Black Hawk is no Las Vegas, but Colorado’s gambling hot spot did just get a whole lot more enticing. In March, the Monarch Casino Resort Spa unveiled the final touches of its multi-year, $400 million renovation. What was once an ordinary casino with a couple of basic dining options is now an inviting, 23-story entertainment center encompassing a casino, hotel, spa, and five restaurants.

Colorado legalized online sports betting back in November 2019, and the Monarch is getting in on the action: Its brand-new Sportsbook features a 22-foot TV (plus plenty of smaller screens) so you don’t miss a shot or play . The venue also doubled the size of its gaming floor, added a poker room, and significantly upped the number of available table games and slot machines.

For those who want to make a night of their visit, the Monarch is now home to a 516-room hotel (rooms start at $250 per night on weekends). The spacious accommodations have a familiar mountain aesthetic, and the suites feature a bathtub near the window to take advantage of the views.

The rooftop pool (with adult-only hours in the morning and evening), outdoor hot tub, and fire pits invite lounging, but the real highlight is Spa Monarch. The top-story venue doubles down on relaxation with its wellness offerings: The Laconium Lounge is a warm place to unwind without the oppressive heat of a sauna; the “experiential shower” in the co-ed lounge area can simulate tropical rain or even ice; and the brine inhalation-light therapy lounge soothes your respiratory system in a calming space. (These amenities are generally only available to those who book spa treatments, but there are sometimes day passes available.)

Bistro Mariposa
Tacos at Bistro Mariposa. Photo courtesy of Monarch Casino Resort Spa / Defy Them All

When you need to refuel, you now have your pick between five restaurants. There’s the quintessential casino buffet, of course, a coffeeshop, and a 24-hour global eatery. But the Monarch also debuted an upscale steakhouse (where you can choose from more than 150 wines) and, in February, Bistro Mariposa, an attractive, dinner-only space serving modern Mexican-Latin American cuisine. Among chef Nile Lewis’ favorite dishes are the carne asada tacos, which are served on hand-pressed blue corn tortillas and topped with aged cheddar. (Look out for a refreshing guava sorbet to hit the menu soon.)

All the amenities mean  Monarch did take at least one cue from Sin City: Once you check in, there’s no reason to leave.

Daliah Singer
Daliah Singer
Daliah Singer is an award-winning writer and editor based in Denver. You can find more of her work at