Jerry Allen, chief executive officer of 7 Cedars Casino and Hotel, looks up at the outside of the resort’s main entrance on July 7 as the building nears completion. Photo by Keith Thorpe/Olympic Peninsula News Group

Jerry Allen, chief executive officer of 7 Cedars Casino and Hotel, looks up at the outside of the resort’s main entrance on July 7 as the building nears completion. Photo by Keith Thorpe/Olympic Peninsula News Group

Jamestown S’Klallam hotel set for Aug. 4 opening

The opening for the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe’s $40 million resort project is just around the corner.

Workers in early July were putting finishing touches on the new five-story 7 Cedars Hotel, which opens Tuesday, Aug. 4.

Earlier this month, 7 Cedars Casino-Hotel CEO Jerry Allen said that most reservations so far had been from North Olympic Peninsula residents, but he predicted the guest list will expand geographically as the tribe ramps up an advertising plan for the resort.

Allen added that Texans noticeable by their number already have been clamoring for information about the 100-room hotel.

The facility, Phase 1 of a 20-year development effort, is attached to the casino to allow that seamless transition from private room to gaming table common to major gaming establishments.

Reservations opened in early July to “dozens” of inquiries, mostly from peninsula residents whose contact information was drawn from the casino’s player database in the initial push to sell rooms.

“They got the message,” Allen said.

“The phones have been alive. Think about it: For so many years, people have had to come down here, and they have to have a designated driver.”

Room prices will vary from $200 to $750, in line with what Allen labels a “four-star” hotel experience.

7 Cedars Casino chief executive officer Jerry Allen shows off a nearly-complete guest room in the casino’s adjoining resort hotel on July 7. Photo by Keith Thorpe/Olympic Peninsula News Group

7 Cedars Casino chief executive officer Jerry Allen shows off a nearly-complete guest room in the casino’s adjoining resort hotel on July 7. Photo by Keith Thorpe/Olympic Peninsula News Group

The advertising push beginning July 9 was slated for major TV networks. Several hotel packages eventually will be offered, including those featuring the tribe’s Cedars at Dungeness Golf Course.

The advertising is aimed at drawing gaming customers from the Puget Sound and I-5 corridor, so out-of-town visitors from Texas and other more-distant areas are a bonus, Allen said.

“For people coming to the Olympic Peninsula, Texas is one of the states that were showing up even before the coronavirus,” he said. “It’s been crazy.”

Wilder Pedroza of Spokane-based Custom Painting prepares a ground-floor hallway at the 7 Cedars Hotel on July 7. Photo by Keith Thorpe/Olympic Peninsula News Group

Wilder Pedroza of Spokane-based Custom Painting prepares a ground-floor hallway at the 7 Cedars Hotel on July 7. Photo by Keith Thorpe/Olympic Peninsula News Group

Safety for guests, staff

Casino hotel guests will be screened for fever and COVID-19 symptoms by employees from the hotel’s 60- to 70-person staff, who will go through the same routine as casino patrons, Allen said.

Hotel workers will use the same kind of sanitizing fogging machines in the hotel rooms that are used in the casino.

“It’s another level of disinfectant,” Allen said.

While tribes do not have to abide by Gov. Jay Inslee’s numerous executive orders for allaying the spread of the coronavirus, the Jamestown S’Klallam will likely join other lodging establishments if Inslee orders a statewide shutdown.

“If they shut down the state hospitality (industry), we would probably follow,” Allen said.

Allen is hoping Inslee opts for a regional approach.

“My gut feeling is that the government will kind of recognize it if Clallam County finds itself in pretty good numbers,” he said.

A top-floor suite presents a view of the 7 Cedars Casino and U.S. Highway 101. Photo by Keith Thorpe/Olympic Peninsula News Group

A top-floor suite presents a view of the 7 Cedars Casino and U.S. Highway 101. Photo by Keith Thorpe/Olympic Peninsula News Group

An Aug. 3 “soft opening” will be followed by an Aug. 4 official event, a small affair limited by COVID-19 restrictions that may be viewable via Zoom.

“We can’t get a crowd around there,” Allen said. “Like the Makah, Quileute and Elwha, we want to protect our elders as well.”

Design accents

In early July, workers were lugging furniture, hanging pictures and outfitting laundry rooms, bathrooms and suites with all manner of hotel necessities, from ironing boards to computer connections.

The art featured in the hotel is by Coast Salish artists and Pacific Northwest photographers.

“The directive from the leadership of 7 Cedars was to bring to life a wide array of both tribal and nature-based art, not featuring a single tribe, but rather featuring artists from all over the region,” tribe officials noted in a press release last week.

“The art collection on each floor of the hotel tells a story of a “’Layer of Life,’ Water-Land-Trees-Sky … (and) a 42-foot totem pole, carved by Nathan Gilles, named ‘Welcome to the Land of Sea to Sky’ will greet you as you enter this beautiful setting,” tribe representatives said.

The resort is being built in phases, although the hotel fronting U.S. Highway 101 at Blyn is the only sure thing for now, Allen said.

Phase 1 includes the Jamestown Java coffee shop, a 220-seat conference area, and a 5-acre parking lot.

Bicycles will be offered for rent. The grounds include a short bike-pedestrian trail wending from the resort to the tribe’s nearby Longhouse Market & Deli.

Plans are in the works to connect the trail to nearby tribal administrative offices and, potentially, the Olympic Discovery Trail.

Phase 2 would include 150-200 more rooms and added conference space and parking.

Longer-term plans could include a spa and pool.

A hallway on the 7 Cedars Hotel’s top floor is deorated with themed art and carpeting as the facility nears being ready for occupancy. Photo by Keith Thorpe/Olympic Peninsula News Group

A hallway on the 7 Cedars Hotel’s top floor is deorated with themed art and carpeting as the facility nears being ready for occupancy. Photo by Keith Thorpe/Olympic Peninsula News Group

There is no schedule for Phase 2, which will be based on how well Phase 1 does and will include a destination conference center, Allen said.

“That requires a feasibility study,” he said. “I suspect we’ll do that in the next two years.”

Allen said a sewer pipeline connection with the city of Sequim, completed last week, would accommodate Phase 2.

It links the hotel, casino, the Jamestown Public Safety and Justice Center and the Blyn Fire Station with a city extension.

Heavy snow followed by COVID-19 closures slowed construction of the connection and hotel by three months.

The tribe paid $1.6 million toward the $8.5 million in project expenditures based on the tribe using 5 percent to 6 percent of its capacity for a full-fledged resort-casino.

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