by Leo Jakobson | October 25, 2017

The most awaited new project on the Las Vegas Strip this year is MGM Resorts Internationals' $450 million transformation of the old Monte Carlo Resort and Casino into a new luxury property, Park MGM.

The new property is at the heart of the new neighborhood MGM Resorts International has built around The Park, an outdoor dining, entertainment and strolling space. Flanked by the new hotel and New York-New York Las Vegas Hotel & Casino, the on-Strip outdoor space is also the gateway to the 20,000-seat T-Mobile Arena.

Stylistically, the Park MGM will be something different on the Las Vegas scene. Very few of the property's public spaces are finished, but a recent visit to the lobby and its bar/restaurant, The Primrose, during the IMEX America trade show earlier this month, revealed something unexpected. It has a style you'd expect to find in older southeastern cities -- airy, calm, welcoming to nature -- rather than in Las Vegas. The Primrose features a vegetable-focused menu with cuisine and decor inspired by the South of France.

The property will also connect more seamlessly to The Strip via a 30,000-square-foot outpost of Chef Mario Batali's upscale Italian market, Eataly. The type of market you really only see in European cities, Eataly is as much a destination as it is a place to shop - a series of restaurants, cafes and to-go counters set among various sections like pasta, wine, olive oil and the like. A great venue for dine-arounds, it will not only bring a new culinary experience, the way in which it relates to The Strip from a pedestrian point of view is also something fresh. The wide, open front will invite pedestrians in -- and out -- of the property.

"We own 40 percent of The Strip, all the way from Mandalay Bay to the Mirage, except for The Cosmopolitan and Caesars Palace," is something Michael Dominguez, chief sales officer of MGM Resorts, has been quick to point out for the past couple of years. "We control the pedestrian experience."

When the Park MGM is complete, that pedestrian experience will change, he says, becoming a more important part of the broader Las Vegas experience, he says.

Like most of the big newer casino resorts, the new Park MGM will also have a boutique-style "hotel-within-a-hotel," on its top four floors. The NoMad Hotel is an outpost of the New York City boutique property by Chef Daniel Humm and Restaurateur Will Guidara, the team behind the three Michelin starred restaurant Eleven Madison Park.

Wellness will also be an integral part of the Park MGM, which will have 102 Stay Well rooms when it opens. First introduced at the MGM Grand, the Stay Well concept is a partnership with Delos, which worked with the Cleveland Clinic and Columbia University to develop healthier and more energizing guest rooms. Having proven very popular - the MGM Grand's Stay Well room block has grown from a few dozen to 340 over the past couple of years - the rooms have a dozen features designed to improve the guest experience, such as HEPA-filtered air and wake-up light therapy to reduce jet lag.  

Stay Well is not limited to rooms. The MGM Grand Conference Center is adding 22,000 square feet to its existing Stay Well meeting space as part of a larger expansion. Stay Well Meetings has many of the same features as the rooms,