December 29, 2020

Paul Schaum

We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort: Where culture meets entertainment

Located within the beautiful Sonoran Desert, the We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort unveiled its new state-of-the-art gaming and entertainment establishment in October 2020. Previously known as Fort McDowell Casino, We-Ko-Pa has undergone some tremendous upgrades worthy of the gorgeous mountainous landscape that surrounds it. And the setting certainly fits, considering “We-Ko-Pa” is the local Yavapai translation for Four Peaks, named after the sacred mountaintop that is celebrated statewide.

The 166,341-square-foot casino resort features a wide variety of dining options, event venues, slot machines, poker tables, outdoor amenities and much more. In addition, the entire facility is smoke-free, including on the casino floor and in each of the 246 guest rooms and suites. With that being said, they did not forget about any smokers that also want to enjoy what WKP has to offer, as there are several designated outdoor smoking areas conveniently located for guests.

Paying homage to Yavapai Nation

One of the most authentic aspects of We-Ko-Pa is the incredible use of Yavapai cultural elements within the building’s design. The beautiful display of Native American culture is most notably apparent within the atrium that bridges the hotel lobby with the casino floor. The large blue circle in the center of the floor combines with the beautiful chandelier suspended from the ceiling to represent the importance of water and rain to the local people. In fact, it is an artist’s interpretation of Montezuma’s Well, which is known as the origin of the Yavapai people. The blue path in the terrazzo floor design represents the Verde River, while the center and outer columns showcase the beauty of Yavapai basketry. If you look up, you’ll notice the ceiling replicates a desert tortoise shell.

As you make your way out onto the casino floor, you’ll see that the carpet features a unique pattern. Some of the floor represents the Yavapai basketry, while others take on the natural pattern of surrounding rivers and trees. The carpet was custom made and assembled in squares, so that if any portion of the carpet needs to be replaced, it can easily be done using replacement squares of the exact custom design. Finally, above the main casino bar is a lighting display that represents an eagle’s wing.

As you can tell, each and every inch of the We-Ko-Pa redesign and construction was meticulously thought out in order to create a modern and aesthetically-pleasing ambiance, while still honoring the Yavapai people that live in the community.

The elephant in the room

Of course, it would be ignorant to avoid talking about the elephant in the room. In the new socially-distanced world we live in, everyone is rightfully concerned about the impact that Covid-19 has had on the hospitality and entertainment industries.

In order to address these health concerns, We-Ko-Pa has gone all out when it comes to the safety of its guests. In addition to the mandatory mask mandate, there is a member of their security staff located at each casino entrance. Not only do they take each guest’s temperature by scanning the wrist with a handheld device, but there are also virtual temperature-screening kiosks set up at every entrance that utilize automated thermal technology and facial recognition software to provide the most accurate assessment of a person’s health prior to entering the facility.

Upon entrance, guests will immediately notice the abundance of sanitizing stations throughout the casino floor. Each station includes hand sanitizer dispensers and sanitizing wipes to ensure the cleanliness of every machine. And if that’s not enough to ease your mind, there is a 24/7 “Clean Team” featuring upwards of 20 daily employees tasked with keeping each and every element of the entire casino sanitized at all times.

Furthermore, WKP had custom-made plexiglass dividers installed between every slot machine, barstool and table seat on the floor. Capacity within the dining establishments and event venues was reduced and tables were arranged to ensure that each guest would be socially-distanced.

Full offering of entertainment options

In addition to the casino, there are plenty of entertainment options to enhance your stay at We-Ko-Pa. You could relax and enjoy the beautiful Arizona weather out by the pool area that includes two heated pools, two spas, a horseshoe pit and a five-hole putting green. WKP Sports and Entertainment is the go-to sports bar within the resort, and it doubles as an entertainment venue for live performances throughout the year. Acts range from recurring local musicians to showcases such as the Elvis Tribute, which featured Daniel Durston, a world class Elvis impersonator known for portraying the “King of Rock” in Las Vegas’ Legends in Concert.

If you are looking to leave the casino grounds for some more fun in the desert, the We-Ko-Pa Golf Club features two award-winning courses that offer an unparalleled golf experience, allowing you to be immersed in nature and undisturbed by manmade structures.

Just down the road from We-Ko-Pa is a little operation called Fort McDowell Adventures that offers a wide range of excursion activities to add to your overall experience. At first glance, you might get a Wild West vibe, and that’s justified… to an extent. While horseback riding and cowboy cookouts are among the activities offered, Fort McDowell Adventures is full of surprises, such as Green Zebra Tomcat tours and Segway tours.