ilani celebrates its fifth anniversary with the closing ceremony of the new hotel tower

Courtesy of ilani

On Monday, April 25, ilani celebrated five years as the “Pacific Northwest’s premier gaming, dining, entertainment and meeting destination” by adding the latest beam to its next hotel tower and unveiling the first renderings of the project’s interior design, according to a press release from ilani.

Scheduled to open in April 2023, the 14-story structure features nearly 300 luxury rooms and suites. The hotel tower is the final phase of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe’s master development plan. The hotel will offer four-diamond level guest service and amenities, including an indoor-outdoor pool experience and an exclusive top-floor restaurant with views of the mountains and rivers of the Pacific Northwest.

“It is with great pride and excitement that we witness the final beams being installed in this magnificent glass tower that serves as a beacon for our community on the Cowlitz Indian Reservation,” said Kara Fox-LaRose, President and Director. general of ilani, in the press release. “This ceremony commemorates more than just a building milestone – it’s the first time we’ve shared interior renderings and celebrated another milestone in honor of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe’s vision to uplift our community with opportunity. economic for the region.

“The brand new ilani hotel will attract guests from near and far – increase visitor numbers, boost the local economy and create many new job opportunities for the area,” said Ray Pineault, CEO of Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment, in the press release. “Economic empowerment is a key principle of the Cowlitz-Mohegan partnership, and we are proud to see our initial vision and strategic development plans come to life.”

Over the past five years, ilani has expanded its facilities and met existing demand while investing in future growth opportunities. When it opened, ilani included nearly 100,000 square feet of gaming as well as space for more than a dozen restaurants, bars and retailers. In 2018, the tribe added the Meeting and Entertainment Center, hosting local events and national artists such as Miranda Lambert, Amy Schumer and Rascal Flatts. Cowlitz Crossing Fuel & Convenience Store opened in 2019 and in late 2020 a six-storey car park was unveiled. Currently, ilani employs more than 1,500 people. The hotel tower will create additional jobs and reinforce the Cowlitz Indian Tribe’s commitment to their people, self-sufficiency and community support.

Since construction began in 2021, Ilani expanded again late last year, adding even more gaming and dining options, and the future hotel has made impressive progress.

“The people of Cowlitz always strive to be the best at everything we do, and our new hotel demonstrates our commitment to being the area’s top entertainment destination,” said Dave Barnett, General Council Chairman. of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe, in the press release. “We look forward to wowing our guests with a new experience when the hotel opens next April.”

Design direction revealed

Ilani also marked the occasion by sharing first interior renders of the hotel and previewing the luxurious spaces and thoughtful touches that await guests when the tower opens. The design incorporates high-quality Pacific Northwest aesthetics and elements, including an abundance of wood, stone, metal, and glass. A color palette of creams, blues and grays creates a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere. According to the press release, floor-to-ceiling windows in the lobby and bedrooms ensure unobstructed views.

In line with ilani’s design vision, the culture and history of the Cowlitz Indian tribe takes center stage, incorporating the heritage and values ​​of the tribe and indigenous elements of the region.

Celebrate together with familiar and new partners

Friedmutter Group of Las Vegas, a key collaborator on many ilani construction projects, serves as the project architect. Howard S. Wright, based near Portland, Oregon, and currently building the future Ritz-Carlton, Portland, is the general contractor.

“At Friedmutter Group, we couldn’t be happier with the progress of the hotel tower,” Chuck Jones, Friedmutter Group senior vice president, said in the press release. “We have worked hard with the ilani team to ensure that we continue to capture the history of Cowlitz through architectural and design elements and we look forward to the final result.”

“Howard S. Wright oversees quality and design standards to ensure that the same world-class luxury we bring to our other hospitality projects is infused with ilani,” said Kevin James, project director at Howard S. Wright, in the press release.

Plus, ilani is partnering with Kids Quest, the nation’s largest child care provider, to bring families an exciting new on-site convenience. Kids Quest/Cyber ​​Quest CEO Troy Dunkley said of the new partnership, “We are very excited to have Kids Quest and Cyber ​​Quest included in ilani’s next phase of expansion and become part of your community. We have a long-standing partnership with Mohegan Sun and look forward to building a similar partnership with the Cowlitz Indian Tribe. We believe our presence on the property will open up new markets and opportunities for family travelers and make traveling together much easier and much more fun.

To learn more about ilani and stay informed about these projects, visit

Kara Fox-LaRose, President and CEO of ilani, will be the guest speaker at VBJ’s Boardroom Breakfast Series event on Wednesday, May 11. Learn more about the Boardroom Breakfast Series and purchase tickets for the May 11 event here.

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Sandy A. Greer