Isle's $60 Million Expansion Ready For Grand Opening

On one side of a plastic drape is the old Isle of Capri hotel. Walk past it and you enter the newly built, rather dusty, almost furnished new hotel.

"I think we can compete with the big boys now," Isle of Capri marketing director Rich Westfall said.

"I think it really gives us an opportunity to be everything that we can be here at the Isle, to compete with Beau Rivage and the Grand at that level."

Look out a hotel window, and you see a dramatically different Isle of Capri than the one that brought two riverboats to Biloxi in 1992. A new garage, a casino barge, and two hotels now sit on city and state property.

"This is all us, all the way over there," a rather amazed Westfall said.

Most rooms in the new $60 million hotel and convention center are already open. According to Westfall, the new section seems to have created quite a buzz.

"I'm looking at a culmination of a lot of hard work," he said.

Jim Franke supervised the construction project. "I like this floor the best," he said, standing outside a ballroom. "And also the suite floor, the twelfth floor is really an upgrade for them."

Right now, the twelfth floor is a collection of carpenters and painters. Soon, it will be a spacious rest area for celebrities and high rollers. The addition gives the Isle's Biloxi resort 750 hotel rooms.

"And it really gives us a chance to get people back to our property that may have gone down the street," said Westfall.

The official grand opening of the Isle's second hotel is Wednesday.