There’s nothing better than a quick getaway destination with good food, amenities galore, reasonable rates, and a casino. Since I had read about Pechanga’s $300 million expansion last year, I decided to give it a try. Spoiler alert: I wasn’t disappointed.
Pechanga Resort Casino
The Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians has called the Temecula Valley home for more than 10,000 years. Their current history, like most other California tribal units, is rife with the dismal results of America’s Manifest Destiny and the activities of the Spanish Missionaries. The Great Oak, located on their land, is “one of the largest natural-growing, indigenous coast, live oak trees in the United States and estimated to be anywhere from 850 to 1,500 years old.” It is symbolic of the Pechanga Band…“strength, wisdom, longevity and determination.”
The AAA Four Diamond award-winning Pechanga Resort Casino is a short drive north from San Diego, in the wine country of Temecula. Their expansion includes new luxury guest rooms and suites, meeting and event space, new restaurants, and an exceptional day spa.
For me, the casino is the crown jewel of the place. It has more than 4,500 state-of-the-art slot machines, over 150 table games, a 24 hour non-smoking poker room, off track betting lounge, high limit play area, and a 700 seat hi-tech bingo parlor. Make sure you sign up for the Player’s Club (there’s a free slot spin for joining). I played in a Hold ‘em tournament and was surprised to see about 100 players on a Tuesday morning. Although knocked out 1.5 hours later, it was satisfying to compete. The service personnel were attentive and the dealers and floor managers set a professional atmosphere. Don’t worry. There’s still plenty to keep you and your family busy besides gambling.
There are 15 restaurants to choose from, ranging from the award winning Great Oak Steak House to the pastries and snacks in the food court. Other options include, Asian, Italian, burgers, plus an award winning buffet. During my stay, I ate at Kelsey’s, Paisano’s, Bamboo and Journey’s End; all easy to recommend. I picked up my morning java jolt at either Blends Coffee & Wine Bar or Temptations Food Court, both featuring homemade baked goods and snacks.
But Wait, There’s More
Outdoors – There’s golf at Pechanga’s Journey, a 7,219-yard, par 72, 18 hole championship course. Walk or hike their 5 mile trail. Visit the new 4.5 acre Cove featuring three pools, swim up bar, food service, two waterslides, plus cabanas and day beds to rent.
Entertainment – Pechanga Theater and their Summit feature A-list performers and concerts. Other venues include a Comedy Club, Casino Cabaret, Eagle’s Nest, plus live championship boxing, MMA, and Mua Thai (martial arts).
Wellness & Fitness – Head to the two-story, 25,000 square foot Spa Pechanga. There’s state of the art fitness equipment, steam and sauna rooms, whirlpools, relaxation areas, outdoor patios and, of course, the Spa itself. It offers an extensive choice of treatments. After experiencing their signature item, the Himalayan Salt Stone Massage, I was both invigorated and relaxed; quite a treat.
Other Goodies – Upscale shops, complimentary Wi-Fi, turn down service, in-room safe, and free parking (including valet). And, there is no resort fee.
Pechanga’s casino is larger than any Las Vegas resort.
There’s a deluxe RV Resort with 210 sites with clubhouse and heated pool.
More than 800,000 people eat at the buffet each year.
Pechanga’s in-house bakery makes about 10,000 cookies every day.
More than 300,000 pounds of used cooking oil is recycled yearly.
Individually decorated gingerbread houses are sold during the winter holidays.
I found the service staff well trained and friendly. The rooms were spacious and comfortable, with all the amenities one expects in a deluxe hotel. I especially appreciated the ability to text for housekeeping, checking out, and dining reservations. My suggestion is to add a day to your planned getaway; there’s so much to do. Look online for packages, holiday specials, and military discounts.
Thanks to the Pechanga Resort Casino for photos, information, etc.