Casino del Sol


Story by Carol Stigger
Photography Courtesy Casino del Sol Resort


Casino del Sol Resort Exterior

Casino del Sol Resort has pampering and s’mores on the menu

If you love fine dining and spas with gaming on the side but want an upscale alternative to much of Vegas, consider the Casino del Sol Resort in Tucson.  This resort serves an international clientele and has state-of-the-art gaming rooms, which include an exclusive “no limit” room with private bar and refreshments.  The 217 rooms and suites include Sky View suites, which are five-star accommodations.

After a long drive, I appreciated parking on the first level and sleeping in a king-sized bed with signature mattress and luxurious Italian Frette bedding. The next morning, the Keurig self-brewing coffee system with a generous selection of K-cups was a welcoming way to start the day. The 47” flat-screen HDTV gave me a crisp view of the morning news, but the view outside my bedroom was even more soothing. Desert, calm and quiet. The newspaper, of course, was at my door along with the shoes I had set out to be cleaned and polished.

The on-site Hiapsi Spa offers such an inclusive menu that I would like to have chosen one of each.  Imagine a desert stone massage with warm and cold desert stones followed by locally developed Sun Kissed hydrating oil. I would not pass up the bio-energetic fusion facial that uses pumpkin enzymes to remove impurities and then organic oils combined with an ancient Native American sun ritual, which enhances the effectiveness of the nature’s herbs.

The café latte scrub sounds interesting, but if your body has just the right level of latte, opt for the Golden Sol body treatment that uses a mesquite honey scrub to exfoliate skin, then Golden Sol mud to remineralize the whole body.  After you’ve given yourself such unexpected treats, do as I did and lounge around in a sunny lobby and contemplate dining, which may or may not be followed by gaming. At such a level of relaxation, planning ahead feels other-worldly: the world of deadlines, commuting, and taxes I had left behind.

Dinner, of course, began with an aperitif, El Presidio, which mixes Tucson’s own mesquite whisky with Guajillo cherry syrup and three dashes of bitters. The taste took me back to my Kentucky roots, but with a surprising and delightful mesquite twist. With several on-site restaurants to choose from I could not resist PY Steak House, winner of ‘Wine Spectacular’ award of excellence and boasting a four-star rating by ‘Forbes Travel Guide.’ The reviewer must not have ordered the mesquite smoked pork belly with pear chutney, jalapeño bacon and cheese grits or it would have one more star. And that was just the appetizer.

Casino del Sol Resort PY Steak

Iceberg lettuce in such a divine restaurant sounded insipid, but combined with avocado puree, blue cheese, bacon scallion, egg and grape tomatoes it gained new respect. It was the perfect crispy base to the tasty additions. The steak offering is complete and done the way you order it– in my case medium rare. Perfect. No room for dessert, but I had to sample s’mores, never before seen in a classy restaurant.  I could not believe how good the South of the Border S’more tasted: No flaming marshmallows over a campfire, though it does start with a graham cracker cookie base. Then, it gets serious: Ibarra salted chocolate ganache and toasted chipotle marshmallow fluff.

On to the gaming. As gamers know, what happens in the high-stakes room stays in the high-stakes room. I went to bed satisfied with my spa tour and dinner and bundled in elegant linens anticipating the next day. My choices were to drive 13 miles south to the renowned Sonora Desert Museum that has two miles of walking paths and 1,200 plants native to the desert habitat. Of most interest to me was the twice-daily Raptor Free Flight where birds of prey swoop and soar untethered in the open desert. Or, I could explore Tucson’s 4th Avenue. This “Street of Dreams” has 35 locally owned retail shops, including a thrift shop - a welcome attraction to visitors whose lucky streak at the casino took an unwelcome turn.

Casino del Sol Resort Pool

Also, it was tempting to continue my project of making relaxation an art form, by lounging around the pool.

I would decide over morning coffee in the comfort of my room. Vacations should not have an agenda.  At Casino del Sol Resort your agenda can be what you want it to be with no sign of rain, freezing rain, ice or snow. 

Thanks to Casino del Sol for their hospitality and the Arizona Office of Tourism.



© April 2014 LuxuryWeb Magazine. All rights reserved.