Diana Saenger

The High Life: Expansion of Viejas Casino & Resort Wows Guests

Diana Saenger

Hundreds of eyes gazed upward and, the click of camera shutters aside, stillness fell across the crowd as they watched in quiet awe as Tino Wallenda of the world-famous Flying Wallendas walked a tightrope between the roof of the first Viejas hotel tower, across the courtyard, to the roof of the new hotel. A spectacular fireworks display followed the amazing feat.

The entertainment was hosted on October 30 in honor of the debut of new $50 million hotel tower, which was opened for tours through the 237 guest rooms, 35 luxury suites, and the lavish Premier Suites, featuring a luxury spa. The spa is complete with luxury amenities such as multiple HDTVs, a wet bar, exquisite handcrafted furnishings, an oversized walk-in shower, a Jacuzzi with whirlpool jets, outdoor balcony and bathroom TV.

The new hotel covers 55,000 square feet of meeting, pre-function and outdoor event space. The elegant Oak Ballroom is ideal for weddings and special group events. There are nine state-of-the-art meeting spaces and a dedicated concierge program for personalized planning support.

As guests arrived to glimpse the new hotel, concert stage and courtyard, Viejas General Manager Chris Kelley, Anthony San Pietro, Vice President Entertainment & Advertising and members of the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians Tribal council took the stage.

Anthony San Pietro welcomed the Tribal members, politicians and special quests. He introduced the Tribal Council members present; Chairman Robert J. Welch, Jr, Vice Chairman Victor E. Woods, Treasurer Sam Q. Brown, Councilman Adrian M. Brown, Councilman Dave TeSam, and Councilman Kevin M. Carrizosa.

The Viejas Bird Singers performed their traditional songs and dances to begin the festivities.

“Today is a milestone along our path with the addition of 109 hotel rooms, 15,000 sq. ft. of gaming space, 1000 new slot machines, an outdoor park for concerts and events, the magnificent Oak Ballroom and conference rooms, and trailblazing design all beautifully appointed with every detail accounted for,” San Pietro said before he introduced Viejas Casino and Resort General Manager Chris Kelley.

“I’d like to say a special thank you to our Viejas Council and tribe for leading the way and your trust, to our team members for inspiring us all on a daily basis, to our executive management team for your commitment to excellence and to our loyal guests, thank you for making tonight possible,” Kelley said. “Our own tribal council helped to design much of the beauty you see before you, and our local partners added to our strength. Our message today is one of gratitude to this community in which we live, work and our commitment to continue to give you all the best of everything.”

Tribal Chairman Robert J. Welch, Jr, opened his speech with a thank you and welcomed dignitaries, chamber members, tribal council members, bird singers and guests.

“It is truly an honor to realize the civic pride that exists as a result of our perseverance,” Welch said. “It is also a great feeling to stand here with you and celebrate another new addition to this ever-growing enterprise and what dreams are to come. I’d like to recognize the hard work of our previous counsel tribal members who believed in this vision. We are grateful that our committed guests, neighbors and community are on this journey with us. We have a commitment to our people that we will continue to work hard for the common goal of building something great and appreciate our Viejas family for standing by us for more than two decades. Passion and hard work allow us to believe in our goals and our dreams. As elected leaders we are humble and very proud of what has been accomplished on the tribe’s behalf by all of you. We are grateful to Wells Fargo and Swinerton who believed in our vision and turned it into reality. To our treasured guests your unwavering loyalty inspires us to become so much more, leaving our competition in the dust.”

Years of planning to make Viejas Casino & Resort in Alpine, California, more attractive and competitive among other casinos hit its mark with the celebration of the grand opening of their second luxury hotel tower. The East San Diego AAA Four Diamond Viejas Casino & Resort features world-class gaming with thousands of slot machines, exciting table games that include Blackjack, Baccarat, and Pai Gow, a modern and elegant bingo room, and an off-track betting facility. Viejas Casino & Resort also features a variety of restaurants including the AAA Four Diamond Grove Steakhouse, The Buffet, and The Café. Across the street is The Viejas Outlets for unique shopping, and the now opened Southern California’s largest outdoor ice rink.

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