by Ariele Johannson
November 20, 2012 (Alpine) --Viejas tribal leaders, casino executives, civic and community leaders, and guests came together for an outdoor Topping Off Ceremony on Wednesday, November 13, 2012. More than 100 people assembled in front of the new five-story Viejas Hotel, amid the noise of hammers, drills, and construction workers’ shouts.
This month, the much-anticipated Viejas Hotel enters its final construction stages. The non-smoking Viejas Hotel with valet parking is scheduled to open in the spring of 2013. Viejas Casino, owned by the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians, is one of the most successful tribal casinos in California.
The ceremony began with a Welcome and Opening Remarks by Robert Scheid, Vice President of Community and Public relations. Viejas Tribal Chairman, Anthony Pico, gave warm and enthusiastic thanks to team members and workers, with special recognition to Tina Estrada for working with the Hotel Committee. He spoke about the Viejas Vision, which “embraces entrepreneurial efforts and communities off the reservation. This vision embraces the goodness we are all capable of and can bring forth from our humanity….We are going to ride on your coat tails into the future.”
He, in turn, received special recognition from Senator Joel Anderson’s office for bringing jobs and growth to San Diego County. Tribal gaming revenues, by law, remain local and only get channeled into five areas; four of these support self-sufficient government on the reservation and one-fifth goes back to the community. At Viejas, that amounts to $2 million per year for San Diego.
According to speaker Eric Lund from the San Diego Convention and Visitors Bureau, San Diego County has been seeking lodging properties for its $7.5 billion/year tourism industry. An estimated 31 million people visit our county each year, and one in every ten county jobs is in the tourism/hospitality sector. The industry employs 160,000 San Diegans, directly and indirectly. Tourism also provides construction and permanent jobs for our region. Viejas Casino and Outlet Center has approximately 1600 employees, including the 400-450 construction jobs provided by the new Viejas Hotel. Ongoing local jobs will number around 60 at the new hotel.
The event also featured the unveiling of artistic renderings of the outside and inside of the hotel for the first time. At the end of the ceremony, the crowd witnessed the signing of names by tribal members onto a steel beam, which will remain on display until the hotel opens to the public. Tours of the hotel followed, as well as visits to the Preview Center.
Bringing economic stability to the region and to many other businesses that surround and support the hotel is only part of the story. The new Viejas Hotel makes Viejas a resort destination with its casino, CA Welcome Center, night life, bowling alley, and shopping outlets. Currently, the Viejas Outlet Center has specific extended holiday shopping hours. Southern California’s largest outdoor ice rink, in its fifth season, is now open through January 6, 2013 at the Outlet Center.
San Diego County’s newest hotel is a $36 million project which will feature 128 rooms; 99 deluxe rooms and 29 luxurious suites. The amenities include an expansive patio with cabanas, a beautiful pool and hot tub, business center, fitness room with state of the art equipment, and limited room service. Deluxe room amenities feature large showers, refrigerators, Simmons Beautyrest Euro Top Mattresses, free internet (wireless and direct connect), 40” Samsung televisions, and nightly turn down service, among others. Hotel suites raise the bar with poolside patio rooms that feature his and her closets. Select suites feature wet bars, tubs with whirlpool jets, dining room tables from the David Alan Collection of Solana Beach, and fireplaces.
Best of all, prospective guests can get a peek at the new hotel rooms at the Viejas Preview Center located at the Outlet Center across the street from the Casino. West of the fountain at the Outlets, there is an indoor area divided into rooms that simulate the deluxe rooms and hotel suites at the new Viejas Hotel. Luxurious bedrooms; elegant furnishings; and spacious bathrooms with transparent, large showers adorn the accommodations. Visit the Preview Center to get a feel for your future stay at the Viejas Hotel and take advantage of this special new lodging venue in East County, San Diego.
Viejas Casino, upcoming Hotel, and Outlet Center are located east of San Diego at I-8 and Willows Road. Viejas Casino features thousands of slot machines, exciting table games including Baccarat and Pai Gow, a Poker Room, a new high-stakes Bingo Room, and an Off-Track Betting facility. Restaurants at Viejas Casino include the award-winning Grove Steakhouse, The Buffet, and The Café. The beautiful Viejas Outlet Center, located right across the street, offers visitors a unique shopping experience with highly-acclaimed stores, numerous eateries, Viejas Bowl, and Viejas Ice Rink (through January 6, 2013).