Pros: Worth a day trip or a stay, Big, classy, an experience
Cons: Expect To Spend Money (not just gambling)
Do you live in the Northeast and are looking for a way to escape for a day or two? Want a place that offers different restaurant choices, a spa, a pool, several hotels to choose from and the largest casino in the world? Foxwoods is truly a wonder that is worth a visit and it fits the bill for all of the above.
Living in Massachusetts, my friends and I are frequent day visitors to Foxwoods when we can get down there and I recently had an opportunity to use some of my comps on a free room at one of the hotels. Thus the hotel part of my review will focus on the Grand Pequot Hotel, but otherwise, I’ve had extensive experience with the rest of the resort/casino.
Where is it?
Foxwoods Resort/Casino is located in the very southeastern corner of Connecticut off of Interstate 95. It is about 2 hours from Boston, 3 hours from New York City and probably about an hour or so from Hartford. Getting there is fairly easy, Foxwoods is about 8 miles off of Interstate 95 and the exit and the route are signed well and shouldn’t prove to be a problem.
Foxwoods can be quite busy, especially on Friday and Saturday nights, though there is always parking available. There are two parking garages, one separated from the resort by a bridged breezeway, and another located directly beneath part of the resort. There are also several large surface lots surrounding the resort.
Foxwoods offers three different hotels on site, The Two Trees Inn is more of a “motel” that is separated from the rest of the resort complex. A shuttle bus runs between the hotel and casinos. The Great Cedar Hotel is located within the main resort complex and is located above Casinos. Lastly, there’s the Grand Pequot Hotel, which is the newest hotel and the “fanciest” at Foxwoods. It is located above the Grand Pequot Casino directly in the resort complex.
Foxwoods itself is huge. There are at least 7 casinos to play in. They have combinations of slot machines (the old fashioned kind and the newer “video” slot machines) and table games. Some of the casinos only have tables and others only have slots and still others are combinations of the two. There are also high roller sections in some of the casinos along with a special casino located on the 25th floor of the Pequot Tower that is specifically for the high rollers.
There are several restaurants at Foxwoods. The Veranda is a 24-hour restaurant that offers meals throughout the day at a decent price with a decent selection (and probably the restaurant that most people eat at because it is open 24 hours a day and is quick and easy). There’s also the Cedars Steak House, two Chinese restaurants, a bistro, a buffet, a food court, snack bars in several of the casinos, a coffee shop, and a more exclusive restaurant that is also located in the Pequot Tower. Other than the Paragon (which is the one in the tower) the restaurants are casual affairs with a standard dress code and offer a variety of meals at different prices. Prices are a bit higher than the average restaurant and the quality is quite good.
For people interested in playing in the casinos, Foxwoods offers a “players club” called the Wampum Club that gives you the opportunity to earn points based on the amount of play that you have. No one has been able to give me an answer to an exact ratio, but roughly for every 60 or so dollars you spend in a casino, you earn one point. Points can be used throughout Foxwoods just like money – instead of paying cash, just present your player’s card and then sign for it. The points are automatically deducted as you use them. The points are earned on all money spent in the casinos, thus if you put in a 20 dollar bill and you win 40 dollars, but then play it all away, the player’s club looks at as 60 dollars spent, not the original 20 dollars. Thus you can build up points fairly quickly. Husband and wives or partners, can sign up under one account, and you can earn points even faster.
When you sign up for the Wampum Club, you also become eligible for special offers and contests. Almost every month they have a different promotion where you swipe your card each time you are there and you stand a chance to go and play a special game where you can win. There’s also a monthly mailing, which depending on your average monthly play, offers complimentary bonuses for your next visit. In general, you will receive differing amounts of free wampum points, food comps, and discounted (or free) hotel rooms.
All of yours offers and bonuses from the Wampum Club can be managed online through Foxwoods’ website. The better the bonuses get, the more personal attention that you will get from Foxwoods, so if you want to be noticed, drop large amounts of money in the casinos and you will have them knocking on your door pampering you anyway that they can to get you to come back.
I recently stayed overnight for the first time in the Grand Pequot Hotel when I was offered a free room based on my play (must tell you something about my enjoyment of gambling). I was pleasantly surprised with the experience. Check-in was a fairly straightforward process. It is located on the first level of the resort, underneath the Grand Pequot Casino. You have the option of putting a credit card down with the room (other than paying for it) so that you can have room service, etc., charged directly to the room, otherwise you have to pay the bill when you check out. Luggage service is available to bring your bags to your room if you need it. Elevators for the rooms are located to the rear of the hotel lobby. I stayed on the 11th floor and our room had two queen size beds along with a TV, coffee maker, hair dryer, iron, ironing board and the usual hotel desk and chairs.
The room was very well kept and even though it was a smoking room, did not smell of smoke when we got there. The best part of the room was the bathroom, which was huge and had a giant counter area to spread out with and a big shower/tub. The beds were quite comfortable and not worn out at all. The TV offered basic cable, any movie channel was extra and pay-per-view was also available.
The Grand Pequot also has an indoor pool that is free for hotel guests to use, along with a workout/fitness room with a fair selection of equipment. For extra money, there is also a spa available which provides all the services that you would expect at a spa (massages, facials, rubs, etc…).
With Mohegan Sun (the other Connecticut Indian Casino which is about 10 minutes away) recently opening their own hotel, prices at Foxwoods have begun to moderate. For a weeknight (Sunday through Thursday), prices range from about $100 dollars to about $180 dollars a night (depending on which hotel you stay at). The Two Trees Inn is the cheapest and the Grand Pequot the most expensive. For Fridays and Saturdays the prices are generally higher.
In general, if you enjoy gambling and want a quick getaway (if you are living in the northeast), then a trip to Foxwoods is well worth your time. It really is a destination resort with everything that you could want, all within a single complex. If you live outside the area (say within a 4 to 5 hour drive), then it’s probably better for you to go to Vegas and enjoy the true gaming capital of the world. However, Foxwoods is pretty nice to tide you over and is an enjoyable break from the realities of the real world when you get a chance (just remember to hide those ATM cards at home). However, even if you are not gambling, expect to spend some money, between the hotel room, shopping and eating, you can go through a lot if you don’t watch it. That’s a plus for the Wampum Club, once you have played for a bit, almost all of your other purchases can be covered with the Wampum Points. For more of the nitty gritty on Foxwoods, you can visit them on the web at www.foxwoods.com
So I think that there is some wonder at Foxwoods and I suggest that if you get the chance, go and experience it for yourself.
PS - I put best suited for romantic getaway only because there's no option for 'getaways' in general - it can be romantic, but Foxwoods can be just as great with a bunch of friends.
More Foxwoods Reviews
Foxwoods Grand Pequot Tower Hotel
Cedars Steak House
More Local Casinos
Mohegan Sun (Connecticut)
MGM Grand at Foxwoods (Connecticut)
Twin River (Rhode Island)