Behind the Design: Eagle Mountain Casino

Article by Eagle Mountain Casino

Counting down the days to Fall: HBG provides exclusive details about the design of new Eagle Mountain Casino

(Eagle Mountain Casino, Porterville, CA 93257) –  In the Fall of 2019, HBG Design was selected as designer and architect for Eagle Mountain Casino’s highly anticipated casino relocation project. The nationally-recognized Top 10 hospitality and entertainment design firm, which has offices in Memphis, San Diego, and Dallas, started design of the project in 2020 and continued design right through the pandemic. Virtual meetings continued with the Tule River Tribe and the design advanced through all the obstacles faced from Covid-19.

“One thing that we learned during our process is that, for us, this project started fairly recently. For the Tule River Tribe, however, this project’s vision began in the 1990’s. It’s like a 25-plus-year process of acquiring the land and envisioning a property in the Valley, closer to Porterville in the population base, so it’s remarkable the perseverance that the Tribe has shown to get the project realized,” said Joe Baruffaldi, AIA, Principal, HBG Design.

The Tribe met with HBG Design and shared elements of the rich tribal history, including archival images of beautiful baskets, the process of basket making along the Tule River, legends of tribal origin, and focused on the details of the higher elevations of the tribal homeland.

As we started to get more and more involved and inspired by those Tribal themes, we began to wonder how we could integrate some of that history and some of that cultural richness of the giant sequoia tree, the mountainous region, the tales of the ‘hairy man’ as they call it, and the basket patterns themselves, which each hold very particular meaning. So as we started to learn about these things, it layered on to us a desire to create a property that spoke very closely to those themes,” said Rob Jurbergs, AIA, Principal, HBG Design.

HBG designed the new casino property with the vision of a lodge and a more mountainous style of architecture with a home in the Valley. A DESIGN THAT SERVES COMMUNITY AND CULTURE

“For the Tule River Tribe, it was really important to tell their story. We researched their culture; they provided books to us, and photos of artifacts. They were really open about sharing their culture, which allowed us to find patterns within baskets to incorporate into our design that would give this property a uniqueness in the market when you look at some of the other competitive casinos, because it tells their story. It would also be very meaningful to the tribal members for us to incorporate basket patterns that, on the one hand, are cool casino elements and, on the other hand, recognizable to anyone with knowledge of the Tribal culture,” said Baruffaldi.

HBG Design was also trying to meet the market from a business perspective. One example of this is the inclusion of a Sports bar called ‘The Redwood Taphouse’ in the new casino property. The city of Porterville does not have a variety of options to view televised sporting events, and it is anticipated that this will be a hot spot for all sports lovers. “Talking with Matthew Mingrone, the General Manager of Eagle Mountain Casino, he wanted to have a place in Porterville to go watch the game, so you start to have these business drivers that merge with these creative storytelling drivers to create an overall unique business driven property,” continued Baruffaldi.  DEVELOPMENT OF CONCEPTUAL THEMES

The Tule River Tribal Council as a whole were essential in helping HBG Design learn about tribal culture and embraced the idea of using the new relocation property as a platform for sharing their culture, while meeting the needs of the community. HBG Design created specific conceptual themes after speaking to tribal community groups and Tribal leadership to showcase and present some of the more significant meanings related to the Tribe.

“The design storytelling within the property as a whole involved the development of an overall concept that ties all of the different spaces together, as a platform to create an individual identity for each restaurant or venue within the property,” said Baruffaldi.

HBG Design took multiple aspects of the design inspiration depicting the story of the Tule River through the Tribe’s native traditions, art, patterns and imagery. “During our early visioning workshops, we focused in on the words ‘Grounded’ and ‘Soaring’. "Grounded” and “soaring” are more conceptual terms as it relates to the concept of the Giant Sequoia tree which is so large it can only be experienced truly by either the rooted connection to the earth, the trunk, and the soaring nature of the canopy because it is so tall and dwarfs everything else in the forest.  With a better understanding of the tribe’s ancestral homeland and hearing the stories from tribal members related to both the Tribe’s past and the desire to create a project to represent a strong future to the Tule River tribe, we started to connect the theme from “Grounded” and “Soaring.” “Grounded” is about honoring the past, the heritage, the traditions, the elders, and all of the history of the tribal foundation. “Soaring” represents looking forward and creating opportunities for the Tribe with the new casino,” said Jurbergs.

The giant sequoia concept was visualized in three parts: the roots, the trunk, and the canopy. Designers identified words and images that depict the nature and character of each part of the tree. An element that the Tule River Tribal Council started to understand and embrace was the storytelling behind the design and how HBG tied each of the giant sequoia aspects into different parts of the building.  Additionally, the Tule River became a key design inspiration. The river is very dynamic, and as it travels from higher elevations, it creates majestic pools of water and waterfalls. STRONG LODGE-STYLE ARCHITECTURAL EXPRESSIONDesigners were influenced by a lodge aesthetic with wood and other stone structural expressions and wanted the design to be grounded in the land. Creating strong architectural elements of wood and stone became the forefront.

