Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort

Casino worker's hand arranging cards on a poker table in a casino
Michael Lander / Getty Images

Just 20 minutes east of Flagstaff, right off Interstate 40, a new resort oasis arose in 2013. The Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort is a destination for travelers coming into Arizona on I-40 as well as Flagstaff locals and Phoenicians looking for higher ground, in both summer and winter, just a few hours away from most Greater Phoenix locations.

As of the opening, Twin Arrows is the closest casino to Flagstaff, Arizona and the only one with a resort in northern Arizona. Here you can play slot machines, poker, keno, blackjack. Get your free Players Card to get you started. Not just a casino, this property is a bona fide upscale resort that attracts families, couples, and businesses for conferences, whether or not casino gambling is of interest.

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Cultural Aspects to the Design of the Resort

The lobby at Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort
© Judy Hedding

A Navajo enterprise, there are many fascinating cultural aspects to the design of the resort. With pleasing decor even if you don't spend time to appreciate the nuances, here are some ways in which the designers of the resort reflect Navajo principles:

  • You'll have to drive around the property to get to the front entrance since it faces east. The door to the Navajo hogan always faces east to welcome the dawn of each day.
  • The color scheme is based on the four sacred colors of the Navajo people: white, turquoise, yellow and black. Those colors each represent a world, and the representations of those worlds (land, sky, earth and people) can be seen surrounding the lobby ceiling. In the center, the chandelier's rings include each world by color.
  • Tribute is made to the night sky and stars of the Milky Way in the ceiling and in hallway carpet.
  • The four rings of color are also incorporated into the hotel section, with each floor being a different level of rings (check the carpet at the elevator bank on your floor). The color scheme of both the hallways and guest rooms on that floor are consistent with that ring. The fifth floor represents the next world, which is still unknown.
  • There are many more nods to the Navajo culture here, from the decor of the restaurants to the views of the sacred San Francisco Peaks, incorporating traditions relative to basket weaving, silver arts, and natural stone.
  • Even if you don't attend a conference here, make sure to walk the ballroom hallway toward the Event Center to see the beautiful artwork on those walls. All the artwork in the hotel is original Navajo art.

Everywhere you turn in this resort you'll experience modern, tasteful elegance intertwined with age-old tradition.

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Something to know:
What time is it at Twin Arrows? That can be confusing! This resort and casino is located on the Navajo Nation, right at the border. While the Navajo Nation participates in Daylight Saving Time, and the rest of Arizona does not, the decision was made to align the time zone here with Flagstaff and Phoenix. That means that you can assume that the time here is MST all year long, just like at home if you live in the Phoenix area. Why worry about the time? Enjoy! Time only matters if you have a reservation for dinner or you are checking out. By the way, the doors to your room automatically lock you out if you miss your checkout time. I learned that the hard way.

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Resort Amenities

© Judy Hedding

Twin Arrows has many amenities that you would expect from an upscale resort and casino.

The rooms are spacious and well-appointed, with high quality linens and towels, high-speed Internet access included, HD television and the ability to access the Internet from your TV (extra charge). A safe, mini-fridge, bottled water and Keurig coffee maker with coffee and tea choices are in all rooms. I stayed in a King Room. I loved the double sinks and luxury personal items in the bathroom, as well as the fact that all rooms have a desk and an extra chair for reading -- I'm never comfortable reading in bed! At the time of my visit, there was no artwork in the guestroom. The colors are warm, but could use a splash of color that art might easily provide.

The "Glittering World" theme of the casino can be seen in the lighting and night sky on the ceiling. It's shiny and new, with more than 1,000 games. You can bet one cent or a dollar, and multiples of those, on many of the games. If slots aren't your preference try Keno or table games, like various types of blackjack, three- and four-card poker, Texas Hold 'Em, Pai Gow and Casino War.

I played some slots and electronic roulette. I won $70! Then I played some more. I lost $70. Then I decided to try Keno. I had never played, and staff was very helpful in explaining the options. I picked the numbers for a special game but didn't bet. That was easy -- I would have been a winner! So I did it again, bet $5. Loser. I'm not a gambler, but during my stay at Twin Arrows I was entertained for a couple of hours at a net cost of five bucks!

