Coming Soon To Mohegan Sun: Aspire, An All-New VIP Hotel Experience On Floors 31-36 In Sky Tower
This was the title of Cody Chapman’s, Public Relations Manager for Mohegan Sun, reported the above news last week. He says, “The iconic Sky Tower will soon be rolling out an enhanced & luxurious experience for hotel guests when Aspire at Mohegan Sun opens up by the end of the year.” The hotel within a hotel has been a trend in recent years. Now, Mohegan Sun is raising the bar for all New England’s casino hotels.
Four Seasons Hotel is in the top of Mandalay Bay Resort Casino, Las Vegas
Kelly Villasuso from Opulence, a luxury travel & living website, reported, “More than a decade ago, MGM Resorts International introduced a novel concept, now mirrored by other luxury hotels throughout the world, at their Mandalay Bay property in Las Vegas. They dedicated the top five floors of the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino as a separately branded, smaller hotel — a Four Seasons Hotel to be exact — complete with its own private entrance, dedicated express elevators, and uber-luxuriant surroundings and service.”
Nobu Hotel at Caesars Palace and Hotel 32 at the Monte Carlo (changing into the NoMad at Park MGM) on the Las Vegas Strip are more examples of hotels adding magnificence above grandeur.
Mohegan Sun Sky Hotel
Cody goes on to explain, “The new “hotel within a hotel” in the 1,200-room Sky Tower, will be on floors thirty-one through thirty-six, and allow its guests to take advantage of exclusive access to a fully remodeled luxury food & drink experience entitled, Thirty Three, in reference to its location on the 33rd floor, overlooking the Thames River. Various additional perks await Aspire hotel guests including private check-in, exclusive elevator access and butler service.
“Aspire & Thirty Three will become two of the most opulent experiences Mohegan Sun offers our hotel guests. We’re thrilled to launch this offering at the end of the year.” – President & General Manager of Mohegan Sun, Ray Pineault.
Floor 33 will provide a spectacular, sky-high New England view with exclusive access to Thirty Three, a luxury food & drink experience overlooking the Thames River. Aspire guests will have access to the new space, where delicious food options, wide screen TVs, private table games and a complimentary bar await. Additionally, Aspire guests will have a private hotel arrival experience at Aquai, access to a private elevator bay and upgraded furnishings in their room or suite, as well as their own butler service. In total, Aspire accounts for 93 rooms on the top floors of Sky Tower.
So, here’s to a new kind of hotel experience to try, opening at the end of the year.
NETG stayed spent the night in Mohegan’s Earth Tower.
FYI – It’s not really a “tower.”
But it has 12 stories of ultra modern decor and amenities in a slightly smaller package.
The Earth Hotel Lobby
To start with, it has it’s own lobby, which can be reached from the Winter Garage, or the main hotel lobby. Across from the lobby you’ll find four areas to socialize in. The furniture and accessories are soothing, a great place to sit back after a day of the convention or the tables. Include the new Bean & Wine Bar, with sandwiches, desserts, and beverages, and you have a great area to start your visit or end your day.In the warmer months, there are numerous outdoor fireplaces and benches to entertain old friends or meet new ones.
The rooms are smaller than the Sky Tower, but the ambiance and furnishings make you tend to forget it. The long lighted wall behind the beds makes it feel larger. Lots of technological thinking provides many gadgets and necessities for Millennials to Boomers. Numerous USB ports for powering devices are included. The room key doesn’t need to be inserted, just held up to the sensor. And some of the light switches are touch sensitive, also. The bathroom is modest with a large shower. In room amenities include:
Mini Bar (coming soon)
While we had asked for a King Bed, we were given 2 queens – first come, first served they said.
SOME TWEAKS NEEDED
As with any new opening, there are some tweaks to be made. One VERY uncomfortable part of the room was temperature. The thermostat just didn’t work as efficiently as it should. It’s hard to understand and the “ECO” setting seems to mess up any continuous temp. At one point it read 72, but the room was cooling off at 69 degrees.
To make matters worse, a small vent above the closest bed kept shooting cold air down on one of the beds, causing the bed to be unusable. Staff in the lobby said it had been a problem in other rooms as well, but they’re working on it.
I should mention that while it is nicely decorated, some of the furniture seems a little cheap, namely the drawers (shelves) for clothing.
I’m sure all the things that need fixing will get the attention they need. But, if I had a choice, I would stay in the Sky hotel until the bugs are taken care of. Soon, Mohegan Sun will have two outstanding hotels for you to choose from.
Mohegan Sun is not waiting patiently by to see what the next competition is, or what the next trend is in the casino world. They are actively pushing their brand forward, and in the process, building what they see are immediate needs to visitors and the local communities.
