Sneak peek: Inside MGM National Harbor

A wall sculpture by local artist Margaret Boozer hangs in the lobby. It’s a topographical map of the region that was made using 10,000 pounds of soil from the construction site at MGM National Harbor. (WTOP/Rachel Nania)  (WTOP/Rachel Nania)
Celebrity Chef Marcus Samuelsson’s restaurant at MGM National Harbor is open 24 hours a day. Samuelsson is also designing the in-room dining options at the hotel. (WTOP/Rachel Nania) (WTOP/Rachel Nania)
The “Blossom” cocktail lounge is one of the high-limit gaming areas inside the casino. (WTOP/Rachel Nania) (WTOP/Rachel Nania)
The hotel tower can be seen from the conservatory. MGM National Harbor officials refer to the Maryland resort as a “boutique hotel,” since it has 308 guest rooms and suites, compared to 5,000 at MGM in Las Vegas. (WTOP/Rachel Nania)  (WTOP/Rachel Nania)
The bar area of Steak House by brothers Bryan and Michael Voltaggio, is seen during a preview tour of the MGM National Harbor, Friday, Dec. 2, 2016 in Oxon Hill, Md. The $1.4 billion National Harbor casino and resort, just outside the nation's capital, is scheduled to open this week. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
The bar area of Steak House by brothers Bryan and Michael Voltaggio, is seen during a preview tour of the MGM National Harbor, Friday, Dec. 2, 2016 in Oxon Hill, Md. The $1.4 billion National Harbor casino and resort, just outside the nation’s capital, is scheduled to open this week. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) (AP)
A room on the eleventh floor is seen during a preview tour of the MGM National Harbor, Friday, Dec. 2, 2016 in Oxon Hill, Md. The $1.4 billion National Harbor casino and resort, just outside the nation's capital, is scheduled to open December 8th. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
A room on the 11th floor is seen during a preview tour of the MGM National Harbor, Friday, Dec. 2, 2016 in Oxon Hill, Md. The $1.4 billion National Harbor casino and resort, just outside the nation’s capital, is scheduled to open December 8th. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) (AP)
The two-person shower in a 23rd floor suite has a view that includes most of Washington, and Alexandria, Va., as seen during a preview tour of the MGM National Harbor, Friday, Dec. 2, 2016 in Oxon Hill, Md. The $1.4 billion National Harbor casino and resort, just outside the nation's capital, is scheduled to open December 8th. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
The two-person shower in a 23rd floor suite has a view that includes most of Washington, and Alexandria, Va., as seen during a preview tour of the MGM National Harbor, Friday, Dec. 2, 2016 in Oxon Hill, Md. The $1.4 billion National Harbor casino and resort, just outside the nation’s capital, is scheduled to open December 8th. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) (AP)
The conservatory is the center focus at MGM National Harbor. Director of Hotel Operations Patrick Fisher explains the room is 80-feet tall with an all-glass ceiling. The theme of the room will change throughout the year — decorations that celebrate the Chinese New Year are up next. (WTOP/Rachel Nania) (WTOP/Rachel Nania)
A portion of Bob Dylan's "Portal," a metal collage with an aquatic theme, is seen during a preview tour of the MGM National Harbor, Friday, Dec. 2, 2016 in Oxon Hill, Md. With an An art collection of 72 pieces by 33 artists will flow throughout the casino and even outside. The $1.4 billion National Harbor casino and resort, just outside the nation's capital, is scheduled to open this week. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
A portion of Bob Dylan’s “Portal,” a metal collage with an aquatic theme, is seen during a preview tour of the MGM National Harbor, Friday, Dec. 2, 2016 in Oxon Hill, Md. An art collection of 72 pieces by 33 artists will flow throughout the casino and even outside. The $1.4 billion National Harbor casino and resort, just outside the nation’s capital, is scheduled to open this week. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) (AP)
In lieu of a buffet, MGM National Harbor has a “National Market” section, featuring several fast-casual restaurant concepts. National Market is open 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. (WTOP/Rachel Nania) (WTOP/Rachel Nania)
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The bar area of Steak House by brothers Bryan and Michael Voltaggio, is seen during a preview tour of the MGM National Harbor, Friday, Dec. 2, 2016 in Oxon Hill, Md. The $1.4 billion National Harbor casino and resort, just outside the nation's capital, is scheduled to open this week. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
A room on the eleventh floor is seen during a preview tour of the MGM National Harbor, Friday, Dec. 2, 2016 in Oxon Hill, Md. The $1.4 billion National Harbor casino and resort, just outside the nation's capital, is scheduled to open December 8th. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
The two-person shower in a 23rd floor suite has a view that includes most of Washington, and Alexandria, Va., as seen during a preview tour of the MGM National Harbor, Friday, Dec. 2, 2016 in Oxon Hill, Md. The $1.4 billion National Harbor casino and resort, just outside the nation's capital, is scheduled to open December 8th. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
A portion of Bob Dylan's "Portal," a metal collage with an aquatic theme, is seen during a preview tour of the MGM National Harbor, Friday, Dec. 2, 2016 in Oxon Hill, Md. With an An art collection of 72 pieces by 33 artists will flow throughout the casino and even outside. The $1.4 billion National Harbor casino and resort, just outside the nation's capital, is scheduled to open this week. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
November 29, 2020 | Touring the new MGM National Harbor (WTOP's Rachel Nania)

WASHINGTON — After two years of construction and $1.4 billion, MGM National Harbor is now a reality in Prince George’s County, Maryland.

