Surprise Casino Visit In Seattle
When I was invited by a friend to celebrate the New Year’s in Seattle (something I highly recommend, despite the challenges of flying non-rev on New Year’s Eve) I said yes before the words were out of his mouth. Seattle is an amazing city on it’s rainiest days, and having not been since my teens, I was ready to pay the Emerald City a visit again and see what had changed.
What I wasn’t ready for, or maybe hadn’t hit me really because of my proximity to Vegas, is that there is a proliferation of gambling establishments all over the country now. I don’t think there is a place where you are less than 2 hours from a place where you can wager a bet, and the banners at the airport reminded me that Seattle was no different.
Snoqualmie Falls and Salish Lodge
My trip fortunately took me to all the major points of the city, and on one beautiful chilly day, out to the historic Snoqualmie Falls and Salish Lodge, which would be as famous to any “Twin Peaks” fan as a slice of cherry pie and damn good cup of coffee from the Double R. But I had noticed on the way out there (a beautiful 30 minute drive into the foothills of the Cascades) that the Snoqualmie reservation had a casino of its own, sans hotel. And me being well…me, I asked my friend politely to take a detour.
No more than 10 minutes from the falls we arrived at the casino, which as it was fading into darkness was hard to see but had the typical wood construction and grand look of a commercial hunting lodge you’d expect, paired with spectacular views of the mountains beyond (only visible from the food and beverage outlets mind you, not the casino itself). A park and short walk and we were up an elevator and onto the floor.
The casino itself doesn’t lie from what you see on the outside. Inside is a huge, open air space full of rustic timber construction and modern takes on Indian themes in massive chandeliers throughout the space. The building is a V shape, with the apex being the main fine dining restaurant with said majestic views. Considering the timing and our recent meal at the Salish, we chose to simply sample the gaming and walk the joint.
First stop was the ATM, which was broken. Another one, same thing. Turns out there was a system issue, but within 5 confusing minutes it was fixed. I pulled out a hundy and headed to my next destination, the players club. Snoqualmie has its own independent club, called the Crescent Club, laid out like most with multiple levels and tier and comp earning comparable with any major gaming company. I quickly picked a pin, got my card, and scratched for $5 in free play (we won $0.25 on it). A sign of the country and it’s logging and rustic background? The chain for the players card is a small tape measure. Better than a flashlight I guess? Measure how close you sit to the slot screen to preserve eyesight? Who knows.
Wandering around, one thing my friend noticed was that the air was a bit smoky and stale, which was surprising considering the design. Also, few tables were open in certain areas, and those that were were packed. Most limits were $10-15, with no open higher limit tables. There is also an enclosed non-smoking pit, but it was as empty as a vacuum sealed chamber. After finding a decent looking seat, I sat down for some play.
I bet my usual bets, and tipped the dealer well. Blackjack is automatically shuffled with hand cut shoes, 8 decks. Not the best odds really, but you take what you get in rural WA. That said, I had a nice little run, doubled up in less than a half hour, and decided to abandon ship due to the stale smell. On the way out, we lapped the entire place, seeing the offerings of craps, roulette, Spanish 21, mini-Bac, Pai Gow, and a Poker room. The restaurant selection was also nice, with decent mid range fare and excellently priced high end options. It’s just unfortunate the whole place smelled like a half-cleaned ashtray.
That said, I think if I’m back in Seattle I’ll give Snoqualmie another visit. The staff was pleasant and the atmosphere nice, and with a little Febreeze I think the place would be just fine. Add in a great selection of entertainment on rotation and Snoqualmie Casino is a destination fit to compete with any of the local gaming establishments…with one big plus, some of the most beautiful country and views around.
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