Fish, a new restaurant from two-star Michelin chef Jose Andres

On D.C.'s Doorstep

MGM places its bets on the capital

BY KATHLEEN MANGAN

The new MGM National Harbor boldly confronts drivers passing by on the Capital Beltway south of Washington, D.C. The overarching white roof soars upward and a knife-edged, glass hotel adds a vertical counterpoint, all mounted on a massive, stepped base and illuminated at night as if it were another National Mall monument.

That’s exactly what design architect Eddie Abeyta, a principal with HKS Hospitality Group, a global architecture and interior design firm based in Dallas, had in mind — a notable landmark that distills the essence of the District’s historic structures, yet emanates a playful, modern energy, and piques curiosity about what’s inside. “We started with a big idea, and the result is beautiful, sophisticated, and monumental. The visibility is so impactful from vantage points all around the area. We’re attracted to beautiful things,” says Abeyta.

At a cost of $1.4 billion, MGM Resorts International unveiled its fifth U.S. resort outside of Las Vegas in December in Oxon Hill, Md., less than 10 miles from the nation’s capital. Here, a few of its highlights.

Rooms with a view: All 308 rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows with views over the D.C. skyline or the Potomac River; Corner View Suites come with both.

Game on: At 125,000 square feet, the 24-hour casino ranks as one of the largest gaming floors outside of Vegas. For something cutting-edge, try Scientific Games' Willy Wonka Gamescape, the first slot game to use gesture controls.

Celebrity chefs: Fifteen-plus dining options include Fish, two-star Michelin chef José Andrés' first all-seafood restaurant, where you'll find tanks of Maryland crabs and fresh Virginia oysters - plus outdoor seating for clambakes. At Marcus, James Beard Award-winning chef Marcus Samuelsson dishes out new interpretations of American comfort classics, such as Sammy's Chicken and Waffles.

Class acts: Bruno Mars and Duran Duran have already performed in a 3,000-seat theater for concerts, comedy acts, and sporting events. Upcoming entertainment heavyweights include Cher, Ricky Martin, and Sting.

For art lovers: The $20 million art collection interspersed throughout the public areas is the largest available for public viewing in the region outside a museum. Don't miss musician-artist Bob Dylan's first public art installation, the massive iron Portal framing the casino's entrance.

Imbibing: Felt Bar & Lounge, overlooking the casino floor, offers the region's first tableside mixology with flaming and smoking presentations. This chic, candle-flickering spot transforms its atmosphere on weekends with a DJ and bottle service. Are brewskis more your thing? Tap Sports Bar has 48 beers on tap.

For men only: Pair a straight-edge, hot lather shave with a bourbon cocktail at the Barber Lounge. Watch your favorite sporting events on a big screen in the spa's Lion's Den.

411: From $299. 844-646-6847; mgmnationalharbor.com 

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