The largest hotel in North Carolina, with more than 1,200 rooms and suites, towers over the mom-and-pop motels nearby and the huge casino next door, to which it is umbilically attached via a series of escalators and walkways. From higher floors, the mountains of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park are visible. The Creek Tower is the newest and nicest of the hotel's sections, though the Soco Tower has been recently renovated. The lobby and other public areas incorporate traditional Cherokee art themes. Rooms are large and have 32- to 42-inch TVs. For high-rollers, there are suites on the top floors. Ten restaurants feed hungry plungers including Ruth's Chris Steak House, Uno Pizzaria, Johnny Rockets, the casual buffet Selu Garden Café, and the 400-seat Brio Tuscan Grille. (Restaurants at the complex are open to the public, though you must be 21 to enter the casino.) After years of not being able to sell alcohol, the Cherokee tribal council finally permitted the sale of alcohol at
Harrah's, and it is now available in the casino, restaurants, and hotel. If you're bothered by tobacco smoke, be aware that North Carolina's no-smoking laws don't apply on the reservation. Restaurants, however, are smoke-free, as is a small section of the casino, and the hotel has no-smoking rooms. The tribe is building a new $139 million casino and 300-room hotel complex about an hour aways from Cherokee in Murphy, North Carolina.