The porte-cochère will incorporate an eagle pattern design for the pendant lights, and the lodge-like lines and truss work with wood textures both in the main structural elements and in the ceiling itself, creating a lot of warmth and richness, making it very inviting for guests. ENTRANCE AND CASINO FLOORAs you drive up to the new relocation property and the porte-cochère, you will first notice water and a series of small pools reminiscent of the Tule River itself. It will be a part of the entry experience and will engage guests from the moment they arrive on the property. Water elements will wind in a serpentine fashion up to the front door and feature Native grasses and plant species native to the mountain that the Tribe felt necessary to incorporate into the property.

“Flowing forms recall the winding Tule River and organic curves of nature. When we were laying out the casino floor, we were thinking about how guests move through the project; we wanted to convey that flowing nature,” said Jurbergs.

There are so many incredible elements to be discovered as guests explore the new property. As you enter the property into the entry concourse, which ultimately will lead to a future hotel, it features a sculpture carving by a Tule River tribal member of a culturally significant figure, “the hairy man” or more commonly “big foot”. Guests looking up at the ceiling will notice the unique geometry of a basket pattern with individual triangles that are super scaled to cover the whole casino ceiling. In addition, the use of four tribal basket patterns is featured on the concourse floor, and the light fixtures also feature basketry patterns. The column work is inspired by the giant sequoia trees’ bark and creates a contemporary element. The corridor will also showcase museum-like statements of actual works of art, bringing a rich historical feel to the entire property.  The countdown to Fall continues, and the excitement is building as the construction of the relocation nears completion. Soon the guests of The People’s Casino will be able to experience all of the fantastic designs and countless years of hard work put into this one-of-a-kind property.  Currently, Eagle Mountain Casino is located 17 miles east of Porterville and is a full-service casino owned and operated by the Tule River Tribe. Guests must be 18 years of age to enter. The casino is open 24/7. In addition, the Grizzly Food court is open 24/7, and the River Steakhouse is open Friday – Sunday from 5pm – 10pm. Eagle Mountain Casino is a short drive from Bakersfield or Visalia.  The new casino property is scheduled to open in late Fall of 2022, off Highway 65 in Porterville, CA, next to the Porterville Fair Grounds. The new property will double in size, growing to over 100,000 square feet, featuring new dining options, 1750 slot machines, 20 table games, and a 2000 seat state-of-the-art event center.


Callaway Architecture Joins HBG Design

It is with much excitement that we announce Callaway Architecture has joined nationally recognized hospitality design firm, HBG Design. All eight former Callaway employees will integrate into HBG Design’s Dallas office - joining our nationwide, diverse group of creative professionals in Memphis, TN and San Diego, CA.

“We believe the addition of this talented group from Callaway will further enhance and enrich HBG Design’s mission to design personal, memorable and transformative experiences for our clients. We look forward to further transforming our growth with this exciting addition of key talent.” – Nathan Peak, AIA, LEED GA, Practice Leader -HBG Design


Indian Gaming Magazine Features Kankakee Grille

See feature in Indian Gaming Magazine 

Freshly tailored amenity designs are enhancing guest offerings and aesthetic consistency at Pokagon Band of Potawatomi’s Four Winds Casino Resort in New Buffalo, Michigan.

Since completing a major hotel expansion together ten years ago, the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi, Four Winds Casino operators and the creative team from HBG Design have continued to strategically advance the resort’s appeal with customers and remain responsive to changing market conditions and new branding opportunities.

Like at many other resorts, Four Winds New Buffalo is seeing an increase in the non-gaming market and is accommodating this key market through its renovation program, while also providing new amenities for their core gamers.

Leveraging its scenic Lake Michigan location and proximity within an hour of the Chicago market, Four Winds New Buffalo Casino Resort has transformed into one of Chicagoland’s leading entertainment destinations. The New Buffalo property offers an abundance of amenities for every interest: multiple F&B venues, including the C-Bar lounge at the center of the gaming floor, the brand-new Kankakee Grille offering regular ‘Kankakee Live’ performances, the new Sportsbook Lounge, three retail outlets, the Silver Creek Event Center which offers approximately 40 live performance acts a year, and a luxury hotel. It’s a gamers and non-gamers dream resort.

Recent property renovations completed in early 2022 include the transformation of the property’s former Hard Rock Café into the popular Kankakee Grille. The new venue is a combination of performance venue, bar and restaurant with the ambiance of a casual pub.

The Kankakee Grille dining room provides open views to the Kankakee Live performance stage.

The Kankakee Grille is a branded F&B concept developed and operated by Four Winds Casino at its South Bend property, and now in New Buffalo. The name ‘Kankakee’ refers to the Kankakee River and Kankakee marshlands of the region, which are sacred and protected by the Pokagon.

