We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort: A 4-Star Hotel in the Desert

Along one of my random drives to my hikes, a sign to a hotel stuck out in my mind. I took note of it and what better way than to suggest staying there for my mom’s birthday. Located in the city of Fort McDowell in Arizona, We-Ko-Pa is a 4-star hotel that’s right in the middle of the desert and adjacent to Tonto National Forest. So during my mom’s birthday, we stayed here and I had the opportunity to explore a luxurious stay and I have highlighted the features of this hotel and why it would make a great choice for you if you are looking for an oasis in the Arizonan desert.

I must note though, We-Ko-Pa is right there in the desert, but it’s not exactly remote, so you don’t have to worry about not having to find the nearest gas station or other restaurants.

Places to see by We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort

For me, personally, what motivates me to be by a hotel is if it’s located conveniently around attractions I want to check out. For We-Ko-Pa, it is by a few great places that would make your trip so fun. Here are a few suggestions of places to put on your list:

  • Tonto National Forest (Saguaro Lake area) Approximately 20 mins away: This is one of my favorite places of all-time in the state. This 2,873,200 acres national forest has so many places to explore with hiking trails, lakes, and endless mountains. It’s a close drive to Saguaro Lake and Butcher Jones Beach and Trail, which I highly recommend to check out as shown below.
  • Four Peaks WildernessApproximately 18 mins away: Four Peaks is an iconic sight in the state. It’s known for its snow-capped peaks every winter and it is highly photographed. You can also drive to the mountains by a 4×4 (they say you don’t need it but I think it’s best and safer to go with one). 
  • Fountain HillsApproximately 10 mins away:  Probably one of the richest cities there is in the state and it’s quite obvious to see from the big houses that are located up on the hills around the highway. 
  • ScottsdaleApproximately 29 mins away: East of the city of Phoenix, this city is a must to see! It has pretty mountains to explore like the McDowell Sonoran Preserve and you should see Taliesin West, architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s home and studio. There’s also Old Town Scottsdale, lined up with restaurants, bars, and shops.

About We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort

This hotel offers 246 upscale 100% smoke-free rooms and suites. This hotel is beautiful from the outside and as you are walking through the entrance, you can see the pool area, which is gated and only accessible by a room key.

We-Ko-Pa Hotel lobby

You come in, they check your temperature during this COVID time, you check-in and then you are given these coupons because you are complimented with free Starbucks coffee or tea of your choice and with $10 for slot games.⁣

Amenities and features to be found in the hotel

  • A golf club is located next door called We-Ko-Pa Golf Club
  • There are heated pools and 2 jacuzzis to soak in and enjoy. 
  • There is a casino and bars here too.⁣
  • A spa that includes a massage, facials, salon services, etc. you can schedule at their Amethyst Spa
  • A 24-hour fitness center
  • A fire pit with mountain views
  • Complimentary, high speed internet
  • Weekday newspaper service
  • Professional dry cleaning
  • Car rental services
  • On-site ATMs
  • Daily housekeeping
  • There’s also a gift store that can be found here. 

The room

The room we got has a mountain view and it rewards you with views of… of course, mountains. It’s a nice relaxing view to see and you can really see how you’re in the desert and the other sides of the hotel.

Views outside the hotel room

The room is very clean and cozy. I love the prints that are hung up around the room because of the high-quality pretty photographs of the Arizonan desert (and I’m a sucker for good photography), so it creates some interesting ambiance in a plain room. The beds are super soft and comfortable to sleep through. There’s also a mini desk with a lamp that is useful for just writing things down or laying your laptop there if you decide to bring your work with you.

We-Ko-Pa hotel bedroom

The bathroom is actually quite nicer than most bathrooms I’ve seen in other hotels. It’s super clean and provides you with shampoo, conditioner, soap and other essentials. The lighting in it is perfect too. 

Then there’s the side table with the compliment tea and Keurig coffee machine where you can choose your choice of coffee. There’s also a fridge underneath the TV dresser to stock away your cool drinks.

The restaurants and food

We-Ko-Pa has a few restaurants you can sit down and eat at from a sports bar to a snack bar to fine dining and fast food. We only ate the food at the casual restaurant called Ahnala and it has AMAZING food. Not to mention, their service was exceptional as there were 2 different servers who were serving us and when we asked for another set of orders, they had no problem bringing it out with no hassle.

I loved their Chicken Avocado Soup and Spanish Calamari a lot! They also surprised my mom with a mousse dessert for her birthday. Another restaurant called “The Market” has great breakfast foods to get.⁣ It’s quite a basic breakfast but I don’t know about you, but I get really hungry in the morning, so I would eat their food. I was sipping on their coffee throughout my time sitting in the hot tub.

The pools and hot tubs

The pool area was my most favorite experience, right next to the dining experiences. I’m very much into relaxing in water as one who grew up by beaches and I do not have a pool in my home, so I had to take advantage of it. Although the weather was really cold at night when I was swimming close to night time, they had one heated pool at the time and there’s two hot tubs.

We-Ko-Pa hotel pool area

I loved looking at the mountain view across from sitting in the pool and hot tubs. Both hot tubs were occupied at the time I was in the pool, so I was just swimming in the pool. But, I returned the following morning right after I got my breakfast and coffee at “The Market” to soak into the hot tubs — I find that soaking in hot tubs is very therapeutic and offers so many amazing benefits to the body just like hot springs do too. There weren’t a lot of people in the hot tubs amongst the cloudy and cold weather this morning. I did, at one point while wearing a mask, share one with a group, but I moved over to the other hot tub until they left.

It started drizzling and then it started raining hard not long after I was sitting in the hot tubs, which was cue for me to get out and change in their bathroom and dressing rooms attached to the pool area. I then left with my family to go to a dim sum restaurant in Chandler just a half an hour away called Phoenix Palace Restaurant.

Overall impression

This hotel is nice to go to if you are looking to do a staycation if you’re from Arizona and it is also nice if you are visiting this area of the state. The customer services I experienced left us satisfied and I think it plays into why this hotel is rated 4-stars. If you are also looking to celebrate a special someone’s birthday, consider going away to a hotel or better yet, one in the middle of the desert like We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort.

Check out a short Instagram reel I made from visiting this hotel:


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