I’m not usually a fan of casino hotels. I’m not a gambler and often find casino properties garish in an over-the-top, Donald-Trump-on-steroids way. That’s not true of L’Auberge Casino Resort in Lake Charles in Southwest Louisiana. This unique property featuring Texas Hill Country Lodge architecture stands out for its luxury accommodations, fine dining, gorgeous surroundings, and multiple entertainment options. L’Auberge truly has something for everyone.
L’Auberge Casino Resort sits on 242 acres amidst the lush landscaping of the resort’s 18-hole, par-71 golf course. It features an unusual, 26-story asymmetrical hotel with approximately 1,000 guest rooms, 147 luxury suites, and even private villas. The building was constructed with natural materials like wood and stone, giving the place a comfortable lodge-like feeling.
Guests enter through a wood-ceilinged vestibule into a three-story main lobby naturally lighted by large sky lights. Here two massive stone fireplaces, with gas-fired flames flickering brightly no matter the season, anchor a comfortable seating area of Arts and Crafts couches and chairs upholstered in warm tones.
Downstairs is dominated on one side by high-end shops and eateries, including a large buffet, a casual bistro, Desserts (featuring silky house-made gelato and other treats), and Asia, a new sushi bar/noodle house. On the other side arethe wide reception/check-in area, more shops, and conference spaces. I attended a writers’ conference here and the meeting rooms are both spacious and elegant. This area also contains the hotel’s signature steakhouse, Ember Grille & Wine Bar, serving some of the finest beef in the world.
In the center of the building is a 70,000 sq. foot casino complete with a poker room and high-limit salon. Unlike other casinos I’ve visited, the atmosphere in L’Auberge is fresh and pleasant and they offer free, unlimited non-alcoholic drinks.
The facility comes with a fully-equipped fitness center and spa offering a wide range of treatments from massages to facials and manicures/pedicures. Outside are plenty of comfortable places to sit under wide verandas and kids and adults alike float the Lazy River, a fun, artificial river with its own current that snakes through the property. There are two swimming pools, including an adults-only pool with a swim-up bar.
Accommodations for a Queen
Upstairs the fun continues with guestrooms and suites that make guests feel truly pampered. On two occasions, I’d stayed in the hotel’s guestrooms and found them generously-sized with luxe features like uber-comfortable king beds and upscale bathrooms. In 2014, all the guest rooms and suites underwent a complete, $20 million renovation, so now they’re even more deluxe.
During this stay, we’re in for a treat with a Garden Suite. We take the Garden Suite elevator to the second floor and step into extra wide hallways carpeted in swirling French-style patterns and walls decorated with giant, close-up botanical photos. The quiet in these hallways is deep and we feel as though we’ve stepped into a private, rarefied world—and indeed we have.
A big heavy door ushers us into a large entry hall with a marble floor that opens to the main living and sleeping areas. The room is a long rectangle with a couch, coffee table and huge flat screen TV hung on a lighted accent wall. The ceiling—at least 20 feet tall—is lit with cove lights that accentuate the spaciousness and architectural accents of the room. A wall of glass offers views of the lush grounds and folks floating down Lazy River; on the other side is a granite-topped cabinet with a glass sink and a Keurig coffee maker, ice bucket, safe, and small refrigerator. In-room WiFi connects automatically and is fast and efficient.
A long, narrow table separates the living and sleeping spaces and there’s a small, convenient couch at the end of the king bed. The bed is huge and tall—ideal for a queen. It’s stacked with eight pillows, each with different fluffiness so we can find the perfect pillow for sleeping. The linens are appropriately high-end and each side table has a sconce above it with programmed lighting for just the right illumination. In fact, all of the lighting in the suite offers four adjustable settings for maximum comfort.
While the entire Garden Suite is elegant, the marble and granite bathroom is absolutely royal. It’s huge—the largest bathroom I’ve ever stayed in. There are two sinks—12 feet apart on opposite sides. There’s an over-sized marble and glass shower with bench, rain and hand-held shower heads. For added privacy, there’s a toilet and bidet behind a frosted glass door.
In all this bathing elegance, the huge soaking tub is the piece de resistance. It resembles a long Victorian claw foot tub, except that it’s filled from the ceiling so there’s no faucet to get in the way of relaxing. You can lean back and soak on either end or share the bath with a friend. Naturally, the toiletries are lovely and the towels are massive and fluffy.
Real Bottom Line: Whether you want to golf, gamble, play in the pool, indulge in spa treatments or just hang out and eat terrific food, L’Auberge Resort Casino has something for everyone. Its relaxed and elegant surroundings, many amenities, and friendly, accommodating staff will make you want to make L’Auberge your home-away-from-home in Southwest Louisiana. – by Bobbie Hasselbring, RFT Editor