Crowds jam M Resort opening

Mar 3, 2009 5:09 PM
by GT Staff |

Las Vegas’ newest hotel/casino, the $1 billion M Resort Spa Casino, opened its doors Sunday night to frenzied customers seeking to find an innovative entry into the city’s locals casino market.

They may have found it at M Resort, located at the southern most tip of the city, at the corner of Las Vegas Blvd. and St. Rose Parkway.

Throughout the sprawling 92,000-square-foot casino, visitors found a wealth of cutting-edge technologies and amenities, modern facilities and a staff of 1,800 schooled in the now nearly lost art of customer service.

"I believe the M Resort has a lot to offer tourists and Las Vegas locals and exceptional service is at the top of the list," said Anthony Marnell III, chairman and CEO of the M Resort. "The M has been laid out very differently than other Strip resorts and local casinos. Every detail has been thought about over and over again. We are confident the M will raise the bar for resort-casinos and express the future of the industry."

The casino is at once comfortable and easy to navigate. It has nearly 1,900 slot machines, with a nice mix of video poker machines that feature up to 100 percent return as well as progressive awards.

In addition, there’s a 12-table poker room, and 64 table games that include blackjack, roulette, craps, mini baccarat and Pai Gow. A nice touch is that dealers are assigned to tables for an entire month making it easy for players to find a familiar face.

At the heart of the casino floor sits a one-of-a-kind, high-energy gaming area known as the Jewelry Box, which is exclusive to the M Resort. While many can only dream about having gorgeous emeralds, rubies, sapphires and diamonds in their jewelry box, the M Resort’s actually does, with each jewel representing a different payout.

"There are 124 machines that randomly reward up to $5,000 to players," said Rich Strafella, vice president of casino operations, adding that every Jewelry Box reward is celebrated with a dazzling visual presentation for everyone to enjoy.

The casino’s race and sports book is a state-of-the-art betting arena with optimal viewing. Adjacent to the Vig Deli, the race and sports book mixes the comforts of home with cutting-edge technology and high-energy excitement. Sports "couch potatoes" will especially love the traditional and VIP lounge seating. There’s also a quick and easy access from outside, making it convenient for bettors who want to make a quick pit stop.

While gaming is king in any casino, dining is the heart and soul of M Resort. Patrons can choose from nine restaurants and five destination bars, all owned and operated by the Marnells.

"Food and beverage is not an afterthought at the M Resort. It is our centerpiece and we believe it will be one of the many reasons our guests visit us again and again," said John Lipkowitz, executive vice president and general manager.

Each restaurant was developed to allow for a personalized social environment, and most of them feature outdoor dining terraces with panoramic views of the Las Vegas Strip.

At the top of the list is the resort’s Studio B Show Kitchen Buffet, which incorporates a live action cooking studio and other amenities designed to entertain and educate the diner.

"A buffet like this has never been seen anywhere in the world." Marnell said. "It takes your breath away when you walk in.

"It’s really unique – the food line is gorgeous, the presentation is phenomenal, it’s cozy, it’s personal and there are sweeping views of Las Vegas," he continued. "It’s almost like a showroom with the entertaining things we can do there."

Other restaurants at M Resort include: Marinelli’s, featuring authentic Italian dishes with recipes from the Marnell family recipe book; Terzetto, a steak and seafood restaurant with Terzetto Oyster Bar providing a casual dining option; Veloce Cibo, the top-floor restaurant and lounge; Red Cup Cafe, an art-deco inspired 24-hour eatery serving American, Asian and south-of-the-border dishes; Hostile Grape, a wine cellar, bar and tasting room; Baby Cakes, a European-inspired patisserie; Vig Deli, an eatery next to the race and sports books and Piazza Grille, a Mediterranean casual dining outdoor restaurant near the expansive pool.

Rounding out the amenities are a 23,000-square foot Spa Mio, which features 16 treatment rooms, sauna, steam and Jacuzzi wet areas, full-service salon and barbershop and a state-of-the-art fitness center; the 100,000-square-foot Villaggio Del Sole Pool and Entertainment Piazza, which will showcase headline entertainment; and more than 60,000 square feet of conference space, including a 17,400 square foot ballroom, multiple reception areas and a convenient business center.

The M Resort is the product of a collaboration between Anthony A. Marnell III, and his father, architect Tony Marnell, Chairman of Marnell Corrao Associates, which has designed notable projects throughout Las Vegas including Wynn, Treasure Island, the Mirage, Caesars Palace and the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino.

"Working with my father on the M is one of the best experiences of my life," said Anthony Marnell III. "He has worked with a number of major casino-resort properties, and I think that over the last 40 years there are things he’s wanted to do and there are things that I’ve seen that I believe should be different in casino-resorts. He and I have had the opportunity to collaborate and the result of that is the M."