ALPINE, Calif. - Viejas Casino celebrated the grand opening of its new luxury hotel Thursday.
Hundreds joined in on the festivities that featured traditional tribal dances, acrobats and a fireworks display.
The $36 million project means more jobs and a more attractive location for those looking to gamble, according to the owners of the new Viejas Casino and Resort complex.
Inside the hotel, the decor reflected American Indian heritage. Tribal chairman Anthony Pico said he is very proud of the new addition.
“This is the first luxury hotel in eastern San Diego County," PIco said. " We're really in the market and competition is very good because it just delivers a better product to our guests.”
Sixty percent of the rooms and suites will be provided free to high rollers but non-gamblers can rent as well, starting at $129 a night.
“It's wonderful the hotel's here," said Diane Wilson, who watched the festivities, told 10News. "Now I can stay; I don't have to go home."
Other casino patrons agreed.
“Everyone's so interested in seeing the hotel,"said Jowel Lawand. "I really like it. It's cool.”
The hotel features 29 suites and 99 rooms. The improvement seems to be popular among locals who want gambling dollars spent at the casino.
“We live right here in Alpine, this is going to benefit the whole community," said Louie Aguayo.
“We're very very happy that it's happening; we've been waiting for a long time," Aguayo's wife, Carmen, also said. "We're excited."
The hotel is booked through the opening weekend, but rooms will be available after.
The new resort marks the sixth hotel and casino combination for San Diego County. The list includes: Pala Casino, Spa and Resort on the Pala Indian Reservation; Valley View Casino and Hotel and Harrah's Rincon, both in Valley Center; Barona Valley Ranch Resort and Casino in Lakeside; The Sycuan Resort and Casino in El Cajon; and Viejas Casino and Resort in Alpine.