No need to head out west: East coast gaming resorts offer it all
SHERYL NANCE-NASH | 5/9/2019, 3:57 p.m.
Las Vegas is its own world, but that’s not to say that you can’t get your gaming groove on elsewhere. In fact, there are plenty of places here on the East Coast to take your chances with Lady Luck and enjoy much more, as casino resorts are destinations in their own right. For a fun-filled weekend, here’s where to roll the dice.
When you step into the Mohegan Sun, it’s otherworldly—perhaps best described as Disneyland for adults. The colors, the glitz, the adrenaline pumps immediately. How fast does the fun start? Quicker than you can say, “Let it roll!” The gambling is good at Mohegan Sun, with more than 5,000 slot machines, 350 tables and 350,000 square-feet of gaming floors, making it one of the largest gaming complexes in the world. Much as you might think you would head straight for the casino, don’t be surprised if you make a pit stop. Temptation awaits at Bobby Flay’s Bar American, Michael Jordan’s Steak House, Todd English’s Tuscany, and the more than 50 spots to eat and drink, including lounges and bars. Another wonderful distraction is the slew of shops, about 40 designer haunts. No doubt you will spend time in the 10,000-seat arena that hosts big names like Arianna Grande, Justin Timberlake, and most likely somebody you’re dying to see. Then there’s the luxurious Mandara Spa, where service is high-touch. Golfers will find their way to the 18-hole private course. If you can ignore the fitness center, you might not be able to resist doing a few laps in the 10,000 square-foot indoor pool. Sun worshippers can soak it up on the 17,500 square-foot outdoor sun terrace. If you can tear yourself away from the Mohegan Sun, nearby there are museums, historic sites, breweries parks, galleries, boating, fishing, biking and camping.
Encore Boston Harbor
There’s a brand-new addition to the gaming scene this summer—Encore Boston Harbor. Expectations are high for the $2.6 billion five-star, 671 hotel room resort. Chow down at 15 restaurants including home grown favorites and nationally known named eateries from Las Vegas. Find your spot in the 210,000-square-foot casino. When all the excitement tires you, there’s a 26,000 square-foot spa to relax, regroup and hit the floor for more, if you so desire. You can get your shop on and enjoy events at indoor and outdoor venues. Then, there’s the six-acre Harborwalk, where you can picnic, listen to live music, or simply stroll. Situated on the waterfront along the Mystic River and connected to Boston Harbor, Encore Boston Harbor will open the Everett shoreline to the public for the first time in more than a century.
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
Atlantic City, NJ
This summer marks the one-year anniversary of the Hard Rock’s debut on 17 acres and the legendary Atlantic City boardwalk backdrop. Take your pick of 2,200 slots, 120 table games and the Sportsbook Lounge, or any the 20 restaurants and lounges. If you don’t fancy gambling, there’s nightlife, concerts, shows to comedy at Howie Mandel’s Comedy Club to give you a rush. The inner nerd of high-tech fans will be smitten with all the sophisticated in-room tech. For sure the Rock Spa sets the Hard Rock apart; it has a lengthy menu of treatments, but what will surprise even the spa connoisseur is Rhythm and Motion, the world’s first fully immersive music-centric spa menu, which uses amplified vibrations, pressures and patterns, as the foundation of its treatments. During Synchronicity, a 50 or 80-minute massage, bass vibrations ripple through the massage table as treble beats come from above, sending pulses through the body leaving you energized and invigorated.
MGM National Harbor
If grand is part of your name, you bring it hard. The $1.4-billion MGM resort does. It claims the largest gaming floor outside of Sin City. The two-level casino has more than 160,000 square-feet of space filled with slots, table games and poker and more poker. There are more than 300 guest rooms, an entertainment theater that holds 3,000, and more than a dozen places to satisfy your hunger. Feel like shopping? There’s 18,000 square feet of designer shops. When you’re ready to relax, it’s easy at the 27,000 square-foot destination spa and salon. Get a load of all the artwork by renowned local, national and international artists, such as a soaring archway by legendary singer/songwriter Bob Dylan and an enormous steel interpretation of Cinderella’s shoe by Chinese artist Liao Yibai. Another plus about National Harbor is its proximity to Washington, D.C. You can spend part of your weekend doing the history thing at the city’s landmarks and iconic museums.
Resorts World Catskills Casino & Resort
This is a destination where kids as well as mom and dad alike will be happy. For the children there’s the Kartrite Resort & Indoor Waterpark that just opened in April. It’s the largest in New York and includes a ropes course, bowling alley and rock climbing. Meanwhile parents can game to their hearts content on the 100,000 square-foot gaming floor. There’s a luxury spa, bars and plenty good-eats, like Cellaio, an Italian inspired steakhouse by food guru chef Scott Conant.
Tioga Downs Casino Resort
Here you get your gambling fix, not just at the slots, table games, but harness horse racing. The 160-room Tioga Downs Casino Resort Hotel recently opened. There’s a golf club, an event center for concerts, and 10 spots for eating, drinking and merriment to live music. The AgeLess Spa is there when you need to chill, an indoor heated saltwater pool or outdoor plunge pool and waterslide that overlooks the racetrack. Take advantage of being in the Finger Lakes region, with its wineries, breweries, quaint shops and more.
Mount Airy Casino Resort
Mount Pocono, PA
Who doesn’t love the Pocono Mountains? They are a doable weekend drive from Washington, D.C., Maryland, New York or Philadelphia. Mount Airy Casino Resort has the distinction of being the only resort in Pennsylvania to receive AAA’s Four Diamond designation. You know you’re in for a treat. The 65,144-square-foot gaming floor offers over 1,800 of the latest slot and game tables a plenty for blackjack, craps, roulette, poker and more. The fun doesn’t begin and end on the casino floor. There’s a lakefront 18-hole golf course, spa, several restaurants and a recently completed $40 million expansion that serves up 100 new guest rooms and an additional 16,000 square-feet to the ballroom and events center. While in the Poconos, go wine tasting or commune with nature at Big Pocono State Park.