Monday, March 2, 2009 | 1:16 p.m.
There’s a feeling you get when you drive a new car off the lot. It’s a mixture of pride and excitement. When your foot hits the gas pedal and the distinctive “new car smell” meets your nostrils, it’s magic.
That experience rivals the sensations experienced while strolling through the shiny new M Resort. The place is chairman and Chief Executive Anthony Marnell III’s pride and joy. It’s an exciting spot, and with more than two-dozen sky-searching spotlights and an impressive fireworks display, last night’s grand opening was kind of magical, too.
While the place doesn’t smell like a brand new Cadillac, the shiny new resort did have that distinctive, new casino smell last night, and excitement wafted through the air.
The property is fresh. So fresh that as you step out onto any of the terraces and observe the pool below, you can detect smell the freshly-applied deck stain. Inside, the air is also fresh, without the stench of stale smoke or spilled booze.
After spending several hours yesterday wandering back and forth across the casino floor, popping in and out of the restaurants, bars, and gaming areas, I left without the faintest hint of the familiar casino smell that usually permeates my hair and clothing.
Of course the new casino smell will soon fade (if it hasn’t already – the place has been open for several hours now, meaning there’s been plenty of time to smoke cigars and cigarettes, and spill drinks on what was pristine carpeting just hours before.) Thankfully for Marnell III, however, M Resort has a lot more going for it than just the new casino smell.
It has almost 2,000 slot machines, 390 rooms, 64 table games, a 14-screen movie theater, 160,000 square feet of convention space, seven eateries, six bars and lounges, a pool, and a spa, among other amenities.
While the slots, blackjack tables and guest rooms are standard casino requirements, the property also has a few unique features worth mentioning.
Like a pharmacy.
Yes, I said pharmacy. A real, fully-staffed pharmacy -- not some edgy-named pool party or nightclub (M hasn’t announced any Rehab-style pool parties and has no nightclub to speak of.)
Thanks to this pharmaceutical innovation, patrons can have their prescriptions filled while they dine, gamble, or are otherwise entertained on-site. And after a pharmacist doles out the drugs, staff will deliver them right to the customer’s table or slot machine.
While there is no doctor on staff to prescribe the drugs, the service provides an appealing alternative to the ho-hum pharmacy experience many of us endure. And you can also use your player points to buy your meds, or pay your insurance provider’s co-pay fee, too.
Another introduction to the casino floor courtesy of M Resort is free beverage stations: There are three self-serve soda fountains at key points in the gaming area. Patrons can enjoy all the Coca-Cola products they can consume – and help themselves to a responsible gaming brochure while they’re at it. (The brochures are available at the same counters.)
What’s more, M Resort’s wine bar, the Hostile Grape, offers 128 different wines in one, three, and five-ounce servings. This means bonafide and aspiring winos alike can sample the selection to their hearts’ (or livers’) content without having to buy entire bottles of rare and high-end vintages.
Using special prepaid cards, wine enthusiasts access the cellar’s high-tech bottle-vacuuming stations, each of which features a selection of the previously mentioned, wide-ranging selection. The pay-to-pour computerized system allows them to select their wine of choice, size of pour, and voila.
Most wines fall within the one- to three-dollar mark, per one-ounce pour, while a few are priced at five dollars or more per ounce.
If wine’s not your thing, do not despair. Back on the main casino level, the sporty 32˚ Draft bar has all the hops-and-barley a beer fan could ever need.
While it may be named 32˚ Draft, the beer bar has 96 different beers on tap, plus another 20 or so available by the bottle. Domestic or imported, light and fruity or dark and frothy, there’s something for everyone – and at prices most will appreciate, starting at $2.
Compared to the other casinos a few miles north along the Strip, drinking isn’t expensive at M Resort. No cocktail at any of the casino’s bars or lounges is more than $8.50 a glass, and beer and wine are included at the buffet, too.
The buffet – the quintessential Vegas dining experience – is also redefined at M. In addition to the sprawling selection of food and desserts – and the previously-mentioned beer and wine – the Studio B Show Kitchen Buffet includes just that: A real-life show kitchen.
The studio is located off the main dining room floor, just to the left of the dessert station, and includes theater-style tiered seating to provides unobstructed views of the fully-equipped, camera-ready kitchen.
Still, the studio is as much a studio as it is a kitchen: And it’s not all just for show: The knives in the knife block are expensive, chef-quality Global knives from Japan, and the sparkling cookware in the cupboards is all high performance stainless steel.
While the resort has no celebrity chefs on site – or franchised restaurants, either – the casino plans to bring in celebrity chefs to do cooking demonstrations at Studio B. In the meantime, however, the space will not go unused. The resort has already scheduled a range of in-house demonstrations and events with local radio personalities (and two interviews with Martha Stewart Radio later this week), and has plans for food-focused game shows and more celebrity chefs in the future.
The demos will be broadcast on screens in the main dining room, as well as on in-house, in-room TV.