HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort has opened its new hotel, spa and event center, an expansion project that began in 2019.
“We are taking luxury to a whole new level in Arkansas,” said Louis Cella, president of Oaklawn. “It will enhance the entertainment experience at Oaklawn, in Hot Springs and throughout Arkansas, which will further elevate our status as a leading tourism and recreation destination.”
The expansion project includes a 15,000-square-foot event center that can seat up to 1,500 people. Conferences, concerts, and banquets will take place in the space, which features a 1,900-square-foot stage with a large video wall. Additionally, four meeting rooms are available for smaller gatherings or for breakout sessions. Each room is named after the area’s recreational lakes: Catherine, Hamilton, Ouachita, and DeGray.
The Hotel at Oaklawn is eight stories tall with 198 rooms, including two presidential suites. Each room offers amenities such as fine linens and large-screen televisions. From the hotel’s location adjacent to the racetrack, patrons can watch Thoroughbred racing and take in the scenic views of Hot Springs and the Valley of the Vapors.
Cella says the expansion will strengthen Oaklawn’s economic impact in Arkansas through the creation of approximately 400 new jobs, generation of state and local tax revenue, and related commerce.
The expanded gaming center represents the first phase of the project. The center opened in early 2020, creating space for more than 1,500 slot machines and 33 gaming tables. Guests can explore the new ‘High Limits’ area with more than 80 slot machines, three high-limit blackjack tables, and a private outdoor patio.
“This was a 28-month construction project,” said Cella. “Our wonderful team members here at Oaklawn did outstanding work to navigate the inherent challenges that come with a massive construction project. On top of that, they had to manage a pandemic and a historic winter storm, and they did so with grit and determination.”