They know a good partnership opportunity when they see one and after ten years of negotiations between local, state, federal, and tribal officials, Harrah's Cherokee opened in late 1997 with a full array of Class III casino games. The state didn't even have a lottery yet. It is the only full scale casino in North Carolina and continues to grow in quality of service and offerings.
In January 2007 the Eastern Band of Cherokee Tribal Council approved a massive $633 million *expansion of the property. The work is scheduled for completion by 2012. Expect a total renovation of the casino floor and a third hotel tower. A new luxury spa is in the works as well as a 3,000 seat Events Center so they can continue to bring top name acts to the stage and serve more people. New parking garages are being built to handle the increased traffic and of course they will expand their offerings of food and retail outlets.
Update: Aug 14th, 2012 HARRAH'S CHEROKEE CASINO NOW OFFERS LIVE TABLE GAMING ACTION!
Update: Jan 18th, 2011 PR Release: Creek Tower Hotel Now Open - See Below
Update: Dec. 29, 2009
Liquor & Beer by the drink are now being served up at Harrah's Cherokee so make sure you are 21 years of age now before you head to the casino!
Update: July 1st, 2010 The new 8 story parking garage is now open and fully functional. Also the new casino entrance and added gaming space is also open for business and is absolutely beautiful. When you guys see the inside of this new gaming space you will know that Harrah's Cherokee has truly arrived as a 'A World Class Gaming Resort'!
Constant adjustment to clients needs has always been a hallmark at the Harrah's Cherokee property and now the thrill of playing can be enjoyed along with beer, wine, and mixed drinks served right at your digital machine or games table! Alcohol sales are available from 7am to 2am Mon-Sat and noon to 2am on Sundays. And of course you can still enjoy your drinks in the VIP Lounge or now in any restaurant including Club Cappuccino. And remember, all the restaurants at Harrah's Cherokee are smoke free as is the VIP Lounge.
Of course there is a lot to do at the foot of the Great Smoky Mountains and it's not all centered in Harrah's Cherokee 97,000 square foot/24-hour casino. There are currently a couple of great gift shops; Kanati's in the hotel and Jackpot on the casino floor near the front entrance where you can buy locally made Native American crafts, jewelry and Black Hills gold and turquoise. More shops to come soon with the new expansion in progress.
Off property you'll find the entrance to the southern end of the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway about a mile away. All year-round visitors to the area enjoy activities like hiking, whitewater rafting, canoeing and some of the very best trout fishing that you will find anywhere. This really is a family vacation get-away that shouldn't be missed.
Golf? World class here! The Sequoyah National Golf Club, owned by the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation and managed by Troon Golf of Scottsdale AZ is now open to the public. This 72 par championship course was designed by Robert Trent Jones II and Native American golf pro Notah Begay III. Unique and breath taking views await you at every hole. The course was named one of the best new courses of 2009 by Golf Magazine.
Looking for a place for your convention or business meeting, retreat, seminar or even your wedding? Harrah's Cherokee Casino and Hotel offers over 21,000 square feet of meeting and convention space. The rooms range in size from the 343 square foot Birch Room to the 13,801 square foot Council Fire Ballroom which accommodates over 600 people for dinner and has a 5,612 square-foot pre-function area.
Let's visit the property and see what we can see. Standing outside and looking around we see beautiful mountains, creeks, wildflowers and nearby are waterfalls cascading in the Great Smoky Mountains. But we are here to gamble right now so let's go into the hotel and get checked-in!
Would you look at those massive stone pillars in the lobby? Amazing… and the stone tile floors, very stately… listen to the waterfall lulling; see the rustle in the lush greenery… ooh the rich wood accents. Yep, this is a classy place, a world-class establishment.
After checking my bags at the hotel desk I wonder on into the casino, Hmm… I wonder if I can find a game I like among the three thousand four hundred digital gaming machines and traditional reel slots. Sure, why not I'll go a couple of spins on a one armed bandit before upping my stakes to dollars on Wild Cherry and Double Diamonds. I can go a penny a pull on these state-of-the-art video slots or bet big on Video Poker. I'm seeing 850 poker-based games, including Double Double Bonus Poker, Jacks or Better, Deuces Wild, Bonus Draw, Three Card Poker, Let It Ride, and lots of others, with denominations ranging from $.05 to $100.00. Are those Pot O' Gold games over there? Sweet!!! Pot O' Gold games include Black Gold, Eight Ball Poker, Shamrock 7's, Triple Sevens, Keno and many more.
