Resort great, casino so-so A review of Morongo Casino, Resort & Spa
Stayed here with 10 friends for two nights. It was a two hour drive from L.A., casino is right beside Interstate 10. Our concensus:
Hotel is great. Immaculate, huge rooms with excellent soundproofing, plasma TV, with world's worst free hotel coffee and tea, hairdryer, safe, iron, ironing board, stocked refrigerator. Bathroom extra large with single sink and shower only. Great bath amenities. Beds are extremely comfortable with pillow top, great pillows, high grade sheets. Decor is surprisingly minimal with basic, inexpensive furniture (I think they spent their room budget on the beds). If you want georgous room decor, go to Harrah's Rincon casino, they really spent the $ on room decor and huge bath with double tubs. However, Morongo's beds are more comfortable and Morong has a vastly superior pool area. Don't pay extra for any room "view". All views are parking lot view, desert and unremarkable distant mountains. Some rooms have limited view of pool area. This is not a scenic area, its just Interstate 10 roadside and about 15 miles from Palm Springs. Does have good "outlet" stores next door.
Hotel will charge $9.00 resort fee which includes $3.50 daily valet parking, newspaper, gym. Watch out for room refrigerator. If you even slightly move any stocked item a billing sensor in refrigerator will bill your account as if you used the item.
Pool area is great. All pools, hot tubs and lazy river (with free innertubes) and water slide are heated so very comfortable in water even in cold desert winter. Lots of private pool side cabanas with ceiling fans. Pool side cafe. Hotel has private suites that overlook pool area with individual hot tubs. This is, however, not a resort/casino geared for families. The pool area is aimed at adults and there are no kid activities or areas for children. Don't bring kids here, hotel/casino is very definite about no non-parent escorted children at any time, any where. Your kids absolutely cannot leave you.
Hotel/casino has large numbers of very visible armed and unarmed security everywhere. Does Morongo have a security concern or is this just creating job opportunities for Morongo Indians? You cannot go to hotel rooms or in and out of pool area without going through security check.
Food at buffet was surprisingly good. They have the most extensive buffet of any Indian casino in So. Calif. and they are doing very innovative dishes, rare for buffets. Cafe food was good. Food court fast food does not accept credit cards or bill to room--cash only (very inconvenient). Up-scale Italian restaurant with unfortunate, insensitive name of "belly" with lighted, naked statues of female torsos as entry decoration. It had good food and service. All women in my group and nearby tables were very put off by restaurant's name (a sexist restaurant!)--what were they thinking?! Nightclubs--Rain, SpaceBar, N9ne open only weekends. There is a lounge with B-grade entertainers, about what you'd expect for Indian casino.
We played only slots for two days and none of us won anything of substance. Lots of complaints overheard of "tight" slots. Well, its a new casino and they have to pay for it somehow. We are slot purists and really enjoy the reel slots. This casino has the majority the newer video slots, even video machines replicating reel slots which everyone thought somehow don't seem as much fun. Many players playing multiple machines during peak hours which management, even though receiving complaints, did not stop. They have a glass enclosed No-Smoking slot area but due to selection of not very popular slots was relatively empty. All machines pay via tickets, no cash payouts. If they have casino floor drinks girls, they must have been hiding. We were 10 players who played steadily for two days and none of us was ever offered any drinks or even saw a drink server.
The spa and gym were excellent, however massage prices were very high for area even though quite good. Reserve massage before leaving home. They have only two shops with very limited merchandise which seemed geared towards young adults.
We all would return, more for the resort aspect than for the gambling. If you want really "loose" slots, go past Palm Springs to Donald Trump's Casino 29. He does not have a hotel there but his slots pay off like mad (probably because nobody knows he has a casino east of Palm Springs and he has to do something to get business). There are lots of specials coming onto the internet for Morongo so shop around.