Monday, July 28

Top 10 Best Things to do at Ameristar Casino Resort Spa 2014

I recently visited St. Charles, Missouri's upscale casino: Ameristar Casino Resort Spa. And, by upscale I mean ~ how did this place land in the Midwest? I have been in a few casinos and this is more of a spa, resort and casino combined yet, completely separate of each other's identities.

And ~ considering I am not really one to put coins into a machine without being assured of getting a candy bar back ~ this was great news. And surprising to find outside of Las Vegas.

Located in the historic town and just a few minutes from the airport makes this an easy road (or air) trip and provides the small town charm with big city slots.

It is owned by Pinnacle Entertainment, which also owns over-the-top Vegas-glamorized River City Casino and Hotel in St. Louis, which I wrote about earlier. Read Top 10 List here. Here are the Gotta Go recommendations for Ameristar Casino and Hotel, St. Charles.

Top 10 Best Things to Do
Ameristar Casino Resort Spa

~ 1 ~
There are many food items in this list, I realize. However, when it happens that you find so many great ones, you just need to share. Here is the worth-the-drive pasta dish from the masterminds at Bugatti's Steak & Pasta, the Italian fine dining eatery. Beef short rib tagliatelle is a very long name for a very scrumptious meal to twirl. This could actually be my new No. 1 favorite Italian dish. No disrespect to Tony Danza who has just been pushed to the No. 2 spot.

~ 2 ~
Scrub Up
When I found out the ARA Spa service menu features Missouri's only Japanese bathing ritual-inspired all over body treatment, I went for it. Pure Bliss consists of five-parts using minerals, flowers and fruit essences, oils and lotions for an ultimate experience. All over mimosa shower, bamboo scrub, cherry blossom polish, plum mist and hydrated with wild lime oils.... that's not a spa menu item, it's an entire spa buffet. Wow. I might have floated to heaven somewhere between the second and third segment, or at least felt no stress for a couple of hours ~ Be sure to ask for Ramon.

~ 3 ~
Play Footsie
Just like any other lady (and cool men), I have received many pedicures in my life and the reasons this one hits the list is the professionalism and friendliness of the technician, the atmosphere and decor of the salon, and..... here's the big reason ~ the polish did not chip, smudge or flake off for three weeks ~ what a time saver without the extra cost and time for a gel polish treatment like Shellac gel. I use OPI regular nail colour (they also have a gel) almost exclusively and this was no exception. Except it lasted. And lasted. I received the Pure Bliss Ara ritual pedicure (and manicure) and if I lived within a reasonable driving distance, I would use ARA Salon for this reason alone.

~ 4 ~
Step Down
The suites are just that... suites. A relaxing sitting area accompanies every hotel room-suite in the form of a sunken living room. Picture windows showcase the cityscape or river view flooding the room with natural light. The step-down area is large enough for a few friends to sit and enjoy themselves without sitting on a bed or uncomfortable desk chair, making this a hotel that actually understands their customers' needs.

~ 5 ~
Flop it
No, I have not missed the Texas Hold 'em craze, which became more than a fad and is now a staple in casinos, bars and homes across the nation. I just never got the hang of it ~ until an invitation to a private lesson (my job does have its perks). Many things were learned at that tutorial: they are called cheques not chips, it's really, really fun to win large stacks on a bluff and you can take home big bucks playing this game. Hmmm, maybe I should take on that Moneymaker guy. I wonder if he's playing the Heartland Poker Tournament in Kansas City this October?
I think I'm ready ~ let 'em flop.

~ 6 ~
Pearl's Oyster Bar
(See image at top)
There is only one thing better than seafood. A tower of seafood. Pearl's is a Cajun and seafood eatery that tops itself with a vertical tribute to all that is wonderful under the sea. Blue Point oysters, King crab, snow crab legs and huge shrimp fight to be king of this hill of horseradish, hot sauce and melted butter. Enough to share with your gaming pals, chances are you will wrestle for the last bites.

~ 7 ~
Catch Fire
Because this casino's food and beverage team are slightly insane in that let's-see-how-we-can-top-it kind of way, they have taken a classic drink, the Hurricane (Pat O'Brien's in NOLA), and, well... lit it on fire. Yes. Flamed up the old standby get-the-party-started drink, proving they truly will try anything. Thank goodness.

~ 8 ~
Make a Wish
Now, I am not certain you are allowed to toss in the customary three coins, but no matter. This million-dollar water fountain doesn't need any coins to make you believe wishes truly do come true. It also doesn't scream for attention with flash and neon, simply drawing you in gently, offering a calming respite from all the gaming floor action.

~ 9 ~
Lap it up
Take a few laps in the indoor-outdoor pool or... just soak up the sun's rays while sipping a few cold concoctions. The cabana-style bar serves frothy, frozen and fruity drinks and is available to non hotel guests as well in the form of a day pass.

~ 10 ~
Listen Close
Live entertainment in the form of national and local artists fill the venues, such as Bottleneck Blues Bar and The Night Club. The St. Louis metro property even goes so far as to bring the music outdoors with Rehydrate Weekends ~ a pool party on steroids. Country, 80s pop, blues, you name it and you will find music for the soul.

Images ~ 

Elizabeth J. Musgrave writes two magazine food and wine columns: Destination Dining and White Linen & Corks,and is a travel, features, food and wine writer, travel and food photographer, and performing arts and restaurant critic. Catch her as the Travel & Leisure Adviser on FOX59 Morning News Show. She also is a speaker, consultant and trainer for hospitality, travel and luxury businesses, P.R., and tourism groups, as well as a radio and television guest and host. Follow her on Twitter @GottaGo, LinkedIn and Facebook.

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