When you think of glittering casinos surrounded by swanky nightclubs, big-name entertainers, decadent restaurants and high-end shopping, one destination comes to mind: Las Vegas. But a number of casino resorts from coast to coast offer all of these perks far from the Nevada desert. If you’re looking for an outside-the-box gaming getaway that skips the Strip, check out these eight Forbes Travel Guide Star-Rated casinos scattered across North America—their many luxuries and often gorgeous settings will give you every reason to forget Sin City from time to time.
Casino Del Sol Resort, Tucson, Ariz.
Tucson’s most lavish casino getaway is this triple Four-Star resort (racking up awards for the hotel, Hiapsi Spa and PY Steakhouse, home to addictive Southwestern dishes such as green chile and bacon au gratin potatoes) with spectacular mountain views. For a top-of-the-world experience, book a room on the Sky Level, the tower’s resort-within-a-resort that includes VIP parking privileges, turndown service and extra in-room indulgences such as Frette linens and travertine rainfall showers. In addition to the casino, where 1,300 slot machines, 22 table games and a poker room vie for your attention, there is an onsite amphitheater that plays host to national acts (catch comedian Gabriel Iglesias on May 9) under the Arizona stars.
Northern Quest Resort & Casino, Spokane, Wash.
Since this Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star hotel and spa opened at the end of 2009, Northern Quest Resort & Casino has been attracting would-be Vegas visitors to Spokane with 250 tech-savvy rooms and suites, fine dining inspired by the Kalispel Tribe at Masselow’s Restaurant (think wild salmon and bison rib-eye steak) and the 14,000-square-foot La Rive Spa. A 55,000-square-foot casino floor with more than 1,650 games—plus lounges, a premium cigar bar and Impulse nightclub—offer plenty of distractions. Recover in your guest room, where unusually luxurious spa-inspired bathrooms feature four-jet showers and, in superior and premier suites, deep soaking tubs.
MGM Grand Detroit
Detroit’s only Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star hotel is MGM Resorts’ downtown mega-escape featuring a massive casino (nearly 4,000 slots and video poker machines), two Wolfgang Puck restaurants, Four-Star Immerse Spa, luxury shopping and an indoor infinity pool with private cabanas. The hotel, including its 335 rooms and 65 suites, is decorated in a contemporary style, from the long, wall-mounted fire pit in the lobby to dark wood and crimson accents in rooms. Though the design and sheer volume of amenities here recalls Las Vegas, there are hints of Motor City throughout, including at the new Axis Lounge, where local Motown, jazz and pop groups entertain as you sip concoctions from the craft cocktail menu.
River Rock Casino Resort, Richmond, British Columbia
Standing marina-side on the banks of the Fraser River just minutes from Vancouver International Airport, this Canadian casino resort boasts a stunning setting and a modern-chalet design that is all soaring gables, natural stone and wood, and curved escalators and walls. Accommodations are split between the resort building and The Hotel at River Rock, located opposite, but it’s the resort suites that are the crème de la crème; starting at 525 square feet, they offer cashmere blankets, Nespresso machines and Gilchrist & Soames bath amenities. Of course, with 90,000 square feet of gaming, seven restaurants, a theater, a spa and a pool complete with a 70-foot waterslide, your in-room time at this Forbes Travel Guide Recommended hotel may prove minimal.
Harrah’s New Orleans
The 26-story Forbes Travel Guide Recommended Harrah’s New Orleans delivers Mississippi River views amid Louisiana-style luxury—the good times roll with John Besh cuisine at Besh Steak, potion-inspired libations at Hoodoo Cocktail Lounge (the venue has been blessed by voodoo clergy), and very-NOLA pops of purple and gold throughout the décor. King and queen rooms are all outfitted with exclusive pillow-top mattresses and original Crescent City art and photographs. The casino and its Masquerade nightclub, plus newer boutique bowling destination Fulton Alley, draw crowds, as does adjacent Fulton Street; among the restaurants lining this pedestrian-only stretch is Manning’s Eat-Drink-Cheer from Saints legend Archie Manning, a must for any football fan.
Tulalip Resort Casino, Tulalip, Wash.
The Pacific Northwest’s Tulalip Tribes own this Forbes Travel Guide Recommended resort 45 minutes north of Seattle, and lend their stamp throughout, from tribal artwork to Native American-inspired treatments at T Spa (the sacred plant ritual includes a cedar exfoliation scrub and sweet grass oil massage). Bigger is better at Tulalip: No guest room is smaller than 500 square feet, and you’ll find 192,000 square feet of gaming space, an amphitheater, a cabaret and seven restaurants—including Forbes Travel Guide Recommended fine-dining venue Tulalip Bay—to keep you busy. A little Northwest drizzle never stopped anyone from making a splash here; Oasis Pool offers a tropical yet weather-proof setting under its glass atrium.
Beau Rivage Resort & Casino, Biloxi, Miss.
This Forbes Travel Guide Recommended resort, which sits just down Beach Boulevard from Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Biloxi, puts its own spin on Vegas-style entertainment in the port city. Steve Wynn conceived Beau Rivage, and the design is indeed reminiscent of Wynn’s Bellagio, with a lobby arboretum that shows off thousands of seasonal Southern blooms, changed monthly. Though the resort is huge—with 1,740 guest rooms and suites, 10 restaurants, 12 retail venues and a convention center—it’s easy to find quiet moments in The Spa at Beau Rivage, on the resort’s exclusive Tom Fazio-designed Fallen Oak golf course or in the mood-setting BR Prime, a Forbes Travel Guide Recommended steakhouse.
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Biloxi
The only Hard Rock Hotel to win the Forbes Travel Guide Recommended award, this Biloxi outpost consists of Platinum and Royal towers, each with boldly designed rooms and suites. The newer Platinum Tower is also home to seven first-floor poolside cabana suites and seven top-floor sky suites with floor-to-ceiling views of the Gulf. This pet-friendly, musician-friendly hotel (you can borrow Fender guitars and amps) keeps things rocking at its live-music venues and lively pool, but offers a sanctuary in the form of Rock Spa, an Aveda concept spa offering rock-star packages like the “Take It Easy” (massage, facial, manicure and pedicure) and the “Start Me Up” (massage, wrap and facial).