What’s in the cards for M? Valley’s newest resort opens its doors

M Resort’s VIP/media opening.
Photo: Erik Kabik/Retna/www.erikkabikphoto.com

The M Resort opened with a bang Sunday night. After a 10-minute fireworks display just before 10 p.m. over the resort's pool, the Las Vegas Valley's newest resort casino opened its doors to a crowd of cheering and curious locals. Visitors were welcomed by dealers applauding the opening and ready to deal out the first cards of the night.

In the final minutes before the opening of the M Resort, cars were backed up along St. Rose Parkway and visitors began to crowd around the resort's four entrances.

M Resort Opens

M Resort Opens 3/1/09

“I’ve been waiting to see those cars lined up for a long time," chairman and chief executive officer Anthony Marnell III said earlier in the evening.

About 4,000 invited guests finished off their comp-filled night with a fire and water show as the resort opened its doors to the pool. With his wife and Henderson Mayor James Gibson at this side, Marnell cut the ribbon at about 5 p.m. Sunday on his $1 billion property eight miles south of Mandalay Bay.

Marnell, who is no stranger to casino openings, said the process went smoothly with few surprises -- except for a last-minute chandelier delivery at 3:30 a.m. Sunday. The last few days were just about the details. Marnell's father, Anthony Marnell II, opened the Rio in 1990 and has built casinos on the Strip, including the Bellagio and Wynn Las Vegas. Marnell said his own casino has surpassed his expectations.

“It’s turned out better than I thought it was going to come out. The architecture really came off the way we wanted it to and it’s more open than I thought it was going to be,” Marnell said. “The response from the people that I know who will at least tell me the truth … they’re just stunned. We did as good a job as we could have done.”

The Details

M Resort
Casino: More than 1,847 slot machines, 64 table games, a poker room and race and sports book.
Number of rooms: 390
Entertainment: Live music at the Villaggio Del Sole Pool and Entertainment Plaza
Restaurants: Baby Cakes, Marinelli's, Red Cup Cafe, Studio B, Terzetto, Veloce Cibo, Vig Deli, Piazza Grille
Nightlife: Five bars and lounges
Attractions: 14-screen movie theater
Pool: Main pool and VIP pool
Spa: Spa Mio, offering 16 treatment rooms, sauna, steam, Jacuzzi wet areas and a full service salon.
Shopping center: No
Health club: Yes
Convention rooms: Yes, more than 160,000 square feet
Child-care facilities: No
Players club card: Yes
Parking garage: Yes
Valet: Yes
Airport shuttle: Yes, included in resort fee

Set on 90 acres near Interstate 15 and St. Rose Parkway, M Resort is positioning itself as a locals’ casino with its placement near master-planned communities Anthem, Seven Hills and Southern Highlands.

The 92,000-square-foot casino floor flooded with guests as quickly as the resort’s doors opened. A line for M’s Players Club card wrapped around the casino, slot machine seats were filled and table games quickly became occupied.

While some gambled, others admired the architecture and design of the new property.

Designed with a modern and contemporary feel, M’s rooms feature dark wood, chrome fixtures and white linens, and are accented by blue or burgundy throws and pillows. Rooms boast floor to ceiling windows with views of the mountains and the Strip, as well as Bose sound systems, iPod docking stations and 42-inch plasma flat screens.

The 23,000-square-foot Spa Mio will welcome its guest this week, offering a variety of treatments and services as well as saunas, Jacuzzis, 16 massage and facial rooms and a full-service salon and barbershop complete with built-in ESPN in the mirrors.

Other unique resort features include an on-site pharmacy and gas station, where regulars can use their players club points.


Beyond the Weekly
M Resort
Valley’s newest resort casino open for business (Las Vegas Sun, 3/1/09)
M Resort set for 10 p.m. opening (Las Vegas Sun, 3/1/09)
M Resort banking on reasonable prices in tough economy (Las Vegas Sun, 2/28/09)
M Resort shaking up South Valley (Las Vegas Sun, 2/27/09)
M Resort dares to be different (Las Vegas Sun, 2/25/09)
M Resort next in line for Marnell family (Las Vegas Sun, 2/21/09)

M dining options include Studio B, a show kitchen buffet; a standard casino café, the Red Cup Cafe; Baby Cakes bakery; Piazza Grille, a Mediterranean-style grill; Vig Deli; Marinelli’s Authentic Italian Dishes; Terzetto, a steak and seafood restaurant; sushi and sashimi bar Restaurant Veloce Cibo & Bar Veloce; and Hostile Grape Wine Cellar, where guests can taste more than 120 types of wine.

Marnell might have packed his casino on opening night but bringing people back will be his next challenge, one he is very aware of.

“As a new property, we don’t have one customer,” Marnell said. “We have to build that from scratch.”

Marnell said he is relying on a commitment to customer service to keep his rooms filled and casino floor buzzing.

“You earn them one at a time. There’s no other way to do it. It’s one of the things my dad taught me back in the days of the Rio,” Marnell said. “This is a long battle in front of us; it’s a long plan. It will take us a year to build the momentum of this database and get it going and for word of mouth to spread … but we’re prepared for that.

“We’ve got just as good a chance as anyone else.”

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