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Hacienda to transform into Hoover Dam Lodge

15 July 2014

By Howard Stutz

Ally Estey grew up in Oregon, spending many weekends in rustic lodges at several of the state’s destinations, including Crater Lake.

When it came time to help redesign the run-down Hacienda near Boulder City, which was purchased in December by Nevada Restaurant Services, Inc. — parent company of the Dotty’s tavern chain — she decided to bring the feel of the northwest to the hotel-casino that overlooks the Lake Mead Recreational Area.

Estey and Hacienda general manager Steve Des Champs on Monday showed off some of the ongoing construction work that is converting the Hacienda into the Hoover Dam Lodge. The name change is expected to be finalized by the fall with most renovation completed by the end of the year.

“When you bring a building down to the studs, you learn a lot more sometimes than you expected,” said Estey, who serves as the casino marketing and store development director for the Dotty’s tavern chain.

Nevada Restaurant Services is owned by her father, Craig Estey, who created the business model in Oregon and brought the concept to Nevada in 1995. Dotty’s operates more than 80 statewide stand-alone taverns, in addition to serving as the slot machine route operator for gaming areas inside Nevada-based Food 4 Less and Kmart stores.

The Hacienda is 3½ miles from Hoover Dam on U.S. Highway 93.

NORTHWEST LODGE FEEL

When the renovation is completed, the Hoover Dam Lodge will have all new exterior reminiscent of a northwest lodge. The hotel’s lobby area and main entrance will lose its theme of old Mexico and be transformed into a lodge theme with use of rock and timber enhancements, and a large stone fireplace that will serve as a gathering place.

What won’t change is the property’s connection with third-party tour operators, offering trips to nearby Hoover Dam, water rafting excursions along the Colorado River, and helicopter tours of the Grand Canyon and the Lake Mead area.

Des Champs said half of the Hacienda/Hoover Dam Lodge’s customer base comes from Boulder City and Henderson. The other half are brought by the outdoor activities that surround the property.

“During boating season, the parking lot is filled with cars with boat trailers,” Des Champs said. “That’s a customer base we will continue to give a tremendous amount of focus.”

Nevada Restaurant Services is privately held, so the company did not reveal a cost to purchase the Hacienda, nor has it publicly offered a budget to transform the building into the Hoover Dam Lodge.

“It’s a multimillion-dollar renovation,” Des Champs said.

Ally Estey, who created the property’s newly designed rooms, showed off the sample of the three styles Monday. All contain a “rustic desert lodge motif,” which include upgraded fixtures and new in-room amenities.

The Hoover Dam Lodge will have 280 rooms following completion of the initial phase.

EMPLOYMENT ROLLS COULD RISE

Following the completion of the sale in December, the Hacienda reopened a small potion of the casino and downsized the number of slot machines from 300 games to 150 machines.

When the renovation is complete, the Hoover Dam Lodge will have 250 to 300 slot machines, including electronic table games. The casino will have two 50-slot machine areas themed after the Dotty’s tavern business and a third casino area.

The property will include two restaurants — a steakhouse and 24-hour cafe — along with a planned sports bar concept that includes non-gambling games such as Foosball and restaurant menu with a Louisiana theme.

Des Champs said the property currently employs 99 worker but could increase to 125 when the renovation is complete.

Additional phases include a hotel-room expansion and pool area that over looks Lake Mead and the development of 17 acres across Highway 93 into a truck stop/travel center with several food outlets, a convenience store and a fueling station for automobiles and trucks.


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Howard Stutz
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