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Isleta Casino & Resort three months later

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The Isleta Casino & Resort in the Albuquerque area has become a favored destination resort just three months after the grand opening of its $110 million expansion, one official says.

The grand opening of the resort’s new Isleta Hotel and a convention center along with several new restaurants and retail shops drew a crowd of close to 10,000 people in July and remains active with conferences and guests seeking entertainment and fun, said Lt. Governor Max Zuni of the Isleta Pueblo.

“The grand opening was one of the greatest events that has happened in the Albuquerque area,” Zuni said.

Located just south of Albuquerque and north of Los Lunas, New Mexico, Isleta Resort & Casino has become what the Isleta Pueblo wanted – a destination spot for neighboring residents in the states of Texas and Arizona as well as for neighboring communities of Albuquerque, Zuni said.

“Of course, everybody north of us is anxious to see our resort. I’m very proud that it’s turned out to be a destination resort.”

Though the economy remains a concern for the gaming industry with layoffs in some areas, especially along the Las Vegas strip, Isleta Casino & Resort remains active and a focal point for dining and entertainment in New Mexico, he said.

With the new convention center, the resort stays busy, he said.

In fact the Isleta Casino & Resort hosted the National Indian Gaming Association Conference in October.

“Our hotel is doing well, too. Economically, it was a scare, this being our first hotel and not knowing what would take place because of the economy. It’s hard to tell after three months if the venture will be successful. We’ll probably know more in three years. It’s just too early to say how well we’re doing.”

In time, the Isleta Pueblo will learn more about marketing and other aspects of casino and resort operations. The tribe already has worked with other American Indian nations with gaming facilities for ideas and information.

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Early next year, the Isleta Casino and Resort will offer various package deals to its facilities.

“We’re working on them,” Zuni said.

With its unique design, the Isleta Casino & Resort stands as a pleasing architectural facility in the Albuquerque area. Its architect won an award for the design of an atrium at the resort.

A five-story wall of glass stands in the lobby, and one of its newest night clubs, 505 Fusion, is built in the shape of Isleta Pueblo pottery.

The resort features amenities found at larger casino resorts, including those in Las Vegas, such as a large spa area, indoor and outdoor pools, a weight room and a daycare center for hotel and casino guests called the Kids Connection, among many other features. The Isleta Hotel has more than 30,000 square feet for the conference area and a ball room.

The casino and hotel are separated by a small mall-like shopping area that includes several restaurants, night clubs, retail outlets and a gift shop.

“People can get to their rooms without having to go through the casino,” Zuni said.

Isleta Casino & Resort also has a 24-lane bowling alley called the Fun Connection, golf course, a park for camping, and many more features for tourists and locals to visit.

The Isleta Pueblo tribe uses money from the casino to fund schools and four-year college education for its tribal members, no matter what their age.

The Isleta Pueblo first built their casino nine years ago. The casino and resort now employs 1,500 people with 1,200 being non-tribal members.