Best of Orange County 2021: Best Southern California casino
45000 Pechanga Parkway, Temecula; 877-711-2946; pechanga.com
This Temecula-area resort boasts two hotel towers with 1,100 hotel rooms, an RV Resort and an expansive gaming floor that encompasses 200,000 square feet and has thousands of slot machines and dozens of table games.
Pechanga has rooms in a variety of sizes ranging from 400 to more than 800 square feet. Each room at Pechanga features flat screen LCD televisions, floor to ceiling windows, an alarm clock radio with MP3 connectivity, a safe and 24-hour room service
It boasts two entertainment venues: The more than 3,000-seat Pechanga Summit and the 1,200-seat Pechanga Theater.
In May, Pechanga reopened its 4.5 acre pool complex The Cove, which has four pools, three whirlpools, two waterslides, a restaurant, a swim-up bar with 18 underwater seats and 27 cabanas.
Some of the resort’s restaurants include fine dining spot The Great Oak Steakhouse, Italian restaurant Paisano’s and Asian seafood spot Umi Sushi & Oyster Bar.
Andrew Masiel, Sr., president of the Pechanga Development Corporation, said it was an honor to be chosen as a top casino in the region.
“It all starts with our great team members who are incredibly dedicated,” Masiel said in part of an emailed statement. “When you have great team members, it reflects in every other part of the resort/casino. That really matters for our guests. We see it in our comments from them consistently.”
2. Pala Casino, Spa & Resort
11154 Highway 76, Pala; 877-946-7252; palacasino.com
The northern San Diego County casino has a 507-room hotel, an RV resort and a gaming floor with nearly 2,000 slots and more than 70 table games.
Pala’s restaurants include fine dining restaurant The Oak Room and full service restaurants Bar Meets Grill and the Pala Café.
The casino offers daily free entertainment as well as ticketed concerts each weekend.
Spokesman Coley McAvoy said that guests have told casino officials that they like its location near Palomar Mountain because it feels like a getaway and the gaming floor doesn’t feel chaotic.
“We’re big enough to offer everything that you’re looking for in a casino — slot machines, table games, dining, entertainment,” McAvoy said. “As a boutique property we’re also able to manage the space well. We’re able to provide multiple touch points with the guests and provide them great service.”
3. San Manuel Casino
777 San Manuel Boulevard, Highland. 909-864-5050, sanmanuel.com.
San Manuel Casino in Highland unveiled the first phase of its $550 million expansion over the summer and that included a larger gaming floor, a new high limit room, a new restaurant and three new shops. The casino’s gaming floor has 6,500 slot machines and dozens of table games.
The casino also has multiple high limit rooms including Asian-themed Lotus 8, Steampunk-themed The Vault and the more traditional High Limit Slots and High Limit Tables rooms. Restaurants on the property include Chinese restaurant Hong Bao Kitchen, 24-hour restaurant Serrano Vista Café, George Lopez’s Chingon Kitchen and Rock ‘n’ Brews.
Additional features that will soon come to the casino as part of the expansion include a 17-story hotel with a pool area and spa (set to open before the end of the year) and an 2,800-seat events center (set to open in 2022).