The 24-story destination includes 15 dining options, 308 hotel rooms, a 3,000-seat theater, a 125,000-square-foot casino and 18,000 square feet of retail.

Fun Facts

  • MGM National Harbor will be home to the world’s largest chocolate fountain. Alison Bybee, vice president of food and beverage at MGM National Harbor, says the feature, located in the Bellagio Patisserie, will flow with 4,000 pounds of dark, white and milk chocolate. “It’s just very Willy Wonka and fun to look at — lots of photographs and selfies, we’re expecting,” Bybee said. 
  • The resort’s permanent Heritage art collection features sculptures, installations and multimedia pieces by local artists, as well as more nationally recognized names, such as Bob Dylan.
  • MGM National Harbor is a certified LEED Gold building.
  • The center space of MGM National Harbor, called the conservatory, is 80-feet tall, 70-yards long and 50-yards wide. It has an all-glass ceiling and a rotating display based on the seasons. Currently, there are 90,000 flowers decorating the space for the holidays. 
  • There is no fee to enter MGM National Harbor; there is complementary parking. Those visiting the casino must be 21 years or older.

Food and Drink

There are 15 dining options at MGM National Harbor, including several restaurants headed by celebrity chefs. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Marcus Samuelsson — who is famous for his Harlem, New York, restaurant Red Rooster — will operate the only 24-hour restaurant at MGM National Harbor. Guests can expect live music and an outdoor dining area. Samuelsson is also in charge of in-room dining for the resort’s hotel.
  • Local chef José Andrés is opening his first seafood-only restaurant at MGM National Harbor, called Fish. The concept will have stations featuring different styles of seafood (crudo, tempura, etc.), and an outdoor patio where the chef will steam crabs in the warm-weather months. “MGM being very focused on entertainment, he is, if nothing, very entertaining as well as a brilliant chef,” Bybee said about Andrés. 
  • Brothers Bryan and Michael Voltaggio, originally from Frederick, Maryland, will open their first joint restaurant, Steak House, at MGM National Harbor. The space is designed to look and feel like a home, complete with photos and personal belongings from the Voltaggio family. 
  • In the warmer months, Tap, a sports bar concept, will have a patio with boccie courts, beer pong tables and an outdoor bar. “It’s a sports-lover’s heaven,” Bybee said. 
  • Ginger, a 6,000-square-foot pan-Asian restaurant, is one of the eateries not headed by a celebrity chef. It’s located in the conservatory space of the resort. 
  • Instead of building a buffet-style dining hall, MGM National Harbor has an area designated for fast-casual spots, including Shake Shack, Starbucks, District Deli and  Honey’s Fried Chicken & Donuts.
  • The pastry shop Bellagio Patisserie is located in the conservatory space of MGM National Harbor. 
  • When guests order a cocktail at Felt, a bar and lounge inside the gaming area, the bartender will roll out a bar cart and mix the drink right in front of where you are sitting. “Everything from roasting marshmallows to incredible garnishes made right before your eyes. It’s a really fun, interactive experience,” Bybee said. 

The Casino

  • The 125,000-square-foot gaming room has 3,300 slot machines, 39 poker tables and two high-limit gaming areas. There is also an Asian-inspired gaming area.
  • If gambling makes you thirsty, there are two bars/lounges inside the casino, including Felt and Blossom.

The Retail 

  • Retail shops in MGM National Harbor are located in a section of the resort called “The District.”
  • Shops range from menswear to home décor. Actress, model and fashion designer Sarah Jessica Parker recently announced plans for her first boutique at the resort. SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker will sell handbags, shoes and “little black dresses.”

The Hotel 

  • MGM National Harbor will have 234 guest rooms and 74 suites.
  • The hotel’s 10 luxury suites will use “Butler Service” carts. The high-tech mobile service carts are climate controlled and have a “tray tracker” for prompt removal of carts from the hallway.
  • The in-room dining menu is from James Beard Award-winning chef Marcus Samuelsson. Guests in the hotel’s suites will also have an option to curate an in-room meal from the resort’s other celebrity chefs.
  • The hotel includes a spa and an outdoor pool during the summer months.
  • Room rates range based on time and availability, but standard rooms hover around $300 to $400 a night after opening weekend.
  • MGM National Harbor officials refer to the Maryland resort as a “boutique hotel,” since it has 308 guest rooms and suites, compared to 5,000 at MGM in Las Vegas.

The Theater 

  • The calendar for the 3,000-seat theater is already booked with stars like Duran Duran, Boyz II Men, Bruno Mars and Kings of Leon.
  • A driveway directly outside the theater is designed for bus drop-offs; a box office is located inside MGM National Harbor.

Getting There

  • MGM National Harbor is located at 101 MGM National Ave. in Oxon Hill, Maryland.
  • While there is no Metro stop in the nearby area, there is a new Metrobus service, the NH2, to carry riders from Alexandria’s Huntington and King Street stations to the resort and casino. Prince George’s County’s 35 bus will also service MGM National Harbor.
  •  During the opening period, self-parking will be complementary to visitors. MGM says this will eventually be moved to a paid-parking model. Valet parking is available for $25 up to 12 hours; $45 for 12 to 24 hours.

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