Having been to Vegas I should say that I had very high expectations of the Harrah's Cherokee Casino. Let me start from the beginning. Getting there is about 3 hours from our home town of Charlotte, NC. The trip is relatively easy considering it is almost ALL 4 lane highway with no real twisting, turning roads at all. We arrived around 1:00 pm in the afternoon and while the signage wasn't perfect we managed to find the valet check-in. We got out of the car, ungreeted and stood around for a several minutes with no one approaching us. The covered area wasn't insanely busy, as a matter of fact several workers were just standing around. Eventually I got the attention of one of the workers and he came over. He looked right at me and said, "you can't park there". I said, I want to check in. Then he became nicer and asked us if we needed help with the bags. They soon got a valet over and then gave me a ticket for the car. We we were on our way in.
At the counter things got better, the customer service lady was very helpful and informative and told us about the hotel and all the amenities. Within a few minutes we were up to our room and checking out the view from the new tower on floor #9. The view isn't spectacular but it is nice if you look above the parking structure and towards the horizon which is nice mountain tops. The designer did a nice job of providing a pull down shade that allows light in but obscures the details outside which are mostly, the parking structure and poverty. Maybe the other side of the tower is better but we decided to leave the shade down. The room itself was great, I really can't say enough about it. Very large, a sitting area, a large bathroom with a walk in shower (no bathtub) and a king size comfortable bed. The flat screen tv and nice desk area round out a good place to hang out if you like to do that. I will caution that Internet is $11.99 per day so since we were staying 3 days we chose to use our Verizon wireless hotspot for $20 for 30 days instead. Unfortunately Verizon does not offer 3G in the Cherokee area so we were stuck with slow data service, glad we didn't need the Internet to work or we would have been forced to pay the Hotel's fee. One final note, our bags came up very quickly and the bell hop was very nice and friendly.
So now we're ready to head to the casino! Many of the reviews here have complained about the walk from the hotels to the casino floor. While it is not a short walk I actually enjoyed it and it is very pleasant as you cross over the river bridge to the casino area. The place is busy and there is lots to see. We picked up our Harrah's cards (replacements as we couldn't find our previous cards) and had no issues there although the line moved a bit slow. Once we were up front though the attendant was focused on us and only us which was nice, she gave us as much time as we needed. Entering the casino floor using the escalator was a breeze, there is always security there but we never got carded which was good (we are in our 40's). I did see younger folks getting carded regularly so that might be a pain if you are in your 20's and come and go a lot.
Our first view of the casino floor was WOW! There are just tons of machines to play and lots of variety. 1c, 2c, 5c, $1, $5, you name it, they have it. Everything is video of course but you know that going in. They have the poker tec tables for video holdem and also blackjack tables that have real dealers and chips but you're still interacting with a screen and not cards. We played some 3 card poker on a video machine and it was still quite a bit of fun. Our forte is generally slots anyway so we did not have a problem with it at all. I will say that overall we lost money in the casino, the machines did feel very tight but I'm not going to complain about that because it is a casino and they are in this to make money. The biggest win I had was a $200 win on a $6.00 spin which I thought was pretty good. If you are going into a casino and thinking you are going to win you are fooling yourself anyway, just go to have fun and if you win great, if not, whatever, that's how we approach it.
Now, some of the bad. We hit the noodle bar the first night which is a newer eating venue. The service is this place was AWFUL! We started with the spring rolls which were pretty good then had a plate of chicken fried rice which was also not bad. I could hardly understand the lady that was serving us so I was just nodding my head and not really sure if we were getting through, her accent was really thick asian. We asked for Dim Sum next and were told it was not available. Then we asked for another dish and it was also unavailable. Finally she just said (I think) you want noodle bowl! Ok, noodle bowl it is. I watched as they opened a bag of noodles with a pair of scissors, drop it into some hot water, then after a few minutes they put that into a bowl and covered it with broth that was from a large stock pot next to the hot water. She put this up on the counter and my wife tasted it, I tasted it, it was so bland we had to send it back. This proved to be a real issue for the waitress and she just scowled at us and left it up on the counter in front of us. We asked for another plate of the fried rice as we had liked that and after a few minutes we had that. When they brought the Bill out things got worse, for 2 Fried Rice orders, one spring roll order and 3 beers it was over $50!!! On the menu the fried rice was listed at $5, the waitress said chicken was added and that was an extra $10 for the chicken. Oh yes, I should also mention the woman next to us was yelled at for ordering two dishes and only wanting one of them (the customer stated she only ordered one dish and was alone). The waitress brought out two dishes and argued with the customer about it. To make matters worse, my wife asked to speak with a manager and was told "No manager here".
