The Tucson area now has a second resort designated a Forbes Travel Guide Four Star Award winner.
Casino del Sol Resort, Spa and Conference Center was recently awarded the honor, joining The Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain.
"We were speechless," said Alex Amador, the casino's CEO. "It's a huge honor to rank at such a high level for a new property."
The resort's spa, Hiapsi Spa, and restaurant PY Steakhouse also received separate Four Star Awards from Forbes.
The spa and Core Kitchen & Wine Bar at The Ritz also have Four Star Awards, as does the spa at Omni Tucson National.
The casino resort- a $130 million expansion of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe's Casino del Sol at 5655 W. Valencia Road - opened in November 2011.
It is the second prestigious recognition for the resort, which received the AAA Four-Diamond Award last year.
Amador said he was excited to share the news with the staff because the Forbes award emphasizes service.
"That was interesting because a lot of them didn't know what it meant," he said. "We had a meeting to talk about how big of a success this is for the property and for the tribe, and you could see them light up.
"'You mean like The Ritz? We're in that category?' "
Tribal leaders reacted with pride, Amador said.
"Tribes should treat people they way you would expect to be treated," he said. "You can say it all day long, but they want you to walk the walk."
The Yaquis' Casino del Sol and Casino of the Sun have a combined 1,250 employees.
The award makes for more than just a nice plaque, said Jessica Stephens of the Metropolitan Tucson Convention and Visitors Bureau.
"It's what visitors are looking for," she said. "They can see it and automatically know this place is guaranteed.
"It keeps raising the level of our offering in Tucson and Southern Arizona."
Contact reporter Gabriela Rico at firstname.lastname@example.org or 573-4232.