Silver Reef Casino adds $24.5 million spa, hotel
By Jack Kintner
The Silver Reef Casino’s new $24.5 million hotel and spa opens on Thursday, August 10, and after a few practice runs marketing manager Eric Larsen said earlier this week that all is ready for the big day.
“We’re a little nervous, of course, but we feel we now have one of the best hotel and destination facilities in the county,” Larsen said.
Earlier this week the hotel held its final training for staff by checking in a few chosen guests and then held its first event on Wednesday night for selected VIP guests, a private concert featuring Don McLean in the Casino Pavilion. “We may even try to serve American Pie,” Larsen joked, referring to McLean’s 1971 hit “Bye, Bye Miss American Pie.” McLean is also giving a public concert the following day that was all but sold out at press time.
This is the Silver Reef’s second expansion and adds over 100 employees, boasting a total of over 500 for the hotel, casino, spa, four restaurants, lounges and a complete catering service, making the contract operator Merit management one of the biggest private employers in the county.
Though preference in employment is given to members of the Lummi Nation, anyone is welcome to apply, Larsen said.
The 135,000 square foot facility is still all under one roof and has also added another 125 slot machines (for a total of 625) to an expanded gaming floor. The top floor of the hotel is called the diamond executive level and features large suites, a private lounge, restricted access and upgraded amenities.
A 14-seat executive board room with a large plasma screen and the 1,000-square foot Legacy room provide lots of multi-function business space for conventions and other groups.
“We intend to provide four-star service in most areas,” Larsen said, “although we won’t have 24-hour room service at present.” All guests receive complimentary continental breakfast and free Wi-Fi. Except for the second floor the hotel is non-smoking, and small pets (under 20 pounds) are allowed.
Silver Reef has had none of the negative reactions from neighbors suffered by the Nooksack tribe, whose plans for expanded casino operations on a rural parcel of tribal-owned land at Halverstick and Northwood Roads resulted in their Lynden-area neighbors filing federal lawsuits to block them.
By contrast, development at Silver Reef’s Slater Road site has been welcomed. General manager Harln Oppenheim said that “this highlights the community support that we have here at Silver Reef.”
Located just off the hotel’s understated but classy front lobby, the Silver Reef Spa is open to the public.. Supervisor Adriana DeFries, formerly of Zazen in Bellingham, said she has three treatment rooms for massages, manicures, pedicures and other body treatments, and has three estheticians and four licensed massage therapists on staff. One of those staff is Jeremey Porter, the spa’s assistant supervisor who was once an instructor at the Ashmead Massage School in Everett.
The indoor pool, whirlpool, steam room, sauna and fitness center are available to spa patrons and hotel guests. Plans are for a $15 day pass that will open these facilities to the public as well.
A new Panasia restaurant is also scheduled to open with the new hotel, adding to the casino’s three other restaurants, the Steak House, the Red River Cafe and the Gold Rush Bakery and Deli.
For more information, contact the Silver Reef Hotel Casino Spa at 360/312-2355.