The current MGM Grand in Las Vegas is actually not the first MGM Grand, the original was opened in 1973 and was one of the largest hotels in the world at the time. In 1986 the original MGM Grand was sold to Bally Entertainment Corporation and became Bally’s Las Vegas. The new MGM Grand was built over the MGM Marina Hotel in 1991, the original Marina hotel building still exists on the western end of the hotel. Oddly enough the building first featured a front that was shaped like the MGM lion, only on a gigantic scale but many Chinese guests would not enter the building or would only come through the back as feng shui belief holds that entering the mouth of the lion is bad luck. Today the Lion is gone and replaced by a bronze statue, which is the largest bronze statue in the U.S. Another feature of the new building was a theme park and more activities geared toward children, this didn’t go over well and was gone within a decade.
Staying at the MGM Grand
The rooms at the MGM Grand range from a simple room at under 500 square feet and less than $100 a night (one of the nicer rooms in town for this price) all the way up to Skylofts Suites in the penthouse with unadvertised prices, but a three night package stay runs about $8,000. The Skyloft Suites are actually run independently from the MGM and is considered one of the leading small hotels of the world, although it’s perched atop a gigantic hotel. Another option at the MGM Grand is The Signature. What once was the theme park has now been converted into condos. There are 576 condo units and their prices ranged from $450,000 to $1.5 million, no official word on what the housing crisis has done to the condos.
Attractions at the MGM Grand
The MGM Grand’s signature attraction is its lion habitat in homage to the iconic Leo of MGM fame. The lions at MGM live in a custom 8.5 acre ranch located 12 miles from the hotel but commute to the casino where six of them are displayed daily in a special see through tunnel. If the lions aren’t your thing then the ultra pool, Wet Republic, may trip your trigger. Wet Republic is meant to replicate Florida’s South Beach in its ambiance and youthful vibe. There are two saltwater pools, eight individual pools and spas, VIP bungalows, party cabanas, daybeds and chaise lounges. There is also a 2,500 square foot lounge that hosts well-known DJs so you can dance, swim, drink and lay around when you’re not gambling.
Gaming at the MGM Grand
And speaking of gambling, it’s why you came to Las Vegas in the first place and there is good reason to spend time gambling at the MGM Grand because at 171,500 square feet it is the largest casino in Clark County. The casino, much like every other one on the strip, features blackjack, craps, baccarat, roulette, pai gow tiles, slots, a huge variety of poker games, and a state of the art race and sports book that is housed in a 5,300 square foot arena.
Shopping at the MGM Grand
MGM is a great shopping destination no matter what you’re looking for. Their Studio Walk shops are full of high end luxury items by top designers like Armani, Versace, Bernini and fine jeweler Cartier. For souvenirs and other odds and ends check out the Starlane Shops on the lower level of the main lobby which features Harley Davidson themed accessories, the Pearl Factor, Grand Candy, Vittorio and Star Magnet. And if you’re looking for a deal there are outlets located throughout the hotel.
Dining at MGM Grand
The MGM Grand has dining solutions for every occasion from fine dining to casual dining and even places to grab a quick snack. If you’re looking for a true gastronomic experience that delight your taste buds from beginning to end then try fine dining options Joel Robuchon, L’Atelier du Joel Robuchon, craftsteak, Fiamma Trattoria & Bar, Nobhill Tavern or Shibuya. For a more casual meal there is Emeril’s and The Grand Wok & Sushi Bar. And for quick snacks or full meals there is Studio Café, Rainforest Café, ‘wichcraft, Stage Deli, Studio Wok, Cabana Grill, Starbucks and the ubiquitous MGM Grand Buffet.
3799 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Las Vegas, NV 89109