If you are like me and not much of a gambler, or you only want to spend a limited time in the Casino, what else is there to do? Twin Arrows has a lovely heated indoor pool, a fitness center, a sports bar and the Events Center where they host concerts and other performances on designated evenings. Check the schedule.

More to Come
The resort continues to build additional phases. Scheduled to be added are a luxury spa, children's play area and arcade, an 18-hole golf course and an RV park.

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Something to know:
When you arrive at Twin Arrows, you'll notice that it is hard to miss; it's out there all by itself. This also means that you aren't going to find anything in walking distance that isn't at the resort itself. No movie theaters, convenience stores, grocery stores, or amusement park. If you need to access those types of entertainment, you'll be driving into Flagstaff.

Page 1: Twin Arrows, Where Tradition Meets Today
Page 2: Resort Amenities
Page 3: Resort Dining
Page 4: Location, Contact, Shuttles and What's Nearby

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Dining Options Galore

© 2013 Judy Hedding

One thing you don't have to drive off property for is a restaurant. There are several here that should take care of all your hunger pangs. During your visit to Twin Arrows, you can try Navajo-inspired dishes or stick with familiar modern American fare, your choice. Zenith Steakhouse, Four Elements Cafe, Arrow Sports Bar and the Food Court all have menu items that are Navajo-inspired. The menu at The Reef, a seafood and raw bar, doesn't really lend itself to Native American culinary traditions.

The Food Court and Sports Bar are located inside the casino. Either one will satisfy fast and easy dining needs. If you want to try a Navajo dish at the Food Court, the fry bread tacos or mutton stew will probably be your best bets. The Sports Bar has nice, big TVs throughout. Typical bar food and beverages are served here, but you can also try the Navajo Green Chile Sliders or Navajo Lamb Stew. The Twin Arrows Navajo Green Chili Burger on Fry Bread is a popular item here and I can recommend it. The Arizona Cardinals were not victorious on this day, but the burger was a winner.

Four Elements, with a beautiful view of the sacred San Francisco Peaks, is located off the lobby, outside of the casino. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, my recommendation for breakfast is The Southwestern Breakfast, a Three Egg Scramble with Chorizo Sausage, Green Onions, Chopped Tomatoes, Pepper Jack Cheese, House Potatoes, wrapped in a tortilla, served with salsa, and house-made guacamole. Wonderful -- and I loved the home-made hash browns. If you stop into Four Elements for lunch or dinner try the Mini Green Chili Fry Bread appetizer. I could have made an entire meal of it.

The Reef is also located inside the casino. It's smaller, with mostly bar seating. Any seafood lover will be perplexed at the decisions that have to be made when looking at this menu -- there are so many wonderful choices. The taste of the 10-year-old sherry was prominent in the Lobster Bisque with chunks of lobster throughout, and the only thing wrong with the Steamed Mussels is that there weren't more of them. Talk to the Chef about your likes and dislikes and get his recommendations. On the day I visited, he had procured some special Hawaiian tuna that he said I just had to try. Because his supplier had some special catches, Chef was offering a Hawaiian special today, with five different fresh selections of sashimi. The seafood served here is all fresh, ordered on one day and flown in the next morning, usually from Hawaii or from Canada (salmon). For a grand finish, try the Piñon Pie -- oh my! Delicious!

Atop the price scale at Twin Arrows is the luxurious Zenith Steakhouse. If you just hit it big at the casino, or you are wining and dining a client or celebrating a special occasion, this is worth the trip from Flagstaff. The dining room is classic and very attractive, with plenty of room between tables. You can choose to sit either in the exhibition kitchen or in the darker, more intimate dining area. While you can order aged (35 days) Navajo Beef here and it was very flavorful, the Petite Filet was the star in my opinion. It was one of the most tender and tastiest filets I've had in quite a while. Don't be in a rush at Zenith Steakhouse; service is deliberate and paced for relaxation and conversation. For example, we watched the Chef prepare our steaks, checking the temperature four or five times before he decided it was perfect for the way we ordered it. An appetizer or salad, main dish with a side, and a dessert here will probably cost between $50 and $75 per person not including a glass of wine, tax or tip.

