PUBLIC RELATIONS
Valley View Casino debuts new hotel
November 19, 2010

More than three years after conceiving a plan to build a boutique hotel catering to its gamblers, the Valley View Casino on Friday opened its new 108-room hotel to the public.

At one time envisioned exclusively for high rollers gambling at the Valley Center casino, the eight-story hotel is open to the general public, although complimentary rooms will be available to the biggest gamblers.

"We see 2.5 million guests a year at the casino, and they told us they’d love a place to stay," said Bruce Howard, general manager of the casino and hotel. "It allows us to reach out to the north of us.

"We’ve had so many inquiries from people from Riverside and San Bernardino and Orange County, so the hotel is here for anyone 21 and over who's nearby and wants a weekend getaway or is 200 miles away," he said. "That’s our market."

Built adjacent to the San Pasqual Indian tribe's casino off Lake Wohlford Road, the hillside hotel has 96 deluxe rooms 520 square feet each, and 12 expansive suites that are more than 1,000 square feet in size, all with views of the surrounding Palomar Mountain range.

Funding for the $71 million project came in part from casino revenues of $35 million, plus $22.6 million in federal stimulus funds.

Between July and September of 2009, Valley View Casino had more than $43 million in gaming revenue, according to conversations casino officials had with financial analysts. Howard said current revenues are slightly higher than that.

Originally planned as a 12-story, 161-room hotel, the project was later downsized for a variety of reasons, including the economic downturn, as well as a desire to make it more compatible with the surrounding mountains, Howard said.

The local Valley Center Community Planning Group offered its input on the project early on, expressing concerns about added traffic generated by hotel guests.

"We're concerned we’ll see more traffic on the roads, and the availability of liquor creates the potential for more drunk drivers," said Oliver Smith, president of the planning group. "But they’re on tribal land, and they get to do what they want to do, and we don’t have a say."

Valley View Casino did spend $10 million widening Valley Center Road in connection with its earlier casino expansion but it did not see the need to do any further road improvements, nor did the county, Howard said.

Included in the hotel project is a 5,000-square-foot event center, vanishing edge pool, an outdoor breakfast area adjacent to the pool, a retail shop and a grand marble staircase leading to the pool from the lobby.

Rooms, which range from $149 a night to $249 for suites, are nearly all booked during the weekends this year, and Howard hopes the hotel will be able to achieve occupancy rates of 80 to 90 percent.

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