Hotel Online  Special Report



The Pueblo of Pojoaque and Hilton Hotels Begin
Construction on a $250 million Destination Resort
Near Santa Fe, New Mexico 

SANTA FE, NM (March 16, 2004) – Representatives from The Pueblo of Pojoaque and Hilton Hotels Corporation this afternoon participated in a groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the beginning of construction on a $250 million destination resort that will feature a 387-room Hilton full-service resort, a 79-suite Homewood Suites by Hilton®, an upscale extended stay hotel, a spa, convention facilities, entertainment venues and a new casino.
The site of the new Buffalo Thunder Resort™ is on 92 acres of Pojoaque tribal land, located 12 miles north of Santa Fe, NM on Highway 84/285. It will be built adjacent to the Towa Golf Resort, a 36-hole golf course (27 holes currently open) that opened to avid golfers in September 2002.

Construction is currently underway on the Homewood Suites by Hilton hotel, an upscale, extended stay property that is part of the Hilton Family of 

Rendering of 
Hilton Santa Fe North
Hotels. The hotel is expected to open in December 2004. Target date for the opening of the Hilton Santa Fe North and the remaining resort facilities is projected for 2006.

Both hotels will be owned by The Pueblo of Pojoaque and operated by Hilton Hotels Corporation under a 20-year management agreement.

Architects for the Hilton, Casino and Conference Complex is Thalden-Boyd, a Native American firm that specializes in the design and architecture of hotels, casinos and related hospitality projects.

"This is a great day for the entire state of New Mexico," Pojoaque tribal governor Jacob Viarrial said. "The new Buffalo Thunder Resort will enhance New Mexico's reputation as a tourist destination area and will provide jobs and other positive economic benefits for the area and the state as a whole."

Viarrial said the Pueblo of Pojoaque is delighted to form a business relationship with the most recognizable lodging name in the world.

"The Hilton name adds prestige and an incredible marketing network that will attract visitors from all over the world to the Buffalo Thunder Resort," he added.

"Hilton Hotels Corporation is truly proud to enter into this unique relationship with The Pueblo of Pojoaque, an organization of fine individuals who have made a commitment to their tribe, as well as the citizens of New Mexico, to develop a dynamic resort destination that will truly showcase everything this great state has to offer," said Dieter Huckestein, president – hotel operations, owned and managed for Hilton Hotels Corporation. "The addition of the Hilton and Homewood Suites by Hilton hotels that comprise the Buffalo Thunder Resort will only reinforce and complement our existing hotel portfolios, and provide our worldwide sales and marketing team with greater potential to bring additional tourism and convention business to show travelers from near and far the incredible sites and wonders that are New Mexico."

The Pueblo of Pojoaque currently employs approximately 900 individuals that is expected to double when the resort is completed and, will have a positive economic impact on the area as a result of the tourists dollars that will be left behind.

"The Buffalo Thunder Resort will be the gateway to northern New Mexico." Governor Viarrial continued. "From here our guests will have access to the art of Santa Fe, the historic Bandalier National Monument in the Los Alamos area, the beautiful Nambe Falls located in our neighboring pueblo, the Santuario de Chimayo and Taos Pueblo."

Fred Peralta, Secretary of the New Mexico Tourism Department, agreed with Governor Viarrial.

"Pojoaque Pueblo's Buffalo Thunder Resort will contribute significantly to New Mexico's growing reputation for first-class resorts", he said. "It will be an important gateway to the north, as well as a welcome new attraction in the area between the popular destinations of Taos and Santa Fe."

The substantial planned infrastructure of the project includes construction of an enviromentally responsible, state of the art wastewater treatment facility that will have 100 percent water recycling capability. In addition, plans call for the "harvesting" and purification of rainwater through the use of settlement basins.

Access to the new resort will be via a new interchange that is part of the Highway 84/285 reconstruction project. The new access road is expected to open in July 15, 2004.

"Buffalo Thunder", the name of the new resort, was chosen because it is a symbol on strength for Native Americans, according to George Rivera, the Lt. Governor of the Pueblo of Pojoaque.

"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, an artist, helped designed the official logo for Buffalo Thunder and also the artwork that will grace the overpass at Pojoaque and nearby Cuyamunge.

Buffalo Thunder Resort Fact Sheet

When completed the Buffalo Thunder Resort will include the existing Towa Golf Resort, the Homewood Suites by Hilton, the Hilton Santa Fe North, restaurants, conference space, a casino and other amenities. 

