- Travel and Places
MGM Grand Las Vegas
MGM Grand Las Vegas
MGM Grand Las Vegas appears to rely on incandescent lights rather than neon; yet is one of the most spectacular sights on the Las Vegas strip at night. The emerald green glow is unique and instantly recognizeable. Originally located in the building that's now known as Bally's, the new MGM Grand opened in December 1993. It's a combination of the old Marina Hotel (seen as the "nose" sticking out towards the west) and new construction; which now also includes 3 towers of 550 suites each, called The Signature at MGM Grand. The main hotel contains over 5,000 rooms.
The old MGM Grand entrance (1993 to 1998)
Superstitious Asian guests did not like having to enter the casino "through the mouth" of a lion, so MGM had to abandon the design shown above. Wikipedia states, however, that the MGM Grand is one of only THREE Las Vegas resort properties which has a 13th floor (the others number the floors 10, 11, 12, 14, 15; skipping 13. The 14th floor is actually the 13th floor but the number 13 is viewed as "unlucky" by many superstitious Americans.) Strip hotels that have 40 floors or more typically skip floors 40 through 49 due to Asian superstition. (I briefly discussed this phenomenon with a front desk clerk at Encore in June 2009.) Asians have a whole different set of superstitions and unlucky numbers. As an international destination which thrives on visitors who are in pursuit of GOOD LUCK in the casinos, Las Vegas resorts have to be aware of all superstitions; not just American superstitions. While I see the whole subject as silly and pointless, I am a minority. Most people are superstitious in some way.
The remodeled MGM entrance (1998 - present)
The new MGM design (shown above) has a lion sitting over the casino entrance. Instead of going through the lion's mouth you now have to worry about... uhhh. the other end. Which apparently is not a part of Asian superstition.
MGM is in a great location, connected by pedestrian bridges to New York New York, Tropicana, and Excalibur which is in turn connected to Luxor by an indoor tunnel, which is in turn connected to Mandalay Bay by the indoor Mandalay Place shopping mall. Staying at MGM gives you easy and convenient access to six different Las Vegas strip megaresorts. Not just resorts, these are all MEGA resorts. Huge. Gargantuan. A very detail oriented person could probably spend a week in this area.
MGM is also the south end of the Las Vegas Monorail. Built in 1995 entirely with private funding, the monorail is not very useful to tourists because of the limited number of stops along only one side (the east side) of the strip, and because the distance between the monorail stations and the casino entrances can be quite ridiculous. The best use of the monorail is to quickly get from one end of the strip (Sahara Avenue on the north, Tropicana Avenue on the south) to the other. What would be about a 90 minute, four mile walk or $15+ taxi trip of unknown duration (depending on traffic) can be covered in about a half hour for a few dollars. Taxis take you door to door, however; while the monorail only makes a total of seven stops which terminate way at the south end of MGM Grand and behind the Sahara. In terms of "annoyance factor" it can be a tossup - walking to and from the monorail stations vs. sitting in a taxi crawling the strip in heavy traffic.
MGM Grand Las Vegas
Having over 5,000 rooms makes MGM Grand one of the largest hotels in the world, which you may see as a benefit or a drawback. For example, if your air conditioning stops working at 4 a.m. and you pick up the phone to inform the front desk... at least several hundred other people will be doing the exact same thing at the exact same time. The benefit is that the property is huge; accommodating such a large number of people demands offering a variety of activities. MGM Grand is the only casino I recall getting lost in; wandering aimlessly looking for the way out.
The Signature tower rooms can be considered luxury accommodations whereas the rest of the 5,000 MGM Grand rooms vary from budget level to luxury level. Overall I see the property as definitely mid range although it is most often promoted as upper mid range. It's a matter of opinion which you'll have to decide. One bonus that comes with an MGM Grand room reservation is that you can check in at the airport. While this may not seem like a bonus, if you've ever stood on line to check into a Las Vegas strip hotel during a busy season, you will see the value of being able to avoid that line. The airport check in option is almost a secret, very few people know about it; therefore the line is always much shorter.