AURORA, Colo. -- The Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center has officially opened on the Plains near Denver International Airport.
The project has already had a large impact on the local economy: it created 10,000 construction jobs. Now, the resort will employ about 2,500 people as regular workers.
Gaylord Rockies is expected to bring more than 2 million visitors to Aurora over the first several years. More than 1.1 million room nights are already booked.
It's estimated to generate more than a $7 billion of economic activity for Colorado over the next five years.
The sheer enormity of the hotel is a first for the state. There are 1,500 rooms, eight restaurants and 485,000 square feet of convention center space. There is also a 22,000 square foot water park.
The resort cost about $800 million to build. While it is located on the prairie, the interior is designed to look like a mountain ski lodge.
Bonnie Godsman was the first guest to check into the hotel Tuesday. She is the CEO of Gamma International.
“My members were saying, 'Let’s try out Colorado. Let’s see if it fits us. And I am floored to come here. It’s just overwhelming to see the success that they’ve done," Godsman said.
Gaylord Rockies' room rates start around $250, but discounts are available for Colorado residents during December.