Belterra Casino Resort hotel tower

Belterra celebrates opening of 300-room
hotel tower, conference space

Expansion includes outdoor pool, business center

By Don Ward

FLORENCE, Ind. (May 6, 2004) – In a ribbon-cutting ceremony befitting of the hospitality afforded its guests, Belterra Casino Resort & Spa on May 6 officially opened its new 300-room, 10-story hotel tower and conference space, complete with Las Vegas-style showgirls, an appearance by the now-famous TV personality "Norm" and a brunch that was more like a feast for the nearly 100 people who attended.

Belterra Casino_ribbon

Photo by Don Ward

From left, Pinnacle CEO Daniel Lee and Belterra GM Larry Buck cut the ribbon as a showgirl and Belterra TV spokesman "Norm" watch.

Belterra's Vice President and General Manager Larry Buck and Pinnacle Entertainment's CEO and board chairman Daniel R. Lee welcomed the guests in a short ceremony just prior to cutting the ribbon across the hallway leading to the new $35 million wing. The expansion boosts Belterra's hotel capacity from 308 to 608 rooms, including 40 new suites, while adding an outdoor, heated swimming pool and more than 33,000 square feet of meeting and conference space. The largest ballroom can seat up to 1,100 people. The wing also features a new state-of-the-art business center.
Among the 40 suites is a 10th floor party suite that features a round bed, half-moon shaped couch, barber's chair and, of course, a bar. The view from the top floor offers a spectacular view of the golf course looking west and a view of the Ohio River looking east.

Belterra Casino_ballroom

Photo provided

Belterra Casino Resort's new grand
ballroom can seat up to 1,100 guests.

All told, the venture has added 80 new jobs to its previous total of 1,200 employees.
"It seems calm above the surface, but beneath all this is a staff that has worked hard to get us to this point," said Buck, who took over in February for outgoing Alain Uboldi, who has moved on to head the company's new casino in Lake Charles, La.
Lee flew in from California to take part in the ceremony and spent the previous night in one of the new rooms. "Everything went off without a hitch," he said of his stay. He told the crowd that with the new hotel tower, Belterra is now just 20 rooms shy of becoming the largest hotel facility in the state. "And we may surpass that very soon," he added.
Lee said the success of the new hotel tower will determine whether Pinnacle builds a third 300-room hotel tower in the near future. Buck said Belterra turned away 300 would-be hotel guests in February because of room shortage, a sign that the demand is there.

Belterra Casino Resort_guest room

Photo provided

A guest room in the new hotel tower.

With the added conference space, the casino is now looking as far north as Cleveland, Ohio, and as far south as Nashville, Tenn., for convention bookings, Buck said.
"We want large companies in the area to know they don't have to go to Las Vegas to hold a Vegas-style convention. They can come here and have the same type of resort atmosphere. We just can't provide the sunshine in winter," Buck said following the ceremony.
Lee said companies will be able to save on air fare for their employees, while taking advantage of the comparatively inexpensive room rates at Belterra. "We subsidize the hotel with the casino, so the average cost per room for a company is only about $100," Lee said. "That's hard to beat in any big city."

Daniel Lee
Pinnacle CEO
Daniel R. Lee

Lee said Pinnacle has now invested more than $300 million in the Switzerland County casino. "The initial building was positioned primarily for day trippers and some overnight business. But very quickly we learned that our location made us more of a destination resort with demand for a much larger overnight business, so now we have upgraded our facility to meet that demand."

Belterra Casino Resort_Norm

Photo by Don Ward

Belterra Casino's TV spokesman "Norm" enjoys the company of two showgirls.

Mario Maesano, senior director of marketing, said, "We have a great sales team that is already booking the conference space. The demand is growing every day."
In addition to more rooms, the swimming pool was needed to allow the facility to be considered in national hotel ratings, such as Mobil's diamond ratings and AAA's star ratings, Lee said. The heated pool comes complete with a rollaway cover that can help keep the water warm even on cold days. "Guests will be able to swim here almost year-round," he said.
Buck said a swimming pool has been the top request by guests since the casino opened in October 2000. Now they can sit poolside and enjoy a bar and poolside cabanas that feature TVs and Internet access.
Mike Jones, president of the Switzerland County Council who spearheaded the drive to bring in the casino, called the expansion "a great day for Belterra, but also a great day for Switzerland County and all of southeastern Indiana." He cited the 80 new jobs and more than $5 million in taxes the casino addition will generate.
Belterra's Tom-Fazio-designed 18-hole golf course opened in summer 2001. The 1,800-seat CenterStage showroom features national acts. The spa offers massage and other personalized treatments and workout facilities. And the floating "Miss Belterra" casino boat features 38,000 square feet of gaming space on two levels and offers free admission and is open 24 hours a day.

Larry Buck
Belterra Casino GM Larry Buck

Other new attractions coming to Belterra include a new Starbucks Coffee shop, set to open by July 4, a new bar in the existing hotel lobby and a new Jeff Ruby's restaurant. The latter opened in late May in what was formerly the Fireside Steakhouse.

• For more information, visit: www.belterracasino.com.

Back to June 2004 Articles.



Copyright 1999-2015, Kentuckiana Publishing, Inc.

Pick-Up Locations Subscribe Staff Advertise Contact Submit A Story Our Advertisers Columnists Archive Area Links Area Events Search our Site Home Monthly Articles Calendar of Events Kentucky Speedway Madison Chautauqua Madison Ribberfest Madison Regatta