Harrah's Ak-Chin Hotel and Casino
Harrah's is now limiting the number of entrances to the casino and taking temperatures of all guests and employees.
NOTE: All shows, events and deadlines are subject to postponement or cancellation due to temporary casino closings and/or safety and health measures implemented by the state.
This casino is equipped with Caesars proprietary Total Touch system that allows customers to order drinks, redeem free play, check their Caesars Rewards account balances, and receive real-time offers based on play.
■ You no longer have to use all your free slot play at one machine. Let’s say you download $50, have a big win and decide your machine isn’t going to hit again for a while. You’re no longer stuck playing the balance of what you downloaded. Simply remove your Caesars Rewards card from the machine, and any unused free slot play will automatically be re-deposited back into your bank. Caesars casinos in Baltimore, Cherokee, Hammond, New Orleans and Tunica – and perhaps others – are among those with similar policies.
New policy in effect.
Harrah's Ak-Chin Hotel and Casino
(click any image to enlarge)
OverviewApproximately a 60- to 75-minute drive from Sky Harbor Airport, Harrah's Ak-Chin Hotel and Casino makes quite a statement with its tribal art-inspired architecture and décor. There's no doubt, "You're not in Kansas anymore."
The distinctive decor continues inside the hotel(s), casino, and other public areas, with lots of original paintings, photographs, basket weaving and sculptures.
Valet parking is complimentary, as is garage and surface parking. If you have an electric car, like a Nissan Leaf, there are four vehicle chargers, one of which is reserved for a handicapped plate-holder.
There is a small Business Center across from the elevator in the Ak-Chin Tower. There is no charge to make a reservation on Caesars.com or check your Caesars Rewards account. You also can check-in for your return flight and print your boarding pass.
■ A new expanded gift shop, above, has opened near the front entrance. A smaller gift shop with limited items is located next to the front desk.
■ Be sure to try the house-made ginger ale, available in the Laurel Lounge, and most bars and restaurants.
■ With all the changes at Harrah's, these maps might become useful:
For everything else there is a charge of $5 for each 15-minute internet session. Printing is $1 per page for black and white, and $2 per page for color.
Hotel guestrooms Look for the special Seven Stars check-in at the front desk. It's the line to the furthest right.
You have a choice of three different "hotels" (with different room types in each):
Resort [in the original sections (Saguaro, Ocotillo, Palm, Cholla and Mesquite)].
Cactus Tower (opened in 2011).
Ak-Chin Tower, a.k.a. High Rise Tower (opened in 2018).
Resort rooms are bright, spacious and well appointed, and reflect the native American ambience of the entire hotel and casino. There are no closets, just a small stand-alone armoire-type storage cabinet that holds maybe eight hangers. An ironing board takes up about a quarter of the space.
First-floor rooms feature enclosed patios, and second-floor rooms have small balconies. Request a room facing the pool; the alternative view is pretty desolate.
Cactus Tower rooms are smaller and those with two beds seem particularly cramped, though closets are twice as large as the Resort rooms. The bathroom is large, as is the shower. (While there are bathtubs in the Resort rooms, there is only a shower in the Tower rooms.) All Tower rooms are non-smoking.
The High Rise/Ak-Chin Tower offers a wide variety of room types.
Coffeemakers, refrigerators and in-room safes are standard in all rooms throughout Ak-Chin.
Click here for all the details and photos.
Also check out the Ak-Chin Circle UltraStar Multi-tainment Center. The facility offers movies, laser tag, bowling and other event space available for private parties.
Ak-Chin also offers bingo. Check the website for details on times and other amenities available to players. The Bingo Hall is smoke-free.
There is a 180-foot-long air conditioned walkway that connects the casino with the UltraStar Center.
■ Chop, Block & Brew has a room off to the side that's perfect for get-togethers with small groups.
■ There is no special Seven Stars line at Dunkin' Donuts, and the line can be pretty long and slow, so plan ahead.
■ Between 2 and 6 p.m. daily, Dunkin' offers $2 medium lattes and cappuccinos. (Sigmature lattes are excluded.)
■ Forgot or lost your Caesars Rewards card? You can reprint your card just by using your driver's license here:
Complimentary drink service is limited to soft drinks, coffee and bottled water. There is a charge for all alcoholic beverages on the casino floor while playing, but Seven Stars cardholders have special benefits (see below). Reward Credits can be used to purchase alcoholic beverages on the floor, and at bars, lounges and restaurants that serve alcohol.
Dealers, slot attendants and servers all are extremely friendly and helpful.
If you're not a smoker, when you first enter you will definitely notice the smoke in the air, but, after a while, the ventilation system seems to take over and it's not as noticeable. There is a small smoke-free area, but it's adjacent to the smoking section.
