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  • Writer's pictureMark Vogel

Exploring MGM Grand in Las Vegas: An In-Depth Look into this Iconic Hotel and Entertainment Hub

Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada


MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada
MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada

During my recent stay at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada, I had the opportunity to experience firsthand the grandeur and vastness that this iconic hotel offers. Known for its significant presence on the Las Vegas Strip, the MGM Grand stands out not just for its size but for its rich history and the plethora of amenities it offers to guests. It’s a prime destination for entertainment, dining, and luxury accommodation in Las Vegas. Its location on the Strip makes it an ideal spot for visitors looking to immerse themselves in the exciting life of Las Vegas.

 

The MGM Grand's original theme was "The Wizard of Oz." When it opened in December 1993, the theme was heavily inspired by the classic 1939 film, reflecting MGM's ownership and its connection to the iconic movie. The hotel's entrance featured a yellow brick road that led visitors through the main gaming area, and Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion characters were prominently featured around the property. There was even an "Emerald City" color scheme within the casino area to further enhance the theme.


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“The MGM Grand in Las Vegas continues to evolve, always adding new services and amenities to enhance the guest experience. Its combination of luxury, entertainment, dining, and comprehensive facilities makes it a microcosm of the best that Las Vegas has to offer, appealing to a wide range of visitors from around the globe.”

The VIP Lounge at MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada
The VIP Lounge at MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada

Over time, the MGM Grand moved away from the explicit "Wizard of Oz" theme towards a more general entertainment and luxury theme, incorporating elements of Old Hollywood glamour but primarily focusing on providing a broad range of entertainment, dining, and gaming experiences. This shift reflected a broader trend in Las Vegas, where many resorts transitioned from specific themes to more versatile and sophisticated designs to attract a wider audience.

 

The MGM Grand Las Vegas has had a notable association with lions, reflecting the MGM movie studio's iconic Leo the Lion logo. This connection has been symbolized in two major ways over the years: the original lion entrance and the lion statue currently in the lobby.

 

Original Lion Entrance


When the MGM Grand opened in 1993, one of its most distinctive features was a massive lion's head through which guests entered the casino. This entrance was designed to evoke the MGM Studio's logo and The Wizard of Oz theme, intending to create a memorable arrival experience. However, this design choice faced criticism over time. Some guests, particularly those from Asian cultures where the lion is a symbol of protection and good luck, considered it bad luck to walk into the mouth of a lion—a sentiment that could affect the fortunes of those entering a gaming establishment. Recognizing the cultural sensitivity and its potential impact on guests' comfort and the hotel's international appeal, the MGM Grand decided to remove the giant lion entrance.


MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada
MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada

Current Lion Statue in the Lobby


In its place and to continue the tradition of the lion theme, the MGM Grand installed a more universally welcoming symbol: a massive bronze statue of a lion, situated safely on the ground at the main entrance of the hotel, not requiring guests to walk through it. Unveiled in 1998, this statue stands at 45 feet tall and weighs 50 tons, making it the largest bronze statue in the United States. The statue sits atop a pedestal, surrounded by fountains and landscaping, serving as a popular photo spot for visitors and a symbol of strength and pride for the MGM Grand. It reflects the MGM brand while addressing the cultural sensitivities associated with the previous entrance design.

 

These lions, both past and present, symbolize the MGM Grand's commitment to its heritage and its responsiveness to guest feedback, ensuring that the iconic symbol of the lion remains a part of the hotel's identity in a respectful and welcoming manner.

  

Accommodations

 

Boasting over 6,000 rooms, the MGM Grand is one of the largest hotels in the world. This vast array of accommodations ranges from standard rooms to the pinnacle of luxury in the form of suites like the Tower Spa Suite and the Skyloft Suite with Butler, both of which I had the pleasure of staying in. The Tower Spa Suite, with its spacious layout and relaxing spa tub, offers a blend of comfort and luxury. The Skyloft Suite, on the other hand, elevates the experience with its two-level loft design, offering unparalleled views of the Strip and a dedicated butler service that ensures every need is catered to with precision and care.

 

MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada
MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada

Casino


The casino at MGM Grand is a gambler's paradise, featuring a sprawling 171,500 square feet of gaming space. It houses approximately 2,500 slot machines, catering to both casual players and high rollers. The variety of table games is impressive, with blackjack, craps, roulette, and baccarat among the options available to guests. The poker room and sports betting facilities are also top-notch, providing a comprehensive gaming experience.


