Grand Times

Casinos aren’t always for everyone. But if you ever get to Minnesota, be sure to swing by one called Grand Casino Mille Lacs. We visited there this past weekend and were pleasantly surprised by the variety of things to do besides gambling.

When we arrived, the check-in line was quite long and there were only three stations open. Anxious to get to our room, I noticed there was a check-in kiosk that uses the credit card you used to reserve the room. I was checked in and back out to the car within five minutes. The directions to our room were very easy to follow in such a sprawling layout and the room itself was spacious, clean, nicely decorated, with a large flat screen TV mounted on the wall. One item I missed was the fridge, but I believe they are common in non-standard rooms, which is not what we booked. On the up side, they had Bath and Bodyworks lotion, shampoo, and conditioner which was a bit more high-end than other hotels we’ve visited in the past.

We ate supper at their seafood buffet, which is a staple on Friday nights. It’s easy to see why. The selection was amazing: scallops, shrimp, pasta, salmon, and of course the crab legs. They had three types of crab legs and they never ran low. Customers were walking by with heaping piles of legs on their plate, but each time we went back there was more food to choose from.

There is also a large pool and hot tub which we enjoyed thoroughly, as well as a gift shop, candy store, and live entertainment which we did not take in. Rodney Carrington will be there in a few weeks and I would like to return to see him.

And of course there is gambling. Slots, poker, Blackjack, and much more. We broke even, which is winning in my book.

Is it the biggest and best casino in the United States? No, not when Vegas is a plane ride away. But for the quiet state of Minnesota, the small band of Ojibwe who started the casino in 1991 (and its sister casino in Hinckley in 1992) is proud of its success.