Ak-Chin offers poker, keno and the usual slots in a new gaming area, but slots dominate the casino. Table games players may be disappointed with the available selection.
The kiosks are located at the Caesars Rewards Center.
■ If you're returning home via the Sky Harbor Airport, some map programs and GPS systems still do not recognize that you can make a left-hand turn out of the parking lot. Instead, they will direct you to turn right, drive quite a distance and make a U-turn.
Ak-Chin has a beautiful pool area – open only to hotel guests. There is a swim-up bar and there are lots of outdoor (and indoor) seating areas, some with firepits to warm you up on cool evenings.The pool and pool area have been totally renovated.
The Spa at Harrah’s Ak-Chin has four treatment rooms including one couple's suite, and features Éminence skincare products, and ZENTS and Farmhouse Fresh for other treatments. It's located on the third floor of the Ak-Chin Tower.
Reward Credits can be used to purchase treatments or products at the spa.
Seven Stars cardholders paying with cash or credit card receive a 25 percent discount; Diamond cardholders, 20 percent.
For reservations call 480-802-3340.
Just down the hall is a small fitness center, open 24 hours. Guests access the room with their hotel room key.
Golf is available at Southern Dunes Golf Club. Southern Dunes offers "dynamic pricing." This process allows golf rates to be adjusted – both lower and higher – in real-time, based on demand, availability and other changing factors. With rates changing daily, the earlier you book, the more you save. However, the course still offers discounts based on tier level, and honors whichever is the lower price, so be sure to show your card when you check in. Also, you can use your Reward Credits to pay, but they are redeemed at a 1.5:1 ratio, i.e., 1½ Reward Credits is equal to $1 (a $100 greens fee would take 15,000 Reward Credits). Check the website for current rates.
Dining choices at the casino include Agave's Restaurant (open for breakfast, lunch and dinner), the Copper Cactus Grill (open 24 hours for sandwiches, soups, salads and breakfast),
The Buffet , Oak & Fork, and Dunkin'.The Range has closed, but Chop, Block & Brew features a wood-burning mesquite grill and specializes in gourmet burgers, as well as steaks, prime rib and seafood. The bar stocks more than 30 draft and bottled craft beers, and premium Scotch and whiskies, and specializes in hand-crafted cocktails. For reservations call 480-802-5000.
Diamond cardholders get a 20 percent per person discount at The Buffet, but only if paying with cash or credit card, not Reward Credits.
Seven Stars cardholders get a 25 percent discount at the Copper Cactus, but only if paying with cash or credit card (or a room charge), not Reward Credits.
Oddly, at breakfast, Agave's Restaurant does not serve cold cereals, pastries, muffins or donuts. Also, if you request coffee or tea to go, the cups do not have lids.
Special Seven Stars benefits
At The Buffet there is a separate entrance for Seven Stars (and Diamond) cardholders. There also is separate seating for Seven Stars and Diamond cardholders, but, unlike some Caesars casinos, there are no special amenities, e.g., cloth napkins, complimentary wine, etc. Every day Seven Stars cardholders get two free buffets – which must be used at one time, as well as additional complimentary cocktails and appetizers at the Laurel Lounge (see below) .
Seven Stars cardholders get a 25 percent discount at the Copper Cactus Grill. There also is a separate entrance for ordering.
Show your Caesars Rewards card at the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center (see above) and get an adult admission ticket to the theater for the price of a children's ticket. Some restrictions apply. You also can get complimentary bowling shoes rental at 10 Pins Down, and 10 per cent off food and beverage purchases.
Guests staying in the hotel generally receive a small amenity, e.g., chocolates, nuts, etc. The in-room refrigerator is pre-stocked with complimentary bottled water and soft drinks.
Seven Stars cardholders can cap, i.e., “lock down,” a slot machine for up to three hours within a 24-hour period. Seven Stars cardholders may call in up to one hour prior to their arrival to the casino to have their machine capped (if that particular machine is not occupied). The machine may be reserved up to one hour.
