Robert Arends

Winning! Chic New Viejas Hotel Opens in East County

Viejas Casino and Resort
Viejas Casino and Resort

Viejas Casino & Resort

Yours truly was invited to the grand opening of the new Viejas Hotel, located in the rolling foothills of Alpine next door to Viejas Casino and across the street from the popular Viejas Outlets.

Their new name is Viejas Casino & Resort. Did you know: the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians becomes San Diego’s fifth tribe to open a hotel connected to its casino.

The shindig will include a ribbon cutting, traditional Kumeyaay songs and a Native American blessing, and sneak peek of “Rise,” a dramatic new Cirque-style show that premieres at the hotel this Saturday, followed by a spectacular fireworks display. I can’t wait!

What to Expect at the New Viejas Hotel

Rendering of chic new Viejas Hotel

Rendering of chic new Viejas Hotel

The sophisticatedly modern $36 million hotel is 5 stories high and features 128 rooms (including 29 suites), a pool and hot tub with cabanas (SO SoCal!), state-of-the-art fitness center, free Internet/WiFi, and an expanded all-you-can-eat buffet next door. Each room has 40″ Samsung TVs, locally made furniture and art, nightly turn down service, his and her robes (nice touch!), iPod clock radios and Gilchrist & Soames bath and body products. Some suites even include fireplaces, tubs with whirlpool jets (just say ahhh!) and wet bars (I’ll toast to that 😉 ).

Rendering of Presidential Suite at Viejas Hotel

Rendering of Presidential Suite at Viejas Hotel

A few months back I explored the model guestrooms and I’ve got to say, they’re swanky, warm and inviting, with a metropolitan touch that reminds me of chic boutique hotels in Manhattan. There’s nothing else like it in these parts!

More to do near Viejas Casino & Resort

This spring as you explore the wildflowers of East County, stop by Viejas Casino & Resort to play the slots, shop 60 name-brand outlet stores, indulge at the buffet and rest your head for a memorable overnight stay amidst the beautiful backdrop of Alpine’s rural setting.

Insider tip: While you’re there, pick up a $5 bag of fresh avocados or oranges from one of the roadside vendors!

Sage & Songbirds Festival - Butterflies

Butterfly releases at Sage & Songbirds Festival.

And planning ahead… Time your visit to also check out Alpine’s 16th Annual Sage & Songbirds Garden Tour on May 3-5, featuring a free festival at Viejas Outlets that includes a live butterfly exhibit and daily butterfly releases, plus an outdoor plant and art sale. There will also be garden tours of local bird- and butterfly-friendly home gardens and the Sky Hunters raptor rehabilitation facility, home to magnificent hawks, owls and other bird of prey. Cost for the gardens/Sky Hunters tour is $15 per person before April 1.


5 to Try This Weekend: Mother’s Day Edition

Mom and Daughter at La Jolla Shores
Mom and Daughter at La Jolla Shores

Celebrate Mom...San Diego Style!

Looking for something fun to do with mom? While you can find more great Mother’s Day offers and events at, here are our 5 to Try for Mother’s Day, May 13, 2012…San Diego style:

1. Mother’s Day Kayaking

Take your Mom on a kayaking tour! Visit one of Hike, Bike, & Kayak’s two locations in La Jolla or on Mission Bay and take your mom kayaking for free! You can either rent a kayak or take a tour, either way Mom goes free with a party of 4. Reservations are required (minimum of 4 people) and space fills up fast! Offer is valid May 12-13.

2. Mother’s Day Brunch with Shamu

Relax and be pampered while you dine poolside and experience the magical bond between SeaWorld’s killer whales and their young. You have your choice of two seatings: 9:30 am or noon. Advanced reservations are highly recommended, a SeaWorld admission ticket is required but not included.

3. Mother’s Day Champagne Brunch Cruise

Treat mom to a spectacular champagne brunch on a cruise! Whisk her onboard the new Inspiration Hornblower, the largest charter yacht south of San Francisco and all mom will have to do is enjoy the scenery, music, the wonderful cuisine, and your company. Every mom will take home a free flower! Select one of two cruising times.

4. Mother’s Day Brunch at Anthology

Bring your mom to Anthology for a little live music and brunch from award winning chef Todd Allison. Listen to Anthology’s House Band Tribute to Women: From Billie to Aretha to Beyonce. No cover for kids 12 and under.

5. Mother’s Day Champagne Buffe Brunch at South Coast Winery Resort and Spa

Treat your mom to a delightful Champagne Buffet Brunch. From chilled displays, salads, sliced fruit and berries, prime roast and omelets, to Chicken Marsala, oven-roasted sea bass, blueberry pancakes, smoked pork hash and desserts, South Coast Winery’s talented chefs have created a fantastic menu that mom will be talking about for years!

What are you doing for Mom this weekend?