The sun is bright over Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort, which sits within a perfect view of the snow-capped San Francisco Peaks in Flagstaff.
The 4-year-old, Diamond Award winner was ranked No. 1 out of 72 northern Arizona hotels for Grand Canyon travel by U.S. News and World Report and with good reason. It’s dynamic on the outside. Two arrows, affixed to the façade of the building on an angle, point toward the sky announcing to visitors that this is Navajo land. A basket weave pattern emphasizes the importance of weaving in the Navajo culture.
The glass doors give the impression that the casino resort is typical. Once they open, however, there’s nothing standard about this building.
A large chandelier represents the four worlds from the Navajo Creation Story: the first world of the insect people, the second world of the bluebirds and swallow people, the third world of the grasshoppers and the fourth world during which man and woman came to be. Hand-blown glass rings represent the colors of each world. Droplets of crystal cascade through the rings. Reeds were used to enter through the hard sky of the world.
A water feature at the entrance symbolizes the rising waters that motivated the people to move up and eek new worlds in which to live.
Culture plays a key role in the Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort’s design. The artwork in the destination is worth a half million dollars.
“It’s absolutely amazing,” says general manager Bryce Warren. “They commissioned Navajo artists to create art before they opened. My favorite piece of art is in Zenith Steakhouse. It’s the painting of the horse above the fireplace.”
Located 20 miles east of Flagstaff, Zenith Steakhouse is lavish and, too, boasts a Navajo influence. It purchases Navajo beef from native ranchers in Arizona and New Mexico and makes for a simple steak menu—14-ounce New York Strip ($40), 16-ounce ribeye ($46), 32-ounce long bone ribeye ($55) and a petite filet mignon, 8-ounce ($30) and 12-ounce ($45)—but it’s delicious. For a reasonable upcharge, diners can add sautéed mushrooms ($4), make it Oscar style ($7), add Hollandaise sauce ($2) or au poivre ($6).
Most sides, such as potato Napoleon, baked potato, sweet potato puree and bacon-wrapped onion rings, are $7, except the $12 lobster mac and cheese.
It isn’t limited to steak, however. Chicken parmesan ($20), Navajo beef short ribs ($24), grilled pork chop with apple cider brine ($28), New Zealand rack of lamb ($28), vegetable risotto casserole ($18) and a Zenith burger ($14) are perfect for those who find steaks too heavy. Seafood is aplenty: cioppino seafood stew ($28), pan-seared salmon ($23), seared diver scallops ($24), cold water lobster tail dinner ($50), king crab dinner ($32) and Mediterranean seafood pasta ($25).
“I would put Zenith up against restaurants in Phoenix,” Warren says. “The source-verified Navajo beef really helps the Navajo farmers. Our beef is an incredible cut with great taste.”
Around the corner from Zenith Steakhouse is the casino floor. Its theme is “The Glittering World” and it includes 1,089 slot machines and live Keno. The casino resort recently switched its table games to Galaxy Gaming games.
“Our slot product is great,” Warren says. “The floor is very roomy. Nothing is tight. We made it that way. We strive on providing a great, overall experience.
That continues with the 200 remarkable, contemporary rooms, which vary in size. The five-story hotel also features suites, including a presidential suite. A soft, king-sized bed awaits guests staying in the king guestroom. In between gaming and dining, they can be entertained by a state-of-the-art IBAHN interactive TV entertainment section. High-speed entertainment is available, as are docking stations, and an in-room safe.
“Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort is committed to providing every guest with a personalized experience and attentive service in comfortable, high-quality surroundings,” Warren explains.
“We hope that at every visit, this property exceeds the expectations of each valued guest.”
Of special note is the conference and convention center that boats a 9,000-square-foot banquet center with 25-foot ceilings, indoor and outdoor meeting spaces, VIP boardroom, complimentary valet and complimentary high-speed internet access.
Perhaps the most impressive bit about Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort is the customer service. Each guest is greeted with a smile, and VIP visitors are served a tray of juicy pineapple, melon, strawberries and blackberries. Something amiss? The staff will take care of it immediately.
“It’s a beautiful property,” he says. “About 70 percent of the team members are Navajo. We really focus on customer service. We’re friendly. I’m very personable. I talk to the team members. We’re not 100 percent perfect, as nobody is. But we’re close.”
Valley residents are offered a Beat the Heat program with room discounts, along with fireworks at 9 p.m. Fridays in July and August.
With the U.S. News and World Report prize, Navajo Gaming Board chairman Quincy Natay hopes to boost awareness of the casino resort.
“We hope that the award will help more people learn about the only Navajo Resort in the world so that they, too, can experience our stunning Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort.”
Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort, 22181 Resort Boulevard, Flagstaff, 855-946-8946, 855-WIN-TWIN, twinarrows.com, www.facebook.com/TwinArrowsAZ.