|By Robert Evatt, Tulsa World,
Okla.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
March 20, 2013--CATOOSA -- After a year of round-the-clock construction, crews have officially finished building a 10-story tower at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa.
The new tower adds 100 suites to the Cherokee Nation-run resort for a total of 454 rooms. The expanded count puts the Hard Rock in a tie for the title of largest hotel in the area with the 454-room Hyatt Regency Tulsa downtown.
Guests had started staying in the new tower a few months ago as rooms were completed floor by floor, and Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker said it's already proven to be a success.
"We had two of our largest nights in history during the Bassmaster tournament" last month, he said.
The expansion also added two-story, non-smoking gaming space with 500 additional electronic games, 15 table games, a poker room, a media bar and a food court.
The hallways to each floor of suites are done in rich reds, with curving lines of chandelier crystals hanging from the ceilings.
All of the 600-square-foot suites are done in dark greys and blacks, with lighter-colored furniture and red curtains for contrast. In keeping with the Hard Rock theme, the suites have paintings and photographs of musical instruments and equipment.
The interior walls of the rooms curve in a semicircle to reveal a closet with mirrored doors and lead into the large bathroom, which features large showers with granite tile. Since the exterior walls also curve, some of the suites have windows that follow the walls' gentle bends.
Baker said the Hard Rock should compete well with the just-announced $250 million, 500-room Margaritaville expansion to the Muscogee (Creek) Nation's River Spirit Casino.
He said the Cherokee Nation has kept improvements in motion to provide the best gaming and resort experience possible.
"We're ahead of the other tribes," Baker said. "We'll be making some announcements very soon that will be extremely exciting for northeastern Oklahoma and the Cherokee Nation."
Jon Davidson, senior director of hospitality operations at the Hard Rock, said the tribe will soon begin room renovations in the older, seven-story Cherokee tower. The new designs will blend a Hard Rock flavor with a focus on Cherokee culture.
The resort's older, 19-story tower is known as the Hard Rock tower. The new 10-story tower doesn't yet have an official name.
The new tower was built on the site of the Cherokee Nation's original Catoosa bingo hall. During the February 2011 blizzard, the roof of the area collapsed, although no one was injured. Officials have said plans for a new tower were already in place, but the damage resulted in the tribe accelerating development.
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa employs more than 1,500 people.
Robert Evatt 918-581-8447 firstname.lastname@example.org
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