Harrah’s Resort Review – Southern California
Indian casinos are big business in the state of California, and these days enjoy a monopoly on casino gambling in the state. California is totally fine with allowing the game of poker to be licensed and regulated, but don’t allow casino games.
The Indian tribes of California went ahead and opened casinos anyway, and the battle became fought out in the courts, and in the end it was decided that offering casino gambling on their tribal lands was within their rights of sovereignty and self governance.
Among the Indian tribes who currently operate casinos in California are the Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians, on their reservation located in Valley Center, 45 minutes drive north of San Diego. This puts their casino within very easy reach of the 3 million people that live in the area, and therefore this is a very prime location.
Indian tribes typically don’t have access to the kind of capital that it takes to build a casino, and often bring in outside investors and even outside operators, and the Rincon Band ended up doing both.
Their casino is operated by one of the biggest gaming companies in the world, Caesar’s Entertainment, under the Harrah’s brand. The property was initially called Harrah’s Rincon, and opened in 2002. As the project got off the ground, a second hotel tower was added in 2004. This brought the casino hotel resort up to 662 rooms.
In 2014, the Rincon Indians spent a further $160 million to add a third hotel tower, along with a convention center, and this brought the total room count to 1,065, making it the largest Indian casino hotel in California by room count. Other amenities were added as well, adding more restaurants and renovating much of the facility to bring it to the high standard that it enjoys today.
Upon the completion of these most recent renovations, the property was renamed Harrah’s Resort Southern California, accentuating the fact that this truly is a resort destination now in addition to being one of the state’s most lively gambling spots.
The Harrah’s Resort Southern California isn’t your average Indian casino by any means, and one of the real advantages of bringing in an operator like Caesar’s, which owns the Harrah’s brand, is that the focus is really on the level of opulence that is more typical of a Vegas style casino than an Indian casino, and Caesar’s owns and operates many such casinos.
So they have spent quite a bit of money on this project and from what they have been able to accomplish, they have indeed succeeded in creating a first class casino hotel resort.
Visiting Harrah’s Resort Southern California
Room rates here, at the time of writing anyway, start at under $100 a night, and that does get you a pretty nice room.
The rooms here are modern and nicely decorated and all come with such amenities as WiFi, safe, refrigerator, hair dryer, ironing board with iron, coffee machine, and free access to their fitness area. Both smoking and non smoking rooms are available.
There are several options to choose from as far as their selection of rooms go, all priced reasonably. Suites start at $200 a night for 820 square feet offering more room, and a soaking tub on top of the usual amenities and features.
There are several other suites to choose from, all the way up to the $5,120 a night, 2,398 square foot Presidential Suite. Guests will find whatever they are seeking here at whatever price range they are willing to spend.
Restaurant selections are headlined by the upscale Fiore, which is a restaurant for those who want the best food and don’t mind spending the a little more to get it. There are no prices on the menu here so if you have to ask you probably belong somewhere else.
They have won an award for excellence by Wine Spectator nine years in a row though, and are renowned for their melt in your mouth steak and seafood, so fine diners will certainly want to check it out.
The Buffet here not only offers great food, but unlike a lot of buffet restaurants, this one is simply beautiful in its appearance, and this is a great example of how nothing was spared here in this facility as far as expense or design talent.
This is true of their other restaurants as well, The Café for instance is far from your average café, with hearty portions of delicious food in a gorgeous setting. Rita’s Cantina serves up Mexican fare, and Fortunes offers Asian dining in a casual atmosphere.
There’s also the Earl of Sandwich, boasting the world’s best hot sandwich, and Pink’s Hot Dogs, who claim to have the best hot dogs around. They also have a Starbucks for coffee lovers.
There are three bars here, as well as a spa, a golf course, a pool, an events center, a meeting center, shopping, and more. There’s lots to do here to be sure.
The Casino at Harrah’s Southern California
While the casino here at Harrah’s Resort Southern California is of a fairly modest size of 55,000 square feet, they do pack quite a bit of casino action into this space and it has all a casino gambler could want.
There are 1700 slot and video poker machines on hand, with a full variety, including both reel and video slots, and the largest selection of video poker and video keno in the state of California.
Stakes run from a penny all the way up to $100, and the machines here also employ the latest touch screen technology, and you can even order drinks on it. For jackpot lovers, both single and multi level progressives are available.
There are 68 different table games, with a good selection, even though California’s penchant for cards have them offering different versions of traditional games such as roulette and craps.
The roulette here is called Mystery Card roulette, and it is indeed played with a deck of cards, using a card shuffling machine that substitutes as a virtual roulette wheel. Rincon Craps is pretty close to the standard game of craps, shooters do roll dice, but cards are revealed that correspond to the roll, turning the game into a card game of sorts and thus keeping the people in the state capital happy, given their preference for cards.
Games that actually use cards normally are in abundance here, with blackjack being one of them of course, and also including Fortune Pai Gow Progressive, EZ Baccarat, Asia Poker, Three Card Poker, Six Card Bonus, Crazy 4 Poker, Mississippi Poker, Ultimate Texas Holdem, and Let It Ride Bonus.
No California casino would be complete without a poker room, and Harrah’s Resort Southern California is no exception, and offer low stakes cash Holdem as well as weekly tournaments.
Harrah’s also offers their company rewards program on site, Total Rewards, which all players are eligible to take advantage of.
Harrah’s Resort Southern California is one of the most beautiful Indian casinos you’ll ever visit, in a beautiful part of the country.