If you want to know just how special Mohegan Sun is, let this example show you.
As it turns out, the service is so impeccable that you are likely to be wowed the minute you check in.
You see, upon arrival, the staff – one of the best I have ever experienced in the hotel industry – is likely to inquire why you are vising the property – from the moment you arrive at reception. “Are you celebrating a special occasion?” you are likely to be asked. And on more than one occasion, a guest is likely to say that they are celebrating a birthday. What happens next? “After check-in, there’s a cake waiting for you in your room,” says Jeff Hamilton, President and General Manager, who granted me an exclusive interview for Forbes.com.
“Our service is genuine,” he told me. “We have a diverse workforce – with no script – we let our staff be themselves, so you feel as though you are entering someone’s home. It’s a great place to work – our staff has longevity, and flexibility in their own special way.”
Mr. Hamilton went on to explain that for most people, “You never remember the check-in. But we make every point of contact memorable.”
It is not surprising, then, that Mohegan Sun has been awarded AAA Five-Diamond status for numerous years in a row. This is one heck of a luxury hotel, owned by the Mohegan Tribe.
Of course, there is gaming inside the casino – but my visit proves that there is much more in store, for the entire family.
Mohegan Sun’s Casino of the Earth and Casino of the Sky feature world-class entertainment, meeting, shopping, gaming and dining facilities. Its more than 225,000 square feet of gaming includes more than 300 table games, a 33-table Poker Room, and more than 4,000 slots. Great fun for gamers.
We found that we were just astounded by the restaurants, starting with our dinner at TAO, an Asian Bistro and Lounge. Our experience was terrific, starting with the edamame lightly dusted with salt. When you’re here, be sure to try the TAO-tini, a mix of mango vodka, coconut rum, and lemon and cranberry. It is just one of many special martinis on the menu. To splurge, you might select the $199 tomahawk steak (32 ounces). I opted for the honey-glazed salmon and it was roasted to perfection. Other delights include the chicken dumplings and a superb Chilean sea bass, a melt-in-your-mouth concoction that has been featured on the Food Network – and with good reason. It’s the type of menu item you want to order again and again.
For dessert, we opted for the Giant Fortune Almond Fortune Cookie complemented with chocolate mousse and seasonal fruits. This is a spectacular special ending, and my advice? No matter what restaurant you dine in, you can always visit TAO to indulge in this sweet sensation. We knew we struck good fortune when we ate it.
Other guaranteed crowd-pleasing restaurants include Ballo Italian Restaurant, Seasons Buffet, The Landsdowne Irish Pub and Music House, Tom’s Urban and Phantasia at Sunrise Square. In total, there are 40 dining options, and these also include Johnny Rockets, Ben & Jerry’s, Bobby’s Burger Palace, Carlo’s Bakery, and the unforgettable Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana, probably one of the best pizza palaces in the entire world (which was founded in nearby New Haven). No matter your taste preferences, or your budget – you’re sure to find a superlative restaurant here.
Mohegan Sun’s spacious guest rooms – including roughly 200 suites – feature a minimum of 450 square feet per room. Each provides luxurious bathrooms, deluxe bedding and linens, three two-line telephones, a full working desk area with an ergonomic chair and more. The best rooms in the house? The Royal Suite (there are two of them) offering more than 3,500 square feet, and great views of the Thames River. There are five different suite levels priced at approximately $1,500 on weekends, and $799 during the week.
And of course, if you’re a high-roller, you’re going to stay in the best suites in the house. High-rollers receive the services of a butler (who are trained in-house) and in this environment, there is no “No.” “If you ask for something, we’ll provide it if it legal,” Mr. Hamilton told me. And of course, it’s no problem if you have a private jet. You can land at the local Groton Airport, or use the helipad at the property. “Some customers come all the way from California,” Mr. Hamilton added. And many times, food is shipped in specially from restaurants in New York City, to please a guest.
What else is in store? We visited during Christmas week, and were treated to an unusual Escape Room in the Winter Wonderland and the delights of a life-sized, incredible, gingerbread house that is so massive it required building plans and 4,300 gingerbread “bricks.” There is also an enormous gym that was a pleasure to work out in, plus a Sky Tower Hotel indoor pool, which is a hit with guests. If you like to play golf, there’an 18-hole championship golf course that invites guests to play on one of the truly hidden gems of southeastern Connecticut.
Like to shop? There are more than 70 restaurant and retail outlets in a 135,000-sq.-ft. premium retail area. You’ll find traditional favorites such as Coach, Godiva, Victoria’s Secret, Le Creuset, The Art of Shaving, Tommy Bahama, and Sephora, for example. I would say that the most unique store there is Chocolux, a women-owned sweet boutique offering gourmet chocolates from around the world. Here, you’ll find favorites such as Lindt, Godiva and Neuhaus, plus under-the-radar brands such as Milkboy from Switzerland, the artistic and delighted truffles from Norman Love, and sugar-free sweets from Tom & Jenny’s.
The entertainment here is also stellar. We attended the Christmas concert of Marie Osmond, and it was a breathtaking experience in the 10,000-seat Arena. Past Arena performers include the best from every generation and genre from Prince and Bon Jovi to Keith Urban, Van Halen, Jennifer Lopez, and Justin Timberlake. Rod Stewart will be performing in August – so get your tickets now.
So lets say you visit TAO and order the giant Fortune cookie. No matter what yours says, one thing is for sure: “You are going to have an excellent time at Mohegan Sun.”
For more about my Wanderlust Travels, please Follow me on Instagram at @DebbiKickham.