The 1,200-room Mohegan Sun hotel and casino in Uncasville, Connecticut is developing a major new 200,000-sf entertainment, shopping and dining expansion—dubbed the Downtown District. Construction on the new experience will begin later this year and is slated to debut in early 2015.
The project includes some significant offerings for meeting planners to use to their advantage. The Taste of New England Gourmet Hall will be a pavilion featuring artisan food vendors sourcing food from the 6-state region. The facility will also have a large barn structure to host special events. Mitchell Etess, CEO of the Mohegan Travel Gaming Authority, says it will include various types of group culinary experience for attendees.
Other project features include the more than 20,000-sf Kings Bowl will entice groups to bowl in its retro-inspired atmosphere. The Marquee Cinemas 14-plex Premium Cinema, a 55,000-sf complex, will give meeting planners a chance to configure theaters for special events and private viewings. High-end retail shops such as Coach, Tiffany, Sephora and Puma will also allow attendees to shop between meetings in the resort’s more than 100,000 sf of meeting space.
“From a pure destination standpoint, [the expansion] will really round out our destination in terms of having more things to do here,” Etess says. “It’s really going to expand and make us a more compelling location.”
Technically set on an Indian reservation, the resort already welcomes groups with its colorful interior designed by famous hotel architect and designer David Rockwell. The décor is reflective of the traditions of the Mohegan tribe Etess describes as “more sensory than spiritual.”
Attendees can get lost in the resort’s expansive layout, which includes attention-grabbing amenities to appease just about any entertainment need. Three casinos—Casino of the Earth, Sky and Wind—make up more than 300,000 sf of gaming entertainment. The Casino of the Sky literally glows with Wombi Rock, a crystal mountain made of imported stone, as its focal point. Luxury spa services, a 55-foot indoor waterfall, one of the world’s largest indoor planetarium domes and a KIDS Quest/Cyper Quest family entertainment facility are also available. Plus, the onsite 10,000-seat arena, 350-seat Cabaret Theater and 300-seat Wolf Den feature live concerts and sporting events, including the resort’s WNBA team, the Connecticut Sun.
The resort is like a “whole city that’s self contained,” Etess says. “You come here and enter this Mohegan world and really get hit with a sense that you don’t get anywhere else when you enter. It feels so warm and welcoming.”
And as of 2015, the new development will make the resort even more so.