Travel Tips & Adventures

Real People. Real Travel.

Archive for the ‘Native American’ Category

Travel to Shopping Heaven – Scottsdale

Monday, October 11th, 2010

If you love to shop, Scottsdale is the mecca.  Everything from high-end couture to kitsch is yours for the price.  The shopping areas are reminiscent of everything from the old west to modern America to an Italian courtyard.  Let’s start with “Old Town” – (more…)

Travel to the Wild in Arizona

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

This week, I promised something unusual.  Although this posting is a little later than usual, I ‘m keeping my promise.

In Arizona, south of Phoenix, the Gila Indian Reservation has some welcomed guests – wild horses.  Although during some seasons, you might not see them, these wild creatures may be viewed just along the highway.  Invariably, I haven’t had my camera with me, but sometimes I have managed to get some photos.

Wild horses

Wild horses watching us watching them

The Gila Indian Reservation has vast acreage where the animals are able to roam – somewhat – free.  (The lands are fenced from the roads to keep the horses safe and people out of these private lands.)  Since the Gila River Indian Communities are good stewards of their lands, the horses literally have free reign – and no reins in open areas.  In warmer weather, the horses take refuge in more sheltered area, but often in the spring, they can be seen in plain view.

How many major metropolitan areas can claim such a refreshing and unusual glimpse of such an inspiring sight?

Wild horses see us and leave

Next week we’ll offer another, lesser known, but scenic, Arizona spot.

Coming soon: If you’ve just been thinking of traveling and would – at least secretly – consider yourself a Couch Potato – you’ll be excited when we launch our new e-book.  We’ll share more next time.

Traveling to Cacti – Saguaro National Park – East and West

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

If you’ve ever had the urge to go hug a cactus – well, that would probably be a painful experience. Some of them do look cute and cuddly – in a rugged, western, prickly kind of way.  If the chance to see cacti up close makes you long for the Old West, Uncle Sam offers the Saguaro National Park, just outside of Tucson, Arizona.


Travel to Prescott Resort & Conference Center

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

Over the years, we’ve stayed in many hotels.  Some were great; some were lacking.  We were fortunate to stay at the Prescott Resort & Conference Center in Prescott, Arizona recently.  In almost every aspect, our stay was superior. (more…)

Travel to Bucky’s Casino in Prescott Arizona

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

This is it!  The last Wednesday of the year, and, the last of a series of articles on Arizona tribal Hotel-Casinos.

For the culmination of the last four weeks, we decided to get out of town and head for Prescott, Arizona, less than 2 1/2 hours northwest of Phoenix. (more…)

Travel to Tucson for Christmas

Friday, December 25th, 2009

Like many people, traveling is something you probably enjoy or you wouldn’t be reading this blog.  As a place to visit during the holiday season, Tucson, Arizona gives you a fantastic climate and an old atmosphere, conducive to a holiday spirit.  If you can’t have snow – the proverbial white Christmas – you might as well have a classical Spanish holiday in old Tucson. (more…)

Traveling to TUCSON’s Casino Hotel

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

We’re coming down to the last two Wacky Casino Wednesday’s featuring casinos with hotels here in Arizona.

This week we’re featuring the only casino/hotel in southern Arizona.


From a tent containing a bingo hall established in1984 to a $120 million hotel- casino, the Tohono O’odham nation completed its newest casino project in 2007 including its first hotel.

The quite new Desert Diamond Casino

The quite new Desert Diamond Casino

Located adjacent to the Tucson International Airport, Desert Diamond Casino & Hotel is owned and operated by the Tohono O’odham Nation, the second largest tribal area in Arizona.  Another Desert Diamond Casino without a hotel property is located I-19 & Pima Mine Rd., approximately 10 miles south.

The 323,000-square-foot casino-hotel is located at 7350 S. Nogales Highway.  A 149 room hotel is connected to the 165,000 sq. ft. casino by an 8,000 sq. ft. conference center.


The casino complex boasts over 1000 slot machines

  • 500 Seat Bingo Hall
  • 35 Seat Keno Room
  • Separate non-smoking slot machine room
  • Separate non-smoking poker and table game room

** Note: Smoke Alert!!!  After visiting several casinos over the last few weeks, all which allow smoking on the gaming floor, my opinion is that The Desert Diamond Casino ventilation system is not as adequate as the previous properties we have reviewed.


Monsoon Night Club

Hours: Friday & Saturday 8:00PM


The Steakhouse

Cost: Prime Rib/Steaks: $16.95-$29.95

Hours: 4:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. 7 Days a Week

The Buffet
Cost: Lunch $9.99, Dinner $12.99

Monday Seafood Buffet $16.95

Sunday  Brunch $14.95

Lunch: $8.85
Dinner: $10.85

Food Court

Diamond Grill / Diamond Wok

Cost: Grill – Average Entrees 4.95   Wok – Average Entrees $5.95-7.95

Hours: 24 Hours


As an added benefit to your wallet, there is no lodging tax – a savings of 12.5% per room.

Desert Diamond Hotel with a Vegas kind of look

Desert Diamond Hotel with a Vegas kind of look


Heated outdoor pool

Exercise facilities

Near the pool

Near the pool


King and double rooms are available along with Executive Suites and Luxury VIP suites with one or two bedrooms.

