The hypnotic jingle of the slot machines, decadent buffets and crooning pop stars-turned-lounge singers — we’ve all had those kind of casino experiences. But some high-end gaming resorts outside of Vegas are offering unique options that inspire you to take a break from gambling and unwind in a completely different setting. Here are eight of our favorites.
Go Fishing at Atlantis Casino Resort Spa
Not having much luck at the tables? Your odds just might be better with Mother Nature. This Reno resort is just a short drive from Lake Tahoe, making it a breeze for you to rent bikes, book hiking treks or go on fishing tours with companies like Tahoe Topliners, a sport fishing guide service that offers daily trips for groups of three or four that dream of snagging a brown trout or sockeye salmon.
Do Yoga at Peppermill Reno
This Reno retreat has all the bells and whistles of a luxury resort casino, from the VIP lounges and grand restaurants to 14 different bars and lounges tucked around the property. But when the chips are down, escape to the three-story Spa Toscana for a weekend vinyasa flow class taught by Macy Ryckebosch before relaxing in the Caldarium, a sanctuary of calm featuring an indoor pool, sun deck and garden.
Play Racquetball at Turning Stone Resort Casino
Upstate New York’s premier resort casino features a variety of packages: spa getaways, room-and-show deals, golf- and tennis-focused trips and more. But no matter what promotion drew you to your stay, try your hand at racquetball in one of two indoor courts. All equipment, including goggles, is available at no extra costs, and new supplies are available for purchase in the pro shop.
Experience Culture at Tulalip Resort Casino
Located just north of Seattle, Tulalip celebrates the area’s Native American heritage with Salish artwork throughout the hotel, coming in the form of large sculptures, subtle textures and tribal artwork. Dig deeper with the Culture of Tulalip package, which includes a Salish history or art book, tickets and transportation to the Hibulb Cultural Center, a $40 dining credit and a coffee cup and bag of specially roasted beans, which should keep you powered up for plenty of gaming upon your return.
Exhale at River Rock Casino Resort
Located in the beautiful Vancouver suburb of Richmond, this waterfront Forbes Travel Guide Recommended resort could have easily rested on its laurels when it came time to plan its spa. (After all, the sounds from neighboring Fraser River are pretty darn therapeutic.) But the Absolute Spa keeps an exhilarating roster of treatments (detox baths with white grapefruit oil, Hawaiian coconut lomi lomi massages) for folks in need of de-stressing before or after they hit the poker tables.
Get Groomed at L’Auberge Casino Resort Lake Charles
This Lake Charles winner pairs high-class luxury with good old-fashioned Southern charm around its campus, especially at the turn-back-the-clock barber shop 1740 Barbier. Sip on a scotch and enjoy a cigar while you receive a shoe shine, beard trim and vintage barber experience. And don’t worry about the shop being closed before your big night out; 1740 Barbier takes appointments every day of the week.
Drink Up at Casino Del Sol Resort
You can wet your whistle at any casino in America. When it comes to quenching your thirst for tequila, however, we wouldn’t bet on many places doing a better job than this Four-Star gambling paradise in Tucson. Tequila Factory prides itself on offering more than 120 varieties of the liquid gold that can be enjoyed in the form of flights, margaritas and elaborate cocktails like the rum- and fruit-filled Gulfstream. But the place doesn’t stop with drinks; the Factory assembles a marinated shrimp ceviche and beef brisket taco worth toasting to as well.
See Professional Basketball at Mohegan Sun
Forget about heading to the bar to catch a game. Instead, go to this Uncasville, Connecticut, casino resort 20 miles north of Mystic. It’s the home base for the WNBA’s Connecticut Sun, which is owned by Mohegan Sun. Watch Kelsey Bone, Jennifer Lacy and the rest of the team battle Elena Delle Donne’s Chicago Sky (September 13) at Mohegan Sun Arena. Devoted NCAA b-ball fans may also want to plan a trip for late November, when the resort hosts Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off tournaments for men (November 20 through 22) and women (November 29). Various packages will get you accommodations, breakfast and game tickets.