Aug 8, 201204:40 PMTravel
The Best of the World Brought to You Courtesy of Jill Gleeson and Jason Holland
Beau Rivage Resort & Casino
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It stands as a testament to the gumption and grit, the determination and drive of the American spirit. And, one must acknowledge, after strolling its cavernous, opulent interior, this country’s love of luxury and good times.
Dubbed one of the Top 100 Hotels in the Continental United States and Canada by Travel + Leisure Magazine, Biloxi, Mississippi’s Beau Rivage is a veritable palace of pleasure.
With a massive casino that pulses with action day and night; a sumptuous spa hailed as one of the best; and an award-winning golf course designed by one of the game’s greatest architects, the Beau Rivage is the Gulf Coast’s premier playground for grown-ups. And yet, seven years ago, it was nearly washed away by a storm whose name has become synonymous with loss previously unimaginable: Katrina.
When the hurricane’s 30-foot storm surge hit, recalls Mary Cracchiolo Spain, regional director of public relations for MGM Resorts International Mississippi Operations, “Water poured into the casino and picked up all the gaming tables, tossing them against walls or through doors. The barge on which the casino sat was also nearly destroyed, and so were the first two floors of the hotel.” The hotel’s tower emerged initially unscathed, but in the succeeding weeks, mold, mildew and bacteria flourished, rendering them uninhabitable.
Thanks to the heroic resolve of MGM Resorts International, the Beau’s owner and the people of Biloxi, the $550 million restoration of the 3.2 million-square-foot, 32-story property took just eight months (the first few following the storm were spent assessing damage and removing debris), rather than the normal 22 such a massive project would usually require.
On August 29, 2006 – one year to the day that Katrina struck – the Beau reopened, heralding the rebirth of the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
Today, the Beau Rivage remains the largest resort in the southeast to garner the AAA Four Diamond Award, and with 3,000 employees, it is the largest private-sector employer in Biloxi.
As befitting its location, the property is infused with southern gentility, from the congenial, gracious manner of the staff to the magnificent live oaks that line the drive to the porte cochère. Stunning, too, is the soaring atrium lobby bursting with vivid, vibrant flowers and plants of every conceivable variety. But pass through this lush indoor arboretum and greater delights await, including the 85,000-square-foot casino.
Boasting 94 table games, 2,051 slot machines and a two-level poker room offering weekly tournaments on 16 tables, the casino also features a lavish gaming area for high rollers with high-limit blackjack and baccarat tables and slot machines.