To visitors, walking through the hotel lobby of the new MGM resort and casino in downtown Springfield may feel like traveling through history. Every decoration, piece of furniture, stack of books and even the drinks at the old fashioned-style bar pay homage to the city of “firsts.”
“We call this industrial chic,” said Alex Dixon, general manager at MGM Springfield. “We’ve gone through a painstaking level of detail to incorporate the history of Springfield into so many different elements.”
The new casino and resort, formerly the Chandler Hotel, opened in August to more than 150,000 visitors on its first weekend.
“MGM Springfield had a tremendously successful opening weekend,” casino president and chief operating officer Michael Mathis said in a statement. “Our hotel and restaurants were fully booked with guests eager to be a part of our historic opening.”
The 14-acre property is only about an hour by train or car from the greater Meriden area.
Dixon said the easy access by train, with the opening of the Hartford Line commuter rail service, has made it simple to enjoy a day or evening at MGM.
“It’s really going to open up and re-introduce Springfield as a destination for people to get away,” he said. “Really ease of access to our property is one of the highlights.”
The resort and casino boasts a “City of Firsts” throughout the property. The Tap Sports Bar pays tribute to basketball’s founding city and the famous children’s author and illustrator Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, in his hometown.
“It’s so tastefully done from one of the centerpieces of our property which is the Armory...the structure that Dr. Seuss would look up and see as a child and helped to inspire a lot of his illustrations,” Dixon said.
Pieces of the floorboards from Seuss’ Springfield home are displayed on the wall of the sports bar. Even the light fixtures around the resort and casino ceilings pay homage to the “Horton Hears a Who” creator.
“People just have this great sense of civic pride, it’s really been this new play on how you take a modern casino and incorporate so many historical elements and how tastefully it is done,” Dixon said.
Poet Emily Dickinson, born in Amherst, is also given the spotlight treatment with lines from her poems scattered throughout the carpeting and resort decor. Dictionaries throughout the more than 200 resort rooms give a nod to Merriam-Webster, founded and headquartered in Springfield.
Significant tribute is given to the Chandler Hotel through the style of the new hotel facade and the Chandler Steakhouse.
Other notable areas include a 125,000-square-foot casino floor which features 2,550 slot machines on a carpet depicting old train tickets.
“There’s always something new and exciting every weekend,” Dixon said.
Regal Cinemas recently opened up on the property and Wahlburgers, a burger restaurant run by actor Mark Wahlberg and his family, is expected to follow in late 2019.
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