The two F&B venues are similar in their brand aesthetic with a high contrast, neutral palette, and contemporary transitional design. The New Buffalo grille design also preserves and incorporates the distinctive 12,000 square foot two-level layout, structural framework, and distinguishing metal railings of the former space design, also by HBG Design.

Abstracted cattail and sweet grass designs in the main bar’s divider walls represent the Kankakee River’s edge.

Near the entrance, a former retail shop is converted to the Kankakee Grille’s new private dining room. The main bar and main dining room tables and booths remain situated on existing tiered levels to accommodate optimal views toward the ‘Kankakee Live’ performance stage. Mezzanine level bar seating provides birds eye views to the stage excitement.

A large decorative light canopy hangs over the main bar, and the space is separated from the dining floor by custom decorative screening and stone half walls. Screen ornamentation details tie to significant Tribal motifs, such as abstracted cattail and sweet grass designs to represent the Kankakee River’s edge.

The mezzanine level bar and seating offer intimate birds eye views of the performance stage.

To blend with Four Winds Casino’s natural aesthetic, the F&B design incorporates a very modern interpretation of stacked stone and uses wooden plank textures at the entrance and throughout the venue interior. Branded elements have been reimagined within a subdued natural gray, tan and cream-colored design palette that ties to the casino’s contemporary cultural aesthetic.

The neutral palette allows new rock and roll-inspired artwork to stand out. Multiple art pieces were custom enhanced to integrate rock and roll imagery as backdrops to real guitars from the Four Winds Casino music collection. Culturally significant photographs intermingle with music iconography and framed showcase guitars to create a unique brand language and the inimitable ‘Kankakee Live’ performance experience.

Four Winds New Buffalo Casino Resort continues to grow and stay competitive within the Chicago market, thanks to key business strategies that appreciate the importance of evolving quality and design in the guest experience.


American Spa Magazine Takes Us Inside Astral Spa

Offering a contemporary, luxurious take on the iconic Hot Springs bathhouse spa experience, Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort (Hot Springs, AR) has opened Astral Spa, the first major full-service spa to be built in the Spa City in more than a century. Completed in November 2021, the full-service 8,000 square foot spa is designed with a relaxed nostalgic ambiance that frames each guest’s spa journey through a complete sensory experience.

We had the chance to speak to Jessica Renee Rose, spa director at Astral Spa, about the new spa. Here's the scoop on Astral Spa.

Tell us a little bit about the spa’s design? 

Our vision for Astral Spa was to create a unique experience that regional guests have never seen before. With multiple amenities, taking advantage of Hot Springs’ great history of entertainment, gambling, and relaxation, Astral Spa offers a throwback vibe with modern luxury which includes a cold room, steam room and infrared sauna, dipping pools, and needle showers.

Marrying crisp modern lines with historical overtures, Astral Spa’s design led by HBG Design and WTS International celebrates the history of Hot Springs and Oaklawn’s thoroughbred horseracing in an era when ladies and gentlemen donned their best bespoke styles to see and be seen. Relaxing in the lounges, we want our guests to imagine what Hot Springs was like in the roaring ‘20’s yet be in contemporary comfort. The interior design is complemented by the 21st century bathhouse-inspired program and spa services menu developed by leading spa consultants and operators, WTS.

Can you please describe each of the treatment rooms? 

Designed for complete relaxation, the 2,035-square-foot treatment area rooms contain beautifully dressed beds with soft organic linens and warm cocooning cashmere blankets. The Duet Spa Suite allows two guests to share in a meaningful spa experience. This beautifully appointed suite offers coordinated treatments complete with a specialty duet soaking tub, reminiscent of a vintage bathhouse experience. This exclusive suite allows guests to take pleasure in an intimate spa journey within their own spa suite.

What makes the spa unique and sets it apart from other spas in the area?

The resort’s new full-service spa and wellness experience is the first major spa to be built in the Spa City in more than a century. Guests can uniquely experience modern spa services in a nostalgic setting, including:

  • An array of spa services, including couples' massages, hydro-facials, hot stone treatments, and a full-day Journey of the Springs experience with several additional offerings.
  • Dedicated 1,925-square-foot women’s spa and 1,500-square-foot men’s spa, each with distinctly tailored parlors, dressing room areas and aqua thermal lounges featuring vintage-inspired needle showers that harken to historical bathhouses.
  • A 750-square-foot full-service salon, multiple private treatment areas, and a co-ed lounge with upholstered chaise lounges and the area’s only Himalayan salt wall.
  • Unique hot/cold wellness circuits in the large women’s and men’s aqua thermal areas, allowing guests to ‘Heat, Cool, Rest, Repeat’ in vapor rooms, infrared saunas, ice lounges, vitality pools, and thermal loungers.
  • An illuminated wall of quartz crystal, an important healing element, in the reception area references crystal mining popular in this area of Arkansas, in celebration of the region’s natural resources.

