What happens in Vegas may stay in Vegas, but we wager that what happens in the meeting spaces of the Northwest’s casino resorts will become prized memories for guests to share long after they return to their offices. The Northwest is flush with casinos of all sizes that offer a range of entertainment options post-meeting.
“In all conventions there’s downtime,” says Tiah DeGrofft, community relations manager at Wildhorse Resort & Casino in Pendleton, Oregon. “In general, meeting planners are having to plan activities or plan bus trips. … If you don’t have planned activities, [guests] won’t be bored [here]. We’ve got movies in our cineplex, golf, gaming. There’s plenty to do on their own.”
Tulalip Resort Casino General Manager Samuel Askew says that’s the biggest draw for meeting planners: “We’re able to, quite frankly, keep guests entertained on-site for longer than a normal convention hotel.” And that entertainment extends beyond the gaming floors. “We’re a full-service luxury resort destination,” he notes. “It is all encompassing in terms of entertainment and excitement.” That also makes casino events more appealing to attendees who want to bring along a guest. No one you bring will be bored while you’re in a session at a casino resort, Askew promises.
Take, for example, the options for live entertainment. Many casinos showcase local and national bands and comedy acts. With enough notice, event planners can reserve a block of tickets for delegates to sit together at shows. “We once had an event that had 250 guest seats reserved to see [the band] Foreigner at our amphitheater,” Askew recalls. “If we know in advance, we can coordinate before tickets go on sale.”
And while other resorts may also feature live entertainment—as well as spas, golf courses and shopping—the one thing you’ll find only at a casino resort is gaming.
“We can offer nonmonetary gaming options to add excitement to corporate staff events, awards dinners or holiday parties,” says Emily Dyck, sales manager at Cascades Casino/Coast Hotel and Convention Centre in Langley, British Columbia. These private tournaments can be as big or as small as you need them to be. Generally, you’ll provide the prizes, but some resorts can arrange for those, as well. And don’t limit yourself to poker or blackjack tournaments. Casinos now operate digital slot machines. So you can have your own private slot tournament, complete with your branding on the slot screens.
“We’ve done everything from basic for-fun tournaments with table games within convention space all the way to hosting live slot tournaments with prizes on the gaming floor,” says Askew. “That’s the most popular option. It gets people out onto the gaming floor and gives them the excitement of a Vegas-style environment.”
And for those attendees whose gaming skills are a little rusty or nonexistent, casino resorts can provide lessons. “We’ll open a pit, give them a one-hour class, then allow them to go out onto the floor,” Askew says. “Playing roulette or craps can be a daunting experience if you’re a novice.”
Following is a look at just a few venues in our region and what they have to offer. Whichever casino resort you choose to host your next event, it’s a safe bet that you’ll find plenty to attract attendees and, win or lose, keep them entertained while they’re there.
TULALIP RESORT CASINO
Tulalip Resort Casino features 30,000 square feet of flexible meeting space, including a 15,000-square-foot ballroom and a 4,800-square-foot junior ballroom that can be equally divided into four meeting rooms. It also offers 6,000 square feet of pre-/postfunction event space.
“We can host anything from 20 guests up to 1,200-plus,” Askew says. Full-service catering is available along with seven on-site restaurants. Additional amenities include Salal Marketplace—which includes floral services, fashion, tribal art, gifts and wine— a 24-hour fitness center and a luxury spa with 16 treatment rooms. With so many options to choose from for post-meeting activities, Askew says the spa’s services are often overlooked. “We’ve got the capacity to do short chair massages or things like a blowout bar for styling, as well as makeup for groups of attendees,” he says.
There are also two golf courses just 10 minutes from the resort, and if shopping is a draw, the resort offers a free shuttle service to Seattle Premium Outlets, just a few minutes away. You can also arrange transportation into Seattle.
Tulalip Resort is undergoing a room renovation for nearly all of its 370 rooms and suites. Construction is underway in phases, with two floors already completed and a one-floor sound buffer so guests won’t be impacted. The extensive remodeling includes the addition of amenities and “future-proofing” the hotel with upgraded technology, Askew says. “When we opened eight years ago, we set the bar for hotel resorts in the Northwest, and we’re doing that again.” Some floors are already finished, and the entire project is scheduled to be completed in March 2017.
WILDHORSE RESORT & CASINO
Wildhorse boasts 14,000 square feet of dedicated convention space and access to a five-screen cineplex that can be used for breakout space, says DeGrofft. The resort offers 300 hotel rooms and 100 RV spots. “If it’s in the summertime and you’d like to rent a teepee, you can do that as well,” DeGrofft says. An indoor pool and fitness center ensure that guests can keep up their fitness routines to make up for all of the delicious meals they will enjoy at Wildhorse’s six restaurants, which range from a quick-service café to a sports bar and its fine dining restaurant, Plateau. “Plateau features panoramic views of the Blue Mountains,” DeGrofft says. “You won’t eat with better atmosphere anywhere.”
Wildhorse also features its own award-winning 18-hole golf course. The course covers 7,000 yards of lush greens, with gently rolling hills, five lakes and 66 sand bunkers.
SEVEN FEATHERS CASINO RESORT
Seven Feathers has 25,000 square feet of event space, including the Umpqua Ballroom, which can be divided into six separate rooms. Two additional smaller spaces are available just off the lobby. The resort features 300 hotel rooms, five restaurants and the smoke-free Steelhead Lounge, says Group Sales Coordinator Heather Mitchell.
Besides gambling and a variety of live entertainment, guests can enjoy an indoor pool, exercise room, dry sauna, steam room and hot tubs. Or they can book a treatment at the River Rock Spa, which features its “manpering” service for male guests.
NORTHERN QUEST RESORT & CASINO
With 250 hotel rooms and 22,000 square feet of flexible space, Northern Quest Resort & Casino can accommodate groups from 10 to 1,300 attendees, says Melissa Boland, director of sales and catering. The flexible space includes restaurant and lounges, which can be reserved for private functions. In all, Northern Quest offers 14 different restaurants—plenty to sate any craving or taste.
In addition to the restaurant space, Northern Quest has 16,000 square feet of dedicated meeting space, including a built-in production stage. “It gives a great feel to a presentation. We have really high-end production capabilities,” Boland says. And to unwind after a long meeting, attendees can head to the resort’s full-service spa.
COAST LANGLEY CITY HOTEL & CONVENTION CENTRE
Langley, British Columbia
The Coast Langley City Hotel & Convention Centre features a 26,000-square-foot convention center suitable for small gatherings of 20 guests on up to large-scale events for 1,000, says Sarah KirbyYung, executive director of marketing communications for Coast Hotels. The hotel has 77 guest rooms and three restaurants. It also features live entertainment in the 420-seat Summit Theatre, which can be used for private meetings in conjunction with the convention center.