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More Goodies For Gamers @ Harrah's Cherokee On-Site Report
Harrah's Cherokee Casino and Hotel has under- gone a dramatic transformation since initiating a $650 million expansion and renovation project a few years ago. The largest elements of the expansion— a 3,000-plus seat Event Center, the 21-story Creek Tower, a
1,132-space parking deck, and additional casino floor space—have been completed. But this year will bring even more goodies for gamers as more amenities are set to open by the hotel's 15th
anniversary on Nov. 13. At that time the property will be recognized as a full-fledged resort and become known as Harrah's Cherokee Casino Resort.
Among the most anticipated amenities sched- uled to open by late-summer are a high-tech rotunda and the state-of-the-art 18,000-square- foot Mandara Spa, as well as a Ruth's Chris Steakhouse and a BRIO Tuscan Grille.
By T. Wayne Waters
"The Rotunda will be our showcase," said General Manager Brooks Robinson with obvi- ous excitement. "The experience when you enter our casino in the future will be as good as it gets across the country. We've designed it to be phenomenal, but also in such a way as to be able to personalize it and focus it on a visiting conven- tion group, say, or a specific showcase event." The rotunda will reportedly feature five-story "trees" made of colored class, circling a 75-foot waterfall feature in the center of the huge room. A massive screen will wrap around the walls and incorporate video, sound and light elements coordinated in dramatic fashion with original Cherokee storylines. Additional new offerings will include several retail shops, including one for fly fishing that will offer educational programs. Currently, guests will now find the Creek
Tower, which added
532 rooms and brought the resort's total guest rooms to 1,108. Paula Deen's Kitchen and Retail Shop opened about a month later and visitors were chowing down at several additional dining options before the end of 2011. The Event Center is not only available to groups but brings in more "big-named enter- tainment," said Daniel Wood, convention and group sales manager. ■
28 ConventionSouth APRIL 2012
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