I think what sets us apart is the level of service we provide to the guest, the beautiful aqua thermal areas that are located in each the men’s and women’s areas, and the services that we provide.

How would you describe your typical clientele? 

The typical clientele usually travels to Hot Springs for a weekend getaway from a city within a 200-mile radius of Hot Springs, AR.  They usually come in for the weekend to see a horse race, gamble at the casino, or are celebrating a birthday or anniversary.  Hopefully soon, we will be seeing guests that are specifically traveling here because of the spa. We see quite a few guests from Little Rock (the closest major city and the capital of Arkansas), as well as Memphis, TN, and Shreveport, LA.

How are you marketing the spa to your hotel guests? 

When a guest checks into the hotel, there is a key card offer from the spa for a $25 spa credit for a service 50-minutes or longer Monday through Thursday. Even if the guest isn’t here on a weekday, they could bring the card back during a week day to redeem their offer. The spa is also mentioned in their hotel reservation confirmation email, and present in the iPad compendium in their room.  The in-room toiletries are from our bodycare line, Zents, that state they are available for purchase in the spa.

How are you marketing the spa to local guests or those not staying at the hotel? 

We run monthly specials that we send out in an email to our spa database, as well as post on the spa’s website under the Seasonal Treatments Tab. We have a pretty large following on Facebook from local residents. We have weekday treatment prices to encourage local guests to come to the spa during those days. In December, we launched a Sip & Spa menu that is a spa happy hour to encourage local guests to come in after work. This promotion is only available from Monday through Thursday from 2 p.m. – 7 p.m.  Guests can choose a package, or one of our express services during those times as well as use of our full-service locker rooms and includes one glass of bubbly.

Can you tell me a little bit about the creation of the menu?

I worked with Susie Hammer, vice president of spas at WTS International, while creating the spa menu. I researched spa offerings in the area, as well as other casino resort spas, and Forbes Five-Star-rated spas. I wanted to keep the menu simpler, so the guest didn’t feel overwhelmed trying to decide between too many selections. I really wanted the guest to feel like we were creating something incredibly special just for them. After quite a few drafts, it went to the management team and the owners for edits and approvals.

We do offer signature Journeys that range 2 to 4 hours. The Journey of the Springs was inspired by our location. After you have changed into your robe and slippers, you are greeted in the parlor with a warm neck wrap, and a heated mineral foot soak and a cup of hot tea made from one of the local hot springs. Then in the treatment room, you receive a scrub, a soak with a eucalyptus and mint blend to draw in the vapors, an 80-minute massage with chakra balancing with locally sourced crystals, and a Rose Quartz Lift and Contour Facial. Throughout the journey, the guest is given a flight of water from the local hot springs in town. When the guest checks out, they are given an exclusive Journey of the Springs bath bomb made local in the state of Arkansas from Cotton Halo.

What are most spa-goers looking for when they visit your spa? 

The majority of spa-goers are looking to relax and are typically celebrating a special event in their life. The top-selling service is our 50-minute Heavenly Massage, followed closely by our 50-minute Couples Massage. Massage is 68 percent of our business.

What treatments are a harder sell? How do you promote them? 

Our nail treatments are the hardest sell. We include them in our monthly promotions, and encourage other providers to cross promote.

What product lines do you carry at the spa?

Babor, Knesko, Foreo, NuFace, Zents, SachaJuan, Clove + Hallow, Jala Clothing, VitaJuwel Water Bottles

What do you find your biggest challenge to be, and how do you meet that challenge? 

The biggest challenge is what everyone is currently facing, COVID--challenges with staffing, business levels, product arrival time, etc. I am meeting the challenge by being as organized as possible. We have a very heightened sanitation practice, we maximize our revenue on the busy days, so the slower days don’t hurt as much, and try to make sure I’m allowing ample time for the ordering process.

What plans do you have for the future? 

For the spa, to become not only to be a great amenity of this amazing property, but to also become the reason people travel to Hot Springs.

Click to learn more about Astral Spa


HOTELS Magazine Announces 'Caption by Hyatt' Memphis Hotel Design

https://www.hotelsmag.com/news/hyatt-gets-ready-to-launch-caption-brand/

Hyatt is Remixing Hospitality With Planned Launch of Caption by Hyatt Lifestyle Brand in Memphis This Summer

Scheduled for Summer 2022   136 Rooms   Hotel website

Caption by Hyatt Beale Street Memphis will introduce self-activated, responsibly designed guestrooms, distinct dining experiences, and tech-forward, vibrant social spaces.

Project architecture and interiors by HBG Design.

