Harrah's Ak-Chin Phoenix
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Approximately a 45-minute drive from Sky Harbor Airport, Harrah's Ak-Chin Phoenix makes quite a statement with its tribal art-inspired architecture and décor, left. There's no doubt, "You're not in Kansas anymore." The distinctive decor continues inside the lobby, throughout the rooms and other public areas.
Ak-Chin has a beautiful pool area, right – open only to hotel guests. There is a swim-up bar and there are lots of outdoor seating areas, some with firepits to warm you up on cool evenings.
While supplies last, complimentary newspapers are available at the front desk. There also is a computer in the lobby from which anyone can print boarding passes and check-in online.
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.
Guestrooms – Resort Rooms – in the original sections (Saguaro, Ocotillo, Palm, Cholla and Mesquite) 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.
A five-story hotel tower ("The New Tower"), right, opened in 2011, but many prefer the larger rooms in the original section. Rooms with two beds seem particularly cramped, though closets are twice as large as the other rooms in the original sections. The bathroom is large, as is the shower. (While there are bathtubs in the original rooms, there is only a shower in the tower rooms.) All tower rooms are non-smoking.
Coffeemakers, refrigerators and in-room safes are standard in all rooms throughout the resort.
What's missing is a fitness center. And the resort atmosphere and out-of-the-way location screams for a fancy spa. An excellent alternative is the Copper Sky Multigenerational Center which offers day passes and special discounts for out-of-town guests. Turn left out of the parking lot. The Center is about half a mile on the right.
Though it's not a spa, partially making up for this is the Ak-Chin Circle Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center, left. The facility offers movies, laser tag, bowling and other event space available for private parties. The Center also offers additional dining options: Cones Cafe, 347 Grill and the Luxe Lounge. Reward Credits are not accepted at Ultrastar.
Ak-Chin also offers bingo. Check the Web site for details on times and other amenities available to players.
While both the Ultrastar Center and bingo hall are easily walkable from the casino, there is periodic bus service.
Ak-Chin is an average medium-sized casino offering poker, keno and the usual slots.
The casino is equipped with Caesars proprietary Total Touch system that allows customers to order drinks, redeem free play, check their Total Rewards account balances, and receive real-time offers based on play.
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)
. 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 separate non-smoking area on the perimeter of the casino near The Range.
Reward Credits can be used to purchase alcoholic beverages at bars, lounges and restaurants that serve alcohol, but not on the casino floor, unless you go to one of the beverage kiosks on the casino floor.
Special Seven Stars Benefits
At the buffet there is a separate entrance for Seven Stars cardholders, but you may have to work your way over to it. 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. Seven Stars cardholders get two free buffets every day (Diamond cardholders get a $9 per person discount), as well as additional complimentary cocktails and appetizers at the Diamond Lounge (see below). Also, show your Total 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.
For up to four complimentary cocktails daily on the floor or at The Lounge, go to Total Rewards. (Diamond cardholders also get four complimentary cocktails daily.) While the drink tickets say you must be actively playing on the casino floor or seated in The Lounge, the free drink coupons also are accepted at Agave's and the buffet. You also can exchange them for non-alcoholic beverages at the Copper Cactus. The tickets have a maximum value of $7 each. The tickets expire at 2 a.m. the morning after they're issued.
In the evening at Agave's Restaurant Seven Stars cardholders get complimentary bottled water and a complimentary appetizer, e.g. a small caprese salad, shrimp cocktail. Tables with Seven Stars guests are discreetly identified with a small etched glass medallion.
Seven Stars cardholders can cap, i.e., “lock down”, a slot machine for up to three hours within a 24-hours period. Previously they could cap a machine for up to four hours. 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
A new – temporary – scaled down VIP Lounge has opened to replace the former Diamond Lounge in Agave’s Restaurant at Harrah’s Ak-Chin Phoenix. The lounge is open from 4 to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 4 to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. This change was necessitated due to continuing construction and the closing of the Range Steakhouse. Agave’s Restaurant – which previously served only breakfast and lunch – now serves dinner to fill the void caused by closing the Range. Since Agave’s became the Diamond Lounge every afternoon at 4 Harrah’s opened this VIP Lounge in a small meeting room. However, due to the limited space, only Seven Stars cardholders or Diamond cardholders who earned 40,000 or more tier credits last year (or this year) are invited to use the lounge. Each is limited to one guest, but Seven Stars cardholders will receive preference if there is a line. While there is a full bar, there is only one food option daily. Seven Stars cardholders may visit every day with one guest and will receive six complimentary beverages, as well as one chef feature and one for their guest. Eligible Diamond cardholders may visit up to eight times a month and bring one guest. They will receive four complimentary beverages, as well as one chef feature and one for their guest. Alternatively, Sunday through Thursday, these guests may receive their complimentary drink coupons at the Total Rewards Center, as well as two complimentary buffets each day of those eight visits. The two complimentary buffets are not available on Fridays and Saturdays due to overwhelming demand at Ak-Chin’s Seafood Buffet, but guests may choose to use one of their visits to the lounge on a Friday or Saturday. All other Diamond cardholders will not have access to the new lounge due to the limited number of guests it can accommodate. However, from Sunday through Thursday, they will receive two complimentary buffets and four complimentary beverages on up to eight of their visits per month. All Seven Stars cardholders will continue to receive two daily complimentary buffets. In addition, all Seven Stars and Diamond cardholders will continue to receive their four complimentary beverages from Total Rewards every day.
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.
However, keep in mind the $500 folio credit can be used only for food and non-alcoholic beverages, in-house show tickets and the gift shop. With all the discounts, free buffets, liberal complimentary alcoholic beverage policies (see above), it might be tough to spend it all – save for the gift shop option.
Dining choices at the casino include Agave's Restaurant (not open 24 hours, but available for breakfast, lunch and dinner), the Copper Cactus Grill (open 24 hours for sandwiches, soups, salads and breakfast), and The Buffet. There is a Dunkin' Donuts which accepts Reward Credits, but at 1.5:1. Golf is available at Ak-Chin Southern Dunes. 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.
Also, because Ak-Chin has its own fleet of cars (and its own drivers), don't expect to rent a car and get reimbursed. Either take the free limo rides to and from the airport – and deal with renting a car once you arrive on-property, or "eat" the cost of a car (assuming you want one).
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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