We left the Noodle Bar with full bellies but feeling a bit stiffed so we searched for customer service. We found a really nice guy on the floor that asked us what we needed and he listened to our experience. He wanted to assure us that that was not what they wanted their patrons to experience. After calling another person over and discussing it with her they ended up giving us two free tickets to the Chef's Stage buffet which have a value of about $50 so we were satisfied. I would have liked to have know they took care of the Noodle Bar problem but I guess as a customer I feel that they made it right, hopefully others won't have a bad experience there but based on my experience I can't recommend the noodle bar at all.
The food court was decent but somewhat pricey. We had Johnny Rockets late our first night there and two burgers and an order of fries (no drinks) was $22. I guess not horrible by casino standards but not very reasonable either. The food was very good though, cooked to order which made the wait a little longer but overall worth it. They also have a deli there and a dunkin donuts, I had one deli sandwhich from the cooler while there. It was a bit dry and $7 but filled the void and I didn't feel entirely ripped off, it had a good bit of turkey on it. The donuts were fresh and my wife said the coffee there was good.
There's a cafe near the hotel lobby that serves sandwiches, bagels and stuff that we tried also. We had a breakfast sandwich and a bagel and an order of coffee. The sandwich and bagel were good enough (just unpackaged and microwaved) and again expensive but filled the void well. My wife said the coffee was HORRIBLE, not even as good as the free stuff in the room and we took it back on our way down to the casino that morning. When we said we'd like a refund ($3.00) the cashier said they could not do it and would have to get a supervisor. We waited about 5 minutes and she was not successful in hailing a manager. I asked if we could leave our room number and name and they could take care of it without me having to wait. She seemed fine with that. Later on that afternoon when we returned to our room there was a message saying that a $3 credit was applied to our room bill so I was satisfied with that. However, after checking out I was not thorough enough looking at my Bill and as I write this realize they never actually credited my account. Oh well, out another $3 I guess.
The tickets we got to the Chef's Stage buffet were put to good use Monday night. This was a highlight of our trip food wise. Everything was really good food wise. Service we again felt that there was much to be desired. Waiting in the queue to get seated was comical as they tried to feed the diamond level customers into the queue faster than us normal folks and we probably waited 15 minutes when there were maybe 20 of us waiting to be seated, I can't imagine this on a weekend night. They tried to seat us in the middle of the floor at a 2 seat table when there were many outside tables available, we asked for one of those and were allowed to sit there. Had we used the table they originally wanted to seat us at we might as well have been parties with the neighbors the tables were so close together. Again, the food was stellar so I don't want you to come away negative on this one, it's worth the wait and I would have gladly paid the $50 had it not been comped. If they have it make sure you get the brisket and the chipotle sauce, they were killer!
I think overall the resort is nice and getting there. We will return, probably not this year but in 2013 which will give them another year to iron out the kinks. I think the employees need to be empowered to help the patrons and I think the employees need to be coached that the reason they have these jobs is because of the patrons. It's going to be great to get a few more restaurants and then the amphitheater in there soon, the table games will be great as well. Cherokee has a hit on its hands if it can continue to learn how to treat the guests like world class citizens. One final note. Over the course of three days, we bet, what I think, is a lot of money, maybe its not, but at the end we had only about $40 worth of points on the Harrah's card, I felt a little slighted at this, according to the workers we weren't even CLOSE to the next level up in the gamers club. After one weekend at Paris in Vegas I was at the next level and was comped a one night stay on our very next visit (worth about $100 or so) and I don't think I bet any more or less than I did at Cherokee. Anyway, maybe the rules are different here because it is not Vegas but thought I would let you know in case you were planning on getting a lot of value from your players card.
I'm going to leave my review at 3 out of 5 because I can't bring myself to give it the 4th circle. If this were a 6 point scale I would go 4 out of 6, 10 point, probably 7 out of 10. If you haven't been, go, if you have and had a better experience, great. I am trying to be fair here and hope that someone gets a tip or two from my review.
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- Also Known As:
- Cherokee Harrahs
- Harrahs Cherokee Hotel
- Harrah's Cherokee
- Harrahs Cherokee Nc
- Harrahs Casino Cherokee Nc
- Harrahs Hotel Cherokee Nc
- Harrahs Cherokee Casino Hotel