Set on the Qualla Boundary of Cherokee is the Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort, one of only two casinos in North Carolina. Open since 1997, the Cherokee has become a leading gambling hub for the state since opening with only video poker for their guests to play some 20 years ago.
Operated by global casino and entertainment giants Caesars Entertainment, Cherokee is actually owned physically by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, who have used many of the revenues from the casino resort to improve the infrastructure in and around the Qualla Boundary. Notable additions to the local area include a new hospital, residential housing and a brand-new high school for local teens.
From video poker to 150,000 sq ft of casino floor space
At the time of the Cherokee Casino Resort’s arrival to North Carolina, the state was the only one in the United States not to have a lottery game. As part of its celebration of 20 years of trading in North Carolina, Harrah’s Cherokee has recently undergone a magnificent expansion of its casino and the resort’s range of entertainment and sports activities. An eye-watering $650m was spent on revamping and regenerating Cherokee in readiness for the next generation of casino gaming. The resort now features 150,000 sq ft of gaming space, with over 100 traditional casino table games now available to play 24/7 on the premises.
Blending old and new casino games
Harrah’s Cherokee is also trying hard to fuse the traditional glitz and glamour of a casino floor with the state-of-the-art gaming technology available today. Combining the traditional casino version of baccarat in a six-player digital format, Digital Mini Baccarito puts a refreshing twist on the classic 14th century version of the game. Furthermore, Cherokee has designed and built a dedicated to the resort’s ever-expanding Asian consumer base. “Le Fu Men” features stunning Asia-infused décor and an intimate gaming scene. The space plays host to the most popular derivatives of blackjack and baccarat, with the likes of European blackjack still lending themselves to a basic blackjack playing strategy, including options to double down and surrender, with some slight variations relating to dealer actions and additional payouts. Away from the tables, Le Fu Men also features an adjacent Noodle Bar, open Thursday to Sunday evenings, serving fresh and authentic Asian cuisine.
Such is the depth of entertainment at today’s casino resorts that the revamp of Harrah’s Cherokee has gone way beyond the casino floor. For couples and groups, the hotel’s Mandara Spa is a refreshing addition to the complex, with an 18,000 sq ft relaxation space with treatments and therapies available based upon traditional Balinese techniques, with the spa décor and furnishings replicating the Balinese way of life. Combine this with a trip to both the indoor and outdoor pools of the Cherokee and you can be sure of a morning or afternoon of guaranteed bliss.
More than just a casino for locals and visitors alike
The multi-million-dollar expansion has also transformed Harrah’s Cherokee into a nightlife hotspot. Essence is a spacious new lounge that’s quickly become a vibrant social space for groups and couples, with live sport broadcast on the lounge’s 33 televisions and hipster music to enjoy over a glass or two of the bar’s premium liquors or American microbrews.
Aside from the entertainment and nightlife on offer, Harrah’s Cherokee is also fast becoming one of the most attractive destinations for corporate gatherings in the Great Smoky Mountains. The town of Cherokee now boasts its own impressive conference center and is ideal for anything from seminars and workshops to board meetings and large-scale conferences, with seating available for up to 3,000 delegates at any time, as well as the ability to put up guests overnight within the resort’s story hotel.
When it comes to entertainment and casino resorts offering a little taste of everything under one roof, there’s no doubt that the latest investment in Harrah’s Cherokee brings the resort in line with many of the best in the United States and beyond. Its unique position overlooking the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway is just another reason why visitors are flocking all year round to Cherokee today.