Marty Derbyshire southern california

The first of several major construction projects at Southern California tribal casinos is set to open before Christmas.

Temecula’s Pechanga Resort & Casino is putting the finishing touches on its new hotel tower and planning a soft opening for Dec. 22.

The new Pechanga hotel tower will feature 1,090 rooms, a spa, event center, and the Lobby Bar bistro. Plus, the property’s $285 million expansion will include an updated pool complex expected to open in the spring.

By the time all the renovations are finished Pechanga will be the largest casino-hotel in California. It will feature:

  • 200,000-square-foot casino
  • 100,000-square-foot indoor event and meeting space
  • 174,500-square-foot outdoor event and meeting space
  • 13 restaurants
  • 13 pools and spas
  • 25,000-square-foot spa

The new Summit Event Center at Pechanga will feature a 40,000-square-foot ballroom with a second-floor meeting room overlooking it.

Additionally, the new spa is two stories and will include a fitness studio, 17 treatment rooms, and a private pool.

New Viejas hotel coming in January

Among the other Southern California tribal casinos undergoing expansion is Viejas Casino & Resort in Alpine.

Construction is almost finished on a new boutique-style, 159-room hotel tower. It exclusively comprises adult-only suites and is expected to open in January.

The hotel will feature a salt water pool and three new restaurants.

Pala plans $170 million expansion

In the meantime, Pala Casino Resort and Spa began its own $170 million expansion in October.

The project is expected to include a new 349-room hotel tower and an expanded pool complex and spa.

Pala is behind its rivals right now, however. The casino doesn’t expect the first phase of construction to be complete until summer. A grand opening of the new pool complex is set for May 19. The entire expansion project is targeting May 2019 for completion.

Sycuan and Valley View join tribal casino construction boom

To round things out, Sycuan Casino in El Cajon is also undergoing a $226 million expansion.

The project includes a 12-story, 300-room hotel and an aquatic playground with a lazy river. The expansion is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2019.

Finally, Valley View Casino & Hotel has laid out plans for a $50 million expansion this October, which will see the casino expand by more than 42,000 square feet. A new restaurant is also in the works.

Valley View undertakes this construction in April, and it’s slated to take at least 12 months.

Editorial credit: Steve Cukrov /

Marty Derbyshire
Marty Derbyshire - Martin Derbyshire is a veteran of the world of poker and gambling, having worked as a reporter, producer, and editor in the industry for more than a decade. He has traveled the globe interviewing high-profile personalities and contributes to a number of publications, including,, and