Celebrating the launch of its newest lifestyle brand, Hyatt Hotels Corporation (NYSE: H) is proud to announce the introduction of the Caption by Hyatt brand with the planned summer 2022 opening of the 136-room Caption by Hyatt Beale Street Memphis in Tenn. Situated in the heart of famed and vibrant Beale Street, the highly anticipated upscale, select-service hotel will introduce a dynamic hospitality experience with an unmistakable neighborhood feel. The Caption by Hyatt brand is also expected to grow in key global leisure markets through 2024, including Shanghai, Tokyo, and more.

Caption by HyattCaption by Hyatt hotels will combine the design and comfort of an upscale, lifestyle-forward hotel with the flexibility of a select-service property. Grounded in caring for people and place and creating connections between them, the Caption by Hyatt brand is committed to hiring diverse talent, vendors, artisans, and suppliers - and celebrating the diversity of people in the communities in which Caption by Hyatt hotels will be located.

Upcycled & Community-Inspired Design and Décor

By rethinking how spaces are constructed, how materials are used, and how art and accessories are implemented, Caption by Hyatt hotels will create an environment that feels more authentic and playful, but also more lasting and responsible.

Caption by Hyatt LobbyReflective of the brand's eclectic contemporary-meets-urban industrial aesthetic, the hotel will feature light-filled contemporary spaces with a strong industrial flare. Designed by HBG Design, Caption by Hyatt Beale Street Memphis will be integrated into the historic main building of Wm. C Ellis & Sons Ironworks and Machine Shop, one of the earliest and longest-running businesses in the city. The historic building will house the hotel's ground and second floors, and a new 136-guestroom tower will rise above, offering guests spectacular views of the Mississippi River and Memphis skyline. The property will combine a layering of colors, textures, and hand-painted murals that nod to the storied city it calls home.

A commitment to sustainability will also be incorporated at every level of the brand, including prohibiting zero single-use plastics, placing hydration stations on every floor and utilizing materials with recycled content as well as materials that improve with age and use.

Thoughtfully placed graphic decals provide unique wayfinding throughout the hotel to help inform guests on how to interact with the property. From caption bubbles that lead to hydration stations, to playful wall illustrations showing guests where to hang and store their belongings, spaces will be designed to directly answer questions and highlight important features.

The Caption by Hyatt brand's signature marquee hotel signage will adorn the hotel's dual entrances, leading guests and locals into the all-day, multi-functional lounge space, Talk Shop.

Intentional Culinary and Social Spaces that Encourage Connection

Caption by Hyatt Talk ShopThe heart of Caption by Hyatt Beale Street Memphis is Talk Shop, the brand's reimagined arrival experience where guests will enjoy a lively welcome area, all-day lounge and workspace, coffee shop, eatery, grab-and-go artisanal market and cocktail bar.

To cater to today's guests who crave seamless, instantaneous access, the brand experience will also feature a streamlined check-in, mobile key, and mobile-order food service. Guests will also have access to room keys in Apple Wallet which allows World of Hyatt members to seamlessly and securely tap their iPhone or Apple Watch to unlock guestrooms and key card-protected common areas like gyms, pools, and elevators - no need to open an app or handle a traditional plastic room key.

In collaboration with Union Square Hospitality Group, the Talk Shop concept was created to showcase menus featuring locally inspired all-day fare and regional favorites with locally sourced ingredients in a spirited and upbeat setting. Talk Shop at Caption by Hyatt Beale Street Memphis will also include an expansive patio and beer garden with open fire pits and exposed brick that will be incorporated into the building's historic, decorative façade on Front Street. Here, guests can sip beers on tap from local beverage houses like Grind City Brewing and others. Signature culinary delights served at Caption by Hyatt Beale Street Memphis will include a creative all-day Hearth Bar that will feature an innovative assortment of locally baked breads and tasty spreads.

Functional and Vibrant Guestrooms

Each Caption by Hyatt hotel will offer a bold and irreverent guestroom design that features a work-and-play seating area and a highly functional bathroom design.

Caption by Hyatt GuestroomAccommodations at Caption by Hyatt Beale Street Memphis carry through the hotel's energy with bold colors and local-inspired graphic art to create an experience that's vibrant, unexpected, and has plenty of personality. Designed with form, function and fun top of mind, guestrooms feature repurposed non-traditional materials, modular closets and work-play lounges with accessible power outlets so guests can work, eat and relax separately from the sleeping area.

Well-appointed design extends to each guestroom's spacious bathroom, where industrial barn-inspired doors slide open to reveal custom Memphis-themed wallcoverings, enclosed walk-in rain showers, large vanities with ample lighting and counter space that leaves plenty of room for makeup, shaving kits, toiletries and more.

Introducing the Caption by Hyatt Brand Globally

Set to be located in metropolitan and downtown markets as well as lifestyle mixed-use developments, Hyatt is planning four additional upcoming Caption by Hyatt locations throughout Asia, opening from 2023 through 2025.

For more information on the Caption by Hyatt brand, visit captionbyhyatt.com.

The term "Hyatt" is used in this release for convenience to refer to Hyatt Hotels Corporation and/or one or more of its affiliates.

