Casino adds finishing touches
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By Natalie Gray  October 25, 2013 12:00 am

The Graton Resort and Casino on Tuesday welcomed media for a sneak peak preview before the upcoming grand opening on Nov. 5. 

“It’s very exciting,” said General Manager Joe Hasson of the upcoming opening. “A year ago I was standing here on dirt.”

Hasson and Vice Present of Communications, Lori Nelson, gave the media gathered an inside look at the $800 million casino before it opened its large, extravagant doors to the public and has its 32,000 square feet of white terrazzo floor crowded with visitors. Even in its current quiet state, the casino is neither silent nor empty.

Out of their hard-hats days, the Graton team was still hard at work either putting on the finishing touches to the casino, whether it was rolling on a last layer of paint over ceiling tiles or working arm-deep in wires to put together the wall of water that will enclose the valet parking drive-through. 

Three thousand slot machines were flashing bright lights, and many of the 1,250 employees were in training, mostly at one of their soon-to-be restaurant stations. 

Even with a few gaps still being filled and with instructional power points set up to give trainees the how-to guidelines, the casino was still quite a sight to finally behold.  

During the tour, Hasson pointed out how much of the interior design of the casino was carefully crafted to mimic the natural beauty of Sonoma County, such as poppy-like flower murals in the terrazzo floor, a warm gray blend of marble, glass, and mother-of-pearl shells. Hanging over the gambling room are a series of 12-foot chandeliers, suspending red petal-like glass. 

Graton seems to offer anything you could want to find in a casino; there are slot and video poker machines of every bright color and theme imaginable in their main floor room and quieter, more secluded poker and slot rooms for the more serious gambler, called the High Limit Room and Salons and High Limit Slots. 

“If there’s such a thing as a masculine poker room, this is it,” said Hasson of the High Limit Room and Salons, which also offers private back rooms for players seeking focus and quiet. The room is ordained in warm leathers and dark wood and lit with a 42-foot long chandelier. 

In the center of the casino is the Sky Bar, the only place in the building lit by skylight and perhaps the only casino bar in the country with such a trait, said Hasson. What’s more unique about this bar, according to Hasson, is that its ice is made on the roof and funneled down a shoot right into the bar. 

The casino, of course, also offers a full plate of restaurants and eateries, with nine names at their 500-seat casual dining venue The Marketplace and four sit-down restaurant options. Of the four, three are gourmet. There is M.Y. China from cooking-show host Martin Yan, Tony’s of North Beach from 11-time World Pizza Champion Tony Gemignani and the 630 Park Steakhouse, which Hasson said he believes will be the one of the finest restaurants in California. 

The Graton Resort and Casino is to open on Nov. 5 at 10 a.m. 

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