Cowlitz Indian Tribe, ilani Celebrate Four-Year Anniversary by Breaking Ground on 14-Story Luxury Hotel Tower

Vital part of ilani master plan begins taking form, creating a true getaway destination for world-class experiences

RIDGEFIELD, WA. (April 23, 2021) – ilani celebrates four years as the Pacific Northwest premier gaming, dining, entertainment and meeting destination by breaking ground on a long-awaited hotel property on Friday, April 23.  Expected to open in 2023, the 14-story, nearly 300-room glass-encased tower is the next phase in the Cowlitz Indian Tribe’s master development plan. The hotel will offer four-diamond level guest service and amenities, including a mix of room types and suites, a full-service luxury spa, an indoor-outdoor pool experience and a signature top-floor restaurant with views of the beautiful Pacific Northwest mountains and rivers.

“The new hotel will be an important extension of the ilani experience, giving our guests the opportunity to make their trip a true getaway by immersing themselves in four-star quality service and luxurious amenities overnight,” added Kara Fox-LaRose, president and general manager of ilani. “Our design team is skilled at respectfully incorporating elements of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe’s heritage, and the structure will serve as a beacon, drawing visitors from far and wide and generating economic activity for our entire region.”

Since opening ilani in April 2017, the Cowlitz Tribe has gradually expanded the property’s amenities, accommodating existing demand while investing in future growth opportunities. At opening, ilani included nearly 100,000 square feet for gaming as well as space for more than a dozen restaurants, bars and retailers; expansion is underway to add even more gaming and dining options (with completion expected in summer 2021). In 2018, the tribe added the Meeting & Entertainment Center, hosting local events and nationally known performers. Cowlitz Crossing Fuel & Convenience Store opened in 2019, and in late 2020, a six-story parking garage was unveiled. Currently, the reservation employs more than 1500 team members. The hotel tower will create additional jobs and reinforces the tribe’s commitment to its people, to self-sufficiency and to bringing economic opportunity to the region.

“A hotel for ilani has long been part of our vision, and the past four years have been dedicated to putting all the necessary elements in place,” said Philip Harju, chairman of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe. “We are thrilled to celebrate four successful years of ilani by embarking on this latest venture.”

New Hotel Brings Together Familiar and Regional Partners

Friedmutter Group from Las Vegas, which has been a vital partner on many of ilani’s construction projects, serves as the project architect. Howard S. Wright, based in nearby Portland, Oregon and currently building the forthcoming Ritz Carlton, Portland, is the general contractor.

“At Friedmutter Group, we look forward to collaborating once again with the Cowlitz Indian Tribe, ilani and the ownership teams. The hotel will build upon a successful foundation of ‘contemporary organic’ design, which permeates the original ilani development,” said Chuck Jones, senior vice president of Friedmutter Group. “Our intent is to continue weaving the Cowlitz story through architectural and design elements to create a truly unique guest experience.”

Collaborative Effort Creates Potential for Economic Growth

The hotel project is made possible through collaboration with Salishan-Mohegan Development. The Cowlitz and Mohegan tribes continue working together to master plan the Cowlitz reservation while investing in economic development that complements their existing businesses and those of their regions.

During construction, the project should make an immediate impact locally, as ilani, the Cowlitz Indian Tribe, and their team engages many local contractors and subcontractors for services. Once complete, the hotel is anticipated to employ additional team members from neighboring communities and by providing overnight stays, ilani has the potential to drive more visitors to the region.

“ilani has proven to be an attractive destination for those within driving distance. offering on-site accommodations, the property will surely attract even more meetings, conferences, events and visitors seeking a complete entertainment package as well as an opportunity to explore other parts of our region from a luxurious base,” said Cliff Myers, president and CEO of Visit Vancouver USA.

The Cowlitz Indian Tribe view the hotel as further demonstration of its commitment to the Southwest Washington region. The hotel should aid the tribe’s continued growth, which has also translated to additional resources for those in need through tribal grants and donations.

“The Cowlitz Indian Tribe and ilani have shown themselves to be good neighbors to Southwest Washington communities,” said John McDonagh, president and CEO of the Vancouver Chamber of Commerce. “In addition to supporting the Cowlitz people, the tribe has made a substantial impact on our local businesses and nonprofits, particularly during challenging times brought on by the pandemic. We congratulate the tribe on ilani’s four-year anniversary and on the next phase of its development.”

To learn more about ilani and stay informed about these projects, please visit

Located on a 159-acre site in Ridgefield, Washington, ilani, developed by the Cowlitz Tribe and Salishan-Mohegan, a partnership that includes Mohegan Sun, one of the world’s foremost gaming and entertainment developers and operators, is the Pacific Northwest’s premier gaming, dining, entertainment and meeting destination. With nearly 400,000 total square feet, ilani includes 100,000 square feet of gaming space with more than 2,500 slots and 75 gaming tables; 15 different restaurants, bars and retail outlets; and a 2,500-seat meeting and entertainment venue hosting nationally recognized performances. For more information, visit and follow ilani on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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