Click here learn more about Caption by Hyatt's design story


InspireDesign Reveals the Inspired Mind of Practice Leader Nathan Peak

What energizes HBG Design’s new Practice Leader, Nathan Peak, as he takes on each new day? From good conversation that leads to fresh perspectives, to the freedom to let his body and mind run--InspireDesign magazine has the inside track on the personal and professional inspirations and collaborative mindset of HBG’s leader, Nathan Peak, AIA, LEED GA.

Nathan Peak has been with hospitality architecture and design firm HBG Design for more than 20 years. In January, he was named practice leader, overseeing the work at they company's offices in Memphis, San Diego and Dallas. Needless to say, he knows something about inspiration.

"Inspiration, for me, is a joining of ideas that originates from the dialogue of many, rather than the thoughts from my own mind," he said. Listening is a powerful mechanism that breeds and cultivates creativity through conversation and exploration. My best ideas will never be enough to create the design solutions that our clients envision and deserve. But our collective ideas and connections through investigative listening empower out design staff to create the breadth of inspiration needed to develop innovative and viable design solutions.

"Inspiration can also be the reawakening of past experiences through new ones," he continued. "I often ask our clients to imagine their most memorable experience while dining or enjoying time with friends or family. What was the mood like? Was the lighting warm and dramatic like a stage set? Did the ceiling volume feel too high or did the space feel cozy and comfortable? All of these memories evoke a response to how we look at design and create memorable experiences.

 

 


Astral Spa at Oaklawn Racing Resort Featured in 'Spa Business' Magazine

See full article in Spa Business Magazine 

Interior Design by HBG Design.

Astral Spa inspired by Roaring 20s opens in historic Hot Springs National Park

21 APR 2022 . BY MEGAN WHITBY

Celebrated as one of America’s most popular spa destinations, Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas has gained a new spa and wellness destination.

The new 8,000 sq ft Astral Spa has opened at Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort and has been designed with a nostalgic ambience inspired by the city’s past and Oaklawn’s history of thoroughbred horse racing.

Hot Springs National Park is known for its 47 natural thermal springs and history of bathing, showcased by Bathhouse Row, a high street turned tourist hotspot with eight original bathhouses from the 19th- and 20th-centuries.

“Our vision was to create a unique spa experience that regional guests have never seen before,” says Oaklawn president Louis Cella, whose family has owned and operated the resort for over 100 years. “With multiple amenities, the spa offers a throwback vibe with modern luxury.”

Marrying crisp modern lines with historical overtures, Astral Spa’s design was led by HBG Design and WTS International. Spa consultant and operator WTS International also developed the spa’s treatment menu and is operating the spa.

“Relaxing in the lounges, we want our guests to imagine what Hot Springs was like in the Roaring 20s yet be in contemporary comfort,” adds Cella.

The guest journey begins in a reception area complete with an illuminated quartz crystal wall designed to reference the area’s history of crystal mining.

The spa then splits into separate female and male spas each with distinct parlours, changing rooms and thermal lounges featuring vintage-inspired 360-degree vintage-inspired needle showers.

Both areas are equipped with contrast bathing circuits where guests can cycle through steamrooms, infrared saunas, ice lounges, vitality pools and thermal lounge areas.

Guests can also relax in the open air at either the spa’s new outdoor pool with cabanas or outdoor event lawn.

The offering is rounded out with a 750 sq ft salon and a co-ed lounge with upholstered chaise lounges and a Himalayan salt wall. A fitness center equipped with LifeTime Fitness equipment is also on offer.

“Leading the design of The Astral Spa has been a career highlight, having grown up in a small town about 20 minutes from Oaklawn,” says Landon Shockey, IIDA, NCIDQ, lead interior designer at HBG Design. “I remember touring Bathhouse Row when I was younger and being absolutely intrigued by those grand spa spaces. To be able to return to Hot Springs and work with Louis and Rochelle Cella to create a modern-day bathhouse spa was a dream come true.

Thoughtful design, attention to detail and visual sophistication – these are the drivers of today’s experiential luxury, and that’s what the team achieved in the Astral Spa’s design,” says Emily Marshall, IIDA, NCIDQ, principal and interior design director at HBG Design.

“It’s less about opulence and more about wellness and the way a space makes the guest feel, with more authentic, locally-inspired design features and smart design touches.

Click to see more about Astral Spa at Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort. 

 


New Four Winds Casino New Buffalo Sportsbook Lounge is Designed for Comfort

Four Winds New Buffalo Casino Resort's newest amenity, the Sportsbook Lounge made the cover of the latest Tribal Government Gaming issue and was prominently featured in the "Sports of All Sorts" article. A small excerpt is below.

