There’s something inherently luxurious about a place where large sums of currency are exchanged. Still, there are some casinos that raise the stakes in opulence more than others, providing you not only with glittering lights and elegant gambling stations, but with world-class dining, shopping and entertainment as well. These five players take luxe to the next level, and we’re betting you’ll agree.
Casino de Monte-Carlo, Monaco
One of the world’s first major casinos, this Monaco gambling complex debuted in the 1850s as a way to “save” the ruling House of Grimaldi from bankruptcy. There’s a certain intrigue to a place with this kind of history—local citizens are still forbidden to gamble—and upon entering the Beaux Arts style building, you’ll be transported to another era. Gaming happens underneath ornate, gilded and frescoed ceilings and crystal chandeliers, all surrounded by tapestries and fine art that were restored during a multi-stage renovation completed in 2011. A new terrace was also added during the project, so you can gamble in the fresh air while you ogle the amazing sea views.
Casino dress code: Appropriate attire is required in the gaming rooms (no sport shoes or flip-flops). In private rooms, jackets are mandatory after 8 p.m. No military or other uniforms.
Play this: Trente et Quarante (30 and 40). Monte Carlo is known for this lively and charming French table game—one you’re unlikely to see outside of Europe. Players bet on which of two hands will have the lower score (the winning total must always be between 30 and 40).
After cashing out: Enjoy cocktails in the festive, luxurious La Salle Blanche. The sumptuous blue and cream lounge features a grand bar and funky entertainment.
Casino Baden-Baden, Germany
This German gaming and wellness destination (the word “baden” means bathe in German) is a quiet town on the outskirts of the Black Forest. During the Prussian era, it became an exclusive respite for Europe’s elite after the queen visited. While certainly more accessible nowadays, the casino that Marlene Dietrich called “the most beautiful casino in the world” still has a seductive lure. The décor exudes luxury; deep shades of crimson cover the floors, walls and draperies, and massive crystal chandeliers are suspended by lush velvet ropes. Gilded gold fixtures and mirrors adorn the walls throughout adding grandeur and opulence to the space. Not interested in gambling? You can simply take a guided tour of the historic property.
Casino dress code: To play table games, jacket and ties are required for gentlemen.
Play this: Tempt fate at the roulette table. The game has a colorful history at Baden-Baden; Leo Tolstoy lost a pile of money playing roulette here—money he borrowed from fellow novelist Ivan Turgenev. Another cool fact: In 1955, real silver and gold chips were used for roulette in honor of the Casino’s 100-year anniversary, but were stopped soon after because guests kept taking them as “souvenirs.”
After cashing out: Pay a visit to one of the famed spas nearby. Caracalla Spa is a 43,000-square-foot complex featuring thermal waters in pools, grottos, whirlpools and saunas—not to mention a host of massage and treatment options. Friedrichsbad is a combo of Irish and Roman bathing traditions; guests rotate through a precise 17-step bathing ritual. Note: This detoxifying experience is not for the shy; the spa adheres to a traditionally “garment-free” policy and (gasp!) men and women bathe together, except on certain days.
Equal parts opulent and witty, the luxurious setting at Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Wynn Las Vegas makes for a stylish, sexy gaming experience. Walking through the massive resort you’ll feel a bit like Alice in Wonderland—from the Jeff Koons Tulips sculpture in front of the Wynn Theater to the lush, exotic gardens surrounding the desert retreat. You’ll gamble amidst the traditional glittering, whirling Las Vegas lights—though the casino décor does feature whimsical details, like palm trees, red chandeliers, fountain views and oversized sparkling flower petals on the walls.
Casino dress code: Resort casual.
Play this: Put on your best face at the Poker Room. The 26-table room offers limits for beginners to pros (so, er, watch out), and includes No Limit Hold’em, 7 Card Stud, Pot Limit Omaha and more.
After cashing out: Dine at Mizumi, one of Wynn’s restaurants awash in seductive, red lacquer and overlooking a cascading man-made koi pond and waterfall. Big spender? You can enjoy chef Devin Hashimoto’s modern Japanese-style cuisine alfresco at the restaurant’s signature private pagoda table.
Classy, thy name is The Ritz Club. The high-stakes—and members-only—casino is located in the basement-level, former ballroom of The Ritz London and entering it feels as if you are stepping into a James Bond movie. In fact, you could be; a film about the Bond movies was once filmed in the Club’s Amber Room, and as the story goes, taping was continually interrupted by the rumblings of the Underground train, to the amusement of the crew and Sir Roger Moore himself. The Club features an open gaming salon—think rich woods and tapestries, domed ceilings and chairs with red and blue crushed velvet cushions—and discrete private rooms for ultimate high-rollers.
Casino dress code: Gentlemen are required to wear a jacket and collared shirt. No sports clothes or sneakers.
Play this: Tap into the Bond-style suspense with a game of Punto Banco. In this close relative of Baccarat, players bet on one of two hands—the “Player” or the “Bank”; the winner is the one with the hand closest to nine.
After cashing out: Enjoy made-to-order cuisine at the Club’s award-winning restaurant, where multiple chefs specialize in international cuisine including French, Italian, Chinese, Lebanese, Thai and Indian. There’s also an extensive classic pudding menu. Warm sweet blinis with a kumquat compote, anyone?
A stay at The Venetian Macao Resort Hotel can only be described as living large—literally. Modeled after its Las Vegas sister, the Macau luxury casino is a 10.6-million-square-foot complex on Macau’s Cotai Strip, complete with 550,000 square feet of gaming space, thousands of slot machines and a 15,000-seat arena for sports and entertainment events (aka the CotaiArena). The gilded décor throughout features all the requisite faux-Venice splendor you’d expect, including gondola rides.
Casino dress code: No hats or sunglasses may be worn in the casino.
Play this: Dragon Phoenix is a simple game of two coins that debuted here at the Venetian in 2011. One of the players tosses two coins in the air, and everyone bets on which side they will land; instead of heads and tails, it’s a dragon and phoenix.
After cashing out: It might be hard to stay at the casino table with all the events happening at this resort. There are 56 restaurants featuring Asian and Western cuisine, a museum exhibition center (Human Bodies runs through February), and a range of live music and dance shows at the property’s different arenas. Or, for a more chill experience, use your winnings to rent a poolside cabana. Your private party for two to four includes air conditioning, a plasma-screen TV, a mini fridge and, of course, food and beverage service.
Photos Courtesy of Casino de Monte Carlo, The Ritz Club, Casino Baden-BadenTags: Casino Baden-Baden, Casino de Monte-Carlo, Casinos, gambling, Germany, London, The Ritz Club, The Venetian Macao Resort, Wynn Las Vegas