MGM Springfield Scores With Meetings, Dining and Entertainment
MGM Springfield, Massachusetts’ first resort and casino, opened in August 2018. The 250-room, $960 million resort takes up three city blocks in downtown Springfield and blends in with the surrounding real estate and overall feel of the city.
Like its Las Vegas brethren, MGM Springfield offers far more than just a casino experience. If gambling isn’t your thing, not to worry: in the sleeping rooms and meeting space, it’s almost possible to forget that there is a casino floor (and a good-sized one, at that) nearby.
Kimberly Altobelli, national sales manager for MGM Springfield, says that the hotel has seen a solid response from the group market since its opening last Fall, fielding hundreds of inquiries from people looking to book small and large meetings at the property.
"To date, we have booked more than 390 events in our meetings and conference facilities," Altobelli said. "These range from corporate outings to professional meetings to galas and social networking events.”
She added, “Some of our largest groups have been Mass Mutual Financial, Toyota, Bob’s Discount Furniture, Huttig, Octagon Marketing, Whelen Engineering, Bright Nights Ball and Mercy Medical Gala.”
Given the available facilities and infrastructure, it’s not surprising that so many groups have already jumped on the opportunity to hold events at MGM Springfield.
Indoor and Outdoor, Classic and Unique Spaces
MGM Springfield’s meeting and event center offers 34,000 square feet of flexible meeting space including two divisible ballrooms, an additional meeting room and a boardroom. A 6,200-sq.-ft. outdoor terrace provides natural lighting for the ballrooms’ pre-function space. The space was being used by Octagon Marketing during my visit.
Currently the home of Roar! Comedy Club, the 4,800-sq.-ft. Armory is a unique standalone building located on the resort’s plaza. Originally built in 1895, it can hold up to 200 guests banquet style or 480 for receptions.
On Friday afternoons, live music is performed outdoors in Armory Square, and food trucks are available for anyone who wants to grab a quick bite to eat. Or, pick up coffee and all-day baked goods (along with candles) at Kringle Emporium. The emporium, launched by the son of the Yankee Candle founder, is housed in a former First Spiritualist church building preserved by MGM, which relocated the entire building to the plaza from its original foundation nearby.
Planners can book the Plaza and Armory Square to host outdoor events, or book in conjunction with the TAP Sports Bar and or Armory itself for indoor/outdoor space.
The hotel lobby is a short indoor walk from the attached 3,400-space parking garage, which offers free parking for guests and the general public. There is also a separate entrance for valet or bus drop-offs.
Skirting the Plaza on one side and the casino on the other, one’s eye is caught by sculptures, slot machines and the unique casino carpeting, which incorporates recreated vintage bus tickets featuring local landmarks.
But the overall theme of MGM Springfield is literary, which is particularly evident within the book-lined lobby, authors’ quotes displayed in public spaces, and guest room decor. Many of the books in the rooms and hotel lobby were provided by the Springfield Library, and you can find such treasures as old yearbooks tucked among the books that line the walls.
The sleeping rooms combine a modern design with whimsical charm and plenty of lighting to read by.
There is no shortage of places to eat within the resort, with a wide range of options to suit any palate and any budget.
The front of the TAP Sports bar looks like a typical upscale sports bar, with brick walls, a large open square bar in the middle and oversized wooden tables. But if you keep walking to the back, you’ll find a 10-lane bowling alley and games galore — perfect for the group that enjoys beer and sports. For lunch, I opted for a Cobb salad and the one sour beer that was available on tap, and thoroughly enjoyed both. TAP also offers outdoor space looking onto the resort’s Armory Square.
Michael Mina’s Cal Mare offers southern coastal Italian fare and a delightful wine list. The signature mozzarella bite — house-made cheese, caramelized onion, prosciutto and caviar encapsulated in a warm zeppola — was amazing. I also thoroughly enjoyed the squash tortellini in parmesan brodo, although wish I’d had room to try the saffron spaghetti with braised oxtail. For dessert, the Sicilian pistachio gelato, paired with sweet cherries and lemon curd (accompanied by a glass of limoncello), was outstanding.
Chandler Steakhouse is open six nights a week (but not Tuesday, which happened to be the day that I was on-property). The restaurant looks comfortable, luxurious without being overwhelming, and the menu includes everything one would hope for at a steakhouse — plus some surprises, such as the vegan-friendly cauliflower “steak.” Periodically, reservations are offered for specialty dining events such as the upcoming Veuve Clicquot Four Course Pairing Dinner.
The South End Market offers more casual dining in a food court area: Jack’s Lobster Shack; Wicked Noodles; Hearth Grill; Bill’s Diner; a wine bar that offers wine and cheese for both on-premises consumption and takeaway, and a gelato and espresso bar. Wahlburgers is scheduled to open on-property in late 2019.
For guests wishing to order room service, the menu is located on the television. Interestingly, in-room dining was not able to accommodate just a side order of bacon, but my coffee order arrived within 10 minutes. The coffee was packaged, as are all MGM Springfield’s room service deliveries, in a handy takeaway container.
Off the lobby, there is a Starbucks and the Lobby Bar, a cozy area located just past the reception desk. The Lobby Bar, Knox Bar and Commonwealth Bar and Lounge all offer evening libations.
Entertainment and Transportation
In addition to the public events held at the resort, the nearby Mass Mutual Center and Symphony Hall (both of which are also managed by MGM Springfield), there are plenty of other entertainment and leisure options available within the resort, including a seven-screen Regal Cinema and the region’s first Topgolf Swing Suite.
I took advantage of having a little downtime to get a haircut and a pedicure in the salon, which is located off the casino, and left feeling reinvigorated. The resort also features a full-service spa, fitness center and an 8,000-sq.-ft. pool.
MGM Springfield is located 80 miles west of Boston, just off of Interstate 91 with quick access to the Mass. Pike, as well as nearby Bradley International Airport in Hartford, Conn. and the Amtrak-serviced Union Station.
The Loop, a free transportation service linking downtown tourist spots, hotels, restaurants and cultural districts, opened in conjunction with the resort. The Loop connects MGM Springfield with iconic sites including Union Station, museums and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
For more information on booking meetings at MGM Springfield, go HERE.
Main photo credit: MGM Resorts International