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Casino del Sol Resort has pampering on the menu

Casino del Sol Resort specialty
Casino del Sol Resort specialty
Carol Stigger

If you like dining and gaming, I found a way to avoid catching the norovirus and being adrift with scant food and overflowing toilets. I do not mean Vegas with its neon overkill and packed rooms of flashy, drunk gamers. I do not mean riverboats with their bland food and just-us-folks pulling at the slots and yelling “oranges!”

Casino del Sol Resort is in Tucson and serves an international clientele. Its state-of-the-art gaming rooms include an exclusive “no limit” room with its own bar and refreshments. The resort’s 217 rooms and suites include exclusive 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 more soothing. Desert, calm and quiet. The newspaper, of course, was just outside 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, I decided to focus on treatments native to the area. The desert stone massage used warm and cold desert stones with their locally developed Sun Kissed hydrating oil for a great start to a desert experience. I could not pass up the bio-energetic fusion facial that used pumpkin enzymes to remove impurities and then organic oils combined with an ancient Native American sun ritual, which enhances the effectiveness of the nature herbs.

The café latte scrub sounded interesting, but my body had just the right level of caffeine, so I opted for the Golden Sol body treatment. A mesquite honey scrub exfoliated my skin before Golden Sol mud re-mineralized my body. After giving my body such unexpected treats, I lounged around in a sunny lobby while contemplating dinner, which may or may not be followed by gaming. At such a level of relaxation, planning ahead feels other-wordly: the world of deadlines, commuting, and taxes I had left behind.

I started off 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 did not taste the mesquite smoked pork belly with pear chutney, jalapeno bacon and cheese grits or it would have one more star. And that was just the appetizer.

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 never seen s’mores on a dessert menu in a classy restaurant. I could not believe how good the South of the Border S’more tasted. No marshmallow flaming over a campfire here; it has a graham cracker cookie base with Ibarra salted chocolate ganache and toasted chipotle marshmallow fluff. Don’t tell the Girl Scouts, but I have no longer had it with s’mores. I am just far more choosey about where I eat them.

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 treatments and dinner and bundled in elegant linens anticipating the next day when I planned to explore Tucson or just lie around the pool. I would decide over morning coffee Vacations should not have an agenda, and at Casino del Sol Resort your agenda can be what you want it to be with no fears of norovirus or being adrift with hunger pangs.

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