Harrah’s Cherokee Casino and Resort Review

Harrah’s Cherokee is one of the oldest casinos in North Carolina, first opening it’s doors in 1997. Today, it is a full casino resort offering slots, table games and video poker. It also features a large hotel with a variety of amenities. The casino is owned by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and operated by Caesar’s Entertainment. It is currently one of only two casinos available in the state, both of which are operated by Caesars on behalf of the Cherokee.

Harrah’s Cherokee, as you might have guesses, is located in Cherokee, NC and lies within the Great Smoky Mountains. It is a popular weekend getaway and vacation spot for local residents but is somewhat out of the way for most other visitors; sitting just over 25 miles from I-40 in Clyde, NC. It’s not an amazing place to visit, but if you happen to live nearby or are traveling through the area, it may be worthy of a stop. I’ve been able to visit here a few times, and have not had any bad experiences.

Casino at Harrah’s Cherokee

Harrah’s Cherokee was born in 1997 and at first only offered video poker and bingo. Today, however, it is host to a much wider variety of gambling than was once available and is open 24/7. On its 150,000 square foot gaming floor it currently features both electronic games like slots and video poker, as well as all the most popular table games. This has made it the most popular gambling destination within the state.

The Casino at Harrah’s Cherokee is fairly large and includes over 600 slot machine varieties as well as a wide range of table games. The slot machines here are available in denominations ranging from a penny up to $100 if you venture into the high-limit room. Table games just started being offered at Harrah’s in 2012 when new terms were negotiated between the Cherokee Indians and state government. The casino now features over 100 table games which include all of the most common varieties, from blackjack and craps to roulette, Pai Gow, Three Card Poker, Let it Ride and many others.

It is worth noting that there is not a gaming commission in North Carolina, and Harrah’s abides by the rules and regulations set forth by the Cherokee Nation. Also, alcohol just started being offered here in 2009. Currently, alcohol is only served between 7AM and 2AM Monday through Saturday and 12PM – 2AM on Sunday. The casino floor is mostly comprised of smoking areas, but does offer a few non-smoking areas. These will be clearly marked throughout the casino, and one of the only non-smoking sections is located on the first floor if the Earth Water area.

High Limit Room at Harrah’s Cherokee

The high limit room at Harrah’s Cherokee is fairly new, opening up just a short while after table games were approved. From my personal experience, I found the high limit room to be pretty common when compared to other Caesars properties across the country. It is certainly not terrible, and definitely better than some of the others I’ve visited across the United States. The high limit room here is host to all the standard slot machines like Wheel of Fortune, Triple Double Diamond and Top Dollar. It now also includes some table games; mainly Blackjack.

Poker Room at Harrah’s Cherokee

Since table games were approved here in 2012, Harrah’s has also implemented an all-new poker room. It currently offers 8 live tables and 12 PokerPro electronic tables, which mainly include No Limit and Limit Texas Hold’em. They offer both cash games and tournaments. Tournaments generally run a few times per week, so it is worth checking the schedule before visiting, as the days often change. The Poker Room is smoke-free.

Restaurants and Bars

Though this resort casino is tucked away in a quiet area of the Great Smoky Mountains, it does host a variety of dining options. The most notable option is the Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse and Chefs Stage Buffet. The buffet includes a wide range of ethnic foods, ranging from Italian and Asian to barbecue and “Southern Comfort” dishes. It is also home to my personal favorite when visiting; Paula Deen’s kitchen.  Aside from these premier dining destinations, other options include:

  • Pizzeria Uno Express
  • Noodle Bar
  • Lobby Cafe
  • Johnny Rockets
  • Dunkin’ Donuts
  • Brio Tuscan Grill
  • Selu Garden Cafe
  • Starbucks

In terms of bars, you wont find too much at Harrah’s. There are bars within many of the lounges here, including the new Diamond Lounge. Other than this, there is just one bar on the actually gaming floor, which you’ll find on the lower level. Video poker is available at the Entertainment Lounge, which also hosts events like live DJs, bands and karaoke nights frequently.

Hotel and Resort at Harrah’s Cherokee

After a few recent renovations, Harrah’s Cherokee now has over 1,100 hotel rooms spread out over 3 main towers (Creek, Soco and Mountain Towers). Since the rooms are fairly new, they are modern and somewhat standard; nothing crazy but they will certainly meet your needs. Aside from hotel rooms, the resort also features a pool, a large conference room, a 3,00 seat event center, lounge, arcade (for the kids) and a workout room. All-in-all, the resort here is pretty standard, and does not feature anything over-the-top.

There is a full asian-style spa located at Harrah’s Cherokee. The Mandara Spa is fairly large, spanning over 18,000 square feet. It offers everything from body massages to facials. To be honest, I don’t know too much about massages, but they look like they would be very relaxing: https://www.caesars.com/harrahs-cherokee/things-to-do/spa#.Vt0hz5MrK3Y. They also offer haircuts, grooming and related health/beauty services.

Because the property is operated by Caesars Entertainment, you can likely get free rooms here if you have a Total Rewards Diamond Card. That being said, you should be sure to check and see if you have any deals before booking a trip. This may include anything from free-play to comped rooms. You can also call the host on duty to see if they can make accommodations for you before planning your trip.