Sports of All Sorts

By: Roger Gros

See full article in Global Gaming Business' Tribal Government Gaming issue

https://issuu.com/globalgamingbusiness/docs/tribal_government_gaming_2022

Retail or Mobile

A retail book will soon become a staple for tribal casinos as sports betting continues to grow across North America. There’s really nothing like the excitement of an NFL Sunday or March Madness inside your casino when players can bet money on the games.

Most tribal sportsbooks won’t look anything like the Superbook at the Westgate in Las Vegas or the world’s largest sportsbook at the Circa in Downtown Las Vegas. But that doesn’t mean the excitement level will be anything less.

When HBG created the sportsbook at the Four Winds casino in New Buffalo, Michigan, it was designed for comfort. The Sportsbook Lounge is adjacent to the casino floor to take advantage of the surrounding gaming excitement. It’s designed to be a comfortable yet active retreat where guests can watch football, basketball, baseball and hockey action, while never having to leave the gaming floor environment.

The lounge’s custom layout and design provide sports fans with a comfortable ambiance to enjoy a beer while cheering on their favorite teams on any of the venue’s 22 televisions. Above the bar and on a large-scale central column are eight 85-inch, six 65-inch and eight 43-inch screens for ideal viewing from sectional sofas and lounge chairs, casual dining tables with chairs, and bar stool seating at the large sports bar.

Frank Freedman, chief operating officer of Four Winds Casinos, says the response of the customers has been very positive.

“We feel the layout, design and finishes will provide guests with the right ambiance, comfortable seating options and splendid views of multiple screens to enjoy a refreshing beverage or cocktail while cheering for their favorite teams,” he says. “Every addition we’ve made to our Four Winds Casinos locations has been for the sole purpose of enhancing the guest experience, and we’re thrilled to be able to offer this new amenity at Four Winds New Buffalo.”


Eagle Mountain Casino Named Top Tribal Project for 2022

See full list of Top Tribal Projects for 2022 in Tribal Government Gaming 

HBG Design is excited to share that Tribal Government Gaming Magazine has selected Eagle Mountain Casino in Porterville, California as a Top Tribal Project for 2022.

Creativity & Innovation

The maturation of tribal gaming means constant change. Sometimes it’s a move of location, other times it’s enhancing what you already have. The tribal casinos that qualified this year are indicative of the changes in gaming overall. The legalization of sports betting and its introduction to existing tribal casinos have meant some creative use of existing spaces. The addition of amenities like hotel rooms and suites, high-class restaurants, spas and pools and more have given tribal casinos more of a resort feel, allowing them to compete for new customers whose entertainment wallets are ever-evolving. Congratulations to all the designers, thought leaders and tribal gaming operators who envisioned these amazing changes.


Right Place, Right Time
Eagle Mountain Casino, Porterville, California

Location, location, location,” says Joe Baruffaldi, AIA, principal/project manager at HBG Design, and leader of HBG Design’s San Diego Office.

“HBG Design’s client, the Tule River Tribe in California, is relying on their relocation to a high-visibility property in order to up their game and cement their reputation as a significant competitor in their regional gaming market just southeast of Fresno.”

The relocation of the casino from the reservation to a higher-traffic, higher-visibility area in Porterville, California creates a more conveniently accessible entertainment experience for their local customers, he says. It also opens new opportunities to capture destination traffic and overnight guests traveling between Fresno and Bakersfield.

The new 105,000-square-foot casino property will offer 1,750 slots, 20 table games and a choice of four dining options, including a steakhouse, diner, café and sports bar and grill. A 2,000-seat event center and a 125-room hotel also will be added.

According to Baruffaldi, designers merged storytelling concepts based on significant Tule River tribal cultural elements with amenities and distinctive venues designed specifically for the Porterville gaming customer.

Key design concepts are rooted in the land and agrarian context of Tulare County and central California. The design is heavily influenced by a lodge aesthetic with wood and stone structural expressions. Inside, guests will experience an abstract depiction of the Tule River Tribe’s native traditions through art, patterns and imagery.

Soaring vertical features will recall the majesty of the giant sequoia and the golden eagle, each important representations of tribal culture. Flowing forms will recall the winding Tule River and organic curves of nature.

HBG’s design of the Eagle Mountain Casino feels connected to the woodland. Natural materials and colors help bring a sense of comfort for guests arriving at the property, for an overall relaxed and welcoming experience.

https://issuu.com/globalgamingbusiness/docs/tribal_government_gaming_2022


Tribal Gov't Gaming: Indian Gaming is Bouncing Back

See full article in Tribal Government Gaming 

by Dave Bontempo

Tribal projects and gaming revenues rebound in the post-pandemic world

Bring back the aggressive gaming approach.

Tribal leaders and design firms say the “be-safe” phrase is morphing into “go-big” for the new post-pandemic world. Pent-up demand meets the resumption of competition, requiring tribal leaders to perform a balancing act. Operators seek the sweet spot incorporating must-see attractions, comfortable environments and realistic budgets.

