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Hotels & Tourism


Transformative properties?


New and updated resorts will give Virginia more convention settings in 2017 by Elizabeth Cooper


T


he new year will be a big one for Virginia’s hospitality industry in terms of openings. December


saw the much-awaited debut of MGM National Harbor, a $1.4 billion casino and resort in Prince George’s County, Md., across the Potomac River from Alexandria. Two more properties, The Main in down- town Norfolk and a restored Cavalier on the Hill in Virginia Beach, will open in the spring. All three properties promise the latest in amenities and luxury, and travelers and convention planners are checking them out and making reservations. From huge swirling fountains to a trio


of 60-foot-tall stainless steel sculptures, there is a grandness of scale and Las Vegas glitz at MGM Resort International’s first East Coast property. Yet MGM National Harbor also plays on its proximity to the nation’s capital with plenty of outside ter- races with panoramic views of the Potomac and the city skyline. The 308-room resort rises 24 stories


above the mixed-use National Harbor development. Room rates are adjustable, based on time of stay and type of room. During the holiday season one room ranged from $299 a night right before Christmas to $1,599 on New Year’s Eve. Guests staying at the resort are within


walking distance of its spa, dining and entertainment venues, upscale shops and a 125,000-square-foot casino with 3,300 slot machines and more than 100 gaming tables. “We’re confident the MGM National


Harbor experience will resonate with guests from all over the globe,” says General Manager Bill Boasberg. “Our intent is to grow domestic and international visita- tion to National Harbor, Prince George’s County and across the region.” The resort’s entertainment options


Photo by Robb Scharetg/ MGM National Harbor


The $1.4 billion MGM National Harbor opened in December in Prince George’s County, Md.


include a 3,000-seat theater. Duran Duran was scheduled to play on New Year’s Eve, and Cher is booked to perform in March. “The venue is intimate and will allow guests to see some of the industry’s top artists up close and personal rather than in a large-scale arena,” Boasberg says. MGM National Harbor also touts


its restaurants, some of which are new to the region. There’s a seafood restaurant led by celebrity chef José Andrés, a sports bar, a pan-Asian eatery and a market offering 10 food venues ranging from Vietnamese sandwiches to Southern fried chicken. Epi- cureans can top off their meals with a visit to the resort’s European-inspired pastry shop, Bellagio Patisserie, showcased by a 12-foot chocolate fountain. The resort’s conference center offers


50,000 square feet of meeting space, including a 16,200-square-foot grand ballroom and a 6,000-square-foot outdoor terrace.


www.VirginiaBusiness.com


The Main Meanwhile, downtown Norfolk is


preparing for an influx of new conven- tion business with the anticipated March opening of a 21-story hotel and convention center, The Main. Bearing the Hilton brand, the 300-room hotel will offer 42,000 square feet of high-tech meeting space as well as an 18,382-square-foot ballroom, touted as the largest hotel ballroom in Virginia. Other selling points include 11 luxury


suites and two presidential suites — with views of the Elizabeth River and downtown Norfolk — a fitness facility, indoor pool and three full-service restaurants. They include Grain, a rooftop beer garden, and the Frui- tive, which will offer a vegan menu. The hotel’s public spaces will be tied together by a 100-foot-tall ground-floor glass atrium known as Grand Central Station. The Main represents Virginia Beach


developer Bruce Thompson’s first venture in Norfolk. The CEO of Gold Key|PHR


VIRGINIA BUSINESS 39


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