Thursday, March 26, 2009 | midnight
At a time when many major-resort projects in the valley are slowing or stopping all together, Henderson’s $1 billion M Resort Spa Casino is complete, open and thriving. In fact, the property found itself so busy right after opening that it added an additional 250 staff positions to its initial hire to keep pace with demand.
“The economic expectations are extremely positive,” said Henderson’s Economic Development Manager Bob Cooper. “From property taxes, to employment, to the sales tax generated — 60 percent of our budget is based on those types of revenues.” Added Cooper, “And other local businesses will benefit as well. In a time where we’ve had economic challenges, M will provide a significant economic infusion to Henderson’s economy.”
Cooper called the M Resort a “beautiful project” that creates a positive impression of the city, with locals and visitors encountering it at various entry and exit points.
The property is situated on 90 acres at Las Vegas Boulevard S. and St. Rose Parkway, making it the first “Strip” property located in Henderson. The resort sits 400 feet higher in elevation than the resort-casinos on the Strip, providing exceptional views of the skyline from many of its rooms and restaurants.
While Southern Nevada has seen numerous grand openings of resort projects in the past, M is eager to distinguish itself as anything but run-of-the-mill. While it boasts an impressive number of unique and unusual amenities, technological elements and architectural features, two areas were designed to be downright old-fashioned in nature: exceptional levels of high-quality customer service and substantial value.
“Guests can expect to experience the highest levels of service no matter where they are on property or which team member they’re interacting with,” said Anthony A. Marnell III, chairman and CEO of M Resort. “We’re also bringing back that ‘old Vegas’ level of value — something I feel Las Vegas has really strayed from in recent years. We’re committed to giving our guests the most for their money, whether it’s in our restaurants, in our hotel rooms or on the casino floor.”
The M Resort is the product of a collaboration between Marnell and his father, architect Tony Marnell, chairman of Marnell Corrao Associates. Marnell Corrao is a premier construction and development company known for many other notable projects, including Wynn, Treasure Island, The Mirage, Caesars Palace and the Rio.
Like many of its other projects, “high tech” is the name of the game in outfitting everything from entertainment and gaming venues to guest rooms. The M Resort includes always-on, seamless wireless coverage throughout, allowing guests in different parts of the resort to access wireless voice and data services, mobile phones, BlackBerry devices, PDAs and laptops.
“On the technology side, we’ll also be one of the first properties to use mobile gaming technology and have a server-based ready and full Ethernet floor,” noted Marnell. “For our hotel guests, the rooms are equipped with iPod docking stations and Bose sound systems, as well as in-mirror televisions in every guest bathroom.”
With a goal of catering to tourists and locals alike, M Resort has created a unique blend of amenities designed to appeal to a wide audience.
For the meeting planner, the M Resort offers more than 60,000 square feet of flexible, high-tech conference space, including a 17,400-square-foot ballroom, multiple reception areas and a business center. Oversized guest rooms and suites range from 550 to 2,400 square feet and are appointed with pillow-top mattress, 42-inch HD LCD flat screen televisions, spalike bathrooms and floor-to-ceiling windows with Strip and mountain views.
“I think the M offers something for everyone, whether they live and work here or traveled here for a vacation,” said Marnell. “I think our locals are going to find incredible value in this property. We have a food and beverage product here that they won’t find at any other property for the price. We’ve got a gaming floor with great odds and perhaps the most innovative player’s club in the industry, allowing our guests to redeem points at our on-site gas station and pharmacy, along with all the traditional food and beverage and hotel stay comps. Overall, this property brings a large number of amenities to an area that needed them and at a price that everyone can afford.”
Player cards that give visitors the option of redeeming points for gas or prescriptions? Those are just two of the innovative and unusual elements that set M Resort apart from the crowd. Studio B Show Kitchen Buffet, one of the resort’s nine restaurants, incorporates a live-action cooking studio; on the casino floor, which boasts 64 table games, dealers are assigned to tables for an entire month, making it easy for players to find a familiar face; and a one-of-a-kind, high-energy gaming area known as “The Jewelry Box” features 124 machines that randomly award up to $5,000 to players with emeralds, rubies, sapphires and diamonds, each representing a different payout.
While there are certainly many unique offerings at M, many traditional amenities abound as well. A variety of culinary options suit every taste, from Italian and seafood to Asian and south-of-the-border dishes; other unique offerings include Hostile Grape, a wine cellar, bar and tasting room, and Baby Cakes, a European-inspired patisserie. The M poker room boasts daily tournaments, and the race and sports book offers individual player betting terminals, as well unique betting propositions and electronic betting options. Beer lovers can unite nearby 32° Draft Bar, where brews are served at the ideal temperature and the coldest temperature in town, right from the tap.
In the entertainment arena, M resort will feature headline concerts, themed pool parties, festivals and other special events in its 100,000-square-foot Villaggio Del Sole Pool and Entertainment Piazza. Lounge bands, piano players and DJs will be part of the mix in an effort to appeal to a wide range of customer tastes and styles. The property also features the 23,000-square-foot Spa Mio, with six treatment rooms, sauna, steam and Jacuzzi wet areas, a full-service salon and barbershop and state-of-the-art fitness center. In the future, the M Resort will include up to 1 million square feet of retail in a partnership with Taubman Centers Inc. and a 14-screen digital movie entertainment complex.
“I think the M has already had a noticeably positive economic impact on the city of Henderson,” said Marnell. “We provided new jobs, and we’re also bringing locals from all over the valley — and tourists as well — to this area of town. That means higher volumes of traffic and consumers for all the local businesses, not just M. There are a lot of people in these communities, and we saw a great opportunity to develop a product they wanted and would appreciate.”