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Hot List: Casino Resorts

Native gaming is changing, big-time. These aren’t your dads’ bingo halls. Gaming is just one experience offered at today’s Indian casino resorts. Native culture and luxury infuse these destinations in Indian country—from fine dining to enchanting pools, luxurious spas, exclusive lounges, incredible concert arenas and more. Discover seven ways to indulge.

Sage-The Spa at Morongo

Sage-The Spa at Morongo

Private Paradise

If you’re looking for a break from the glitz and glamour of the Morongo Casino Resort & Spa near Palm Springs, California, retreat into the intimacy of Casitas at the Oasis. These six secluded suites, situated near the 27-story hotel, are set along a winding walkway by the Oasis pool. Guests can enjoy a discreet (and discrete) entrance, a private veranda that overlooks a lazy river and sandy beach, and a personal lounging pool that has an outdoor shower. This 2017 AAA Four-Diamond Award recipient is a jewel amongst breathtaking hills and canyons at the foothills of the San Gorgonio and San Jacinto Mountains—homeland of the Morongo Band of Mission Indians. Guests can eat well at Cielo, Morongo’s fine dining restaurant perched 27 stories up, with floor-to-ceiling windows for sunset views and exquisite food, including handmade pastas and superior cuts of flame-grilled, USDA Prime steak. The Morongo experience isn’t complete without indulging in its sanctuary of wellness, Sage–The Spa at Morongo, which utilizes the plant central to tribal purification and cleansing traditions.

Entertainment Mecca

One of Washington's largest casinos, owned by the Puyallup Tribe of Indians, doubles as one of the state's best concert venues. Emerald Queen Hotel & Casino’s I-5 Showroom in Tacoma books headliners like Lynyrd Skynyrd, Paul Rodgers, George Thorogood, and Cheech and Chong—plus the hard-hitting exhibition of the Battle at the Boat boxing series and CageSport MMA. Along with its second location in Fife, Washington, the Emerald Queen chain draws patrons from across the state for music, comedy, gaming action and more.

Earthly Delights

Journey through healing mountain waters and cedar forests at Coeur d’Alene Resort Spa, one of the largest spas in the northwest, located in Worley, Idaho. Experienced therapists use organic products for soothing and awakening skin and body treatments. Hotel accommodations offer lake, city and/or mountain views, with one tower rising 17 stories above downtown Coeur d'Alene at the edge of beautiful Lake Coeur d'Alene. The Coeur d'Alene Tribe’s neighboring Circling Raven Golf Club, an 18-hole, par-72 course that snakes through wetlands, woodlands and Palouse grasses, tops Golfweek’s 2017 list of the best golf courses you can play in Idaho. After an eventful but relaxing day, enjoy a leisurely meal of wild Nisqually salmon, Prime beef, or handmade pasta or pizza, prepared with local ingredients over a wood fire at Chinook Steak, Pasta & Spirits.

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VIP Access

Fun has no boundaries at Talking Stick Resort and Casino in Scottsdale, Arizona, owned by the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. Relax in style in one of the 496 deluxe rooms with spacious bathrooms and rain showers. Stay in the Club King and Club Queen rooms for access to the exclusive 2,000-square-foot Tower Club Lounge, which has complimentary breakfast, hors d’oeuvres and alcoholic beverages in the afternoon, and flat-screen TVs and an on-site concierge allday. Savor the rich flavors of contemporary cuisine at Orange Sky, the award-winning restaurant on the resort’s 15th floor, with panoramic views of the McDowell Mountains to the northeast and Camelback Mountain to the southwest. Rejuvenate in the expansive and award-winning The Spa at Talking Stick Resort on the 14th floor. Get lucky on the nearly 300,000-square-foot casino floor, let loose at Degree 270 nightclub, watch worldclass acts at The Showroom, and make a splash at four resort pools.

Exit Here

The award-winning Turning Stone Casino Resort, owned by the Oneida Indian Nation (which also owns this publication) is a haven for dining and entertainment in the heart of Central New York. There’s something for everyone at Turning Stone’s newest entertainment complex, Exit 33, which contains multiple venues featuring the sounds of rock, country, jazz, EDM and more. Mixology is truly an art at The Turquoise Tiger, which also serves tapas in a seductive bar inspired by 1940s film noir. Brass bands, dueling pianos, songstresses, comedians and other live acts take the stage Thursday through Saturday. Guests can also catch live music or a DJ at the gritty, rock-and-roll-themed bar The Gig, serving savory pizza and craft brews on tap. The Tin Rooster, a barbecue joint and dance hall, caters to country fans with line dancing and more in its open-barn setting. Atrium Bar is a sleek lounge, featuring a full bar and sushi menu. For premier DJs, bottle service and a glamorous experience, make Lava Nightclub your destination. Atop the Tower, the tallest building between Albany and Syracuse with breathtaking panoramic views, TS Steakhouse offers an exquisite dining experience. It’s made Open Table’s 100 Most Romantic Restaurants in America Award for three consecutive years (2015, 2016, 2017). Inspired by Oneida’s cultural dining history of “eating the seasons,” it offers locally sourced and sustainable foods.

Coastal Scenery

Quinault Beach in Tacoma on the western shores of Washington’s Olympic Peninsula is a destination spot just for swimming, razor-clam digging or horseback riding along the shore. Nearby artisan galleries add to the appeal. The area’s unparalleled natural beauty is visible from nearly every window in the guest rooms at Quinault Beach Hotel Casino Spa Resort in Ocean Shores. The resort’s lodge-like interiors suit the environment’s wild beauty, and are accented by stunning coastal native art. The 158 air-conditioned rooms come with luxurious, pillow-top beds and modern amenities: refrigerators, flat-screen televisions, cable programming and Wi-Fi. Guests can enjoy a rejuvenating swim in Quinault’s full-size, indoor pool overlooking the dunes, or relax in the hot tub. From oceanfront dining to buffets to an espresso café, Quinault Beach Resort, owned by the Quinault Indian Nation, has everything you need under one roof—table games and slots. It also houses a state-of-the-art spa offering massages, facials and more luxurious services.

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Epicurean Feast

It’s hard to beat a dinner date at Blackfish, one of seven restaurants at Tulalip Resort Casino in Quil Ceda Village, Washington. The menu is diverse, but fresh-caught seafood is the main attraction. Think local oysters shucked to order, shellfish boards, salmon prepared over an open-pit fire, and grilled-to-order steaks and chicken. With a Wine Spectator-award-winning wine list, visionary cocktails and microbrews to boot, what’s not to like? Those who favor a classic steakhouse meets traditional Italian restaurant should look no further than the fine dining at Tulalip Bay. For all-day fare, Cedars Café has guests covered. Beyond the cuisine, the resort owned by the Tulalip Tribes is a living museum of beautiful Coast Salish art. The spa-like pool, protected in a glass dome, invites nature in. Inside the circular conservatory, a bridge leads to a waterfall framed by trees. Tulalip’s T-Spa is a sanctuary for soothing the spirit and healing the body through native spa rituals, renewal treatments and luxury products.