We were honored to be invited out for a weekend stay at the reimagined We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort. This post is sponsored and all opinions and experience are our own.
This past weekend, our family celebrated summer with delicious dining, adventure and fun in the sun at the newly reimagined We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort. We wanted to share our experience, and this gem in the desert, with all of you.
You can read all about our first stay at the AAA Four Diamond Hotel when it was just the three of us here.
Located right outside of Fountain Hills, AZ in Fort McDowell, the location has stunning mountain views and is far enough from the noise of the city that it feels like a real retreat.
On Friday evening, we checked in to the lavish atrium lobby and we were greeted by the friendliest staff, snacks and water. You could hear tropical sounds of live music by the pool which transported us right into our weekend staycation away from home.
Our Junior Golf Suite was spacious and beautiful and it's the perfect room if you're traveling with a family or small children. With a mini kitchen - complete with a refrigerator, microwave, dishwasher and coffee maker, it made it so easy to eat a few of our meals in the room, reheat leftovers or store milk for the baby.
We also sometimes travel with our teenage niece to allow her to travel more before she begins college and she loves playing with and helping out with the kids. While the living space was a great place for us to watch movies and play board games - the large pull-out sofa in the living area was super comfortable and the perfect place for her to sleep and have her own space.
The king bedroom was large enough to accommodate our family of four (our kindergartner sleeps with us and I brought the babies crib) and the bathroom was spacious with a great shower and high end amenities to make you feel pampered.
Below is a room tour to give you an up-close feel.
The stunning and tranquil desert property features 246 contemporary, elegantly appointed guestrooms and suites that artfully blend stylish décor with exceptional amenities. All 100% smoke-free rooms boast spectacular mountain or pool views, as well as free high-speed wireless Internet, free self-parking, luxurious linens, flat-screen TVs, refrigerators, coffeemakers and in-room safes.
While the room gave us a home away from home, it was the activities and dining that made our weekend truly stellar. Aside from the activities I'm going to speak on below the resort is first and foremost known for their newly redesigned We-Ko-Pa Casino which enjoyed its grand reopening October 2020.
The stunning smoke-free casino is open 24/7 and features 850 multi-dimensional slot machines, a 400-seat bingo hall with 50-inch monitors, 22 action-packed blackjack tables, and a spacious poker room featuring five tables with live games and tournaments.
The sophisticated new casino replaces the original Fort McDowell Casino that initially opened in 1984 as a bingo hall. Eight years later, the proud Yavapai Nation peacefully – and successfully – held off the attempts of federal agents to seize their slot machines, protecting their right to operate a casino on their reservation and provide livelihoods for their tribal members.
..."to provide livelihoods for their tribal members". It is the heart of the company and the family feel that really shined for us. We were given a tour by the Executive Director of Resort Operations, Ricky Borja Jr. who drove that point home even further.
As we wrapped up our thorough tour he said, "We are presenting luxury as it pertains to each individual. Whether that means white glove, in-person service or automated service where the consumer can feel empowered to check themselves in and have a distanced digital experience - the freedom of choice to the consumer is the ultimate luxury, and that's what we offer."
I was also in awe of the various projects and branches of the We-Ko-Pa company and family and the way they secure work for so many members of their community. More on this can be found at www.FMYN.org.
Also known for their WeKoPa Golf Club, which features two award-winning courses, incredible live music and various activities through Fort McDowell Adventures, there are so many options to building an itinerary no matter the season your family is in. From the youngest visitors to the more mature audiences, there is truly something for everyone to enjoy.
While traveling with little ones (our kids are young, 4 1/2 years and 7 months respectively), my husband and I always try to squeeze in one adult activity. Whether that means having someone watch the kids so we can grab a drink or enjoy a high-end dinner, or take turns with the babies to allow the other to take an hour or so away, it makes our vacation still feel luxurious while not having to leave our family for too long.
As for my activity this trip, I chose to get a massage at their boutique spa - Amethyst, named for the gems mined in the nearby Four Peaks Mountains. My therapist, Loree, was incredible and made me feel relaxed for the rest of my stay. You can choose from a menu of services from reflexology and massages to facials and nail services.
As for my husband, he revisited Fort McDowell Adventures and opted for a 3-hour ATV tour to which he says "was thrilling and so much fun!" He mirrored the same to me, in that the feeling of friendliness and care of the customers experience was apparent and valued.
Other adventures include horseback rides, cowboy cookouts, desert Segway tours, kayaking, and guided mountain bike and hiking tours – there is even an authentic City Slicker Cattle Drive.
We have shared a small snippet below of Doug's day in the desert with Fort McDowell Adventures - more information on booking your own personal or group tour can be obtained at www.fortmcdowelladventures.com.
Our favorite family activity during summer travels is always the pool! Cool inviting waters are always the best way to beat the heat in the summer. The live music was fun and transported me back to cruise ship living and the Caribbean while the smoothies from the drink bar kept us cool. Make sure to hit the pool early on warm days to snag a seat! We got to the pool around 1pm after lunch and we got the last chairs available.
The sparkling water was so inviting, and you can also find putting greens and cornhole. I wish we would have had more days to lounge, swim and enjoy! It was a true haven from the intense heat of June in Arizona.
Also, how adorable in Lexi in her resort pool wear?
Saving the best for last, the dining was exceptional! With many on-site dining options from their casual quick-serve market inside the casino to the high-end Ember, it was fun to try out and visit all the spots!
For our breakfast dining and for our dinner the first evening we dined at Ahnala. We loved every dish and I've shared what we ordered below. I also made note of the dishes that were gluten and dairy free since that is what I always need when I'm traveling and what I always promise to bring to you all so you can feel safe traveling too!
On our second and last evening at the resort we headed to WKP Sports and Entertainment which was a contrasting atmosphere to Ahnala. Where Ahnala was serene and relaxing with views of the beautiful tribal-inspired atrium, WKP Sports and Entertainment was vibrant, fun and energetic. We enjoyed watching basketball on the big screen, listening to the live band rehearse and the food was beyond incredible for burgers and bar food. They truly took the burger and pizza experience to the next level and we are planning a trip back just to snag a burger and their sweet potato fries!
Two wonderful experiences to mix it up on vacation!
Ember needs to be mentioned because if we had had the chance to have a grown-up dinner date, this would have been a top choice for dining. Exceptional wine selection (one of the best in the world with over 100 centurion wines in house!) - I would have opted for their Jerusalem Artichoke Soup and Filet steak.
Overall a fantastic and well-rounded family vacation filled with adventure, relaxation, fun and good eats. A favorite stay-cation spot that we will visit again and again!
One of the many enterprises of the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, the We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort offers beautiful views of the surrounding Sonoran Desert as well as the sacred Four Peaks mountains (translated as “We-Ko-Pa” in Yavapai.) The casino resort is located off Arizona State Highway 87, within a 30-minute drive of Sky Harbor International Airport and the myriad of attractions, shopping and dining establishments in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area.
Nosh & Nurture was born of this journey I am on to better the health of myself, my family and those around me. What started as a simple compilation of recipes has grown to a all-around lifestyle journal with ways to incorporate organic products into your home, pantry and beauty cabinet. I also include stories on pregnancy, new motherhood, travel, Proverbs 31 marriage, and spiritual health, as I am a Christian who couldn't do any of this without my Lord & Savior Jesus Christ. For more of my story you can click here.
All recipes are gluten-free and dairy-free with a lot of soy-free, grain-free, sugar-free options.