Story last updated at 4:37 p.m. Thursday, June 13, 2002

Seldovia Native Association opens Anchorage hotel
by Sepp Jannotta
Staff Writer

photo: news
  Alaska Journal of Commerce Photo
The Diamond Center Hotel in South Anchorage undergoes final preparation earlier this year. The Hotel opened June 1.  
On the first day of June, the doors of the Seldovia Native Association's new $14 million Dimond Center Hotel in South Anchorage swung wide.

During festivities Wednesday to celebrate the grand opening, dignitaries from the Kachemak Bay village made it official, declaring the hotel to be "Alaska's newest jewel."

The 158-room "boutique" hotel is the centerpiece to a long-range plan as the Native corporation very consciously becomes a player in Alaska's tourism industry.

"This is an exiting moment for Seldovia Native Association," said Michael Beal, the Native corporation's chief executive officer.

"It is the first big step toward the completion of our tourist vision," he said. "We want to show people that some of the most beautiful lands are located in Seldovia."

The hotel features luxury amenities and is intended for business as well as leisure travels.

The interior, which sports a bar and cafE, is loaded with Alaska Native artifacts and Seldovia references. Staff at the concierge desk plan to stay well informed on the recreation and cultural possibilities travelers to Kachemak Bay might enjoy.

The first goal, in the eyes of the Native corporation, is to see the hotel make money, and in the process to raise Seldovia's profile with the traveling public, Beal said.

"We hope in the long run it'll pay big benefits and we hope that it's something the people of Seldovia will be proud of," he added.

The ultimate plan is for the Anchorage hotel to be a jumping-off point for a network of Seldovia Native Association-owned wilderness lodges and Bush retreats.

Beal said the ultimate philosophy is that in utilizing its lands along Kachemak Bay and in Lake Clark area to support tourism, the Seldovia Native Association will be better able to protect the beauty of those lands over the long haul.