Pueblo of Pojoaque and Hilton Hotels to open New Mexico casino resort

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Santa Fe, N.M. - Representatives from the Pueblo of Pojoaque nation in New Mexico and the Hilton Hotels Corporation will celebrate the ''topping off'' of a sprawling new casino and golf resort set to open in 2008.

The $280 million resort will become New Mexico's largest.

''We are very proud to be working with the Hilton Hotels Corporation, the most reputable lodging brand in the world, on this important project,'' Pojoaque Gov. George Rivera said in press release. ''The Hilton name adds prestige and an incredible marketing network that will attract visitors from all over the world to the Buffalo Thunder Resort.''

The casino will be surrounded by a conference center, a golf course, a 390-room full service hotel, and a separate suite hotel, according the release.

Guests to the resort will have plenty to do on site. A browse through the 12,700-square-foot shopping area or a dip in one of two uniquely designed swimming pools will provide a start. To relax, guests can take advantage of the American Indian-themed spa services or sit by the fireplace in a guest room.

Guests will also enjoy a state-of-the-art 80,000-square-foot upscale Las Vegas-style casino that promises 1,200 slot machines, 22 table games, an electronic bingo operation and a 10-table poker room.

Family travelers won't be left out as a children's activity center and 8,000-square-foot recreation area will extend the resort's services beyond the gambling and golfing set.

Several restaurants on site - including Mark Miller's Red Sage Restaurant - will provide both convenience and quality food.

Longer-stay guests who might want to venture away from the resort will have the opportunity to explore that natural wonders of the state of New Mexico. The hotel is just steps away from the Sangre de Cristo and Jemez Mountains, offering views of both, and New Mexico's arts and culture can be appreciated throughout the state.

The Buffalo Thunder resort is 12 miles north of Santa Fe.

Plans for the resort were announced several years ago and groundbreaking ceremony was held in March of 2004. The Buffalo Thunder resort is slated to open in the fall of 2008.

The Pueblo of Pajoaque are one of several Pueblo tribes in New Mexico. Their membership is approximately 350.

The tribe has developed a 20-year contract with Hilton Hotels.

''This relationship with The Pueblo of Pojoaque is truly unique for the Hilton Hotels Corporation and our first Native American partnership,'' said Hilton General Manager Tim Booth in the release. ''The Hilton Santa Fe Resort and Spa at Buffalo Thunder will feature unparalleled amenities and services.''

The pueblo also owns the Cities of Gold Casino & Hotel and the Sports Bar Race Book and Casino.