As the American market emerges from Covid-19, projects become more forward-looking, far-reaching and sophisticated. Some of the nation’s most prominent companies help tribal leaders step forward.

Project Optimism

HBG Design unveils several operations with tribal leaders positioning themselves both for near-term and long-term success. Dike Bacon, principal, notes that U.S. commercial gaming revenues set an all-time record in gross revenue of $53 billion in 2021.

If this is any indication of the health and vitality of the Indian gaming industry (NIGC has not released 2021 figures), business is booming, he says. “Visit any casino in almost any domestic market and customer traffic is extraordinarily strong—inflation notwithstanding—and you see that demand is there,” he says.

Drivable trips are answering the call of most travelers’ curiosity, which has fueled the need to create fresh and exciting offerings in regional markets where many tribal casinos are located, he adds.

Competition and location are often the driving forces behind whether a property needs a ‘must-see attraction’ as a differentiator and a draw, but any such ‘wow factor’ has to align with the property’s brand and target audience,” Bacon says.

“I’ll give you an example—we’re designing a distinctive feature attraction for events, music, daytime leisure and active nightlife, as part of a tribal casino resort expansion. The property has a formidable reputation as a leading entertainment and gaming destination, located within 30 miles of a metro feeder market of over 1 million people.

Four Winds South Bend Casino Resort

“Properties like this are able to support large-scale, high-impact, must-see attractions when their location combines a vibrant, diverse local population base and access to an equally strong destination customer who is willing to drive farther and stay longer to experience a distinctive amenity that is unmatched in the regional market.”

Bacon says HBG seeks innovative ways to help clients do more with less.

Four Winds South Bend Casino Resort

“This challenge covers a lot of ground, from designing public spaces and guest rooms that are easier and faster to clean and service to moving towards automation in concierge and casino hotel check-in,” he says. “Clearly, one of the biggest challenges for operators is to capitalize on current demand while still offering a great entertainment and hospitality experience with impressive customer service. Staffing in the entire hospitality industry (not just gaming) has been incredibly challenging.”

HBG designers work alongside owners to address these pressing issues. This includes creating more efficiently designed spaces that are exciting and entertaining but can also be operated with less staff.

Four Winds South Bend Casino Resort

“We’re creating more efficient kitchens and more diverse means of providing F&B to customers, including self-service and take-out venues. Valet parking is another key service area affected by staffing shortages,” says Bacon.

“More customers may be encouraged to self-park instead of valet, which means designing and locating parking garages that are more convenient, secure and customer-friendly. It also gives rise to designing more elevated and exclusive VIP entrance experiences reserved for a property’s best players, creating a smaller staffing pool to focus service on the largest contributors to the casino’s bottom line.”

Nathan Peak, AIA, LEED GA, practice leader/principal of HBG Design, says pent-up demand for entertainment and hospitality experiences motivate tribes to upgrade underperforming areas of their facilities.

“Given the performance of the industry and how it is bouncing back from the pandemic, we are confident that owners will remain in expansion and renovation mode for a while,” Peak says. “A client recently told us that their gaming resort property will likely be in a continuous state of evolution, renovation and building over the next several years to stay fresh for guests and maintain relevancy in the market.”

Four Winds South Bend Casino Resort

Another major influencer of the “continuous state of evolution” mindset is the continued passing of new legislation that drives change in tribal—and commercial—gaming properties, says Peak. As more states pass sportsbook legalization, that sets up new priorities for gaming properties who need “must-have” amenities to compete.

Tribes Take Assertive Stance

Tribal gaming is definitely staying aggressive in terms of maintaining market share, especially in areas of the country where commercial gaming is growing and evolving,” adds Joe Baruffaldi, AIA, principal/project manager at HBG Design, and leader of HBG Design’s San Diego office.

“Tribes realize that knowledge is power; it’s what fuels a competitive edge,” he says. “There’s a greater need today for tribal casino owners to understand the nature of their customer base and harness the power of that knowledge—appreciating and leveraging not only where guests are coming from, but who they are as consumers.

“We partner with tribal gaming clients by helping them envision what the ‘tomorrow of their market’ looks like. When we’re able to anticipate changes in the marketplace, we can proactively respond by leading our clients to more competitively positioned design solutions.”

One of the highlights for HBG over the last few years has been its involvement in in the Four Winds South Bend casino in Indiana. The property is owned by the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, which operates three other casinos in Michigan.

Four Winds Casino embarks on a large-scale expansion of its South Bend property, designed by HBG, offering approachable luxury within a new 23-story, 317-key, 83-suite hotel tower.

The project includes a mix of vibrant amenities, to include a spa, convention area, meeting space, a ballroom, lounge, bar and grill, an outdoor rooftop swimming pool, and terraces with spectacular views.

The design incorporates regional elements and warm, rustic details with special attention and references to tribal influences and symbolism.

https://issuu.com/globalgamingbusiness/docs/tribal_government_gaming_2022