Tulalip Hotel begins countdown to June opening

TULALIP — The drywall dust that now coats the luxury Tulalip Hotel will be wiped away in about 10 weeks.

Water will spill endlessly from the infinity pool. Florists, spa staff and a pastry chef will stand at the ready. Whale-watching expeditions could be just a phone call away.

Reservation phones open April 15 and the hotel many Tulalip leaders hope will become a vacation destination will open for guests on June 20.

Tulalip leaders think that by the time they host the grand opening in August, there will be enough demand to justify building a second hotel tower, nearly doubling the guest space from 370 to about 700 rooms.

“Yes, we’re going to do it,” said John McCoy, general manager of Quil Ceda Village, the Tulalip Tribes’ casino, resort and retail complex. McCoy is also a state representative. “It’s just a matter of when.”

The excitement the hotel has created has buoyed tribal leaders’ hopes, but McCoy added that they should be conservative in their plans.

It’s possible construction could begin on the tower within three to five years, but no decisions have been made. The current downturn in the national economy is reason enough to be cautious, he said.

Architects designed the hotel to have a second tower added later. The towers will be attached at the lobby. Much of the support services were planned for 700 guests: extra large laundry rooms, a big kitchen and even extra elevator shafts.

A convention center opening with the hotel will be 30,000 square feet — the largest in the region, said Brett Magnan, executive vice president of hotel operations.

Nearly everything else in the hotel is over-sized, Magnan said. The Tulalip Suite, for $5,000 per night, is 3,000 square feet. Other suites range from 1,000 to 2,000 square feet. Themed suites feature the latest video games, technological gadgetry or feng shui, the ancient Chinese belief in situating a room for luck.

The hotel will offer Washington a true resort, he said. He cited a study in which the majority of Washington residents who were asked to list their favorite resort destination within the state entered Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.

“Even in Idaho, it’s one-dimensional,” he said. “Once you get there, what do you do?”

The Tulalip Hotel is a parking lot away from the Seattle Premium Outlets. There will be more gambling space than ever. Flush card players will be admitted into the High-Roller’s room, a gambling haven where they can bet $500 on every hand.

The High Roller’s room will appeal to gamblers who wouldn’t be considered big fish in Las Vegas, where only hands worth thousands of dollars earn gamblers room upgrades and personal attention, Magnan said.

At Tulalip, where high-stakes limits are more modest, gamblers will have a chance to earn special treatment without risking their retirement accounts in one game, he said.

Three brides already are planning their weddings at the hotel, all for the same day in August.

The brides can descend a grand staircase that curves toward an infinity pool, or before the ceremony, luxuriate at the T Spa enjoying manicures, eyebrow waxes, full-body mud masks and couples massages.

The resort’s restaurants can cater events, and the on-staff pastry chef can provide wedding cakes and other desserts.

The hotel’s M Pulse lounge will have a lava floor, which shifts between red and black wherever a visitor steps. Cedars Restaurant will offer 24-hour room service. A growing number of tribal members are vying for a chance to stay in the hotel, McCoy said.

“We’ll have one night to check everything out, to see if it works, but we’re discussing who’ll do that,” McCoy said.

Reporter Krista J. Kapralos: 425-339-3422 or kkapralos@heraldnet.com.

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