I guess I'll go have a drink in the VIP lounge… hmm… looks nice in here; clean lines, rich tones, elegant natural elements of wood and stone… nice ambiance, I can truly relax in here… Maybe have a light snack and a.. Hmm.. a Bloody Maria, yeah that's it; white tequila in tomato juice with horseradish and Tabasco… a little Worcestershire if you please and a pickled asparagus spear for garnish.. mmm mmm mmm!
Feeling pretty good now, guess I'll go try my wits against other players; sure the solo poker machines are fun but nothing gets me going like head to head competition with someone else! I'll go to the Total Rewards Center and register for my free Total Rewards® card? Sure! Now that that's done I go and check out the tables....There's a table, are they playing Texas Hold'em? Nope, it's 7-Stud I'm in! But before I sit down I'll visit the cashier cage to register & buy-in. Now I'm going to register with the poker room supervisor and get in line for that hot table playing Omaha! Only ten people are allowed a seat and I want mine.
No smoke in here, nice....When the attendant seats me I'll slip my Total Rewards Card in the slot and enter my PIN so my play will be tracked properly. Sweet, my own video screen shows my balance and my only limit is my bankroll. There's a large monitor in the middle too, showing community cards and pot amounts. I can peak at my hole cards without anyone else seeing my screen. This is the best of both worlds! Digital meets heads up. These "PokerPro Tables" by PokerTek are the best thing since sliced bread! PokerPro tables are cutting-edge electronic gaming devices that simulate live poker and allow players to play face-to-face interaction with other poker players and the chance to look for tells in the eyes. Without having to wait around between hands for the dealer, the games play fairly fast.
Note: All Restaurants and the VIP Lounge at Harrah's Cherokee are now "smoke free". There is also a large section of the casino gaming floor that is also smoke free as well. So for the non-smokers this will come as a welcome break from the smoke.
Digital Blackjack? Yeah? With live dealers, real chips, a six deck shoe, and Las Vegas rules this is great.
The Digital Mini Baccarito game allows 6 players per table. They can choose to play either "Banker, Player or Tie", and the closest to "9" wins. From the 14th Century to James Bond movies to the Harrah’s Cherokee 21st Century digital, this game will never get old.
If I get hungry again there are several restaurants to choose from and more coming soon with the new expansion completion. Currently available is fine dining at Sycamores on the Creek, or casual fare at Selu Garden, the Fresh Market Square Buffet on the casino floor, or chocolates and truffles in the candy shop, Truffles and Stuff, or a piece of cake and shot of espresso at Club Cappuccino.
Asking my host who has played the Pavilion in the past he tells me Willie Nelson, Loretta Lynn, Charlie Daniels, Big & Rich, Sinbad, Wynonna, Bill Cosby, Wayne Newton, Brooks & Dunn, Kenny Rogers, Jo Dee Messina, Jeff Foxworthy, Jay Leno and many more. Guess I'll check the marquees and take in a show before I turn in for the night.
Ahh, my room is nice. I'm staying in a Soco Tower premium room and it has a king size bed with a majestic view of the Great Smoky Mountains. That's a nice large whirlpool bath, fine furniture, fixtures and plenty of amenities such as hair dryer, coffee maker, mini-fridge, 32-inch TV and a lounge area with sofa.
This new construction expansion will make Harrah's Cherokee the largest hotel in North Carolina when the 21-story Creek Tower with an additional 532 luxury guest rooms and suites is completed.
When all has been completed in 2012, the 56-acre property will have added the third hotel tower, a '3,000-seat Events Center' (Opening Labor Day weekend 2010) that will offer four VIP suites, box seating and more than 1,000 balcony seats, additional entertainment and VIP lounges, an 18,000-square-foot spa, an all new state-of-the-art digital poker room (already open).
Also included is an Asian gaming room, a variety of new restaurants including 'Paula Deen's Kitchen' (opening late 2010), 'Ruth's Chris Steakhouse' (opening fall of 2011) and several new retail outlets including an 1,800-square-foot Paula Deen retail shop offering Paula's cookbooks, spices and food items, cookware, logo wear and gifts. The new hotel is already topped out and the casino parking garages are being completed and soon to open.
