I was absolutely thrilled to be home for the holidays for a few days. Not only was it a time to spend with my family — especially my parents, my siblings and my bright beautiful niece — but also friends.
A few of us loaded up in our Lexus truck (was that just an obnoxious, completely useless brand mention? Well, I’m painting a picture here. Stick with me!), and trekked out to the hottest new hotel in the DMV.
MGM National Harbor (7100 Oxon Hill Road, Oxon Hill, Maryland) is painstakingly beautiful. Not only does its massive heavenly presence hover over you as you ride down 495 toward it, looking like the Wizard of Oz, but it’s also new. And there’s something special about new.
Still, with anything brand new, its bound to have its kinks. And MGM National Harbor isn’t an exception to this made-up rule. Here are four things that the MGM needs to improve immediately if it wants to keep hometown people driving down there, and tourists swarming.
Get a SnapChat geotag.
Sadly, in this generation, if you didn’t share it, it didn’t happen. And the hot new social media network is Snapchat that allows people to share images and video instantaneously. The other cool thing about Snap, as it’s affectionately known, is that it allows companies and establishments to purchase geotags, identifying to the user and consumer where they are in a creative manner. The photos, and videos, are then allowed to be downloaded for all eternity. It seems to me that MGM National Harbor is keeping tons of free social media branding right there on the table. It’s low hanging fruit, babes. Pick it.
Cocktails in the Casino
It’s true. The only thing more fun about gambling, is drinking while gambling. And the casino bar inside the MGM makes that very hard to do. Now, I’m not talking about the “lounges” inside — Blossom and Felt, whose cocktails were great. Still, the main bar’s cocktails SUCKED. I ordered a very simple drink that any bartender could make — a Vodka gimlet — and it tasted terrible. I get that the main bar is supposed to focus on efficiency, but it should also focus on essence.
The Shops’ Customer Service
As a lifelong Sex and the City fan and a writer, imagine my excitement when I walked into SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker. I saw brightly covered shoes everywhere; my heart filled with glee. But then minutes rolled by and no one had greeted me in that gritty/preppy voice that I imagine all SJP-affiliated folks would have. No one said, “Welcome! Are you looking for anything in particular? What brings you in today?” I know all of the go-to “greeting” questions that shop attendant’s ask because I used to be one (I worked at The Limited! Heyyy!). And there was no customer service at all — I entered and left the store without interacting with staff at all. Not to mention, the uniforms that the attendants wore made it seem like they were security not salespeople.
Lines in the Food Court
I get it. It’s opening month, so perhaps tons of folks are headed to MGM to check it out. But there’s really no reason the lines in the food court should mimic the lines in an amusement park. I’m not an expert in fast food service, so I’m not even going to pretend to know how to improve this pain point. But for efficiency’s sake, let’s get those service times down.
Now, I couldn’t just talk about what’s wrong without mentioning what MGM got right:
Offerings are Massive
Whatever your fancy, you’ll find it in MGM. They have a sports bar, high-end steakhouse, a lounge for the ladies, one that has more masculine decor, tons and tons of tables and tons and tons of slots. Then there’s a food court, a couple miscellaneous bars and you’ve got yourself the Disney World of fun. You will NOT get bored here. And it’s totally possible to spend 24 hours here. (Hello! It also has a theatre and hotel rooms.)
The Food Court Food Is Good
When my brother-in-love suggested we eat at the food court, admittedly I was a little bummed. I wanted to fine dine! But the food court did not disappoint. I saw crab cakes and sushi and Shake Shack and amazing tacos.
Parking Is Easy
We were worried that with such a massive building, we’d lose each other and our car. Neither happened. The parking lot wasn’t overwhelming at all, and even after a couple drinks we could find our car at the end of the night.
You Really, Truly, Can’t Get Lost
The MGM Casino is practically a circle. You can go round and round, and really not lose your place…or perhaps that friend who won’t get up from the slots.