Dining


Dining at the MGM Grand is a journey through global cuisines, with over a dozen restaurants catering to every palate. From fine dining to casual eateries, the options are vast. Whether it's the gourmet delights of Joël Robuchon, the lively atmosphere of Hakkasan, or the comfort of a quick bite at one of the numerous cafes and snack bars, there's something for every taste and occasion.


The hotel also houses several Starbucks locations, ensuring that guests can easily find their familiar coffee fix without having to venture far from their room or the casino floor.


For those looking for kosher food, there are many kosher restaurants in the greater Las Vegas area, about a 20-minute drive away.

 

Entertainment


Entertainment is a cornerstone of the MGM Grand experience, with venues like the MGM Grand Garden Arena and the David Copperfield Theatre hosting a range of shows and events. David Copperfield's magic show is a standout, offering a mesmerizing experience that captivates audiences. "Ka" by Cirque du Soleil is another highlight, with its innovative stage production and acrobatics that tell a dramatic story. Brad Garrett's Comedy Club adds a touch of humor to the entertainment lineup, featuring performances by both established and upcoming comedians.


Main Pool at MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada
Main Pool at MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada

Pools


Despite its many amenities, the size of the MGM Grand means that getting around can take some time. This was particularly noticeable when accessing the pool area, which is a bit of a walk from the hotel rooms. The MGM Grand's pool complex is vast, with multiple pools and a lazy river. However, during my visit in the winter, the Wet River pool was closed, though the main pool remained open, offering a refreshing oasis amidst the cooler weather.

 

Shopping


The MGM Grand Las Vegas offers a variety of shopping experiences within its vast complex. From souvenirs and casual wear to luxury brands and unique gifts, the selection of stores at the MGM Grand ensures that guests have access to a wide range of shopping options without having to leave the resort.

Here are just a few notable stores and shopping experiences of the many available:

 

- Essentials: For those looking to grab souvenirs, snacks, or any last-minute travel essentials, the MGM Grand features several convenience stores such as Essentials. Located in various parts of the hotel, these stores offer a variety of items including MGM Grand branded merchandise, gifts, snacks, and sundries.

 

- The MGM Grand & Co.: This store offers a selection of MGM Grand branded merchandise, allowing guests to take home a piece of their Las Vegas experience. From apparel to mugs and other memorabilia, it's a great place to find a souvenir for yourself or gifts for friends and family back home.

 

- Misura: Misura is a boutique that specializes in contemporary men's apparel and accessories. Offering a range of clothing from casual to business casual, it's the perfect place to find something for a night out in Vegas or a last-minute meeting.

 

- Optica: For those in need of designer sunglasses or simply looking to upgrade their eyewear, Optica provides a wide selection of luxury eyewear brands. It's an ideal spot to find the perfect pair of shades to shield your eyes from the bright Nevada sun in style.

 

- The Watch Boutique: The Watch Boutique offers a collection of timepieces from renowned brands, catering to collectors and fashion enthusiasts alike. Whether you're looking for a luxury watch as a statement piece or a memorable gift, this boutique has a curated selection to browse.

 

- Houdini's Magic Shop: For something truly unique, Houdini's Magic Shop offers a range of magic tricks, gadgets, and novelties. Whether you're a professional magician looking to add to your repertoire or a beginner eager to learn a few tricks, Houdini's has something to intrigue and amuse.


 

MGM Grand Facts and Features:


The MGM Grand is not only an emblem of luxury and entertainment but also a hub of diverse attractions and amenities beyond what I've already described. Here are additional facets that contribute to its stature:

 

Grand Pool Complex


The Grand Pool Complex is a sprawling 6.5-acre area featuring four swimming pools, three whirlpools, waterfalls, and a lazy river, providing a tropical retreat for relaxation and family fun. Although the Wet River was closed during my winter visit, the complex itself is a highlight for guests seeking to unwind or enjoy the sun.

 

TopGolf


A unique feature of the MGM Grand is TopGolf, a state-of-the-art entertainment venue that combines golf games with food and music. It's a fun twist on traditional golf, suitable for all skill levels, and provides a lively atmosphere for hanging out with friends or family.

