The MGM Grand is centrally located on the Las Vegas strip. The hotel is a ten minute taxi ride from the Las Vegas airport. Uber and Lyft are also available transportation options from the airport and could be good choices for when the taxi lines at the airport get too long.
The MGM Grand is the largest single hotel in the United States with 6,852 rooms. It is also the third-largest hotel complex in the world by number of rooms and second-largest hotel resort complex in the United States behind the combined The Venetian and The Palazzo. When it opened in 1993, the MGM Grand was the largest hotel complex in the world.
The property includes five outdoor pools, rivers, and waterfalls that cover nearly 7 acres, a convention center, the T-Mobile Arena, and the Grand Spa. It also houses numerous shops, night clubs, restaurants and the largest casino in Clark County, which occupies 171,500 sq ft.
Visited May 2016
The first thing to be aware of in Las Vegas is the extensive lines that can build up at hotels, restaurants, clubs, taxis, and just about all popular attractions. One of the main benefits of elite status with mlife is the ability to access shorter lines with elite status.
I arrived at the hotel at 9pm. What i wasn’t expecting was a large hotel check-in line that would have taken at least 20 to 30 minutes to get through. During the day, there is a separate line for mlife elite members. Unfortunately, due to the time i arrived, the elite line was closed for the night.
There was a second line at the far corner of the check-in line that was labeled additional room keys and information. This line only had three customers, compared to the 60 to 70 people in the general check-in line. I took a chance and waited in the shorter line hoping the staff would let me check-in at the shorter desk.
When the staff member at the desk greeted me and asked how they could help, I responded that I wanted to do an elite member check-in. They happily obliged and began the check-in process. The attendant asked for my mlife card. I responded that I only recently completed the status match with Hyatt and did not yet receive the card. Since the concierge desk was closed for the night, the agent issued me a platinum card at the front desk. It’s important to be aware that many of the benefits associated with the card require you to physically present the card.
Before check-in was completed, I was offered a room upgrade. Unfortunately the room upgrade was only from a basic room in one tower, to a basic room in a slightly more expensive tower. When I inquired about a suite, I was told the suites were already sold out for the night. It’s possible that a better room upgrade was not available because I made the initial reservation with the hotel before the status match with Hyatt was fully activated.
The MGM Grand room was clean and had a nice view of other nearby hotels. At night, you needed to close one of the blinds because the neon lights from the other hotels was blinding. In order to sleep, there was a second, blackout blind that could be used to block out the neon lights. The downside of this setup was that your room was fully blacked out and you couldn’t be woken up by the sun rise in the morning.
Another downside of the room was with the air conditioning control. The temperature could only be lowered to 65 degrees. While this was generally acceptable during the evening, there were certain times during the day when the outside temperature was high enough that the room still felt hot.
One of the challenges in getting around Las Vegas is the taxi lines during busy periods. During the evening, the hotel taxi line could be upwards of 20 to 30 minutes. During the day, the taxi line tended to be shorter. Mlife elite status is supposed to include a priority taxi line. Unfortunately there was only one taxi line with a single valet at the front of that line directing traffic. As a result, there really wasn’t an efficient way to utilize this benefit at the MGM Grand’s taxi line.
Taxis picking up a guest from the MGM taxi line form a long single line in front of the hotel. If you called an Uber or Lyft driver, they would be stuck behind a long line of taxis waiting in the taxi line at the hotel. I thought I could take a shortcut from the taxi line by walking out to the street and catching a taxi there. However, Las Vegas requires Uber and Lyft drivers to pick up customers directly at the hotel entrance.
When I was out on the street, the GPS location picked up my location, but the app limited my pickup options to directly at the designated casino taxi line. I was informed that taxi drivers are restricted from picking up customers on the street and were risking a fine if they picked up a customer from the street.
Another transportation option is the Las Vegas monorail. The Las Vegas monorail covers a 4 mile area and stops at 7 stations across the strip. The monorail conveniently has a stop in the MGM Grand. A single ride costs $5, a 24 hour pass is $12, and a 3 day or 72 hour pass is $28. The monorail runs from 7 am to 2 am during the week and runs until 3 am on Friday and Saturday night. Trains arrive at the station every 5 to 10 minutes throughout the day.
While mlife elite members don’t receive free breakfast, they do have access to a priority line at the buffet. While this may not seem like a notable benefit, it can easily save you 20 to 30 minutes when dining during the most busy times, especially on weekends.
During the week, the buffet costs $17.99. On Saturday and Sunday, the champagne brunch buffet costs $26.99. The weekend buffet includes additional service options and unlimited champagne and mimosas.
The MGM Grand Las Vegas buffet is very large and included fairly extensive food options. The best food options at a buffet will always be food freshly made in front of you. The MGM Grand buffet included an omelet station and a meat carving station for fresh food options.
Because of the large volume of people at the buffet, the food options underneath the heat lamps were relatively fresh because they were turned over frequently. In addition to the standard breakfast buffet options such as scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, pancakes, french toast, etc., the buffet had an extensive pastry bar, which included an ice cream station. For people with a more exotic sweet tooth, deep fried twinkies were also available.
My only major issue with the buffet was with the coffee. The coffee was available from a coffee machine and it was missing the freshly made flavor from a recently brewed cup of coffee. The coffee itself was fine, but the quality could easily be upgraded.
The MGM Grand pool stretches across 6½ acres with 4 pools and 3 whirlpools. It is a massive open area with multiple bars and cabanas spread throughout. The pool area includes a lazy river and a separate day club. Entrance to the pool is free for hotel guests as well as one guest. Lounge chairs and umbrellas are available for $35 per day.
The daily rate for cabana rentals range from $600 to $1,000. Cabanas can hold up to 10 people and feature feature private patios, flat screen televisions, private safes, mini refrigerators, complimentary lazy river tubes and personalized drink service.
-The hotel is located on the strip.
-There is a monorail station directly in the hotel.
-The hotel pool is extensive and free to hotel guests.
-The hotel has a good variety of dining options from high end restaurants to more basic fast food options.
-Mlife priority line access works really well during check-in and at the buffet during peak times.
-You’re more likely to receive a more favorable room upgrade through mlife if you initially choose a mid tier priced room option or you visit the hotel outside of peak times.
-The hotel does not have a good system in place to utilize the mlife priority taxi lines.
-Priority check-in lines for elite members close during the evenings. There is a separate information line that is available for elite member check-in, but that line is not clearly marked for elite members.
-Hotel room temperature controls are limited to 65 degrees which may not be enough for some people with rooms directly facing the sun during the afternoon.
-Other pool, club, and entertainment options elsewhere on the strip are considered more popular than what is available at the MGM Grand.
The MGM Grand is a nice hotel on the edge of the strip with good entertainment, food, and transportation options. A monorail station is located in the hotel and there is street access to the strip through a walkway. Mlife elite members do have access to preferential lines which can be big time savers at check-in and the buffet. Preferential line access at the taxi station is an advertised benefit, but is not clearly marked at the taxi stand.
Good room upgrades for elites can vary and are more likely to be worthwhile if you initially reserve a mid tier priced room. Overall the MGM Grand is relatively average compared with some of the more popular higher end properties on the strip. Mlife elites are treated well by the hotel, but should be treated better given the lack of a priority taxi line and the lack of a clearly marked elite check-in line in the evening.