The Muckleshoot Casino Resort offers some stellar views, as shown here by Robert Dearstine, executive director of Resort Operations, looking south toward Mount Rainier, which is visible on a clear day. Photo by Robert Whale/

The Muckleshoot Casino Resort offers some stellar views, as shown here by Robert Dearstine, executive director of Resort Operations, looking south toward Mount Rainier, which is visible on a clear day. Photo by Robert Whale/

Muckleshoot Tribe's new luxury Auburn hotel tower celebrates grand opening

The 18-story, 401-room tower looms large over city; casino began in tent in 1995

It may be hard to believe looking up and around today, but the Muckleshoot Casino in Auburn started out in a tent in 1995.

Things have sure come a long way.

Last weekend, the Muckleshoot Tribe welcomed in thousands to gawk and to ooh and awe its new, 18-story, 401-room luxury hotel tower, the largest of its kind in the state, surpassing even the 12-story, 370-room Tulalip Resort Casino near Marysville (north of Everett), and the 300-room, 14-story Ilani Casino Resort in Ridgefield (north of Vancouver).

At 198.8 feet, it is the tallest building between Tacoma and Seattle and can be seen from Highway 18 looking to the south.

“You can even see Seattle from here,” said Robert Dearstine, executive director of Resort Operations for the Tribe, as he led a guest about up and down and around the hotel tower.

Attention to detail is evident wherever one looks, starting with the waterworks alongside the main entrance and the giant video display above it, under which the resort offers complementary valet service.

“We tried to go really heavy with technology on this property,” Dearstine said, indicating the video display and its pretty nature scenes.

Registration and check in are just inside the entrance, flanked on the left by a grab-and-go restaurant called Kupi, the Whulshootseed word for coffee.

The hotel also offers Gaff & Spear, a traditional cocktail style bar and lounge with a relaxed atmosphere, gaming, and top-shelf spirits.

Atop the 18 stories of hotel is the Smoke & Cedar restaurant, which offers fine dining, and soon, a supervised play area/arcade for children. Although they will not open until this April, other amenities to include an indoor, climate-controlled pool and signature spa treatments.

Between the first floor and the pinnacle, the hotel tower offers 401 guest rooms, 27 of them suites, the largest of those coming in at 2,208 square feet. Every suite has a different theme from Harvest to River to Camas to Asian-inspired. Each suite has a deep soaking tub and television ranging from 65 inches to 85 inches.

Scattered generously throughout the hotel are 2,500 art pieces either from tribal members or inspired by the surroundings.

Sixty percent of the accommodations on the south side allow for panoramic views of Mount Rainier, while other rooms on the north side provide a view of the Olympic Mountains.

According to the tribe, the resort was envisioned as the “pinnacle of expansion” which “completely re-envisions the gaming destination.”

Tribe and casino officials declined to disclose the cost. They did, however, acknowledge that the recently enhanced casino and resort hotel answers its need to respond and meet “guest demand” and “a widening customer base.”

“The Muckleshoot Indian Tribe has a history of innovation and leadership in Indian gaming,” Muckleshoot Casino General Manager Conrad Granito said in a 2021 news release. “This logical evolution of their well-respected casino brand acknowledges consumer desires for a one-stop entertainment destination where fun, relaxation and dining beyond anything the market currently offers is just steps away.”

Regarding the tribal-owned firework stands sales lot and discharge area, gaming officials said in an email that “usage will continue independently of the casino.”


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The Muckleshoot Casino Resort has some stellar views. Photo by Robert Whale/

The Muckleshoot Casino Resort has some stellar views. Photo by Robert Whale/

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