When planners consider a destination for their next meeting with a gaming component, it's likely that Las Vegas appears at the top of their lists, and for good reason. Among the new offerings groups can enjoy this year at that always-evolving destination are the new Park MGM (opening at the end of the month) and newly renovated rooms at the Flamingo Las Vegas and the Palace Tower at Caesars Palace. In fact, Caesars Entertainment expects to have renovated no fewer than 11,348 of its guest rooms by this summer, not to mention its newly rebranded Caesars Suites Collection of luxury suites, villas, and other exclusive spaces such as the 5,000-square-foot Marc Antony Villa at Caesars Palace, or the three-bedroom, 10,300-square-foot Nobu Villa, on the rooftop of the Nobu Hotel.
But while Vegas is a city that has everything, for those groups looking for something a little different -- whether smaller, more exotic, or more familiar, here are some destinations from which to choose.
This global, creative, multicultural city-state has a lot going on these days, from a new partnership with Cruise Lines International Association to the Jewel Changi Airport -- a mixed-use development at the Singapore Changi Airport that includes attractions, a hotel, and 300 retail and dining offerings across a 10-story complex, opening next year. But among the offerings Singapore provides to visitors is top-notch gaming, particularly at Marina Bay Sands. At almost 50,000 square feet, the casino here is the largest in the country, with more than 600 table games and 2,300 slot machines spread over four levels, with exclusive areas and regular tournaments to get attendees' pulses racing.
Of course, non-gamers have no shortage of options here, from the luxurious Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands (complete with personal shopping experiences) to an on-site art museum, to high-profile entertainment options such as The Lion King and Celine Dion. Dining options include modern Asian, Indian, Italian, and pretty much any other cuisine that might satisfy attendees' appetites.
Puerto Rico is one of the best places in the Caribbean to catch some sun. But the fun doesn't end when the sun goes down. Rather, it's just beginning thanks in large part to the island's 17 casinos, the largest of which is the 24-hour Casino Metro at the Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino in San Juan. While the hotel has 503 guest rooms and 40,000 square feet of meeting space -- on top of the 580,000 square feet at the adjacent Puerto Rico Convention Center -- the casino has more than 400 slots and 18 table games, including the first and only electronic roulette table in Puerto Rico.
Another popular place for gaming in Puerto Rico is La Concha Renaissance Resort in Condado. Along with 483 guest rooms and over 30,000 square feet of meeting space, it has a 24/7 casino with 20 table games and 416 slot machines, including two high-limit slot areas.
Speaking of Caribbean gaming options, in its small footprint, Aruba has managed to fit not only 17 beaches -- all of them public -- but also a dozen casinos, most of which are located inside the high-rise hotels that line glamorous Palm Beach, on Aruba's northern coast.
The largest of the bunch is the Stellaris Casino at the Aruba Marriott Resort, which offers more than 26 gaming tables, 500 slot machines, and numerous kiosks for race and sports betting, steps from the Marriott's 411 guest rooms and seven event spaces, which total 10,450 square feet.
Other options include the Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort & Casino, which has 357 guest rooms, a starlit-themed casino, and 39,000 square feet of function space; the Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort Spa & Casino, with 13 gaming tables and 221 slot machines; and Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino on the less populous Eagle Beach in Oranjestad, which has 556 guest rooms, 22,000 square feet of function space, and a 15,000-square-foot, 24-hour casino with 425 slot machines and 18 gaming tables.
For those looking for something more budget-friendly and closer to home, this Pacific Northwestern city, right near the Columbia River and within a half-hour's drive of Portland, OR, boasts some stunning natural surroundings, as well as terrific gaming options at Ilani Casino Resort. The large property's 100,000-square-foot gaming floor boasts 75 table games and more than 2,500 slot machines.
Groups will also find top-notch meeting space at its new Meeting & Entertainment Center, offering 30,000 square feet of space, including a 22,000-square-foot ballroom and 650-square-foot boardroom, as well as in-house A/V and event specialists.
Another domestic option for groups looking for serious gaming and meeting options in a scenic area is the burgeoning wine destination of Temecula, located midway between Los Angeles and San Diego. A big attraction here is Pechanga Resort Casino, which just completed a massive $300 million expansion, doubling its size to become the largest resort on the West Coast. It now boasts 1,090 guest rooms, 20 restaurants and bars, 100,000 square feet of indoor and 174,500 square feet of outdoor meeting and event space, as well as 15 pools and spas. It also offers an eye-popping 200,000-square-foot casino.
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This article appears in the April 2018 issue of Successful Meetings.