Harrah's Cherokee Casino Resort
Harrah's Cherokee Casino Resort
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 Caesars 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, below, on the first level near the Selu Garden Cafe.
■ There is no resort fee, but Seven Stars cardholders receive complimentary Internet access for up to five devices. Others who want the optional WiFi pay $11.77 per day.
■ Residents of and visitors to the Cherokee Indian Reservation do not pay state or local sales taxes. Instead they pay a 7 percent “tribal levy.”
■ 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. It's important to note that the banked freeplay expires in 24 hours, so be sure to use all of your free slot play in the same day. Caesars casinos in Baltimore, Hammond, New Orleans, Phoenix and Tunica – and perhaps others – are among those with similar policies.
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 multi-million dollar expansion Cherokee is now the largest hotel in the Carolinas. In addition to the Creek Tower, the Soco Tower, and the original Mountain Tower (which has recently undergone a major renovation), the Cherokee Tower was added in 2021 complete with its own dedicated lobby and separate parking.
There is a special VIP Welcome desk 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.
Some rooms have shower/tub combos while others have only showers, so be sure to inquire about your specific tower and room if that is a concern. 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.
■ Forgot your Caesars Rewards card? Beat the line and reprint your card at one of Harrah's reprint kiosks located near the table games area and near the Gilded Basket store in the Rotunda.
Dining and entertainment
Among your dining choices are Ruth's Chris Steak House, Selu Garden Café, eSports Zone, the Noodle Bar, BRIO Tuscan Grille, Guy Fieri's Kitchen + Bar, and the Wicked Weed Brewpub. There is also the Gordon Ramsay Food Market, featuring the Truffles Pub, Street Burger, Street Pizza, Bake & Brew, Sushi, Fish & Chips, and Catch Cafe. There also is a small Food Court, only open after hours from 11:00 pm to 7:00 am, with an Earl of Sandwich and a Dunkin' Donuts Express. Each hotel lobby also features a Starbucks with its usual fare.
The Wicked Weed Brewing of Asheville, N.C. is a 12,000-sq. ft. brewpub located on the second floor of Harrah’s near the Event Center. Included in the area are a 36-seat main bar, a walk-up tasting bar for seasonal and special offerings, and a small stage for entertainment. Beer connoisseurs will enjoy Wicked Weed’s signature craft beer selection, including their West Coast Style IPAs and Barrel-Aged Sour Ales, which is featured on the extensive beverage menu. Also included are Wicked Weed’s oak-fermented cider and newly released Vidl wines. The menu features steaks, sandwiches, burgers, salads and more.
The 3,000-seat Cherokee Events Center has hosted such entertainers as Hank Williams Jr. and Lady A (formerly 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 there are designated outdoor smoking areas, the casino is now entirely non-smoking.
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.
■ If two (or more) are dining at Ruth's Chris, consider ordering one Ruth's Classic (a prix fixe choice of one salad or soup, one entree, one side, and one dessert). There are two price points depending on which entree you select. The other person can order another entree à la carte, and you'll still have plenty of food since you can share the salad/soup, the side and the dessert.
■ The Selu Garden Cafe is your only option for a complete sit-down breakfast (or brunch on Saturday and Sunday). It's also open for lunch during the week. Here are some tips
> Ask for a booth by the window so you can enjoy the view outside.
> When you pay your bill, if the cashier doesn't ask, show your Caesars Rewards card. All cardholders get a 10 percent discount.
> Most breakfast and lunch entrees are large enough to share. At breakfast two people can share The Kitchen Sink and probably still have something leftover.
> The "silver dollar" pancakes are as large as many restaurants serve as "regular" pancakes.
> If you don't want your toast buttered, you'll have to ask.
> The "cheesy hash brown casserole" served with practically every breakfast entree is very rich.
> You can substitute regular hash brown potatoes, grits or fresh fruit at no extra charge.
■ The direct line to Harrah's Cherokee is (828) 497-7777.
■ Unlike other Caesars Rewards casinos, players can redeem Reward Credits for cash instead of free play. Go to either Caesars Rewards Center. The redemption rates are the same as if you were redeeming for free play at any other casino and vary based on tier level.
The Book is one of two of North Carolina’s first sports betting venues. (The other is located at Harrah's Cherokee Valley River Casino & Hotel.) It offers plush reclining chairs for viewing games, highlights and score tickers on the 90-foot ultra-high-definition screen. Guests have the option to place bets at one of the seven ticket-writer windows or from one of 10 self-service betting kiosks. For a more private viewing experience, groups can reserve one of the Fan Caves or seating in the Upper Deck. Full beverage service also is available.
The lounge is open (subject to change):
Sunday - Thursday: 3 to 10 p.m.
Friday and Saturday: 3 p.m. to Midnight
Seven Stars Lounge/Special Seven Stars benefits*
The Laurel Lounge (former 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 – isspecial 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 Laurel Lounge is now completely shut down. There is a dedicated Seven Stars section near the Caesars Rewards desk where you can order discounted drinks and light snacks such as crackers, pretzels, peanuts, chips, etc.
Seven Stars cardholders and a guest can get up to four rounds of golf per month at Harrah's Cherokee Golf at Sequoyah National Golf Club. Instead of an automatic benefit, this perk may now only be offered via casino promotions, so be sure to call your host prior to booking your vacation.
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.
Caesars Rewards Centers
There is one Caesars Rewards Center on the main floor. It is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and is located near the casino valet.
The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, owners of Harrah's Cherokee, has opened Harrah's Cherokee Valley River Casino & Hotel. The $110 million casino in Cherokee County, N.C., is located just outside the town of Murphy, about an hour away from Harrah's Cherokee, and approximately two hours away from Knoxville, Chattanooga and downtown Atlanta. The facility features 60,000 square feet of gaming space with slots and traditional table games, a 300-room full-service hotel, a Starbucks and a Food Market.
Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center
At nearly 52,000 square feet, Harrah's UltraStar Multi-tainment Center is the first-of-its-kind entertainment destination in North Carolina. The Center includes UltraStar lanes, the most technologically advanced bowling center in the state, which offers 24 lanes, including eight VIP lanes available for group events and parties.
A casual, full-service sit-down restaurant features entertainment from local acts to tribute bands. The second level has an exclusive walk-up bar that can be reserved only for those taking part in the 21-and-older VIP bowling experience. Guests also will find billiards, along with sunset patio dining paired with craft cocktails and local brews. A private party room is available for special events.
Family members of all ages can enjoy the Game Center, a large arcade area featuring the newest and most popular video and redemption games. Points can be redeemed in the prize store for everything from stuffed animals to an Xbox.
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.
The closest airport is Asheville Regional Airport, though you also can fly into Charlotte-Douglas International Airport or Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, but you'll face close to a 3 and 3½-hour drive, respectively.
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 Caesars Eats (Room Service) may be taken care of with your Caesars 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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