Just last week, the company launched a training facility for dealers in an expansion of its massive hiring undertaking for the resort’s 3,600 workers. In recent weeks, MGM National Harbor also disclosed a complete culinary portfolio and a permanent art collection from local and internationally known artists to be displayed on the resort grounds.
“This is really going to change the game in this area from an experience standpoint,” said MGM National Harbor General Manager Bill Boasberg. “We operate some of the most high-luxury resorts in the world between Bellagio and Aria and Mandalay Bay and the Mirage, and this rivals them in every aspect.”
It’s not only that MGM is bringing Las Vegas-style gambling to the capital region with a casino that will have 3,600 slot machines and 140 gambling tables, he said. It’s also the range of amenities that it hopes will distinguish MGM National Harbor, Boasberg said.
The hotel, which MGM envisions will be rated at 4.5 stars, includes 234 standard guest rooms, averaging 400 square feet in size, and 74 luxury suites, featuring light-colored woods and warm earth tones aimed at creating a sophisticated soothing feeling and high-tech features that enable auto-adjusting temperature and lighting capabilities, LED lighting in the mirrors, along with WiFi and Bluetooth technology.
The Studio Gaia, based in New York, designed the suites using colors that evoke the forest and water elements native to the Maryland area and feature floor-to-ceiling windows to allow for natural light and unblocked views of the capital region.
“The views are just second-to-none. You can lay on your bed and overlook the Potomac, the monuments, the Capitol. It is all glass,” Boasberg said. “It’s really going to differentiate us from the hotel offerings in this area.”
The suites range in size from 588 to 3,210 square feet, and each space is unique, from corner suites with TV sets that appear to be floating in air, an executive suite with a small library and reading room, and the most exclusive — a 3,210-square-foot suite featuring lavish master bathrooms with oval bathtubs designed with a view of Washington’s monuments.
The price tag for a night in the luxury suite? MGM officials aren’t saying yet, but the company said “rates will be competitive in the luxury hotel market segment in the region.” Translated: It won’t be cheap.
At the 5-star Aria Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, a 2,465-square-foot, two-bedroom villa with a view of the Strip averages $3,325 a night. It comes with such top-notch perks as butler service, in-suite spa services and ground transportation.
Guests at the resort will have access to restaurants by culinary headliners José Andrés, Marcus Samuelsson, and brothers Bryan and Michael Voltaggio. In addition, there will be a casual food market with offerings that include Vietnamese sandwiches, Japanese bento boxes, tacos, pizza and a ’50s-style ice cream shop.
A theater with seven luxury boxes and capacity for up to 3,000 people is being built to be versatile so that when it’s not being used for events such as comedy shows or boxing matches, it could be used for catering functions and meetings, officials say. MGM is expected to unveil the programming after it announces an opening date this summer. Also still to be announced are the retail options that MGM has said will include fine boutiques.
Then there’s the Potomac Plaza, an open space facing the river, anchored by a large fountain, where guests will be able to dine outdoors and mingle next to fire pits. MGM will market the space as a venue for weddings and other special events.
“Just the fact that it’s perched on a hill overlooking the Potomac is amazing,” said Boasberg, an MGM Resorts International veteran who most recently served as senior vice president and chief financial officer of Aria Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. “The sweeping views of the entire area are really special.”
The resort, which mixes a high-end aesthetic with a modern feel, will display about 70 pieces of art, many inspired in the Washington region from renowned artists such as ceramist Margaret Boozer, local photographer Ronald Beverly and Chinese artist Liao Yibai.
The collection includes the three, 60-foot-tall stainless steel figures of the “Unity” sculpture greeting visitors at the hotel’s entrance and a seven-foot-tall Cinderella shoe in the retail promenade. Works by local emerging artists will reflect the region and Prince George’s County’s heritage. Some of the artwork will also be displayed on the most exclusive suites perched high above the Potomac River on the 23rd floor of the luxury resort.
MGM National Harbor is betting on its location, just south of Washington near where Interstate 95 crosses the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, to draw residents from across the region but also target domestic and international visitors to Washington.
On the construction front, crews wrapping up closing up the building are moving to work on all the interior fit-outs, putting up drywall, painting and building the distinct casino ceiling. The number of big cranes on site have gone from 10 just a few months ago to three.
And in the hiring effort, classes began last week at MGM’s dealer school where prospective casino workers will be learning the ins and outs of the industry. About 200 people interested in becoming dealers at the casino table games started training last week in the program offered in partnership with Prince George’s Community College. MGM will be hiring about 1,000 table games dealers, officials said.