I had the opportunity to talk to the Director of Food and Beverage for the Resort. Two items of note for future visitors are that (1) management is working on a way to source more local and Navajo product for the kitchens here, and (2) Zenith Steakhouse will be constantly adjusting the menu, soon to incorporate entrees that include sides to offer some more affordable choices.

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Something to know:
The kids may access all the eateries at the resort, even though access may be through the casino. They may walk around the perimeter to get to the restaurants and restrooms, but they may not enter the main part of the casino. The restaurants are non-smoking, but if they are within the casino, you might smell the smoke.

Page 1: Twin Arrows, Where Tradition Meets Today
Page 2: Resort Amenities
Page 3: Resort Dining
Page 4: Location, Contact, Shuttles and What's Nearby

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Location, Directions, Contact and Nearby

© 2013 Judy Hedding

If you live in the Phoenix area, the drive to Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort will take between two and three hours from most points in Greater Phoenix, not including any stops along the way. The farther north your starting point, the closer to two hours the trip will take.

Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort Address
22181 Resort Boulevard
Exit 219, I-40 Flagstaff, AZ 86004

From the Phoenix area, take I-17 North to I-40 (Exit 340A) toward Albuquerque. Drive about 23 miles to Exit 219, Twin Arrows. You'll see the resort on the left.

855-946-8946 (855-WIN-TWIN) or 928-856-7200


Take the Bus
Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort has arranged with Tour West America to provide transportation services from many major cities in Arizona, including those in the Greater Phoenix area. If you are at least 21 years old with ID, you can make a reservation for round-trip shuttle service to the casino and resort for a fee. "Ride & Play" transportation is available in Anthem, Apache Junction, Chandler, Gilbert, Glendale, Goodyear, Mesa, Peoria, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Sun City, Sun City West, Surprise, and Sun Lakes. Save the gas! Read, relax or nap on the trip while someone else does the driving!

What's Nearby
During the summer, northern Arizona is a favorite destination for locals trying to beat the heat. Flagstaff is at an elevation that is nearly 6,000 feet higher than downtown Phoenix. In the summer, that will equate to a difference in daytime high temperatures of 25 - 30°F. When it is 110°F in Phoenix, it is probably a very manageable 80°F in Flagstaff. That makes it the perfect time to visit some of the amazing destinations up north, like Painted Desert (about 66 miles), and Wupatki National Monument (about 21 miles). The Grand Canyon is about two hours away. The beautiful red rocks of Sedona are only about one hour away. Of course, Flagstaff, where you can access all the conveniences of city life (movies, shopping, parks) is less than half an hour away. In Flagstaff, Northern Arizona University hosts summer camps for the kids as well as performances and speakers on various topics. The Pepsi Amphitheater at Fort Tuthill Park is about half an hour from Twin Arrows. Check to see what festivals or concerts are scheduled during your Twin Arrows stay.

In the winter, you might think that Twin Arrows would be the last place to go. Brrrr, it's cold! People who love to ski know differently; Arizona Snowbowl is about one hour from Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort, offering an upscale alternative to the crowded hotels and motels during ski season.

Want to do some shopping on the way home from Twin Arrows? Stop at the Anthem Outlet Shops on I-17 for some great bargains!

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Something to know:
People who live in or often visit Phoenix sometimes don't really believe that the weather in northern Arizona is very different from our valley weather. Trust me, it is different. Sometimes chains are required on northern Arizona roads. From October through April make sure you check the weather outlook before you travel north.

Page 1: Twin Arrows, Where Tradition Meets Today
Page 2: Resort Amenities
Page 3: Resort Dining
Page 4: Location, Contact, Shuttles and What's Nearby

As is common in the industry, the writer was provided with a complimentary visit for review purposes. While it has not influenced this review, believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, see our ethics policy. All prices and offerings mentioned herein are subject to change without notice. 10/2013

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