Tuesday, April 17, 2012

MGM Grand Remodeled Room Review and Pictures

MGM Grand is in the midst of a long overdue renovation and the first batch of newly remodeled rooms can now be booked. Since I am actually a fan of MGM, I had to give the new digs a try. The remodel is being widely promoted with press releases and big ads on the side of the building. There is even a mock-up of a new room in the lobby which is pretty interesting. With such hype, I was eager to see the improvements they made over the original room which are well past tired.

I arrived to a near empty lobby at 4PM and was quickly helped at the Front Desk. It took a little while to hunt down a smoking room for me but they ended up coming through and in just a few minutes I was in my room on the 14th floor overlooking the valet, Hooters and the airport. The first impression of the room was that it vaguely reminded me of the rooms at Aria with a lot of brown with a decent amount of chrome thrown in. There is also one wall that is about 50% mirror and 2 large, colorful (some would say ugly) pictures on the other walls. There is an armiore/TV stand that also contains a mini-bar with a decent sized flat screen atop of it. Also built-in is a media connection panel with virtually every kind of port you could ever need. The desk is on the slightly small side but adaquate enough for working and the desk chair was the most comfortable in the room. A couple of cool features... When the motorized blinds are fully retracted, there is no visible drapes at all, just window. Also, each light fixture had a power receptacle in the base, making it easy to keep multiple devices charged - a huge bonus for any road warrior.

Being quite happy with what I saw in the bedroom, I moved on to the bathroom to see the changes in there and in a continuation a recent trend, the bathroom was left largely untouched. This is the 3rd "remodeled" room I have had in the past few months and all 3 failed to redo the bathroom. The only changes from the original MGM rooms are new faucets and showerhead and a half remodeled room is a disappointment no matter how nice the other half is.

Downstairs, renovations are taking place as well. The casino, like the old rooms, was pretty tired. It is now filled with a new look and all of the latest and greatest games, even video Greyhound Racing! I found a few machines to my liking and had a pretty good run that night and the following morning. The drink service was horrendous, however. I am still waiting for a bottle of water. The restaurant roster has been pretty stable over the past few years with something from virtually every cuisine and budget. I didn't indulge much, only having a late night pastrami sandwich at the Stage Deli. It was merely mediocre with a much better sandwich at either Canter's at TI or Carnegie at Mirage.

As disappointed as I was seeing that the bathroom was untouched, I really do like what they did with the bedroom. The space is well-thought out, nicely decorated and comfortable to hang out in. It is definitely a huge upgrade from the original room but they could have knocked it out of the park if they did the bath as well. With that said; with the great line up of restaurants, one of the best pools in town, giant casino and good location - MGM is still one of my favorite Strip casinos.

MGM Grand Remodeled Room Pictures

MGM Grand Remodeled Room Picture

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Friday, April 6, 2012

Final Musings from the Trip

Some random thoughts from the trip...

  • It started out rough with a wait of over an hour to check-in at the Venetian followed by 2 of the worst hours gambling I have ever had in my life. Amazingly, the next 12 or so hours were basically even.
  • I got killed playing at South Point and did OK at Venetian and MGM. Go figure.
  • Ran into more than one surly employee at Venetian. One of the front desk clerks seemed offended that I didn't want to take a room at Palazzo and the other snapped at me for daring ask if the cupcake stand was still open. To be fair, the vast majority were overly nice but 2 bad incidents in 8 hours does stick out in your mind.
  • The MGM Grand's room renovations are being so widely hyped that they actually have a hotel room in the lobby yet they didn't bother to refurb the bathroom, much like the recent renos at Bellagio and Flamingo. Fail.
  • One nice touch of the new MGM rooms is that there are no visible curtains once they are fully retracted.
  • I still can't get used to the all-white towers at Tropicana. They are just creepy.
  • Next month, Van Halen is coming to town. The opening act? Kool & the Gang of course! You can't make this shit up. Speaking of concerts, Lionel Richie sold out the Grand Arena on Monday night. Really? Did I suddenly wake up in 1985?
  • The electronic table game craze has officially jumped the shark. If the giant bouncing "Price is Right" dice subbing for a craps table isn't enough for you, try your luck at the video greyhound racing machine!
  • Perhaps you are more of a traditionalist? For you, there is the electronic "Big Wheel" - Bringing bad bets into the 21st century. Ugghh!
  • Lastly, the resort fee at MGM (and others) was recently raised to $25, which is almost criminal itself, but then you find out there is a $3 tax on top of it. $28 for Wi-Fi you get for free at Motel 6.

