Isleta Pueblo opens new hotel and convention center

By Renee Fajardo
Photos by Todd Pierson
News From Indian Country 10-08

Isleta Pueblo is located in the Río Grande Valley, 13 miles south of Albuquerque. It is the third largest pueblo in New Mexico with over 180,000 acres and an estimated 4,000 residents. The Pueblo’s diverse terrain ranges from the forested Manzano Mountains on the east across the fertile Río Grande Valley to the desert mesa lands of the Río Puerco on the west.

Historically troubled following the Pueblo Revolt of the 1680s when the entire tribe went into exile, today they have become a modern day success story of sustainability and economic prosperity.

Through business savvy and perseverance the tribe has re-established them selves as farmers, artist and business entrepreneurs.

At the apex of their success is the Isleta Casino & Resort. While the casino started from humble beginnings as just a small bingo tent, today the complex is a 1,000 million dollar architecture marvel.

This July the new resort, three years in the planning, opened their doors to the public.

Rodney Ferguson, general manager who was hired by the tribe to spearhead the design and building process of the property said, “Everything you see in this resort reflects the art and culture of the Isleta people. From the atrium that is symbolic of  eagle feathers to the carpet leading in to the seminar rooms that represents the rivers and flow of life to the amazing outdoor adobe style architecture, we have  a visual presence that is distinct.”


The resort is owned and operated entirely by the Isleta Tribe. It has provided jobs for tribal members (16 percent of employees are Isleta), supports 40 health, education and social programs on the Pueblo and showcases over 30 Isleta artists.

The Casino is a spectacular 300,000-square-foot Las Vegas style facility with slots, table’s games and poker. Like its Nevada counterpart the gaming is only half the story. The resort is a self-contained destination vacation spot.

Isleta is not just for grown up kids.  There are  two facilities on site that cater to family. First for the peanut butter and jelly crowd, 3-12 year olds, is Kids Connection on the first floor of the hotel. Features include a Karaoke Center (where the little ones are broadcast on television screens overhead), a basketball gym, and a media room with arcade and movies in addition to a play area.

The Isleta Fun Connection is housed adjacent to the casino. Here old and young alike can enjoy bowling on full sized lanes, laser tag, billiards and “big kid” arcade games.

The resorts 201 rooms are large and luxurious with plush towels, designer bedding, whirlpool baths, artistic décor and an open air lobby filled with light, water falls and glass elevators. Guests on the concierge level enjoys complimentary evening hor’deurves and continental breakfast.

isletapool08.jpgThe pool and spa are a traveler’s delight. The terraced patio style indoor/outdoor pool is a great place for   water fun all year long. An immense pressurized glass wall keeps the inside temperature comfortable even in the freeze of winter.

A pool side beverage and café service is also available. The Spa at Isleta offers services from massages, body wraps, pedicures, manicures, body piercing, hair services and waxing. The most unique feature of the spa is the outdoor Jacuzzi area called the “Jar.”

Designed exclusively for the resort, this open air cabana is fashioned to replicate the pottery style of the Isleta. It features a showering waterfall that cascades into a circular river below. Guest can relax in the oversized loungers or soak in the 98 degree waters.

The dining experience at Isleta is as diverse as the patrons who visit the resort. From down home cooking to Nuevo cuisine, there is something for every one at the properties nine eateries.

The entire family will enjoy the abundant offerings at the all you can eat buffet, Ma Tu Ey. For up-scale dining, The Tiwa Steak House is elegant and romantic. Craves Asian Bistro offers freshly prepared Asian dishes and full-service dining around the clock, Eagles Nest Café offers a wide variety of  breakfast foods, sandwiches and entrees.

Live music on weekends is a happening scene at the two night clubs.

At the 777’s patrons can groove to funk or hip hop; on over to 505 Fusion for some good old rock and roll New Mexican style. This night club also has some great cross-over dining, where European Chic and island tropical meet the South West.

The Bingo Showroom offers world class sporting boxing events and national entertainment acts.

The Pueblo’s artisans are world renown. The Gallery at Isleta showcases   pottery, paintings, sculptures, ceramics and prints of local artist Stella Teller, Vernon, Tony Jojola, Raphaelito Lito and many more. On the business side of things there is over 30,000 square feet of meeting and seminar rooms, a grand ballroom and a high tech business center.

And if you are still wondering what to do, visit the 27 hole championship Eagle Golf Course, or fish/picnic at Isleta Lakes Recreational Complex and RV Park.

For more information visit or call 1-8--777-ISLETA and for local attractions call the Albuquerque Visitors and Convention Bureau at  1-800-733-9918.

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