Barona Resort & Casino
1932 Wildcat Canyon Road, Lakeside. (619) 443-2300. barona.com.
The deal: A full-scale casino resort with a hotel, championship golf course, day spa and multiple dining venues. The casino floor offers 2,640 slot machines and about 100 table games. Longtime favorite restaurants include the Barona Oaks Steakhouse and Seasons Fresh buffet. Convenient options are the Barona Coffee Company for pastries, fresh cinnamon buns, sandwiches and salads, the Soup Stand for six varieties of eat-in or take-out soup and the Creamery, serving premium ice cream, soft serve, shakes and sundaes.
Golden Acorn Casino
1800 Golden Acorn Way, Campo. (866) 794-6244. goldenacorncasino.com.
The deal: A respite for truckers and the road-weary, Golden Acorn is a compact-sized casino with a Travel Center and dining venues. The casino floor features 750 slot machines and eight table games, including $3 blackjack and Ultimate Texas Hold ’Em. Golden Acorn’s 24/7, 3,000-square-foot Travel Center and rest stop offers clean showers and restrooms, laundry facilities, a TV lounge and Wi-Fi, and other amenities. Players club members can enjoy the $7.77 prime rib dinner at the Golden Grill restaurant.
Harrah’s Resort Southern California
777 Harrah’s Rincon Way, Valley Center. (760) 751-3100. harrahssocal.com.
The deal: A full-service casino resort with a hotel, luxury pool complex, a wellness spa and multiple dining venues. Gaming options include 1,700 slots and 60 table games. The hotel offers 1,087 rooms and suites; steps away is the first tribal-owned craft brewery, SR76 Beerworks. Dive features three pools, eight hot tubs, a swim-up bar, a 400-foot lazy river and 23 cabanas. The luxurious 11,000-square-foot spa features a full-service salon and barbershop. The new Topgolf Swing Suite can be rented so players practice their skills at golf, baseball, football, hockey and more.
14145 Campo Road, Jamul. (619) 315-2250. jamulcasinosd.com
The deal: The latest addition to Jamul Casino is a 10- table poker room that features table-side dining, full bar service, weekly poker tournaments and special events. The gaming floor has 1,700 slot machines, 40 tables and seven dining venues. Prime Cut, the fine-dining steakhouse, has expansive mountain views and offers an all-day Sunday lobster brunch for $50. A sizable collection of Mr. Padre’s memorabilia is housed at Tony Gwynn’s Sports Pub. Loft 94 serves 48 craft beers and has an outdoor patio and pool table.
Pala Casino Spa & Resort
11154 Highway 76, Pala. (877) 946-7252. palacasino.com
The deal: A full-scale casino resort with a hotel, underground wine cave and deluxe spa. Pala features a new 21-and-over pool complex, called Tourmaline, that has five heated pools, waterfalls, daybeds, hot tubs, 14 luxury cabanas and fire pits. The casino floor has 2,250 slot and video poker machines, 84 table games, an expanded non-smoking area and a new central bar, Marquise. Highlights among the 10 eateries are the Bar Meets Grill restaurant and the recently expanded indoor/outdoor Luis Rey’s. The hotel, which has 507 rooms and suites, is undergoing a floor-by-floor renovation.
777 Pauma Reservation Road, Pauma Valley. (760) 742-2177. casinopauma.com
The deal: A 35,000-square-foot casino featuring live entertainment and dining venues. Gaming options include over 1,000 slot machines and 19 table games. The three dining choices are the Grove Buffet, a cafe with an all-day menu and the 24/7 Casino Pauma Deli and Pizzeria. Drinks are served at the Triple Seven Bar as well as the Red Parrot Lounge. The covered Pauma Pavilion, with 1,100 seats, offers year-round entertainment and a state-of-the-art sound system. The Pavilion showcases entertainment from Latin Nights to rock concerts.
Pechanga Resort & Casino
45000 Pechanga Parkway, Temecula. (888) 732-4264. pechanga.com
The deal: A mega resort with a hotel, spa, golf course, designer boutiques, event center, theater, comedy club and a range of dining venues. Pechanga has the status of the biggest casino resort on the West Coast. The casino floor clocks in at a massive 200,000 square feet. Pechanga has more than a dozen eateries, two of them open 24 hours and three with late-night service. The hotel has 1,090 hotel rooms and suites, including 568 new ones. A two-story luxury spa has 17 treatment rooms, a salon, fitness center and private pool and spa. The 4½-acre pool complex, called The Cove, has a swim-up bar, waterside day beds and in-pool lounge chairs.
Sycuan Casino Resort
5469 Casino Way, El Cajon. (619) 445-6002. sycuan.com
The deal: A brand-new, $260-million casino resort that opened March 27, Sycuan has a 12-story luxury hotel tower, with 302 rooms, including 57 suites. Retreat Pool & Cabanas has an adult pool with a swim-up bar, a family pool and a lazy river. The resort includes a full-service day spa, Ritual, and a new fitness facility. The casino floor has been expanded by 60,000 square feet and now houses a total of 2,800 slots and 50 table games. The hip Elicit Bar & Lounge and swanky Bull and Bourbon steakhouse have been added. A new events center will host headlining acts. The new Uncommons food court features popular locals Phil’s BBQ, Hodad’s, Lucha Libre and more. The bingo parlor has also been renovated.
Valley View Casino & Hotel
16300 Nyemii Pass Road, Valley Center. (760) 291-5500. valleyviewcasino.com
The deal: An adults-only boutique resort with a hotel, infinity pool and several restaurants. Gaming options include 2,000 slot and video poker machines, including 164 in a VIP high-limit area, 25-plus table games and a large, separate 500-machine smoke-free area. The 108-room, 12-suite non-smoking hotel is undergoing a remodel as part of a $50-million expansion and renovation project. A new restaurant and bar called Patties & Pints is in the works, as are two new entrances and an additional 43,000 square feet of space on the gaming floor. Its popular Maine lobster buffet was recently expanded by 100 seats and features 25 new dishes.
Viejas Casino & Resort
5000 Willows Road, Alpine. (619) 445-5400. viejas.com
The deal: A full-scale casino resort with two hotels — the Forbes Four Star Viejas Hotel and the luxurious, all-suites, adults-only Willows Hotel & Spa — as well as an entertainment complex and an outlet shopping center with bowling and a skating rink. The casino floor includes around 2,300 slot machines, eight different kinds of table games, an off-track betting lounge and a bingo and slot parlor. The luxury spa has its own saltwater spa pool, garden, salt sauna, a hair and nail salon and 24-hour fitness center. Notable restaurants include The Grove Steakhouse, the buffet and Locale.