The M Resort Hits its Off-Strip Stride

When it comes to designing and developing Las Vegas resorts, the Marnell family is lauded for pioneering outside-the-box concepts. Anthony Marnell II (Tony) launched the destination’s first all-suite hotel with The Rio and debuted rooftop dining with that property’s VooDoo Steak & Lounge. He also wooed a roster of world-class chefs like Jean-Louis Palladin to open signature Vegas dining venues that have bolstered Vegas’ culinary scene in extremely palatable style.

So when Anthony Marnell III began the process of conceptualizing The M Resort, he collaborated with his guru father to push the envelope once again. And in doing so, this off-The-Strip standout is garnering hype as Vegas’ next generation of architecture, dining and service.

It’s easy to see why, especially if you’re into gaming but phobic of the 24/7 party culture that thrives on The Strip. While the 390-room property that opened in March 2009 flashes a Las Vegas Boulevard address, it’s some 10 miles from its nearest mega-resort neighbor, Mandalay Bay.

From the moment you enter, it’s all about openness and natural light thanks to an abundance of windows, skylights and high ceilings. In fact, there are actually times during the day when you can see through the building from the porte cochere, with the glass on either side unobstructed by internal clutter. Chalk up another first for the Marnells.

To the right of the entrance through a corridor lined by the Lobby Bar, Baby Cakes patisserie and Marinelli’s Italian restaurant, the casino brings the outdoors inside with naturally illuminated gaming areas. The 92,000-sq.-ft. floor buzzes with 1,846 machines, 64 table games, a live action poker room, and a race and sports book with “in-running” that allows wagering on live games. There’s also an exterior poolside casino and high-limit gaming salon with private terrace and VIP lounge.

No matter where you find yourself, the resort seems to have a refreshing attitude. It’s void of that stereotypical low ceiling, smoke-filled casino clamor that screams, “Ante up!” Even the swirling geometry of the casino floor carpeting is a tasteful cut above, inspired by a Versace tie design. It’s very apparent that the Marnells set out to deliver aesthetics and elegance without compromising a high level of functionality.

Those concepts play out in guestrooms and suites as well. Complete with floor-to-ceiling windows, 70 percent of these oversized accommodations look out over the pool area toward the colorful Las Vegas skyline. It’s somewhat surreal to peer at The Strip on the horizon and know that you can be smack dab in the middle of all that hot action in a matter of minutes.

“Our location allows The M to sit 400 ft. higher in elevation than The Strip properties, which means our views of that world-famous skyline are spectacular,” says Drew Varga, v.p. of sales. “And since our rooms are extremely well proportioned, they’re larger than the majority of standard guestrooms in the city—including rooms in some of the all-suite hotels.”

Spacious and comfortable, each features a living area decked out with high-tech amenities like a Bose Wave sound system, iPod docking station and 42-inch HD LCD flat-screen TV. Bathrooms are plush as well, with inlaid mirror TV, and marble floor and vanities coupled with a separate bath and shower.

Even grander are 39 suites ranging from 1,440 to 2,400 sq. ft. For your clients wanting to go all out with residential-style conveniences, recommend a bi-level loft suite with stunning 270-degree views. These ultra-lux beauties include a private entrance, two separate living rooms, a pair of wet bars, freestanding spa tub with separate steam shower and drop-screen TV in the master bedroom. For energy efficiency, all guestrooms and suites have automatic lighting controls.

It’s also apparent that the Marnell family created The M Resort’s eateries on the premise that sipping and supping is about more than what you consume—it’s about the entire experience. And as cliche as it sounds, there really is something for everyone in the resort’s nine restaurants and five destination bars. Most eateries overlook the 100,000-sq.-ft. pool and events piazza toward The Strip.

We found ourselves rubbing shoulders with die-hard beer drinkers at 32° Draft Bar, where we could partake in 96 suds selections on tap. On the other hand, wine aficionados gravitate to the hip Hostile Grape. Patrons find this concept especially appealing since it offers 120 wines by the glass that are accessible via purchasing pre-paid tasting cards that allow self-served sampling pours of one, three or five ounces.