Homewood Suites by Hilton

  • The Homewood Suites by Hilton at the Buffalo Thunder Resort will comprise of 79 total units.  There will be a three story main lodge with 47 units; and four two-story "casitas" with 32 units.
  • The architect of record is Claudio Vigil Architects of Albuquerque.
  • The suites are designed in adobe style with exposes vigas.
  • Contractor for the project is Wilger Construction of Albuquerque.
  • Estimated cost of the project is $7.2 million.
  • Opening date:  December 2004
Hilton Santa Fe North 
  • The Hilton Santa Fe North will comprise of 386 rooms and a 2-level Presidential Suite with private outdoor "observatory".
  • Every guestroom features Native American adobe architecture and includes a fire place, balcony and flat-screen plasma televisions, wireless high-speed Internet access, two line phones and four-fixture bathrooms.
  • 20,000 sq. ft full-service spa featuring the best of contemporary treatments, accented with treatment borrowed from rich southwest American Indian history and culture 
  • 6,000 sq. ft children’s recreation area --complete with computer labs, kiddie pools, library, "cooking school" and "teepee" camp
  • 50,000 sq. ft of meeting space for meetings, exhibits and special events
  • Sand Volleyball Courts
  • Professional-grade Tennis Club – with Pro Shop and Lighted Tennis Courts
  • 125-seat Bridal Chapel with an accompanying oversized Jacuzzi equipped Bridal suite in the hotel 
  • Indoor and outdoor heated swimming pools
The Casino/Conference Complex
  • 800 Car parking structure with exclusive VIP entry level
  • New casino
  • 780 seat, 2 level theatre
  • Restaurants including:
  • 460-seat buffet
  • Fine Dining Restaurant
  • Sports Bar
  • Deli
  • Nightclub
  • Bar Lounge/Entertainment
  • Retail Promenade
  • 26,000 square feet of conference space
  • The complex has been designed in "pueblo" style.
  • The contractor tbd.
Towa Golf Resort
  • The Towa Golf Course opened 18 holes in September 2002 with nine more holes added July 2004.  Another nine holes are expected to open in 2005. 
  • “Towa” means “The People” in Tewa, the native language of the Pojoaque Pueblo. 
  • Hale Irwin, winner of 20 PGA titles including the 1974, 1979 and 1990 U.S. Open Championships and over 36 Champions Tour (Senior) PGA events, designed 18 of the holes.  William Phillips of Phoenix, AZ, a certified landscape architect/golf course designer since the mid 1980s, designed the other 18 holes.
  • Boulder #4 is an 8,200 square foot “island green” located in the middle 
  • of an irrigation lake.  It is the only island green found in New Mexico.
  • The clubhouse, with panoramic views of the Pojoaque Valley and the majestic Sangre de Cristo and Jemez Mountains, is approximately 7300 sq. ft.  It features a pro shop, dining room, bar and club storage.  It also has an outdoor patio and underground parking for 150 golf cars. 
  • The architects for the project were Nims Calvani and Associates.

About The Pueblo of Pojoaque

The Pueblo of Pojoaque, which archeological studies have dated inhabitation to as early as 500 AD, is one of the 19 Indian Pueblos located in northern New Mexico. The name of the pueblo in the native Tewa language is

"Po-suwae-geh", the water drinking or gathering place. Over the centuries the Pueblo of Pojoaque has endured droughts, grasshopper plagues, raids and the Spanish colonization of the 16th and 17th centuries. The Pueblo was abandoned in the 1800s, resettled, and deserted again in the early 1900s. In the mid-1930s several families moved back, including Jose Antonio Tapia, the grandfather of current Governor Jacob Viarrial. 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 it's present location.

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.


David Oakeley
[email protected]

Jeanne Datz
[email protected]

Also See: Tribes in New Mexico Turning to Golf Courses as the Next Wave of Native American Business / August 2001
Pueblo of Santa Ana and Hyatt to Create New Mexico's First Major Golf and Spa Resort / Feb 1999

To search Hotel Online data base of News and Trends Go to Hotel.Online Search

Home | Welcome! | Hospitality News | Classifieds | Catalogs & Pricing | Viewpoint Forum | Ideas/Trends
Please contact Hotel.Online with your comments and suggestions.