Topping off Ceremony at Buffalo Thunder Resort to Mark Milestone of Hilton's First Native American Partnership, Pojoaque Pueblo, Near Santa Fe

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The largest resort in the state of New Mexico is one step closer to reality as representatives from the Pueblo of Pojoaque and Hilton Hotels Corporation gather on Tuesday, Sept.18, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. to celebrate a Topping Off Event for the Buffalo Thunder Resort. When completed the Buffalo Thunder Resort will include a new casino and the Hilton Santa Fe Golf Resort & Spa. This is the first Native American partnership for Hilton Hotels Corporation.

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We are very proud to be working with the Hilton Hotels Corporation, the most reputable lodging brand in the world, on this important project

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The largest resort in the state of New Mexico is one step closer to reality as representatives from the Pueblo of Pojoaque and Hilton Hotels Corporation gather on Tuesday, Sept.18, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. to celebrate a Topping Off Event for the Buffalo Thunder Resort. When completed the Buffalo Thunder Resort will include a new casino and the Hilton Santa Fe Golf Resort & Spa.

The Topping Off Event, which marks completion of the structural steel work on the project, will include Native American dancing, samplings from Mark Miller's Red Sage menu, tours of the property and speeches by dignitaries. The Topping Off Event is a significant milestone in Hilton's first Native American partnership at Buffalo Thunder.

Buffalo Thunder Resort is located on sovereign Native American land owned by the Pueblo of Pojoaque and is designed to open as a world-class destination resort, spa and casino. The resort is set to open in fall 2008.

The $280 million resort will showcase stunning views of the Sangre de Cristo and Jemez Mountains, a Hale Irwin-Bill Phillips designed golf course, spa, convention facilities, restaurants, entertainment venues and a new casino. The architectural firm is Thalden-Boyd, a Native American firm that specializes in hotel design and architecture. Balfour Beatty, an international leader in large construction projects, is the builder. The Buffalo Thunder Resort has used over 700 workers so far on the project, a majority of them local. Upon completion, hundreds of more locals will be hired for quality jobs in the entertainment, hospitality and service industries.

The site of the Buffalo Thunder Resort is situated on 92 acres of Pojoaque tribal land, 12 miles north of Santa Fe, N.M., on Highway 84/285.

Highlights of Buffalo Thunder Resort include:

  •      390-room full-service Hilton Resort
  •      Fireplaces in select rooms
  •      World-class dining facilities, including Mark Miller's Red Sage restaurant
  •      66,000 square feet of meeting, prefunction and event space
  •      Towa Golf Resort with 18 of the 36 holes currently open
  •      Luxury 16,000-square-foot Native American-themed spa/salon and exercise facility
  •      Two uniquely designed pools
  •      Dedicated supervised children's activity center with 8,000-square foot recreation center
  •      12,700-square-foot retail promenade
  •      State-of-the-art 80,000-square foot upscale Las Vegas style casino with 1,200 slot machines, 22 table games, an new all electronic bingo operation and a 10-table poker room
  •      81-unit Homewood Suites by Hilton, which is already open
  •      Magnificent Chapel that is perfect for weddings or receptions- now open

The Four-Star destination resort will appeal to golfers, spa fanatics, meeting planners and conventioneers, families and entertainment enthusiasts. The resort will be owned by the Pueblo of Pojoaque and operated by Hilton Hotels Corporation under a 20-year management agreement.

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

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

The infrastructure of the project includes construction of an environmentally responsible, state-of-the-art wastewater treatment facility that will have 100 percent water recycling capability.

"Buffalo Thunder" was chosen as the name of the new resort because it is a symbol of strength for Native Americans, according to Governor Rivera. 'The white buffalo is seen by Native Americans as a symbol of hope and renewal for humanity and for harmony between all peoples, all races, in our world today," Rivera said.

Rivera, a world-renowned artist, helped designed Buffalo Thunder's official logo as well as the artwork that graces the interior design and furniture of the Hilton Santa Fe Golf Resort & Spa.

About Hilton Hotels Corporation
Hilton Hotels Corporation is recognized internationally as a preeminent hospitality company. The company develops, owns, manages or franchises more than 2,000 hotels, resorts and vacation ownership properties. Its portfolio includes many of the world's best known and most highly regarded hotel brands, including Hilton(R), Conrad(TM), Doubletree(R), Embassy Suites Hotels(R), Hampton Inn(R), Hampton Inn & Suites(R), Harrison Conference Centers(R), Hilton Garden Inn(R), Hilton Grand Vacations Club(R) and Homewood Suites by Hilton(R). For more information about the Hilton Family of hotels, please visit our website at Hilton Hotels.

About Pueblo of Pojoaque
The Pueblo of Pojoaque is one of the 19 Indian pueblos in New Mexico. Archeological studies have dated inhabitation in the area to as early as 900 A.D. The name of the pueblo in the native Tewa language is "P'o Suwae Geh," the water drinking place. Over the centuries the Pueblo of Pojoaque has endured droughts, raids, the Spanish colonization of the 16th and 17th centuries and a smallpox epidemic. The pueblo was abandoned after the Pueblo Revolt of 1680 and resettled in 1706 and then abandoned again in the 1800s. It was resettled once more and then deserted again in the early 1900s. In the mid-1930s several families moved back under the Indian Reorganization Act, including Jose Antonio Tapia, Gov. Rivera's grandfather. With 348 tribal members, the Pueblo of Pojoaque has one of the smallest pueblo populations in the state. The official symbol of the Pueblo of Pojoaque is the butterfly, which symbolizes the emergence of the pueblo coming to life in its present location. The pueblo currently owns and operates the Cities of Gold Casino & Hotel and the Sports Bar Race Book and Casino. These properties will remain open once the Hilton Santa Fe Golf Resort & Spa at Buffalo Thunder Resort begins operations.

IMAGES ARE AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST

The Topping Off Event is a private event. The press is welcome to attend by contacting Ballantines Public Relations.

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Jennifer Marshall
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