By Angela Fairhurst
Can I be honest? I wasn’t expecting it. It is a casino after all. But the all new Willows Hotel & Spa at Viejas Casino & Resort was a pleasant surprise. The highly anticipated adults-only tower of 159 suites stands up to any luxury resort I’ve seen. I exhaled when I entered the well-appointed spacious suites and saw the gentle palate of colors, contemporary design and clean lines.
Viejas is located at the I-8 and Willows Road east of San Diego on the lands of the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians. It’s an easy place to relax from the train, drive, or plane. Kicking off my shoes and settling into the room to unwind was welcomed. It’s always the details that get me. The tower was designed to mimic some of Vegas’ newer luxury casinos with watchful management coming in from Sin City’s Cosmopolitan Hotel bringing with them only the best in service, ideas and amenities. The spa-like bathrooms have luscious soaking tubs, double sink vanities, and a separate toilet room. The shower is big enough for two and the full-length mirror in the bedroom makes getting dressed a little easier. Willows has its own pool with cabanas and a covered bar area.
Willows has its own adult pool and outdoor bar.
The Willows Spa is a new addition as well. The serene and private facilities come complete with seven treatment rooms, steam room, salt sauna, and fitness facilities. There is also a salt water pool and spa garden with outdoor cabanas. Use of the facilities is complimentary with a spa treatment, or $50 without. Complete services are available from hair, nails, and waxing, to facials, massages and body treatments. The experience was a pleasant way to slide into the feeling of the resort and get ready for evening’s festivities. My facial was a gentle and relaxing treat.
The casino has its fair share of eateries, with the newest adults-only upscale restaurant called Locale. Led by Chef Antonio Votta, another Vegas transplant, the restaurant serves contemporary California cuisine with ingredients seasonally and regionally sourced to make for a local experience.
Aside from gambling options, the complex comes complete with a bowling alley, roller rink, ice rink, arcade, live music and daily shows.
There is also loads of meeting space or everything from conferences, to parties to large concerts. Next up on the scene will be a large bar area surrounded by gaming tables.