Arizona Tribes Add Tourism Attractions: Estrella at Casino del Sol, New Fort McDowell Casino

Casino Del Sol is expanding with a 151-room hotel. (Pascua Yaqui Tribe)

We-Ko-Pa, Yavapai for four peaks, refers to the sacred Four Peaks mountains on the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation’s 28,000-acre reservation northeast of Scottsdale, Arizona. The tranquil location, just 30 minutes from the Phoenix airport, boasts We-Ko-Pa Resort and We-Ko-Pa Golf Club, which houses two championship courses, and the full-service Amethyst Spa. The AAA Four Diamond We-Ko-Pa property also features a restaurant, pool and event spaces.

Fort McDowell Casino — open for roughly three decades — is adjacent to the We-Ko-Pa Resort and the We-Ko-Pa Golf Club. (The casino opened in 1995, though it previously operated as a small bingo hall built in 1983.) The Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation is investing in building a new Fort McDowell Casino nearby on 166,000-square-feet of land — directly connected to the We-Ko-Pa Resort hotel. Once it opens in spring 2020, the new casino will replace the existing Fort McDowell Casino.

The project partners include Thalden Boyd Emery Architects, W.E. O’Neil, Kitchell Construction and Sacks Tierney P.A. Attorneys. The existing Fort McDowell Casino continues to operate during construction. The new facility is expected to open in early 2020.

“After many years of hard work and study our little tribe is now at the dawn of a new era,” Tribal Council President Bernadine Burnette said at the groundbreaking ceremony in June 2018. “We are grateful to the many, many people who have supported us over the years. That support has made this day possible.”

A larger casino is being built to replace Fort McDowell Casino.

Pascua Yaqui Tribe

Also in the Grand Canyon State, the Pascua Yaqui Tribe is mid-way through construction on Estrella at Casino del Sol, a six-floor hotel with 151 rooms that will sit on 2.2 acres adjacent to the casino. More than a hotel, it will house meeting space, an arcade, lounge area, and also offer a family-friendly pool with a slide for the kids and poolside bar for the adults. A 75-space RV park on site will cater to a different clientele. The new addition is set to open in November. 

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