The beautiful Tulalip Resort Casino lies about mid-way between Vancouver, B.C. and Seattle, Washington. It’s not only a popular place for high rollers but it serves as an amazing getaway for those who appreciate luxury, pampering, gourmet food and entertainment. Plus, within walking distance of the resort you’ll find the high-end Seattle Premium Outlets for your shopping pleasure!
The AAA Four Diamond Tulalip Resort Casino is known as a premier meeting, gaming, dining, entertainment and shopping destination. After a two-day stay I came away impressed with the Native art and designer décor, excellent restaurants, relaxing spa and the 192,000 sq. ft. casino easily comparable to Las Vegas gaming in size and décor.
I was invited as one of a small group of food and wine enthusiasts to explore the resort and partake in their wine and dine scene. I brought along a good friend who, also a foodie, knew her way around a poker table.
Rooms for Relaxation
As we walked into the lobby we had to stop and admire the two-story high traditional cedar poles. Carved by Tulalip artists, they tell stories of the Tulalip people including their traditional gambling game. Informational plaques tell the stories and describe the meaning of each figure.
The newly renovated rooms are stunning with modern décor, traditional art and a color palette of greys and bright red that draws from the designs of the coastal people. If you’ve ever seen a Haida button blanket, you’ll recognize the inspiration.
The large rooms are filled with amenities… refrigerators, LED reading lamps, USB power outlets. In the bathroom you’ll find no-fog mirrors (Blue Tooth enabled believe it or not!), and huge glass-tiled showers with three 4×4 shower heads. User friendly technology like Blue Tooth enabled Media Hubs, 55” Smart TV’s, and instant-access high speed WIFI means you can remain connected with the modern world while enjoying traditional décor.
Our room had floor to ceiling drapes that opened to reveal a view of the snow-capped cascades. The comfortable beds were draped with specially designed red and black Pendleton Blackfish blankets.
The T Spa, located on the second floor is a beautifully decorated 14,000 sq. ft. sanctuary, where guests can indulge in stress relieving deep tissue massages as well as native inspired spa rituals, body treatments and skin therapies. River rocks, wide bamboo floors, serene candles, fireplaces and natural foliage all contribute to the calming atmosphere.
I had a pedicure like none I had experienced before. The signature pedicure begins with a scented foot bath in a warm herbal soak. Nail care and skin exfoliation is followed by a massage with soothing foot balm. I was pretty relaxed by then but it was time for a moisturizing treatment. My feet were enveloped in a warm paraffin mask, and, ultimately, the nail polish.
After the pedicure I was invited to the relaxation room where I sipped on Cranberry and Elderberry infused water and relaxed by the glow of a fireplace. I was told the cedar saunas were available… but it was time to get ready for dinner and an evening of entertainment.
Wine and Dine
Tulalip Resort Casino is known for fine dining rivaling the well-known restaurants of Seattle in their use of traditional and local foods coupled with the culinary artistry of the chefs. The first night we dined at Blackfish Wild Salmon Grill & Bar. We tried the house wine, an excellent, local kegged wine ($12 a glass), and Dungeness crab cakes for a starter.
The crab cakes were fresh crab with spices. Since Blackfish is known for seafood I was excited about trying their traditional salmon dish. My salmon was prepared to order using traditional tribal techniques. We watched the chef cook the salmon over the open flames. Blackfish Grill has a casual upbeat vibe yet nothing is casual about the cuisine. The dishes are beautifully presented and the service is attentive.
The next evening, although I would have been pleased to return to Blackfish, we were invited to a wine dinner at the resort’s fabulous Tulalip Bay Restaurant. The menu features prime cut steaks and chops to freshly prepared seafood and classic Italian specialties. The cuisine and sauces are Continentally-inspired and the International wine selections are extensive. But not to worry, the wait staff and Sommelier are there to help you with food selection and wine pairings.
Tulalip Bay also sources locally when possible. I enjoyed the Penn Cove Mussels, with Smoked Tomato Puree, Foie Gras Butter, Salsa Verde, and Toasted Baguette. Penn Cove is at not-so-far-away Coupeville, on Whidbey Island. I’ve seen the shellfish beds there.
If you get a chance, check out the Chihuly glass art in the Wine Room. Dining at Tulalip Bay is ideal for that special occasion when you want to be impressed.
Casual dining at Tulalip Bay is also a notch above the norm. The 1/3 lb. burger I grabbed after checking on my friend’s progress at the poker tournament was prepared to order with high quality lower fat beef.
Breakfast at Cedars Café can range from simple comfort food like oatmeal and berries to their Pacific Northwest Benedict featuring two poached eggs with Dungeness crab, baby spinach leaves, hollandaise sauce on a toasted English muffin, and served with hash browns or country potatoes with bell peppers and onions.
But wait… there’s more! I was intrigued by the offerings of the new Journey’s East. A centrally located display kitchen features dishes from Japan, Thailand, China, Korea, and Vietnam. The bar offers global cocktails, a carefully curated sake selection and award-winning wines.
Gambling, Music and More
The ethereal water-inspired décor of the casino will entice you in. But the fun is just beginning. The casino touts the variety and selection of slots and the best cash-back of any Seattle casino as reasons to gamble there. Tulalip also has a wide variety of table games. My friend enjoyed the 11 a.m. poker tournament on Saturday.
Plus, Tulalip says, they pay out over 5 million dollars in jackpots every month! With the casino’s players club, My Tulalip, one dollar played is worth one full point without restrictions.
There’s always something going on at Tulalip Resort Casino. They are becoming known for attracting well-know comedy acts. While there is live music available, concerts, both indoor and in the amphitheater, add yet another reason for going.
Tulalip Resort Casino has been known for hosting the annual Taste of Tulalip, a regional culinary event featuring wine tasting, culinary sampling, seminars and more. But now they are trying something different… mini events. I had the pleasure of attending a wine dinner and seminar.
At the Leonetti & Figgins Wine Seminar we were both educated and entertained by Walla Walla wine legend, Chris Figgins who gave us a history of his family’s passion for wine and the growth of their business. We tasted a wide range of estate wines and savored the excellent pairings prepared by the culinary staff of the resort. I came away knowing much more about Walla Walla wines.
When You Go
There’s much more to the resort and the area than I’ve touched on. I’ve mentioned the marvelous upscale shopping center but nearby is a large Cabela’s for the outdoors person, too.
There are wooded trails (dogs are allowed at the resort), an RV Park and impressive conference facilities. Families will enjoy the indoor pool.
When you visit, take time to wander the halls and look at the extensive collection of Native art. On the second floor, there is a timeline of events affecting the Tulalip tribes which may surprise you. (Women had the vote before any Native Americans did.) And, not so far away, there is the Hibulb Cultural Center.
Resort Address: 10200 Quil Ceda Blvd., Tulalip, WA 98271
Note: As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with accommodations and meals for the purpose of review. While it has not influenced this review, the writer believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest.