Phoenix casino guide: Talking Stick Resort and Casino

Dawn Gilbertson
The Republic |
A Talking Stick Resort and Casino room.

Talking Stick is the premier casino resort in metro Phoenix and handily competes with its non-casino resort neighbors throughout Scottsdale. Beyond the slot machines and gaming tables, the resort has it all: restaurants, bars, pools, concerts and other entertainment, a spa, golf and even a barbershop. Nearby attractions include Top Golf, a luxury driving range with food and drinks; Salt River Fields, the spring-training home of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies; and the new OdySea Aquarium.

MORE:Guide to all metro Phoenix casinos | How to get discounts, deals at casinos

Opened: 2010.

AAA rating: 4 diamonds (out of 5).

Rooms: 496.

Room with a view: Ask for a room with mountain and golf-course views and throw open the shutters.

Resort fee: None. Wi-Fi and parking, including valet parking, are complimentary.

Pool scene: Three pools, cabanas, a hot tub and a restaurant/bar that opened in 2016. The main pool is party central in the summer, with raucous DJ parties on Saturdays and Sundays. The best place to cool off and relax with a book: the shallow lounge pool, where chairs sit in the water.

Golf: 36 holes at Talking Stick Golf Club, which opened in 1998. it was designed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw.

Spa: 11 treatment rooms, salon, steam room, relaxation lounge, fitness center. Signature treatments include the Desert Lavender massage and the Peaceful Healing massage.

Casino: 300,000 square feet with 800 slot machines, 50 table games, large poker room, keno.

High-limit gaming room: Yes.

Casino smoke scale: 3 out of 5, with 5 being the worst. (The smoke scale is subjective and depends on the number of people present. Visitors who are sensitive may find all the casinos too smoky since smoking is allowed at each one.)

Buffet: Wandering Horse Buffet serves lunch and dinner Mondays-Thursdays; breakfast, lunch and dinner Fridays and Saturdays; and brunch and dinner on Sundays.

Best place to eat in the casino: Ocean Trail seafood bar. Expect a wait for a seat at the tiny place (capacity 19). Order the Cajun-style shrimp boil (choose a level of spiciness from 1 to 10) and a side of dirty rice. Don't miss the complimentary warm sourdough bread.

Splurge restaurant: Orange Sky. The steak and seafood restaurant, on the 15th floor of the resort, has sweeping mountain, golf course and city views. Be there for sunset.

Late-night munchies: Blue Coyote Cafe and Black Fig Coffee & Bistro are open 24 hours.

Best spot for a drink: Orange Sky Lounge if you're feeling fancy, Palo Verde Lounge if you want to be in the casino but be treated to good views (with a side of video poker at your seat.)

Best place to watch sports: Players Sports Bar. The seats around the bar have built-in slot machines.

Gift-shop essentials: $2.55 for soda, $2.15 for bottled water.

Gift-shop souvenirs: Necklace from a Navajo master silversmith, $53. Night shirt in a bag, $28.

Bonus attraction: Free Native American cultural art display.

Details: 9800 E. Talking Stick Way. 480-850-7777,

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