Morning News-Lisa Lete
Guests entering the new Shoshone-Bannock Hotel and Event Center will be pleasantly surprised to be greeted and assisted by a bellman, a courtesy rarely seen in Eastern Idaho. Bellman Chris Fellows opens the door for Alexandria Alvarez of Fort Hall as she visits the event center Friday morning during the soft openingof the new facility.
The customer service was impeccable and the pride was evident among all the employees, from the bellman at the front door to the women serving coffee in the deli, at Friday's soft opening of the sparkling new $47 million Shoshone-Bannock Hotel and Event Center.
Members of the tribe broke ground on the 83-acre plot of land in April of 2011, and what was approximately a 14-month construction project, is now a crown jewel in East Idaho, ready and open for business.
"This (event center) was so needed in this area," said Echo Marshall, the event center's marketing manager. "It's so upscale and really has a destination feel to it."
The five-story state of the art building features 156 hotel rooms and 11 suites which interconnect with two additional rooms in each. The five floors are named after animals that are of particular importance to the Shoshone-Bannock tribes: salmon, elk, bear, buffalo and eagle. Hotel guests can also enjoy a spa, a souvenir/gift shop, a large fitness facility, an indoor heated pool and a hot tub.
The event center is home to two restaurants: Deka Ghani Deli is a breakfast and lunch deli where the specialty is stuffed fried Indian bread. Camas is a fine dining restaurant featuring the culinary expertise of executive chef Steve Uriccho, who has cooked in fine restaurants in Paris and Las Vegas.
The 15,000 square foot adjoining Chief's Event Center has 10 breakout rooms with each one named after a tribal chief. The event center can accommodate 900 guests for sit-down dinners and up to 1,400 for meetings, trade shows or concerts.
"The decor is reflective of our Native American heritage," Marshall said as she pointed out the shimmering colors on the walls of pink and oranges, blues and greens, depictive of the sides of a salmon, one of the tribes' native fish.
"All of the beautiful native artwork on the walls has been done by local artists," she added. "There's a lot of unique cultural appeal in all areas of the building."
Marshall said plans are in the works to eventually join the event center with the neighboring casino.
An official 'grand opening' will be on Aug. 17, starting with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10 a.m. A dinner will be conducted at 6 p.m with live entertainment following at 7. For more information about the event center, call 208-238-4800 or log on to www.shobanhotel.com