Facials and massages in private rooms at Absolute Spa
Free on-site parking and Wi-Fi
Drinks and restaurants a bit pricey
Pool area can be noisy and crowded
Free parking is a hike from the hotel
Noise from the nearby Richmond Airport
Wi-Fi can be spotty
Less expensive than many high-end downtown Vancouver hotels, this upscale property offers a genuine (though somewhat Las Vegas-like) resort experience. Ideal for travelers of all sorts – business, international, couples, or families – this place has it all. Kids love the waterslide attached to the pool, and the jungle motif. Fun-loving adults can gamble, dine at upscale or casual restaurants, use the huge gym, or unwind in one of the spa's six private treatment rooms. There's live music four nights per week at Lulu's Lounge, plus the Show Theater with big-name acts regularly. There are plenty of meeting rooms, banquet halls, and conference facilities available. The attached SkyTrain station provides super-quick access to both the airport and downtown Vancouver. The place is great for relaxation (and potentially, moneymaking or breaking), an oasis all its own but also well-connected to Vancouver.
Casino on the water, with rain forest-inspired pool, and variety of casual or more formal settings
The River Rock is the size of a small village and looks almost like one. A glowing sign welcomes guests to the property, a series of multi-story A-frame buildings on a marina overlooking the Fraser River. A boardwalk equipped with lounge chairs and fire pits surrounds the property. The main entrance area is vast and stunning, with a nearly four-story ceiling, and circular staircase. A separate hotel lobby is more subdued, with delicate hanging lamps, modern gray chairs, fresh flowers in sleek silver vases, and a gas fireplace. The indoor saltwater pool and large entrance area are made to resemble a rainforest, with waterfalls, rocks, and green foliage -- a Las Vegas-like style that adds to the casino’s flashing lights and sports car display. The casino itself looks like any other inside, with rows of slot machines (there are 1,000) and gaming tables. Dining atmosphere and decor varies considerably, from white tablecloths at upscale Tramonto to leather lounge chairs at Curve to the cafeteria-like buffet. Guests can stroll the boardwalk, taking in the Fraser River and stopping at fire pits, or relax in the heated outdoor patio area of Curve.
At the marina, with easy access to airport and downtown Vancouver via SkyTrain
The resort is set on the marina in Richmond, close enough to the airport for planes to be seen (and heard) often. A SkyTrain station is attached to the property, and reaches the airport in about 10 minutes and downtown Vancouver in about 20. There is plenty of ground to cover just walking around the property: the boardwalk covers the entire marina, and the casino itself is expansive, as is the adjoining stage theater. Once outside of the grounds, the surrounding area is clean but full of warehouses. The Richmond Night Market, held on summer weekends, is just a five-minute walk away.
Options span from standard hotel rooms to One- and Two-Bedroom Suites, an ultra swanky Penthouse, Presidential Suite, and Executive Floor. Decor is mostly in shades of brown and white, with warm lighting and touches of gold. All rooms have cashmere beds with down/feather duvets, Nespresso coffeemakers, iPod docking stations, 42-inch flat-screen TVs, and mini-fridges. Bathrooms are spacious, with high-end toiletries, beige tile, and shower/tub combos. Some suites have marble steps leading to an elegant circular room with taupe couches, plus stone hearths with gas fireplaces. Views vary but are all nice, either looking toward the airport, out onto the marina, or northwest with the mountains in the distance. Windows are pleasantly sound-proofed. There is free (though sometimes spotty) Wi-Fi in all rooms.
Massive resort with seven dining/drinking options, live entertainment, and casino
The River Rock’s list of amenities is long, and includes options for those seeking relaxation or action. The 1,000-seat theater hosts multiple performances weekly, with major names in comedy and music, and family-friendly dance and group performances. The enormous casino has 1,000 slot machines, plus blackjack and roulette tables. The Absolute Spa offers a myriad of facials, body treatments, and hydrotherapy in six private rooms -- a great way to unwind after working out in the spacious fitness center overlooking the indoor pool.
River Rock has a total of seven restaurants, lounges, bars, and cafes. The award-winning Tramonto specializes in Canadian-Mediterranean fare; The Buffet offers mountains of options, plus fresh produce; Sea Harbor offers Chinese/Cantonese fare; and Curve is an upscale lounge with pub food and a heated outdoor patio. Lulu’s Lounge in the casino serves cocktails and snacks, and the casino has a grab-and-go international food court. Java Jacks is the on-site coffee shop, and there is 24-hour room service.
Meeting rooms are available for events big or small, along with banquet halls and a massive convention space (one can even rent out the theater) for weddings and big events. There is free self-parking or charged valet on-site, and free Wi-Fi throughout (spotty in places).
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