By Greg Aragon
Who says you have to go to the beach and fight traffic and hordes of people to escape the heat? Why not head about 90 miles east of Los Angeles and cool down at a luxurious, air conditioned resort with a giant pool and lazy river, gourmet restaurants, a four-Diamond hotel, a full-service spa and lots of great slots and gaming. Why not visit Morongo Casino, Resort & Spa?
I recently visited Morongo for a wonderful day and night and I hit the jackpot for fun and relaxation.
My getaway began when a friend and I rounded a bend on the 10 Freeway just west of Palm Springs and saw the majestic, 27-story hotel/casino tower protruding from the desert floor. The next thing we knew, we were checking into a gorgeous Canyon View Suite overlooking the San Gorgonio and San Jacinto mountain ranges.
Located on the 23rd floor, our suite came with a private bedroom with a comfy king bed and 55-inch TV; and a separate living areas with another 55-inch TV, fully-stocked mini bar, mini fridge, coffee maker, couch and chair, and office area. Both of these rooms were highlighted by giant windows overlooking the mountains.
Other suite amenities included a beautiful bathroom with a walk-in glass shower and oversized jetted whirlpool tubs; plush bath robes; and complimentary Wi-Fi.
Once acquainted with the room, we headed to the lobby for dinner. The resort is home to some of the best Palm Springs area restaurants. From the upscale, AAA Four Diamond Award-Winning Cielo, located on the 27th floor, to the Las Vegas-style buffet Potrero Canyon, Morongo offers tasty options for everyone.
Since it was Mariachi Monday at Potrero Canyon buffet we went there and dove into a sea of incredible Mexican and international food. My three plates were stacked with delicious chili verde, chile relleno, beans and rice, blackened cod, and Chinese mint chicken. My friend devoured coconut shrimp, roast beef with mashed potatoes, nachos and more. For dessert we had fresh cheese cake, tarts and cookies.
From the buffet we hit the South Pacific Islands-inspired Oasis Pool area, where we grabbed inner tubes and floated down the resort’s meandering lazy river like a couple of stuffed alligators. The outdoor area also features a giant adult pool, a kids pool, a sandy beach and two heated spa tubs, all surrounded by lush gardens, exclusive cabanas and plush chaise lounges.
Back inside the hotel, we tried our luck at the 150,000 square-foot casino, which features over 2,600 slot machines, 74 table games, including a 13-table poker room and a bingo hall with 440 seats and 19-inch TV monitors. While here I played blackjack and my friend played quarter slots.
In the morning I found bliss at Sage – The Spa at Morongo, which takes its name from the fragrant white sage that has grown abundantly in the surrounding hills and canyons. Here I had a rejuvenating 50-minute Swedish massage with eucalyptus oils. Sage offers 14 treatment rooms, a sauna, steam room, jacuzzi and cold plunge. The spa is also home to Radiance Salon, offering professional hair, manicure and pedicure treatments, as well as waxing services.
After my rubdown it was back to Oasis Pool for some more relaxing before my next culinary journey at Morongo. That night my friend and I experienced International Tuesdays at Potrero Canyon buffet, where we sampled a host of delightful dishes from around the globe. We had seafood cioppino soup, Mongolian beef, pizza, shrimp, nachos and a lot more.
Other food options at Morongo include a food court with a host of eateries; a poolside bar & grill; and two new venues: Good Times Cafe and Pink Coffee. The 24-hour Good Times Café is infused with a rustic brewhouse atmosphere and offers handcrafted burgers, salads, brick-oven pizza, fresh seafood, steaks and a myriad of pilsners, IPAs, stouts and fine whiskeys. Pink Coffee offers signature roast coffee, velvety sweet house-made gelatos and fine baked goods made by hand in Morongo’s own bakery.
Morongo is also home to world-class entertainment as it welcomes performers such as Michael Buble, Enrique Iglesias and Natalie Cole to name a few. For upcoming shows, visit their website.
The resort is currently undergoing a 65,000-square-foot expansion that when complete in 2020 will increase its existing gaming floor by more than 30 percent, add new restaurants, and a free valet parking structure with 750 spaces.
Morongo Casino Resort & Spa is located at 49500 Seminole Drive Cabazon, 92230. For more info and reservations, visit www.morongocasinoresort.com or call (800) 252-4499.