Things are sure better these days for the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians of San Diego County, California. Back in 1932, their reservation east of San Diego was taken from them in favor of a water project for the city, the El Capitain Reservoir, which placed their old reservation under water.
Two years later, they were able to purchase a smaller piece of land nearby to set up a new reservation, the old Baron Long ranch, which was less than a tenth the size of the original one, to start over again on. They have made more than just a comeback though, as this Indian band are now big players in the economy of the area.
In 1977, they opened their first bingo hall on the reservation. Things have grown quite a bit since then. They not only own the large casino resort on the property, they also have a 57 outlet shopping mall, a 50% stake in a San Diego radio station, a 1,500 seat outdoor concert hall, two RV parks, the first Native American bank in California with 3 branches, and a company that promotes entertainment at casinos throughout the country.
They also bought the naming rights to San Diego State’s arena, formerly the Cox arena, now the Viejas Arena. You know you have really made it when you can afford to do arena sponsorships, something normally reserved for big corporations.
The Viejas Band also plays a prominent role in the battle to legalize online poker in California, and are fighting on the side of restricting licenses to those who already operate gambling in the state, which includes themselves.
The reservation and casino resort is just outside the city of Alpine, California, only a half hour drive from San Diego. This places them within easy reach of a lot of people, although they do have a very nice hotel should guests wish to stay the night.
The Features of the Viejas Casino and Resort
The resort casino was built in 1991, and for over 20 years was just a casino, until they built a 128 room luxury hotel in 2013. They had to knock down the old bingo hall to make way for the new building, but they replaced it with a 340 seat bingo hall inside the casino. They also added a business center, a fitness center, and a resort style pool, as well as valet parking and a 1000 vehicle parking garage.
Upon its completion, their new boutique hotel was awarded with a four diamond rating from AAA, so this is a fine hotel indeed. A second hotel tower was added in 2015, bringing the count up to 203 deluxe rooms and 34 VIP suites, along with state of the art meeting spaces including their Oak Ballroom.
This new expansion won them the Certificate of Excellence by Trip Advisor, and the hotel resort is consistently rated very highly by guests. They envisioned a truly deluxe hotel and their vision was realized.
The rooms here are truly beautiful and very modern, and while many hotels call their rooms luxurious, these really are. The suites are even nicer, these are called VIP suites and they are well named.
The standard rooms are full of amenities, including gorgeous furnishings, Simmons Beautyrest mattress, 40 inch flat panel TV, refrigerator, in room safe, coffee maker with Wolfgang Puck coffee, iron and ironing board, free WiFi, and more.
Rates here are pretty reasonable, and you can get one of these rooms for as little as $160 a night, which is a deal considering how nice these rooms are.
There’s several places to dine here, starting with the Grove Steakhouse, the only four diamond casino steakhouse in San Diego. The food here is gourmet quality, and this is also one of the most beautiful restaurants in the world décor wise.
The Buffet at Viejas offers a wide selection of all you can eat food to tempt anyone’s taste buds. There’s also The Café at Viejas which is open 24 hours a day and offers delicious food at very reasonable prices.
Those in the mood for noodles will find the Far East Express waiting for them, where you can dine in or take out. North of the Border offers the flavors and spices of Mexico. You can also order food right on the casino floor. There are also two coffee bars on the premises.
Speaking of bars, there are 5 bars here that serve drinks, the Lobby Bar, the Center Bar, the stimulating V Lounge, the Grove Bar, and the Pool Bar.
The shopping here is so impressive that they dare to call it The Premier San Diego Shopping experience. This is a full sized shopping mall though and they certainly have lots there and lots of great deals at well.
Both the V Lounge and The Park offer live entertainment, and they also have Southern California’s largest outdoor roller rink on site.
The Casino at the Viejas
Players here can enroll in the V Club, where depending on your level of play, you qualify for either a Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Platinum card. Your membership here earns you free casino play, food and retail discounts, and more, including access to their many promotions here.
The casino here is a very good sized one at 133,000 square feet, and it’s packed with things to play, starting with their 2,000 slot and video poker machines. They have the very newest slots out there and recently added 1000 more slot machines, including many interactive progressives. If you like to play new slots you will be very pleased with their selection, and they pride themselves in bringing you the best in the market at all times.
Bingo is where it all started at Viejas, and they’ve been offering bingo for almost 40 years, so they do know how to roll it out. This is a new and very nice bingo hall, one of the nicest you’ll ever see, and bingo players are sure to be delighted here.
They also offer 8 different table games, including Blackjack, EZ Baccarat, Vegas Inspired Craps, which is played with cards, as all games in California need to, Mystery Card Roulette, Fortune Pai Gow, 3 Card Poker, 6 Card Poker, and Ultimate Texas Holdem.
There’s also an off track betting area and viewing lounge, where you can place bets on horse racing and view the races on simulcast.
There’s no poker room, which is strange for a California casino, but other than that, there’s plenty to gamble on here.
What stands out the most about this casino resort is the sheer beauty of it, and this stands up to the best hotel casinos in the world in that regard. This place is not only conveniently located in the San Diego area, it’s well worth traveling to just to come here and experience it.