Morongo Casino Resort & Spa is a resort destination offering something for everyone – locals and tourists, day trippers and overnight vacationers, children and adults. Nearly four times larger than its predecessor Casino Morongo, the project was designed by The Jerde Partnership, in partnership with Thalden Boyd Architects, to introduce non-gaming venues, such as a spa, restaurants, lush pool deck, nightclubs and a luxury hotel, that will result in more visitors and more jobs. Branding the destination as an experiential place, Morongo Casino Resort & Spa will serve as the benchmark for design and development of continued diversification on the 32,000-acre reservation. In the five years following its completion, it is expected to contribute $2.8 billion to the local economy, including 4,000 new jobs.
In 1983, in an effort to become financially self-sufficient, the Morongo tribe established a small bingo hall on its reservation. To keep the bingo hall open, in 1987 the Morongo tribe won a Supreme Court case allowing America’s Indian tribes the right to offer gaming. The modest bingo hall grew into one of the nation’s largest Indian gaming facilities, Casino Morongo, and the Morongo tribe became one of Riverside County’s largest single employers with the 1,000-member tribe’s enterprises employing 1,500 people. The port cochere (shown above and below), formed by an abstract torus, serves as both a shield from the desert conditions and an iconic formal entry into the project. At night, a light show illuminated onto the port cochere produces shadows that give the sense of the trees swaying in the breeze.
To promote diversification and greater economic benefit to the community, the Morongo tribe decided in 2002 to convert Casino Morongo into a high-end resort offering leisure, family, dining and entertainment activities in addition to gaming. The tribe selected Jerde to design the resort based on the firm’s reputation for designing places that revitalize communities and Las Vegas showstoppers Bellagio and Palms Casino Resort, both of which achieve significant non-gaming revenues.
Located 90 minutes outside Los Angeles adjacent to the popular Desert Hills Outlet Center and historic Hadley’s fruit and produce stand, the new Morongo Casino Resort & Spa will provide a year-round destination for the area’s 10 million visitors. An economic study commissioned by the Morongo tribe estimates the new Morongo Casino Resort & Spa will have a $2.8 billion economic impact in its first five years and create 4,000 new jobs for the region.
Morongo Casino Resort & Spa is located in the picturesque high desert valley among jagged mountains and wind and water-carved canyons. Inspired by the site’s beauty, Jerde’s concept for the project celebrates nature as a transformative power that has shaped the dramatic physical landscape and will rejuvenate the people who visit this place. Morongo Casino Resort & Spa’s architecture evokes the form-giving power of nature. Exterior forms recall shapes carved by wind and water; interior crystalline forms represent geological forces that yield precious stones and minerals; and the biomorphic forms of the entry canopies resemble the plant shapes that result from the sun’s photosynthetic energy. Jerde designed the experience of the project to be a journey of refreshment and renewal across three sequential zones: transition, transformation, and oasis.
Visitors to Morongo Casino Resort & Spa begin their journey with a transition out of the desert climate. Extending from the nearby 10 freeway across the project site the transition zone incorporates landscaping, shade trellises, water features and wind walls that create a natural shield from the desert conditions. The torus-shaped port cochere, which represents a union of earth and sky, serves as both a shield and an iconic arrival point, which at night will be animated by the choreography of colored lights reminiscent of moving shadows cast by trees as they sway in the breeze.
The transformation – where anything can happen – occurs inside the two-level casino, which offers slot machines, table games and rooms for bingo and poker. The casino’s focal point, the Pit Bar, is animated with a shimmering liquid curtain that produces water reflections that dance on the ceiling. Above the gaming areas, billowing fabric ceilings are warmly lit to symbolize the breeze blowing through leafy tree canopies. Above the café and buffet zone surrounding the casino are cloud forms constructed with natural materials and warm tones. Morongo Casino Resort & Spa’s oasis provides relaxation options for adults and children, including multiple pools, poolside cabanas, a lazy river, a water slide and a large spa nearby. The center of Morongo Casino Resort & Spa is the oasis, a lush pool area framed by dramatic mountain views. A relaxing and fun family destination, the oasis includes sandy beaches, shady cabanas, a lazy river and a water slide. Overlooking the oasis are a spa, an elegant restaurant, a nightclub and the hotel tower offering luxury accommodations in 272 rooms, 32 double-bay suites and six high-end casitas with private water features.Location: 49500 Seminole Dr., Cabazon, California 92230, USA Architect: The Jerde Partnership Schedule
Groundbreaking: May 28, 2003
Opening: December 2004 Project Size
Site area: 44 acres
Total building area: 177,988 square meters
Pool Deck/Oasis: 2 acres
Two-level casino: 111,076 square meters
Hotel tower: 63,015 square meters
Food, entertainment: 3,896 square meters
Parking: 3,446 spaces