MORONGO CASINO, RESORT & SPA
NEW $250 MILLION CASINO, RESORT & SPA MAKES
WORLD DEBUT WITH STAR-STUDDED CELEBRATION
Morongo Casino at Night is
Jewel in the California Desert
25 years, my family has operated a four-star resort in Palm Springs.
During the 80’s and 90’s, it was the beacon of light for Hollywood
celebrity. The secluded Villas with their private pools and Jacuzzis
attracted VIPs and celebrities from all over the world. They still
come, but today nothing can compare to the new beacon inviting visitors
to the California Desert with its four-star luxury resort and casino.
The Morongo Band of Indians turned on the lights last December that
shone the way for over 2,000 celebrities, VIPs, and special guests to
experience their new $250 million Morongo Casino, Resort & Spa for its
world debut with two star-studded events.
A Weekend of Top
Entertainment found Beyonce and Destiny's Child performing along with
Jay Leno and Carlos Santana.
The official grand opening festivities began on a
Wednesday night with an evening event celebrating tribal sovereignty.
Tribal members of the Morongo Band of Mission Indians, tribal leaders
from tribes across the United States, members of Congress, state and
local elected officials attended a private dinner featuring performances
by NBC Tonight Show host Jay Leno and the Emmy-award winning group
Santana, and remarks from Morongo tribal chairman Maurice Lyons.
The night entitled “A Celebration of Tribal
Sovereignty” was staged in a transparent tent structure that was dubbed
appropriately “Celebration Hall” for that night. The size of a football
field, it was the largest structure of its kind in the North American
hemisphere. It was a true celebration of lights, sounds and larger than
life Native American images that flew and swept through the Hall. It
was awe inspiring and staged by Grammy, Emmy and Tony award winner Steve
Morongo Tribal Chairman Maurice Lyons, Council Member Robert Martin and
Council Member Frances Miguel present Carlos Santana with a Morongo Band
of Mission Indians blanket during Weekend.
The stage and performances brought together the best of
Hollywood and Vegas – an exciting, spectacular show fit for any
Vegas-style casino with the technology and knowledge needed to create a
fast paced Hollywood production. It was a night to remember and a time
to reflect upon Native American heritage.
My mother was in Palm Springs, so I took her to
the celebration. She thoroughly enjoyed it. “I never knew Jay Leno was
so funny,” she repeated throughout the following week. Carlos Santana
is a legend and always great.
Before the entertainment began, we were treated to
dinner and a large screen presentation on the history of the Morongo
Tribe of Indians. We saw the land, where a small bingo hall set,
transformed into a luxury 27-story hotel tower with 272 rooms and a
148,000 square-foot casino right before our eyes.
Morongo Casino Rooms and
High End Suites are Picture Perfect
were taught a history lesson where we learned that the Morongo Indian
Reservation before the early 80’s was a depressed community lacking jobs
and incomes sufficient for its Indian population. Then we saw how it
all began to change in 1983 when the Morongo Indian Tribe opened a bingo
hall on its reservation property with several hundred seats. Then we
discovered that this modest venture has grown into over a $300 million
dollar industry and these funds are generously being distributed to
their people, philanthropic causes, and the state of California. It was
a moving presentation.
As I sat there in the Grand Hall with my
mom, I was moved by a bit of irony. I reflected back on a time over
twenty-five years ago when I use to drive by this spot of barren desert
on my way to Hadley’s Fruit and Nut Outlet where I would get the best
Date Shake in the world. It was amusing when I learned that night that
Hadley’s is owned by the Morongo Band of Indians. Their banana shakes
are also very good.
"A River Runs Through It"
Morongo Casino Poolside
A few years later when the bingo hall was built, I use
to play taxi to an assortment of out of town relatives from Texas who
wanted to go play bingo. As soon as they would put their luggage down,
my Aunt Dorothy, Aunt Margie and Granny made a B-line to the Morongo
bingo hall. The rest would follow in short order.
