We’ve been going to Tulalip almost from the moment we arrived in the area. It really has a “Vegas” feel about it, and makes a great getaway. Now, it’s even better with the addition of of the hotel next to the Casino that opened last summer. Highly recommend this place for locals as it’s a great way to feel like you’ve gotten far away for the weekend, and it’s only 30 miles north of downtown Seattle. I would also recommend it as a base camp for folks visiting Seattle.
First off, the rooms are fantastic. One of the few hotels I’ve been in where I instantly felt calmer the moment I entered the room. The colors are muted and calming. The carpet is typical hotel “Hide a Mess” pattern, but not to the extreme. The TV is a large HD LCD, not that you’ll be watching it much, but it’s there. Rooms have a great few of the surrounding area, with views of Mt Baker on a clear day. For those traveling in April, early May, a great side trip is the Tulip Festival in the La Conner area. The Tulips are unbelievably popular, and the traffic can get to be a mess. Having a room at Tulalip as a base station works great.
Each room has either a King sized or 2 Queens. In addition to these rooms, several suites are available. We’ve only stayed in the King rooms, and I will attest to the comfort of said bed. Like floating on a cloud man, no kidding. The restroom area is large, with plenty of room for two getting ready for a night of fun. The shower itself is a party affair, with full body length shower system and room for two, or three if so inclined. Or if closer to my size, 1 works just fine. 🙂
Now that you’ve seen the room, what else? Well for one, the hotel is attached to the casino so that you can move from room to ruin without getting wet. The casino has a large selection of slots, with the most popular ones being Copper Dropper ( a penny machine ) and Meltdown ( $.25, $.50, $1 and $5 machines). Last time there, we won $800 on Copper Dropper. I’m a fan. Oh yeah. Number one place for fun baby!!
In addition to the slots, there are the standard table games, including a 24 hour baccarat room. Beth is a roulette champ, and does quite well at these tables. On a Saturday night, it can be hard to find a spot to play. If serious about playing, I recommend hitting a table before 4 p.m.
Food and Spirits are also abundant. There are several “cocktail cubbies” scattered about, with the main bar being in the center of the casino. Right out of the Vegas strip, it’s a circular affair, with a large sculpture of salmons swimming coming out of the center. TVs are in the bar top and above, and finding a seat during any sporting event is next to impossible. The wait staff at the bar are attentive and just plain fun to be around. Great group.
Food is covered by 4 main dining areas. First up is Eagles Buffet. This is a standard Buffet set up with a nice selection of food and treats. Prices here are very reasonable, and it’s become a very popular destination for locals looking for good food and good prices. So, word of caution, don’t be surprised if you see a large line waiting to get in. If you’re hungry, it’s worth the wait.
Next up is Cedars Cafe. This is a nice, “Denny’s-esque” style place. Everything from breakfast staples to prime rib. Prices are reasonable, but you get what you pay for. We tried the prime rib dinner, and it disappointed. Very thin cut, too high a fat to meat ratio, and the flavor was dull and unbalanced. Could be an off night, but as of now, not recommended. Other folks seemed to be enjoying the sandwiches, like the triple club, so we will give it more tries.
Next up on the price/quality scale is the Blackfish. We’ve eaten here a couple of times, and the quality has been consistent each time. This is first and foremost a fish house. Fresh oysters, clams and salmon are the stars. Depending on the season, halibut, cod, lingcod are also available. You can choose your fish, the way it’s cooked, the sauce, and what sides. In addition, there are preset menu choices, with Salmon on Sticks being the star. Salmon is placed on Ironwood spears, and cooked alongside the fire using traditional tribal ways. By the way, the kitchen is open, and in the center-back of the dining area, so you get to watch them work. Every meal comes with flat breads served with 3 flavored butters. A Walla-Walla onion butter, a sweet butter, and a cheese butter. All 3 are very tasty, a bit too tasty if you get my drift. My big complaint has been that the sides are a bit cold for my taste, which could be the result of the turn-over they try to get in this place. I get the feeling plates are lined up with sides, waiting for mains to be added. Oh, almost forgot. The price of wine in this place is out of control. First, every glass gets a measured 3 ounce pour, at $6-7 for house wines. The house Pinot Gris priced out at $40/bottle. The same bottle of wine is available in any Safeway for under $8. This price gouging of wines and local beers has got to stop, or people will stop purchasing them all together, which only hurts our local breweries and wineries. It’s insane, and it needs to stop.
Finally, there is the Tulalip Bay restaurant. We have never eaten here, mainly because the prices are 30-40% higher than at Blackfish. $45 for a 7 ounce filet for example. As we have not dined here, I will not comment on the price:quality ratio. I will report back, however, if we do decide to dine there in the interest of …fairness.
Finally a note on the Tulalip Tribes. First, this is not a single tribe, rather a Tribal Nation consisting of Snohomish, Snoqualmie, Skagit, Suiattle, Samish and Stillaguamish Tribes along with some allied bands. The Reservation was established in 1855 and signed into law in 1873. The Tribe has around 3500 active members living on the reservation. The Tribes provide health and dental clinics, pharmacy, retirement home and preschool. Of special note I think, of the 1200 employes working in Tulalip Tribes businesses, 2/3 are Tribal members.