Earlier this week, Potawatomi Bingo Casino invited the media in to see mock hotel rooms it has set up in the Menomonee Valley building that houses Zimmerman Design.
The rooms offer a peek at how the casino's 18-story, 381-room hotel will look when it opens in autumn.
There were two mock rooms set up – a standard double queen (about 350 square feet) and a junior suite (800 square feet), as well as a stretch of mock hallway with two different carpet patterns – so that designers and hotel administration and staff could see how fixtures and colors and furniture and layout would all look and feel in real life.
The warm rooms, with dark colors and a water theme expressed in patterns in carpeting, tile and wallpaper, will have jacuzzi tubs, body sprays in the showers, super-soft towels and in suites with a view, pop-up TVs so that the vistas will remain unobstructed.
I asked hotel director Hassan Abdel-Moneim if mock rooms are common in the hospitality industry.
"More and more so, because a lot of the laymen really can't see from a blueprint," he said. "I've seen it done before where we did the mock room on the casino floor in a glass bowl, so people could actually walk in and we actually had running water."
"Mock rooms are a good way to see the architect's design come to life. Architects think about form and we think about function and the two have to blend. That happy medium is where all the excitement is. Getting to that point, you need to have the checks and balances. It's worth every penny."
The mock rooms look exactly like real hotel rooms but there are things in the mock-ups that will change as Abdel-Moneim and his staff and designers test everything out and consider every aspect.
Meanwhile, across the Menomonee River, construction workers are making progress toward the $150 million hotel's opening later this year.
Last time I visited, almost a year ago, things looked like this.
To see how things are progressing, check out the photos above.
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