Harrah's Cherokee Casino Resort
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Nestled in the woods at the base of the Great Smoky Mountains, with a small creek running through it, the Cherokee influence on this warm and inviting hunting/fishing lodge-inspired hotel and casino is unmistakable. Harrah's Cherokee Casino Resort is, indeed, one of Total Rewards most distinctive properties.
That said, keep in mind that the place is huge. There are long walks from the parking garages to the hotel towers and casino, and equally long walks from your hotel room to the casino, restaurants, shops and other amenities. It's very difficult to get your bearings, despite lots of signage.
One nice feature is the abundance of seating throughout the property – everything from cushy leather chairs to park benches. There's even an indoor fire pit, left, on the first level near the Selu Garden Cafe.
All public areas are non-smoking.
Self-parking in an adjacent garage is complimentary for all hotel guests, as is valet parking. (To retrieve your vehicle, scan your parking ticket at a valet kiosk. You can follow the progress on monitors in the hotel lobby.)
There is separate parking for hotel guests and casino players, so follow the signs if you are staying at the hotel and choose to self-park. There is dedicated reserved parking for Seven Stars and Diamond cardholders on the second floor of the casino self-park garage.
The hotel has a Mandara Spa, fitness center, and indoor and outdoor pools, but only the fitness center and pools (on the ground level of the Mountain Tower) are complimentary for hotel guests. (Use your hotel key to access the fitness center and indoor pool.) When the outdoor pool is open, there is cocktail service, as well as limited food service. Click here for the menu.
The spa offers no complimentary admittance to Seven Stars cardholders or their guests, and there are no discounts. Note, though, that a 20 percent service charge is added to all prices, so there is no need for additional tipping unless you care to.
A small Business Center on the second level offers complimentary Internet access. Enter using your hotel key.
There's also an arcade with an assortment of video games and other diversions.
After a $633 million expansion Cherokee is now the largest hotel in the Carolinas. The hotel has more than 1,100
guestrooms in three towers. The Creek Tower is the newest, followed by the Soco Tower and the original Mountain Tower.
There is a special VIP Welcome desk, left, to the left of the front desk, but it's open only Thursday, Friday and Saturday from noon to 8:30 or 9 p.m. All
other times look for the special Seven Stars line at the front desk,
the line furthest to the left. Front desk employees are most gracious
and friendly, as is everyone at Cherokee.
At check-in Seven Stars cardholders are offered a selection of juices, soft drinks, bottled water and other beverages which will be sent to their rooms – complimentary – shortly after check-in.
All rooms have tub/shower combos, except for the standard rooms in the Creek Tower which have showers only. Standard rooms in the Creek Tower also have sofa beds that could sleep two additional guests.
Robes are not standard in the rooms, but Seven Stars cardholders can request that robes be delivered to their rooms. Also, depending on how you travel, you may have to request extra hangers.
While they last, you can pick up a complimentary copy of USA Today (Monday through Friday) and the Smoky Mountain News (a weekly) at the valet desk or next to the front desk.
A fourth hotel tower and a convention center are among the plans for a new expansion at Harrah’s. The project will add 100,000 square feet of convention space along with 600 to 800 new hotel rooms to the resort’s existing inventory of more than 1,100 rooms. Also included in the project is a new parking deck.
Harrah’s currently is building a new bowling and entertainment complex which is set to open later this year.
The 3,000-seat Cherokee Events Center has hosted such entertainers as Hank Williams Jr. and Lady Antebellum. Click here for a list of currently scheduled concerts and other events.
The casino is large and a little on the dark side. As with the entire property, it's very difficult to get your bearings – especially when it's time to return to your hotel room or go to a restaurant.
While the majority of the casino allows smoking, there is a large non-smoking area, as well.
Complimentary non-alcoholic drink service is relatively frequent, but alcohol is served only from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Saturday, and from noon to 2 a.m. on Sundays, and it is not complimentary. To use your Reward Credits to purchase alcoholic beverages in the casino, go to any casino bar or one of the beverage stations on the floor. If you order a cocktail from a server on the casino floor you'll have to pay cash upfront.
Seven Stars Lounge/Special Seven Stars Benefits*
The Diamond Lounge, located at the rear of the High Limit area, has a separate Seven Stars entrance, right, but it takes you to the same check-in desk inside. To the right of the main room – which has a large bar that seats 12 – is special seating for Seven Stars cardholders with a small upgraded buffet that includes one hot entree, a starch, and some nibbles (cheese, pretzels, mixed nuts, fruit, etc.). The small buffet in the main room is open to everyone and includes a different hot entree, a vegetable, starch and some desserts. There also is another table with cocktail snacks like chips and salsa.
Seven Stars cardholders get unlimited daily visits; Diamond cardholders and a guest may visit only once per day, or pay 10 comp dollars per person for a second admittance. Non-alcoholic beverages are complimentary, and alcoholic beverages are sold at a reduced price (approximately $2 for beer, house wine and cocktails). You can use Reward Credits to pay for drinks.
The lounge is open (subject to change):
Monday - Thursday: 3 to 10 p.m.
Friday: 3 p.m. to Midnight
Saturday: 1 p.m. to Midnight
Sunday: 1 to 10 p.m.
Harrah's also is one of the few casino hotels that offer Seven Stars cardholders unlimited complimentary in-room movies.
There are at least 10 shops throughout the property selling everything from men's and women's apparel to gifts, souvenirs and chocolates. Click here for complete information. All outlets accept Reward Credits at 1:1.
Total Rewards Centers
There are two Total Rewards Centers. The one on the casino floor is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. A second center is located by the second floor entrance from the casino self-park garage (near the buffet). Hours are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to midnight on Friday and Saturday.
Should You Choose This For Your Annual Retreat?
If you're looking for a relaxing getaway with few distractions, this is a good place to come. Great Smoky Mountain National Park is nearby, Asheville is less than an hour away, and there is great fishing and golf if you come during the right season. Click this link for information on local attractions. In addition, there are three other family-friendly attractions nearby: Santa's Land Fun Park & Zoo, the Smoky Mountain Gold & Ruby Mine and the Nantahala Outdoor Center, the nation's largest outdoor recreation company.
As always, when you check-in, be sure to verify that your $500 comp account has been set-up. Gratuities may be charged to your room and settled at check-out with your credit card on file. Some gratuities, such as at the spa and Room Service may be taken care of with your Total Rewards credits.) Any taxes on food are waived, and not counted toward your $500 in allowable expenses. Best advice is to keep all your receipts until you settle your final bill.
Where Harrah's Cherokee Is Located
*subject to change, revision or cancellation
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