Courtesy L’Auberge Casino
Meeting at a casino resort is more a sure bet than a gamble, especially as more casinos add or expand their hotels, meeting space or both.
Among the states seeing a flurry of development is Louisiana, where Jimmy Buffett’s contribution to the gaming world, Margaritaville, is under construction in Shreveport/Bossier City, and L’Auberge Casino is expanding its presence with a casino and hotel in Baton Rouge. The company already has a large casino resort in Lake Charles. Also in Louisiana, Coushatta Casino Resort recently opened a 401-room hotel.
In Michigan, the Pokagon band of Potawatomi Indians opened a new 250-room hotel tower at its casino this summer. In Shawnee, Okla., a 161-suite hotel is under way at the Grand Casino and Resort.
Here’s a look at five projects.
Four Winds Casino Resorts
New Buffalo, Mich.
Four Winds Casino Resorts in New Buffalo, Mich., has expanded its hotel and added a Hard Rock Cafe and an events center. Tucked into a wooded area some 60 miles east of Chicago, the resort is owned by the Pokagon band of Potawatomi Indians.
“It’s a hidden gem,” said Timothy Adams, sales and catering manager.
In July, Four Winds unveiled 250 new standard guest rooms and suites in a nine-story tower. The resort, which opened in 2007, already had 165 guest rooms.
Off the back of the main gaming floor, a 16,700-square-foot venue called the Silver Creek Events Center was added. “It is one multifunctional room with a large stage that can seat up to 1,600 guests,” said Adams. “There are no bad seats.”
The center spends some nights as a concert hall — singer Rod Stewart was the first to perform there — but when rock stars aren’t playing, the event center can be configured for different uses. For example, it can hold banquets for as many as 1,000 or as few as 40 people.
The 12,000-square-foot Hard Rock Cafe Four Winds is next to the casino’s main gaming area. It can seat about 275 people on two levels and has room for dancing as well as shows. About 150 pieces of rock-’n’-roll memorabilia are displayed.
L’Auberge Casino and Hotel
Baton Rouge, La.
Designed to remind of a Southern river lodge, with all the Louisiana history, food and music that involves, clearly, the capital city’s newest casino complex, L’Auberge Casino and Hotel, is more than a place to gamble.
In addition to a 205-room hotel, there’s a 12th-story rooftop pool with VIP cabanas and a bar that looks out over the Mississippi River. For dining, guests can choose a steakhouse, a cafe, a sports bar or a buffet. Patios at the casino’s wine bar and its steakhouse take advantage of the setting.
And, in addition to the one-floor 74,000-square-foot casino, the $368 million entertainment complex has more than 14,000 square feet of meeting and conference space and a total of 2,400 parking spaces, including 800 in a covered garage.
The 12,600-square-foot event center above the casino can be used in a number of ways. Air walls allow it to be divided into three smaller meeting spaces. Set theater style, it will seat 1,550; for banquets, up to 800.
One advantage of the center is that it can be entered from the hotel or by escalator from the first floor, so meeting-goers never have to enter the casino.
The hotel has small meeting space as well — the 1,000-square-foot Chatsworth Room — and a 10-person boardroom. An outdoor festival area can handle crowds of up to 3,500.
“We believe that L’Auberge will provide another amenity for Baton Rouge,” said Kim Ginn, vice president of marketing for the casino. “It is a beautiful option to sell and showcase the town. Our property in Lake Charles pulls in a lot of meetings, and since this is the capital, we hope we will also do well.”
The setting is a big draw, she said.
“We are located on the Mississippi River, and the area across from us is completely undeveloped,” she said. “It is so gorgeous.”