The View From the M

Veloce Cibo, the popular sushi stop atop the M Resort in Henderson, closed rather abruptly in November. The site will now be home to another 7,200 square feet of meeting space, ideal for small company gatherings or wedding receptions.

On the 16th floor of a building that rests on land 400 feet higher than the Strip, the restaurant had spectacular views. But M vice president of sales Drew Varga says those very views may have wound up hurting the restaurant’s bottom line.

“We weren’t able to turn the room quick enough,” he says. “People would want to sit up there for two or three hours, renew their relationships, get engaged, the whole nine yards. … The math just penciled out to changing it over to a private venue.”

Now that the room is no longer a restaurant but a banquet space for rent, you (and a bunch of your closest friends and associates) will have to plunk down serious cash to enjoy the view and some M catering. The hotel has portrayed the move as a further commitment to its convention business. (M is also building out a $3 million, 25,000-square-foot pavilion.) With the closure of Veloce Cibo and the pavilion addition, the resort will add over 50 percent more meeting space to the 60,000 square feet originally built.

Varga says the M is on pace to book about 200 meetings for 2011, and he’s forecasting a 20 percent increase for 2012. It didn’t take much for the former Harrah’s sales exec to get a go-ahead for more meeting space from parent company and casino foreclosure hunters Penn National Gaming.

Money talks, views walk.

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