New Agua Caliente Opens this Saturday

by Lou on April 17, 2008

I’ve been watching them build the brand new Agua Caliente Hotel, complete with a substantial spa, new restaurants, and other destination resort amenities for a while now. After all, I’m a regular in the poker room, where we had to live with construction noise and the disappearance of a couple of the old restaurants while the new ones were under construction.
The hotel also lies on one of my regular bike ride routes, a climb up the hill on Bob Hope Drive that fronts the new hotel, where I would bend my neck and watch the construction as I pedaled and pondered whether it would all be worth the effort.

Yesterday I went on a media preview tour to find out. The short answer is that it was well worth the effort. We toured the new hotel’s public areas, the spa, conference center, and outdoor areas, as well as the rooms—which ranged from a “standard” room to the executive suites, and presidential suites too.

It is all tres cool, and the amenities in the standard rooms are on a par with those in the bigger suites. Size and location are the main differences. The suites are significantly larger, 1,650 square feet for the presidential suites compared to 550 square feet for deluxe guest rooms, and from their position atop the 175 foot tall hotel, the views are more expansive. Oh yes, there’s the little matter of thread count. The sheets in the presidential suites are 400 thread count. Guests in the other suites have to make do with a 300 thread count—not that I could ever tell the difference.

The décor has a modern feel, in keeping with the architectural vibe in the Palm Springs area, but it is not the cold look of what’s called “mid-century modern.” It’s a lot warmer than that, with more texture, and a warmer color palate.

The new hotel has 340 rooms with 9-foot high windows, flat screen TVs, internet access, and if you don’t like recycled hotel air, each room has fresh air ducted directly inside. From April 20 – June 15, you can book a room for $89, Sunday through Thursday.

The property, which also features a small conference center and a new showroom that’s scheduled to open in the fall, now features five restaurants. The Grand Palms Buffet has been remodeled. The old Steakhouse has been completely redesigned and moved to a new location. New are the Wet Bar, Java Caliente, and the Waters Café. The old deli is now the new Poker Deli, located adjacent to the poker room.

The poker room has a few new amenities, but is still an 11-table room that gets the bulk of the poker action in the Coachella Valley. It’s always very busy “in season,” though it slows down a bit in the summer, when many of the snowbirds depart for their summer homes. That’s beginning to change, however, as the area continues to attract many more year-round residents than it had in years past. Most of the time you’ll find fixed-limit games ranging from $3-$6 to $20-$40, and no-limit games at $1-$2 and $2-$5. There’s also a $6-$12 Omaha/8 game every day.

So there’s something for the majority of players’ budgets, and while some us have clamored for $30-$60 or $40-$80, we all manage to enjoy the roster of available games.

The public grand opening is this Saturday, April 19. If you’re in the area, come by and enjoy it. Or make a weekend of it. After all, Agua Caliente casino is now a destination resort with 11 poker tables and a gaggle of brand new restaurants waiting for you.

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