By Rachel Min
If I say, I don’t gamble but I’m giving Mohegan Sun five stars, that tells you something, right? I hope it does. When I was informed that my assignment would be to experience Mohegan Sun, an enormous casino less than 3 hours away in Connecticut artfully designed with a Mohegan tribe motif, I had a hard time envisioning how I would enjoy such a place if I did not gamble at all.
Mohegan Sun is not only a spectacularly themed gaming and entertainment complex in southeastern Connecticut, the heart of the state’s tourism offering, but it is also a place of Asians, by Asians, for Asians. The hotel operates over 50 buses every day for Asian guests from New York and Massachusetts. In New York City, we can simply hop on the bus from any of the Chinatowns – Brooklyn, Flushing, or Manhattan. It took me less than three hours from Manhattan Chinatown, but travel hours could be even shorter from Flushing. According to Ayesha Ma, Mohegan Sun’s Asian advertising and public relations manager, an extensive variety of inclusive bus packages is very attractive for their Asian guests. Just by paying $15 for round trip transportation, taking advantage of the bonus value package which includes $40 worth of play and one full meal voucher equivalent to $20 at their amazing Seasons Buffet or Sunburst Buffet (or redeem the voucher for a $15 credit at any of the on-site restaurants) – it’s a $60 value for a $15 investment. So to begin with, this is already a winning bet!
Upon my arrival at Mohegan Sun, I entered a bus lobby specifically designed to welcome Asians. This entrance directly connects to Sunrise Square, an Asian experience featuring a variety of authentic Asian games that opened in 2007. A unique signature of Mohegan Sun was that we could taste all different kinds of Asian cuisines from Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese all the while enjoying the games traditional to these cultures. In fact, Mohegan Sun is dedicated to Asian market development with an Asian marketing department comprised of over 20 staff members. This kind of dedication from the owners of the casino makes it possible for the staff to pay great attention to all of the details that welcome the Asian community such as making bird’s nest soup and ginseng as was told to us by Kelly Leung, vice president of Asian marketing. With the highest investment in the customer loyalty program in the industry, it shows how much effort Mohegan Sun puts into catering and caring for their Asian guests.
In addition to convenient transportation packages and an Asian-oriented gaming environment at the second largest casino in the United States, an excellent language service is another big attraction for Asian visitors. Ernie Wu, vice president of international marketing, pointed out that more than half of the staff members at Mohegan Sun speak a variety of Asian languages and dialects. I, indeed, could always find a staff member who spoke fluently in my native tongue at any booth of the Player’s Club as well as at many game tables. Non-English speakers need not worry about language barriers here – somebody will always be there to assist so that you can maximize your enjoyment at Mohegan Sun.
Experiencing a world-class casino is not the only attraction at this premier gaming and entertainment destination. There were more exciting and relaxing activities that tempted my palate and my senses. If you have ever seen the movie “Mystic Pizza”, then I recommend that you take the half hour drive to the famous Mystic Seaport to discover the diversity that thrives within a fairly small geographical area. I had the privilege of seeing a moving bridge and tasting uniquely New England style seafood with an amazing river view. Touring the breath-taking landscapes unique to New England, Newport, and Rhode Island, I found a world of exceptional elegance and inspiration in architecture, art, and interior design. Mohegan Sun will gladly arrange a car service for this must-do visit upon request.
After the outdoors adventure, it was time to relax and invigorate my body! I had a 50 minute Swedish massage, my muscles manipulated with aromatic oils at the world-class Elemis Spa. Aside from a comprehensive range of treatments, I took pleasure in a large jacuzzi, sauna, and relaxation areas with an abundance of beverages, fruits, books, and magazines available. Relaxed and rejuvenated, I needed nourishment. At Mohegan Sun, numerous dining options are available to all guests ranging from upscale gourmet to casual convenience which includes buffets or a food court with fast-food selections. Normally, I am skeptical of any celebrity chef establishment, but Bar Americain exceeded my expectations with overall top-notch quality. Once I entered, the decor and lighting gave it a very upscale feel. The waitress introduced herself and, without hovering, she was available whenever we needed her throughout the meal. I chose 1/2 dozen oysters and spicy tuna tartar with classic garnishes for appetizers and for entrees, rib-eye steak and steamed lobster with roasted lemon butter with Bar Americain’s signature fries – the excellent flavor and freshness made me speechless. The seafood appetizers were unreal. The steak and lobster were tender and cooked perfectly, and the steak sauce was extremely tasty. Chef Bobby Flay did not disappoint and made the dining experience wonderfully exquisite.
I also enjoyed just walking around the facilities. For those who are not big gamblers, Mohegan Sun has them covered as well, with tons of places to hang out including an entire mall area with shops that are open late, not to mention bars every couple of steps. By putting the two together, who would not love a drink with your shopping?
Each year, during the week of Lunar New Year, everyone’s favorite “Fortune Guy” will be returning to hand out red envelopes to guests. A traditional Chinese lion dance and concerts round out the New Year’s events. Just for New Year’s, guests can enjoy special bus packages. Simply stated, in this writer’s humble opinion, this place rocks! For more information, check out their website @ http://mohegansun.com.