Poker and luxury may not be the two things that you naturally put together in your mind. After all, the typical image that many of us have of poker is a group of players in a smoky bar regarding each other suspiciously while holding their cards close to their chests.
But let’s put these thoughts aside and concentrate on the fact that there are luxury hotels all round the world which feature casinos where poker playing is very different indeed. The rooms where it’s played are beautifully furnished and decorated, the other players are fellow devotees of the finer things in life and your every whim will be catered for, whether it’s a whisky sour just the way you like it or a lobster club sandwich delivered to your table as you play.
So, if this sounds like your kind of poker playing here are seven hotels from around the world where the experience promises to be quite unforgettable.
The Palazzo Resort Hotel Casino, Las Vegas
As part of the legendary Venetian Resort, the Palazzo Resort Hotel Casino manages to be both very grand while offering the intimacy and service of a boutique hotel. The poker room in the hotel is decorated in a baroque Italian style and attracts all the high rollers that you’d expect – so make sure that you’re well up on your poker terms before you visit. For all its intimate atmosphere, the hotel does boast the biggest suites that you’ll find on the famous Strip which they proudly proclaim to be double the size of the average Las Vegas hotel room.
The Venetian, Macau
Heading to the other side of the world, Macau has rapidly become an even bigger magnet for gamblers than Las Vegas has ever been and that’s why you’ll find The Venetian represented there too. For many this is the grandest of the many hotels in the Chinese administrative region and it’s certainly the biggest. Surrounding it are a network of canals where you can enjoy a gondola ride before settling down to play in the resort’ Poker King Club with its eight tables, including two strictly reserved for VIPs only.
The Park Hyatt, Mendoza, Argentina
While it may be all the way down nearly at the tip of South America, The Park Hyatt Mendoza has a distinctly European ambience and approach to hospitality. Partly this is due to the building itself with its magnificent 19th century facade built in the Spanish style, and partly to the discreetly attentive service you will receive. With only four poker tables the atmosphere for players is equally reserved. The region is well known for its vineyards many of whom supply their fine wines to the hotel and the views are spectacular of the snow-capped Andes in the distance.
Palace of the Lost City, Sun City, South Africa
Most travellers will be aware of the amazing entertainment centre that is Sun City but they may be less familiar with the finest of its hotels. The Palace of the Lost City sits at the highest point in the complex offering stunning views of its surroundings. The hotel is themed around the myth of a magnificent African kingdom that has been lost in the mists of time and, unlike the resort’s other hotel casinos, this is an altogether more exclusive salon privé where you can indulge your love for poker and other table games.
Ibiza Gran Hotel, Spain
Ibiza, the second largest of the Balearic Islands, might have more of a reputation for superstar DJs and all-night partying but it does have enclaves of luxury too. One of the foremost examples of these is its Gran Hotel. Set overlooking the old part of Ibiza Town and the Mediterranean Sea, it promises a grand luxe level of service as well as the only casino on the island. The poker played there is Texas No Limit Hold’em and the hotel is always happy to arrange a private table if you simply want to play with friends and fellow travellers.
Foxwood Resorts Casino, Connecticut
The United States has many tribal casinos but there are definitely no others that can quite match up to the Foxwood. Established in 1992 and owned and run by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation it’s the largest casino resort in the country. Visit and you’ll have the choice of not one but six different casinos. Of these, it’s the recently opened Rainmaker Casino that hosts the all-new poker room with regular tournaments and a wide range of game variants always being played.
Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas
In a part of the world known for its idyllic holiday spots Atlantis takes the paradise of Paradise Island up to a whole new level. Not only does it have the world’s largest open-air marine habitat and a 14-acre sanctuary complete with a community of bottle nose dolphins, the hotel itself is simply stunning. The casino, where you’ll find all the poker action, is also stunningly located across a lagoon and is adorned with glass sculptures by artist Dale Chihuly. It all makes for a quite incredible poker experience and one that, win or lose, you are sure to remember for many years to come thanks to the amazing surroundings.
There you have them. Seven of the most incredible places to put your poker skills to the test – not forgetting to also have an incredible holiday while you’re there.