers plenty of relaxation with shaded cabanas, a kid’s area, sand volleyball courts, and food and cocktail orders are also available.
The GS offers plenty of family options like miniature golf, go-karts, and skydiving at Grand Adventure Land, the FunQuest video arcade and laser tag, a family bowling center, and movie theater. With so much going on, there’s not much reason to leave.
THE COSMOPOLITAN OF LAS VEGAS
Las Vegas, Nevada
Ready to hit the ultra-stylish side of Vegas? Get in on the action of the Strip with a visit to The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, one of the most luxurious in the city. Grab that lucky charm and head for this cool property.
STAY & PLAY
At The Cosmopolitan, options abound—offering spacious, warm rooms with artful touches and textures creating a contemporary ambiance. Many rooms feature glass doors to oversized private terraces complete with views of the city. Bathrooms feature marble-floors, deep soaking tubs, and rain showers for a refreshing cleanse. Rooms are equipped with the latest technology from plasma-screen TVs to high-speed wireless Internet.
Plenty of action is available at the 100,000 square-foot casino including numerous table games from classics like blackjack, roulette, craps, and baccarat to various types of poker and poker-based games like let it ride and Caribbean stud. Slots fans can pick from numerous machines of various denominations with special events like slot tournaments, giveaways, and exclusive promotions throughout the year. The Cosmo is also perfect for the best in sports wagering with a newly redesigned Race & Sports Book. Highlights include state of the art LED video walls and dozens of HD televisions, the latest in mobile wagering technology, lounge-style seating areas, and VIP areas with 90-inch high-definition TVs.
CUISINE & BEYOND
When it comes to great food, there’s an ample supply of fine dining and casual options to choose from. Scarpetta provides a sophisticated Italian menu including Sicilian-spiced duck breast and the seared sea scallops with sunchokes and roasted porcini mushrooms. Another great option is STK, a modern steakhouse with a bustling bar scene, inspired menu, and a relaxed dining atmosphere – complete with a DJ. A few signature dishes include Shrimp Rice Krispies (two large tiger prawns served with sriracha chili sauce, shrimp bisque, fresh lime, and cilantro) and Lil Brgrs (two wagyu beef patties, special sauce, cheese, Japanese pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun). The Sunday brunch is a popular affair at STK with a traditional brunch menu, energetic music, specialty coffee drinks, cocktails, fashion, fun, and more.
Another great option is the Overlook Grill, an indoor/outdoor dining scene with breakfast and lunch selections available all day including chicken fried steak, spicy blue crab lettuce wraps, and traditional eggs Benedict. There are many other great eateries, bars, and lounges to suit every mood from brilliant burgers at Holsteins to Bond Lounge for great mixology and live DJs and dancers.
For a cool down, take a dip in one of several pools at the Cosmo including the Boulevard with an upbeat music in a hip, social, tropical atmosphere. The facility offers Dive In Movies each Monday with classic films on a 65-foot digital marquee. Sip a cocktail watching the best in film under the stars.
There is no shortage of entertainment at this luxury property. The resort spotlights some of the biggest acts in the world at the Chelsea, a 40,000-square foot theater featuring brick tiling, a vintage lobby bar, VIP gallery boxes, and cool decor. A few upcoming acts include: Bryan Adams (July 2-3); Dashboard Confessional and Taking Back Sunday (July 15); and Lynard Skynard and Peter Frampton (Aug. 19). Other clubs and nightlife possibilities make for a great night out.
Ready for relaxation? The Sahra spa creates a path to balance and calm. Space Between is a serenity lounge with falling waters to create soul-soothing atmosphere. Explore the spa and wellness retreat in conjunction with the Violet Hour for a makeover or mani/pedi in a stylish setting. The shops at the Cosmo offer plenty of high-end shopping for every taste and attitude to cap off a perfect day. Along with luxury and style, the Cosmopolitan offers an art experience throughout the resort, showcasing a massive art collection with contemporary works by both established and emerging artists from all over the world.
AGUA CALIENTE CASINO RESORT
Rancho Mirage, California
One of the best casino resorts anywhere, this luxurious fourdiamond property, run by the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, offers everything a gambler could want for an exciting and almost decadent getaway.
STAY & PLAY
Agua Caliente offers players much more than a gambling experience. The modern resort features a 16-story hotel with an elegant and sophisticated feel, and spectacular views of the San Bernadino and San Jacinto Mountains. Oversized sunken tubs, separate showers, flat screen TVs, and a modern, cool decor make for a great night away from home.
With more than 45,000 square feet of gambling space, a night a night on the gaming floor is chock full of exciting options. For slot players, games of every variety are offered including Wonder Woman, Money Man Big Cash Spin, and the Walking Dead – with nice benefits on the Paradise Rewards Card. Hit the casino for the best in table games including blackjack, let it ride, mini-baccarat, Spanish 21, craps, pai gow poker, and others. The elegant High Limit Room offers an elegant spot to raise the stakes.
For poker rounders, the 18-table Poker Room offers exciting live games and big money tournament action. Various limits and games abound including Texas hold’em, Omaha, and others. Plus, there are always numerous promotions and regular tournaments guaranteed to make for a great night of poker action.
CUISINE & BEYOND
Dining options are plentiful at Agua Caliente, but a stay would not be complete without a sizzling chop from the award-winning Steakhouse, featuring a wonderful selection of steak and seafood, made even better by exceptional service and attention to detail. Waters Cafe is another nice dining option—with American classics mixed with unique California cuisine. Available every meal of the day, the pancakes topped with fresh fruit make for a perfect start in the morning. Or how about a juicy burger for lunch? Other options include: the Grand Palms buffet for the best in Asian, Mexican, Italian, and American classics; and Java Caliente for gourmet coffee and fresh pastries, bagels and more.
Nightlife at the resort includes major entertainment acts in the property’s modern arena, The Show. Upcoming acts and events include: Gladiator MMA (June 25); UB40 (Aug. 6); Cyndi Lauper (Sept. 24); and ZZ Top (Oct. 8). Other options include: The Lounge for the best nightly live music (for free) and a cocktail; and enjoy some delectable mixology in a relaxed atmosphere at the Rendezvous lounge.
Away from the hustle and bustle of the casino, sip a cocktail poolside in the 50,000-square foot outdoor playground – boasting two swimming pools, jetted spa, and comfortable cabanas with access to a full-service outdoor bar and grill. Need more relaxation? Select a package from the SunStone Spa. For more information visit www.HotWaterCasino.com.
Sean Chaffin is a freelance writer in Crandall, Texas. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him @PokerTraditions. His new poker book is RAISING THE STAKES: True Tales of Gambling, Wagering & Poker Faces and available on Amazon.com.