Having sinned and sauna'd in dens abundant, from Bali to Bangkok, from the Wynn to the Westin, your narrator feels uncommonly qualified to propose to the community of his peers an important if esoteric scientific discovery -- that the opacity of one's sweat in the sauna the morning after is a fair litmus test for the quality and quantity of one's sins the night before.
By this measure, The Tulalip Resort and Casino, located right here in the Great Pacific Northwest, leaves Reno and Tahoe a distant twelve lengths behind, and is making a move to join Las Vegas in the winner's circle.
I recently enjoyed the hospitality of said resort [disclaimer: this trip was comp'd to the author] for the second and now presumably annual Taste of Tulalip. The event was sold out, and indeed every seat upon which was sat as the first spoons rung glasses atop the beautifully decorated (though horrendously lit) tables in the Orca Room shortly after seven. Rumors of craigslist scalping only heightened the excitement of the ravenous crowd.
That crowd by the way was well dressed and enthusiastic, though their true origin remained a bit of a mystery. Were these locals? Seattle-ites lost at sea? White whales ambling over from Atlantic City? Unclear, though men and women alike shot barbed, envious looks in my direction as I escorted the elegant Miss M. into the room, towering over all in stature and glamour alike, four-inch (though comfortable, she claims) heels fortifying her presence.
The next 90 minutes were an exercise in indulgence. Seven glasses of wine, including a beautiful Charles Krug private reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, accompanied a truly exceptional meal. Indeed the Tulalip Resort recently won a James Beard award, and was honored by Travel Magazine as one of the top 100 hotels in the world.
Truth be told, this reporter has himself stayed at at least 100 nicer hotels in his travels. Moreover, though Executive Chef Perry Mascitti and Sommelier Tommy Thompson should be celebrated for their food and wine, unfortunately their overbearing presence, harsh voices, and low-brow, incessant interruptions overshadowed what should have been a pleasant meal. Service also detracted from the event, guests at our table were continually grabbing at over-zealous waiters' arms, clearing as yet un-emptied wine glasses. Of course your humble servant never once found himself with anything but an empty glass.
Next stop was not yet the hotel lobby but first the VIP after-party, where we enjoyed cigars and port sponsored by Cigar Afficianado and Graham's Ports, respectfully, respectfully. The young woman from Graham's Ports stood out as a shining beacon of knowledge compared to the dull presenters from dinner, whose name unfortunately is lost in the bottom of a goblet sized thimble of port.
The next eight hours were a flurry of blackjack, cigarettes, scotch, and roulette. Dostoevsky's dice, Coleridge's laudanum, Buckowski's jockeys, all stopped by that evening, just to say hello, great to see you, oh and by the way what else do you have in the cupboard.
And so as I sit forty-five minutes into my eucalyptus-scented steam, gelatinous drops of sweat splashing like milk drops photographed at 10,000 frames per second into the cedar floor, reconstructing the night before as so many manic frames in a Prokofiev accompanied Looney Tunes cartoon, I ask myself, why do I need to go anywhere else?