I remember my granddad won a $1,000 one night,
but that wasn’t close to offsetting the money my family shelled out for
the privilege of shouting out “B-19” or “O-70.” Those were great times
and good family entertainment.
The irony is that I was with my mother at the place
she sat many times before with her family buying $1 bingo cards, trying
to get four-corners or blackout and shouting out, “BINGO!” How
Christophe Douheret and Chef Henry Hom create four-star caliber
It was then I realized that my family was part of this celebration
too. We were one of many families and individual who helped lay the
foundation. In our own small way, we helped build this magnificent
entertainment complex and contribute to the good work this group of
Indians is doing. The Morongo Casino, Resort & Spa will directly and
indirectly create more than 4,000 jobs and $1.4 billion in new goods and
services purchased over the next five years.
I told this to my mom, and she said, “Hmmm, looks
like we made a good investment!”
The second night featured a
concert for VIPs, casino patrons and other special guests by music
superstars Destiny's Child. Guests were be greeted by master of
ceremonies Nancy O'Dell, co-host of Access Hollywood before
enjoying a video presentation revealing the exciting amenities at the
Morongo Casino's Special
Casitas Villas with Private Pools
energy hour-long concert performance by Beyonce, Kelly Rowland and
Michelle Williams of Destiny's Child, whose new album Destiny
Fulfilled had just hit the stores, thrilled the audience. My buddy,
rap-star Won-G, took me back stage to meet the pop-divas.
Following the concert, guests viewed a fireworks
display illuminating the sky above the resort's 27-story hotel tower.
Both events celebrated the completion of the four-star caliber resort,
which officially opened to the public the following day.
"The Morongo Band of Mission Indians is extremely proud
of the new Morongo Casino, Resort & Spa," said Lyons. "The world-class
performances of Jay Leno and Santana and Destiny's Child mirror the
world-class experiences guests can expect at our resort."
Rain In The Desert is
Hottest New Nightclub
Exquisitely arrayed over 44-acres of high desert landscape, the Morongo
Casino, Resort & Spa offers one of the largest casino floors in
California, four-star caliber suites and hotel rooms, multiple
restaurant facilities, a nightclub, spa, convention facilities, and a
"With high-stakes gaming, gourmet dining, deluxe
accommodations, a luxury health spa, and electrifying nightlife, the
Morongo Casino, Resort & Spa has something for everyone," said casino
general manager Bill Davis. "We hope guests enjoy the grand opening
celebration and return to Morongo for more of the A-list entertainment
and service they'll experience tonight."
Morongo Casino Is A Beacon
of Light, for Gaming and Entertainment just 90 Minutes from Los Angeles.
Located 90 minutes east of Los Angeles and 20 minutes west of Palm
Springs between the scenic San Gorgonio and San Jacinto mountain ranges,
the destination resort will offer visitors a full range of entertainment
and recreational options. Lush gardens, sandy beaches and extensive
landscaping are just a few of the design features in this world-class
The Morongo Casino Resort & Spa's beautiful and unique design,
created by the world-renowned architectural firm of The Jerde
Partnership, is inspired by the forces of nature.
"Our proximity to Los Angeles and Palm Springs makes the Morongo
Casino, Resort & Spa the perfect destination for those looking for the
ultimate Southern California experience," said director of hotel
operations Thomas Mueller. "The new property brings a piece of paradise
to the desert -- the comfort of a luxury hotel and an oasis-inspired
pool with soft sandy beaches combines perfectly with Morongo's enticing
gaming and nightlife."
The resort will also feature Sage, The Spa at Morongo,
the resort's luxury health spa; an oasis-inspired pool area with
Jacuzzis and a power-surged lazy river; and venues from night life
innovators, The N9NE Group, including N9NE Steakhouse, Belly
Italiano - an Italian Mediterranean restaurant, Spacebar - a
lounge located on the top floors of the hotel tower, and
Desert Rain - a three-story nightclub featuring cutting-edge fire
and water special effects; 310 four-star caliber hotel rooms and suites
with mountain views; and our competition the Casitas.