Look for complete reviews and room pics of MGM and Venetian to be posted soon along with a slew of new property maps.

Visit VegasCasinoInfo.com for the complete guide to Las Vegas Hotels and Casinos. Property maps of every major casino, 100s of pictures and a ton of other info!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Somewhat Live Trip Report

Time for another trip and another somewhat Live trip report! I'm hoping to be in town by 4PM at the latest for a night at the Venetian followed a night in the renovated MGM Grand rooms. I will be posting updates here through out each day and even more frequent witty commentary can be found on Twitter @VegasCasinoInfo.


11:15 AM - Picked up the rental car at the airport for $23 a day for a full size and made the reservation yesterday. Pretty sweet deal on 24 hours notice!

2:45 PM Despite virtually every moron in So Cal being on the I-15 heading towards Vegas, I still made it in 3.5 hours which is great time. Please tell me how broken you need to be to drive 5 MPH under the speed limit in the left lane and never learn?!?!

3:00 PM - Get to the Front Desk at Venetian and was told that if I wanted my room now, I could have one in the Venezia Tower, which is an ungodly walk to everything at Venetian or a room at Palazzo which is a half mile away from where I was standing. She then said there is a maid in your room now so if you want Venetian "it will 20 minutes tops."

4:30 PM - After eating lunch then standing in the lobby for an hour and getting quite pissed off, I am finally in my room. 5,000 rooms in this joint and it takes this long to clean one? Not a jolly start to the stay at Venetian. I will say that the room is as nice as I remember and the view is fairly decent from the 29th floor.

6:00 PM - Made the mandatory "I didn't die in a fiery wreck" phone calls and washed the Mohave off of me and now its time to get the trip started! Off to South Point for some Video Poker action...

9:00 PM - Back at Venetian licking my wounds. I got my ass handed to me at South Point in one of the worst gambling sessions ever. Spin Poker = Evil!


2:00 AM - Actually had a pretty decent run downstairs. Played for 4 hours and walked away up 7 cents!

8:30 AM - After a solid 5 hours sleep, time for one of my favorite things: coffee and gambling in a nearly empty casino.

11:00 AM - It was another decent run. 2.5 hours and walked away up nicely for a change!

12:30 PM - I really need to get some food into me. I am the only person on earth who comes to Vegas and DOESN'T eat. Hopefully Grand Lux isn't still packed...

1:30 PM - The bacon cheeseburger at Grand Lux was absolutely incredible. It almost gives the one at Burger Bar a run for its money. This may be my favorite coffee shop in Vegas.

4:30 PM - Checked into one of the newly refurbed rooms at MGM Grand. They are pretty nice, somewhat similar to the ones at Aria though not quite at that level.

6:00 PM - Caught a few minutes of shut eye and got cleaned up and now its over to Hooters for a little cheap table game action.

9:00 PM - Played a little at Hooters which was extremely quiet. That place is definitely more fun on weekends, especially during the summer. Encountered not 1, not 2 but 3 crazies talking to themselves between Hooters and the Strip. Good stuff. Hit NY-NY for a property map and now back at MGM.


12:30 AM - Had a mediocre pastrami sandwich at the Stage Deli for dinner then played for a few hours on a single $20. I wish all sessions went so well! It now time to hit the sack.

8:00 AM - Hit Starbucks for some Go Juice and then one last run at the machines. Shockingly, I had a great run on my final morning which NEVER happens!

10:00 AM - Packing up and heading out. Always very sad... Such a different feeling from 48 hours ago. Fortunately I'll be back in 6 weeks!

11:30 AM - Had to run over to Venetian and check out, which blows. I hate being double booked especially on the last day. Fill up the car and hit the 15 South...

3:15PM - Pull into JOhn Wayne Airport to return the rental car. The trip took just over 3.5 hours including one ultra-short pitstop. The truck traffic wasn't all that terrible and I only had to flip off one truck for being a Massengill. A good ending to an all too short trip. Time to start planning the next one!


Thanks to those of you who followed along here and on Twitter! It has been fun to do the live trip reporting, giving the "blow by blow" of the trip. However, it does take away from the trip a little bit. It was possible to do it since I was solo but definitely would be harder if I was with the wife or friends. Perhaps I'll do something different for the next trip.

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