This is in direct conflict with casino construction in America recently. Big mega-resorts are not the norm any more – although Wynn Boston Harbor & MGM
This depicts the areas where some form of legal gambling can be found in America
Springfield in New England as well as MGM National Harbor in the D.C. area. Two of the latest casino interests are:
The Convenience Casino – Smaller, local casinos with less amenities, a few restaurants and mostly slots, if not all slots. For many a slot player, convenience trumps the amenities that make up the gaming “experience.” Close to home gets the nod.
Bettendorf, Iowa Riverboat casino. These casinos do not have to travel on the river – they stay where they are.
Especially if you can’t get to the major hubs of Las Vegas, AC, or Biloxi. Examples are Plainridge Park, in Plainville, MA., and numerous racinos and riverboat casinos throughout the country.
The Urban Casino –
Greektown Casino, in the heat of Detroit, Michigan
They are built, usually in already existing buildings, although major renovations or completely new buildings like MGM Springfield, are also included. Detroit has made good on the small “urban casino” projects. They are built in an already existing Downtown area, made to fit in the existing landscape of the city, and are not dependent upon having a hotel.
The Boutique Casino – a fairly vague answer to the Mega-Casinos of Las Vegas. Basically, they are a smaller, quaint, not necessarily a chain or a franchise hotel, where the hotel and casino are downsized. The Cromwell in Las Vegas is a good example.
Still, Mohegan Sun, a mega-resort/casino, pushes on as the antithesis of those trends.
Retail, Water Park, Senior Living and more in Preston
The Norwich hospital site bought by Preston. In the far top, Mohegan Sun sits.
Kathleen McWilliams, a reporter for the Hartford Courant, recently reported the “plan for the former Norwich Hospital site in Preston CT, (just across the river from the casino), [will be made] into a dozen amenities, including an indoor water park, a senior living center and a sports complex. This huge plan also includes include outdoor and indoor entertainment attractions, a large performing venue, time share units, retail, an RV park and marina. The plan includes restaurant space, a convenience store and gas station.”
“With up to $600 million in possible development, we will stimulate growth, drive new business and help strengthen the local economy,” Mohegan Tribal Chairman Kevin Brown said, referring to the 393-acre brownfield site that has been vacant since the state shuttered the hospital’s doors in 1996. The property was sold by the state to Preston in 2009 for $1. $20 million, including $9 million from the state, has been spent cleaning up the property and demolishing dozens of buildings to make way for new development.
Mohegan Tribal Chairman Kevin Brown stands with a bronze sculpture of his ancestor Mohegan Chief Matahga, Burrill Fielding. (Mohegan Sun)
Is this designed to make the the casino a bigger attraction? Not really. Mohegan Tribal Chairman Kevin Brown said the intentions are:
to offer options for Mohegan Sun visitors who aren’t as interested in gambling.
to add at least 750 construction jobs and hundreds of permanent full time positions.
to solidify Mystic country in southeastern Connecticut as a top tourism destination
a big step forward that will allow the town to double its grand list, said Preston First Selectman Bob Congdon
The Earth Tower
New Earth Hotel, at Mohegan Sun 2017
Recently, the Mohegan Tribe opened of the Earth Tower. The main reasons for The Earth Tower? – competition from other casinos and the need for more rooms attached. The tribe says it has turned away 1 million room requests in just the last year. Consideration to the many conventioneers was completed this fall. (Look for a review next week, after a brief stay in the Earth Tower.) A previous post discussions the opening – Earth Hotel Opens at Mohegan Sun
Conference Center Expansion
Area to the top left is for the proposed Expo Center
Long before they christened their second hotel tower a couple of months ago, Mohegan Sun officials were engaged in planning another relatively modest expansion, this one an $80 million conference center. “It’s not definite that it’s a go, but we’re in the advanced planning stages,” said Bobby Soper, president and chief executive officer of the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority. He said the planning began a year ago.
According to Brian Hallenbeck, of the New London Day, “The proposed Mohegan Sun Expo Center…..Mohegan Sun officials believe would enable the casino to capture most of the 85,000 “room nights” a year it now turns away because of a lack of meeting space. Last June’s “highly successful” Barrett-Jackson collector car auction, held at Mohegan Sun Arena, “validates the proposition…” The proposed conference center would be located in a vacant area next to the casino’s Winter Garage and would link the garage, the Earth Casino and the Earth Tower “Everything will be under one roof,” Soper said. “Whether you’re staying at Earth, or Sky or visiting the conference center, it’s going to be all under one roof.”
MMCT & CT’s 3rd Casino
All this while the Mohegan Tribe is slowly trying to add a third casino in the Bradley Airport in a joint venture with the Mashentucket Pequots of Foxwoods fame. The MMCT was formed by the two tribes to to propose the third casino. Progress in choosing the location has set-back plans and dulled support.
So, Mohegan Sun is not finished in building out of the recession. As MGM Springfield is keeping the the rejuvination of the city of Springfield, MA. in its sights, so does the Mohegan tribe in expanding the tourist industry for southeast Connecticut, and the state as a whole.