 

MGM Grand Spa & Fitness Center


For those looking to relax or stay on top of their fitness routine, the MGM Grand Spa & Fitness Center offers a wide range of services, from massages and body treatments to a fully equipped gym. It's a sanctuary for rejuvenation and self-care.

 

Nightlife and Bars


The nightlife at MGM Grand is lively, with several bars and nightclubs. Hakkasan Nightclub stands out as a premier nightlife destination, featuring world-renowned DJs and a multi-level dance venue. Other spots like the Lobby Bar and Whiskey Down offer a more laid-back atmosphere for enjoying a drink and socializing.

 

Shopping


Within the MGM Grand, guests can find a variety of shops selling everything from souvenirs and apparel to luxury goods. It's convenient for guests looking to do some shopping without leaving the hotel.

 

Meetings and Conventions


The MGM Grand also serves as a massive venue for meetings, conventions, and events, featuring over 602,000 square feet of meeting space. Its facilities can accommodate everything from small gatherings to large conventions, making it a preferred choice for business and professional events.

 

MGM Grand's Commitment to Sustainability


The MGM Grand is part of MGM Resorts International, which has a strong commitment to sustainability and environmental responsibility. The resort has implemented various green initiatives, including energy-efficient lighting, water conservation measures, and recycling programs, aiming to minimize its environmental footprint.

 

Accessibility


Recognizing the importance of accessibility for all guests, the MGM Grand offers a range of accessible rooms and amenities, ensuring that guests with disabilities can enjoy their stay comfortably and conveniently.

 

Pet-Friendly Policies


For those traveling with pets, the MGM Grand accommodates dogs within specific guidelines, making it easier for guests to bring their furry friends along on their Vegas adventure.

 

Transportation


Transportation is a key aspect of the MGM Grand Las Vegas experience, given its prime location on the Strip and the need for convenient access to the rest of the city's attractions. Understanding the various transportation options available can significantly enhance your stay by making travel throughout Las Vegas easy and efficient.

 

- Las Vegas Monorail: One of the standout transportation features is the Las Vegas Monorail. The MGM Grand hosts one of the Monorail's stations, providing guests with quick and easy access to various points along the Strip. The Monorail runs from the MGM Grand to the SAHARA Las Vegas Station, covering several major hotels and attractions. It's an excellent way to avoid the often-congested streets, especially during peak times. Tickets are available for single rides, a day pass, or multi-day passes, catering to the needs of both short-term visitors and those with longer stays.

 

- Rideshare Pick-Up Location: The MGM Grand is also well-equipped to accommodate guests who prefer rideshare services like Uber and Lyft. The hotel has designated rideshare pick-up locations, which are clearly marked and easy to find. These designated areas ensure a smooth and efficient process for catching a ride, providing a convenient option for traveling to and from the airport, shows, restaurants, and other attractions around the city. The use of rideshare apps also allows for a more flexible schedule, enabling guests to plan their activities without being tied to the monorail or public transport timings.

 

Other Transportation Options


In addition to the Monorail and rideshare services, the MGM Grand offers several other transportation options:


- Taxis: Readily available at the hotel, taxis offer a traditional and convenient way to get around Las Vegas.

- Limousine Services: For those looking for a touch of luxury, the MGM Grand can arrange limousine services, providing an upscale transportation experience.

- Public Buses: The Deuce and the SDX (Strip & Downtown Express) bus lines run along the Strip and through downtown Las Vegas, offering an economical way to explore the area. Bus stops are located near the MGM Grand, making it easy to hop on and off.

 

Whether you're in Las Vegas for leisure or business, the MGM Grand's transportation options provide the flexibility and convenience needed to enjoy your stay to the fullest. The availability of the Las Vegas Monorail, designated rideshare pick-up locations, and other transportation services ensures that guests can navigate the city with ease, making the most of their time in this vibrant destination.

 

The MGM Grand in Las Vegas continues to evolve, always adding new services and amenities to enhance the guest experience. Its combination of luxury, entertainment, dining, and comprehensive facilities makes it a microcosm of the best that Las Vegas has to offer, appealing to a wide range of visitors from around the globe.

 

My stay at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas was a comprehensive experience that showcased the best of what the city has to offer. From luxurious accommodations to a wide array of dining and entertainment options, the MGM Grand continues to have a reputation as a premier destination for travelers seeking excitement, luxury, and variety all in one place.


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