Harrah's Cherokee is also renovating its current casino facilities and doubling the size of its casino floor to 195,000 square feet while increasing the video and table game capacity. When the new expansion is completed it should position Harrah's Cherokee Casino & Hotel as the premier gaming destination in the Southeast and a top world-class entertainment and tourism destination as well!
Update: Oct. 15th, 2010
Harrah's Cherokee recently celebrated the opening debut of their new high-energy Entertainment Lounge and gaming expansion. With an emphasis on a youthful and energetic mood, the 175-seat Entertainment Lounge is the new focal point in the property's Mountain Breeze Zone, one of four newly themed zones of the casino. The Mountain Breeze zone is rich in striking colors, strobe lighting and high-energy pulsating music. More than 700 new games were added to this zone, with the new 3,000-plus seat Events Center on its upper level.
The Entertainment Lounge features live music on Wednesday through Saturday nights and a variety of stimulating bar top games. Music includes a rotating lineup of entertainment for adults of all ages and interests. 33 plasma-screen TV's surround the area with a huge 13-foot over-the-stage projector and concert-level audio that keeps the guests pumped-up on music videos. The sports enthusiasts can enjoy all the sporting events being streamed.
The Lounge is open from 11 am to 2 am daily, with full bar service including a comprehensive wine list, full complement of premium liquors, specialty cocktails, and domestic and imported beers by the bottle as well as on tap. Harrah’s chefs are top notch and they have created an eclectic Entertainment Lounge menu of tantalizing hors d’oeuvres, light dishes and desserts for your taste bud cravings.
We are pleased to refer our friends to this world-class resort and depending on when you go you might just run into one of us there.
UPDATE: Jan. 18th 2011PR Release Creek Tower
Harrah's Cherokee Casino opens 532-room luxury Creek Tower Wing
Creek Tower Increases Room Count to 1,108 as Part of $633 Million Expansion (Cherokee, NC, January 17, 2011)
Celebrating a major landmark in its three-year, $633 million expansion, Harrah’s Cherokee Casino & Hotel opened its third luxury hotel tower on December 20, 2010 in time for the holiday season. The 532-room Creek Tower broke ground in July, 2009 and is the latest to come online in a series of new amenities transforming the property to the premier resort destination in the Southeast.
The 21-story Creek Tower adds 454 new guest rooms and 78 new suites to the property, increasing the total room count from 576 to 1,108, the greatest number of hotel accommodations in the Carolinas. Each guest floor in the new tower includes four end suites measuring 750 square feet with floor-to-ceiling windows and mountain views, and the top floor contains 10 specialty suites, measuring between 750 and 1,900 square feet. All top-floor suites have balconies, and the two largest Super Suites boast 180-degree panoramic views of the Smoky Mountains. All floors through 20 are currently open, with the 21st all-suite floor opening this spring.
While comfortably immersed in the Great Smoky Mountain Mountains environment, guests in the new Creek Tower engage with an environment that calls to mind the grand woodland retreat lodges of the past. The Tower’s waving and fluid roof, at 200-foot-high, complements the natural dynamic of Harrah’s Cherokee’s rolling mountain-scape. The Tower’s spacious suites boast two stories of glass curtain wall that maximize views to create a direct visual connection to the surrounding vista.
The two ground floors of Creek Tower feature specialty retail shops and new dining options. Callaway Golf Shop provides golfers with the most current Callaway products and carries both golf and non-golf items including clubs, balls, shoes, apparel, travel gear, sun glasses and watches. The Tower Shop offers sundries and snacks, logo clothing, books and magazines.
Creek Tower also includes the new Paula Deen’s Kitchen and Retail Shop, both officially opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony with Paula Deen on January 22, 2011. The 1,800-square-foot Paula Deen retail shop offers Paula’s cookbooks, spices and food items, cookware, logo wear and gifts. The soon-to-open Lobby Café in Creek Tower will feature appealing “grab & go” items. Creek Tower conveniently connects to Level 6 of the new 1,132-space parking deck.
New Creek Tower Room Pics: Very Nice Indeed!
*The only drawback we can find with the new "Creek Tower Rooms" are that most only have shower stalls in them. If you are the type that likes to soak in the tub with Mr Bubbles then you may want to let the front desk know that you want a tub room. You may even have to stay in the Mountain Tower or the Soco Tower to get the full tub room.