AIRWAY HEIGHTS, WA – The Kalispel Tribe of Indians has completed construction on its newest expansion, a 192-room second hotel tower at Northern Quest Resort & Casino. Open to the public May 1, 2023, the new River Tower will bring the total number of hotel rooms at Northern Quest up to 442, making it the largest casino resort in Washington State.
The River Tower is located west of the existing 250-room Canoe Tower that was opened to the public in 2010, connected by a new skybridge. The structure’s design was inspired by the concept of a Native American fish weir. Weirs were often constructed by groups of tribal members and used as a community-focused fishing technique where Native peoples could gather to fish, trade, and celebrate. The River Tower’s external design elements give the impression of a hand-woven basket, enhanced with wooden accent walls and balconies. The overall interior design of the River Tower was inspired by the earthy tones found near the river and prairies of the Kalispel reservation. At 130,000 total sq. ft., the six-story River Tower features 192 rooms and suites. The breakdown includes nearly 100 Signature King rooms and approximately 75 Signature Double Queen rooms. The remaining suites all have outdoor balcony access, providing a new outdoor option for guests to enjoy.
“We are thrilled to welcome guests to our new River Tower where they can count on luxurious surroundings, as well as the excellent Kalispel hospitality they’ve come to expect at Northern Quest,” said Nick Pierre, General Manager and Kalispel Tribal Council Member. “When we broke ground on this hotel tower in February 2021, the world was still in the process of recovering from the global pandemic, but we were confident when we moved forward with this project that travel, group business, and entertainment would bounce back in big ways. The Kalispel Tribe continues to look toward the future and will continue bringing exciting new amenities to Northern Quest as we strive to be the destination of choice in the region.”
The tribal-inspired designs continue throughout the public areas of the new River Tower, as well as in the individual rooms and suites. The new west-facing River Tower lobby features the largest custom Arktura wall in the region, with perforated LED backlit panels that highlight a historical image of Kalispel tribal members in a sturgeon-nosed canoe floating down the Pend Oreille River. A new 2,000 sq. ft. meeting space just off of the new lobby, called the River Room, is equipped with built-in projectors and screens, with seating for up to 130 guests.
The 1,600 sq. ft. skybridge connects the existing Canoe Tower to the River Tower. The inspiration for the skybridge design ties back directly to the bridge that connects the community of Cusick across the Pend Oreille River to the Kalispel reservation. The metal artwork designs in the skybridge were designed, fabricated, and installed by Kalispel tribal members working at Kalispel Metal Products. The Coffee Corner kiosk located inside the skybridge features Thomas Hammer coffee and will initially be open during weekend mornings – Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 6:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., and as announced, based on large in-house conference groups. Comfortable seating areas throughout the skybridge invite hotel and conference guests to enjoy the fireplace, natural light, and beautiful views. A centrally located state-of-the-art fitness center on the second floor features treadmills, Peloton bikes, elliptical machines, recumbent bikes, a rowing machine, universal weights, an interactive fitness mirror and ballet bar.
All new rooms in the River Tower include the luxurious Northern Quest spa showers and built-in blue motion sensor-activated nightlights in the bathrooms. Each room includes its own coffee maker, refrigerator, USB-A and USB-C outlets, irons and ironing boards, robes, and signature throw blankets. Most rooms feature a tule mat hand-woven by Kalispel tribal members, with the shape of the Pend Oreille River painted on the mat and housed in a shadow box. Other rooms feature original artwork by Kalispel tribal artist Hannah Monkiewicz. Historical tribal photos are included on all in-room amenities, including shampoo/conditioner and bars of soap.
“We are proud to feature many important Kalispel tribal cultural elements throughout our new hotel tower,” said Apryl Hilborn, Kalispel Tribal Member and Director of Rooms. “Every suite not only has a room number, but has been named after a tree that is native to Kalispel lands. Those names are listed outside the rooms in Salish, the tribe’s Native language. The English translation will be referenced inside each suite. We are proud of our heritage and were intentional about the ways we wanted to share it with our guests.”
The opening of the River Tower has created approximately 50 new jobs, bringing the number of full-time and part-time team members at Northern Quest and the Kalispel Tribal Economic Authority to nearly 1,900.