Seven Stars Lounge There is no Seven Stars Lounge, but the Laurel Lounge (formerly the Diamond Lounge) is open from 2 to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 2 to 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. (Hours subject to change. Check the link – above – to the website.) Beverages - Instead of issuing separate beverage vouchers to use in the Laurel Lounge and on the casino floor, these vouchers (available at the Caesars Rewards Center or the Laurel Lounge) now can be used on the casino floor, at the Lounge Bar, in the Laurel Lounge, Poker Room or Bingo Hall, and while playing table games, but not at The Buffet or other restaurants. The vouchers have a maximum value of $7 each, and they expire at 2 a.m. the morning after they're issued. Seven Stars cardholders receive four each gaming day; Diamond cardholders, two. Additional vouchers – up to a total of eight per person – will be issued for every 50 tier credits earned. A small "upcharge" for some beverages is levied on martinis and Cadillac margaritas, as well as certain "top shelf" brands (Ketel One, Grey Goose, etc.). Players can pay these upcharges or purchase additional cocktails in the Laurel Lounge using Reward Credits, cash, credit cards or room charges. Food - Complimentary snacks – potato chips, a cheese-flavored snack mix – are served throughout the day, with "appetizers" (sliders and fries, soup and sandwich, chicken wings, etc.) and desserts served from 3 to 8 p.m. To order one of these appetizers and/or desserts from your server you need a voucher issued when checking into the lounge. Seven Stars cardholders receive two vouchers, plus an additional voucher for each guest. [The guest(s) must be present in order for the food vouchers to be issued.] Seven Stars cardholders may bring up to three guests; Diamond cardholders, one.
Caesars Rewards CenterThe Caesars Rewards Center, pictured, is located not far from the main entrance across from The Lounge.
Among the choices of appetizers that have been offered are pulled pork sliders, left, or a salad.
Where Harrah's is located
Should you choose this for your Annual Retreat?
If you're looking for a real out-of-the-way vacation, this might be the place. A car is almost mandatory if you want to see the sights. There is certainly lots to do in the Phoenix area.
Based on my experience, first, I would venture to say you won’t find friendlier, more helpful and genuinely caring employees at any other Caesars Rewards casino. I won’t even start naming names because a) I’m afraid I would forget someone, and b) the list would be too long.
However, keep in mind the $500 folio credit can be used only for food and beverages, in-house show tickets, the gift shop (except liquor and gift cards), and spa treatments (excluding any service fees and gratuities). With all the discounts, free buffets, liberal complimentary alcoholic beverage policies (see above), it might be tough for two people to spend it all – save for the gift shop and spa options.
Also, because Ak-Chin has its own fleet of cars (and its own drivers), don't expect to rent a car and get reimbursed. Take the free rides to and from the airport and deal with renting a car once you arrive on-property (or, preferably, in advance of your trip), and "eat" the cost of a car (assuming you want one). Your best bet is Enterprise Rent-A-Car because they have a special arrangement with Harrah's. Call 855-266-9289 or email Enterprise.
The "negatives": Because of tribal and state laws, Ak-Chin doesn't make it easy to enjoy an alcoholic beverage. Voucher-system aside, you need to get your initial four cocktail vouchers either at the Laurel Lounge (which doesn't open until 2 p.m. daily) or the Caesars Rewards Center.
Getting the additional four vouchers (assuming you qualify by earning 200 tier credits in a gaming day – one voucher for each 50 tier credits) can be a problem if the computer system goes down (which happened while I was there). It also can take up to 20 minutes (or more) for those tier credits to appear in your account.
Then there's the fact that you can't use the vouchers in any of the restaurants.
The Laurel Lounge is another sore spot. There is no separate priority line for Seven Stars cardholders. Ask and you'll be told just to walk in and go to the head of the line. In practice, this is very awkward. Do you really want to cut in front of 20 other people who already have been patiently waiting in line? How do you know if some in the line also are Seven Stars cardholders?
I can speak only for AT&T, but cell phone service is spotty to non-existent in the casino, Laurel Lounge, restaurants and other public areas.
As it is, the line moves very slowly because you need to check-in and, if applicable, the host/hostess needs to check on your drink and appetizer/dessert vouchers, then print them. (As to those food vouchers, last call is about 7:45 p.m., even though the lounge is open until 9; 11 on Friday and Saturday.) And the daily offerings are not really "appetizers" in the traditional sense. On the "menu" almost every night are chicken wings, plus some sort of "slider" (pulled pork, hamburger, BBQ chicken, cod) and a salad. Frankly, it's enough for a light supper, but too much if you're heading off to dinner following cocktails. The chefs at Ak-Chin need to rethink these offerings.
And, once inside, you need to deal with many chairs which are in dire need of replacement. You sink deep into the cushions, making it even more difficult to feel comfortable with tables that are too small and too tall for the chairs. Lots of space is wasted with chairs that could/should be replaced with seating more appropriate to the room and the size of the tables.
Ak-Chin also needs a more casual mid-range priced restaurant open in the evenings. Agave's Restaurant would be perfect, except it closes after lunch service. Oak & Fork's "small plates" concept just isn't appropriate for this market. Lots of people don't like to share food, the iPad menus are awkward to deal with (and take up lots of "real estate" on the tables) and it's difficult to determine how much to order based on some photos.
And, while it was never cause for alarm, both the front desk and the hotel operator gave out room numbers for guests, and the housekeeper let me into two different rooms without asking for ID or checking to see if I had the proper keys. [I did.]
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. Best advice is to keep all your receipts until you settle your final bill.
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