Rooms include:

  • Contemporary decor
  • 32″ flat panel television (42” flat panels in suites)
  • Large work desk
  • Complimentary wireless internet access
  • Refrigerator

Travel to Talking Stick Resort and Casino

Thursday, December 10th, 2009


As I mentioned last week, the newest and largest in the casino business often has only a fleeting chance to be on top of the heap.  Currently in its final construction phases is the soon to open Talking Stick Resort just east of Scottsdale.

East of I-101 is the Salt River Pima – Maricopa Indian Community.  Up to this point they have opened two Casino Arizona properties (the oldest currently next to the Talking Stick Resort).  Within minutes of Old Town Scottsdale, unique shopping, and Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, the Talking Stick Resort property is bound to be a mecca for high rollers … did I mention Scottsdale?

Access to the property is simple with easy on-off exits at I-101 and Indian Bend Road.  The property is located 1 mile east and easily visible from the highway.

Talking Stick Resort - under construction

Talking Stick Resort - under construction

Current specs for the property include:

- 497 room, 15-story luxury hotel

- 240,000 sq. ft. casino floor (poker, table games, slots, keno)

- 900+ Vegas-style slot machines

- 100,000 sq. ft. of meeting space (indoor/outdoor)

- 750-seat showroom

- 8 restaurants (including fine dining on the15th floor)

- 10+ night clubs/lounges

- 2, 18-hole golf course managed by internationally recognized Troon Golf, LLC

- 13,000 sq. ft. spa (massage/fitness center, etc.)

- 2 parking garages

As with its sister casino several miles south, the showroom will feature “tribute shows” rather than nationally known entertainment.

Current rates are not available, although reservations will be accepted starting January 1, 2010.

Talking Stick Resort looks to be a major destination in the East Valley of the Phoenix area.

As soon as the property opens, we will update our blog.

Travel to Scottsdale Area Casino Resort Hotels

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

We’re back with Wacky Casino Wednesday! NO!  The casinos aren’t wacky, it’s Wednesday that’s wacky!  (Just wanted to clear that up…)

This week we’re featuring a casino that’s been around for a while with a new hotel property.


Located 24 miles from the Phoenix airport, just south of Fountain Hills, Arizona on highway AZ-87 (Payson) is the home of the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation.  Although not a name you might be familiar with, the Yavapai were instrumental in forcing Arizona into a gaming compact creating this states tribal casino system.

As I mentioned in my first article last week, the Federal government passed the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act in 1988.  The catch was that each state was responsible for signing contracts between themselves and the tribes who wished to participate in gaming.  Unfortunately, the governor of Arizona was opposed to tribal gaming so signing anything was not going to happen.

Ft. McDowells Indian commemorating when they asserted their sovereign nation status

Ft. McDowell's Indian commemorating when they asserted their sovereign nation status

Unfortunately for the state, five casinos were already in operation around the state so in a desperate move, the Governor asked the FBI to raid the establishments, including Fort McDowell.

When the FBI loaded up 349 slot machines into trucks they found that they were not going to get too far.  Yavapai members blocked the casino access road with all types of vehicles and stood their ground for three weeks.  The governor finally (and surely reluctantly) signed a compact with the Yavapai.  This in essence created the legalization of Indian gaming in Arizona.

If you want to celebrate with them, May 12th is a tribal holiday!


With a 150,000 sq. ft. gaming floor, there are 866 machines, 55 table and poker games, keno, poker, and bingo.


Lucky 7 Saloon

Friday & Saturday: 9:00pm-1:00am

Sunday: 4:00pm-8:00pm

Outdoor Concerts

Throughout the summer outdoor concerts are presented with nationally known entertainers


Fort McDowell Casino Dining

Cottonwood Café: Open Daily – Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner Featuring: Asian, Italian, Mexican, Prime Ribs, Sandwiches

Redrock Buffet: Open DailyFriday-Sunday Buffet with “All you can eat” Crab Legs $14.50

New York New York Deli: Sandwiches / Pizza $5.00 – $12.95

Noodles Sushiya: Sushi Bar in the non-smoking area of the casino $2.95-$7.95

Outside The Casino

Ah-Ha-Qwah-Ja Pool Bar and Café: Beverage & light entrees.
We-Ko-Pa Grill (We-Ko-Pa Golf Clubhouse):  Open daily serving breakfast & lunch.


Radisson at Fort McDowell Casino

Radisson Hotel at Fort McDowell Casino

In December 2005, Radisson opened its property next to the casino.  It’s interesting that although it is next to the casino, the Radisson is not physically connected to it or to the conference center that forms a buffer between the two buildings.  Fortunately, the southwestern desert climate makes inclement weather a rarity so even on a brisk winter evening the walk is invigorating.

- 248 rooms (4-star resort)

- Sleep Number Beds available

- $10 in casino play with free Fort McDowell Fortune Club membership

- Amethyst Spa

- Ahnala Mesquite Room restaurant

- Wassaja Conference Center (25,000 sq. ft.

- Heated outdoor pool/Jacuzzi

- We-Ko-Pa Golf Club (two, 18-hole courses)

Tomorrow – We’ll take a quick look at what will soon be the newest, and largest, Resort Casino to open in Arizona.

Traveling – but not Gaming – at Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

We’re back with things to do at Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino – besides gaming.


If you’ve exhausted your roll of pennies, nickels and quarters and are tired of standing in line at the ATM for more money, there are other distractions within and outside of the casino that are part of the Gila River Indian Community. (more…)