Wrote a travel article for the SM Observer
on the MGM Grand and its new Grown Up ways! Enjoy!
Growing up Grand
The MGM Grand Evolves Into
“Did you see that sign on your drive in
here? The one that said ‘Welcome
to Las Vegas’? Well, when you’re
driving past it you gotta make sure to slow down and kick your conscious out
the door. Just make sure to pick
it up on your way back outta town.”
Wiser words on
the Vegas experience were never spoken then by Minnie (from Hazard Kentucky no
less) at the buffet at the MGM Grand.
With nearly 40
million visitors hitting the Strip, Vegas is nothing if not a finely crafted land
of indulgence. It’s a place where every
sense is entertained through the art bacchanalia. A trip to Vegas is the physical embodiment of a Mulligan. A Rumspringer. It’s even in the town’s slogan,
“whatever happens in Vegas…” well you know the rest.
My last trip to
Vegas I stayed at the Tropicana, the epitome of old school Vegas. This time around I indulged in the world
of the newly revitalized MGM Grand, enticed
by the newness of modern Vegas.
I'm a big fan of concepts, of the Big Picture, of the philosophies
behind things. And in Vegas
this means the art of entertainment, an art form that is executed with perfect
precision from sunrise to sunset to sunrise again.
When it was
built in the 90s the Grand was sold as the “family casino” with a lion zoo
exhibit (which never really inspired since lions sleep about 23 hours a day)
and a lazy river. But, as with
everything in life evolution is necessary.
Turns out the Grand has grown up quite nicely.
The hotel and
casino completed their $160 million room and suite remodel in the hotel’s main
tower in late 2012 marking a major milestone in the resort’s “Grand
Renovation.” The remodel, which
began in October 2011, includes 3,570 Grand King and Queen guest rooms and 642 suites
of varying types including the Skyline Terrace and Skyline Marquee Suites.
glass views of the Strip and Tropicana Ave (a window washer will always make
bank in Vegas) and rooms awash in a color palette of jewel tones, bronzes and
charcoals, large or small these rooms are a great place to chill out whatever
your state of partying.
Another huge progression
in the Grand’s evolution into adulthood was the opening of Hakkasan Las VegasRestaurant and Nightclub in late April.
With Hakkasan outposts already in New York,
Miami, London, Mumbai, Dubai, and Abu Dhabi this upscale "modern
Cantonese” dining experience is for the first time
ever combined with multiple nightlife components from Angel Management
Group, one of Las Vegas’ preeminent nightclub operators (the
company that owns Wet Republic, Pure, LAX among other Vegas venues). This five story, 75,000 square feet of space, is located
where Studio 54 stood for 14 years (along with those sleeping lions) and it’s a
venue that has already revolutionize the Las Vegas
market. Even before opening
Hakkasan was already infamous for buying all the major DJ contracts on the Strip
(our condolences to the Wynn).
The fifth floor houses Hakkasan’s nightclub two-story
main room and it’s something not to be missed. Similar to the Sahara tent at Coachella the table
setup is stadium style. Booths
are elevated, allowing partiers to see the club from every angle. The main room’s high-res LED cobweb,
which traces the full length of the ceiling, pulse and glow throughout the show,
the first of this caliber in Las Vegas.
The room can sectioned off into four separate environments for a space that
can house up to 4,000 people or can be partitioned to be a super intimate space
night we were there Dutch DJ Tiësto
spun from one in the morning till close. Tiësto (who’s also the face of Guess
right now) has been a global powerhouse DJ for the last ten years, he has been ranked in the #1 poll position 3 times in
DJ Magazine’s Top 100 Popularity Poll along with being the first DJ to perform
live during the opening ceremonies for the Olympics during the Athens Games in
2004. Along with Tiësto, Hakkasan’s residencies include Calvin
Harris, Deadmau5, Aoki, Avila, Bambi, more.
no secret that Vegas clubs are primarily about the scene (the night we were
there the line was hours long), but they’re also about being entertained to the
nth degree. Ten dancers removed
sultry clothing during the show and money literally rained from the ceiling
(not a bad thing considering bottle service starts at $12,000 and goes up to
half a million dollars).
residencies translate over to the daytime with Wet Republic, otherwise known as
the ultra-pool at MGM Grand. The pool has also been overhauled as part of the
“Grand Renovation.” This daytime
pool club packs thousands of revelers into two saltwater pools, plus lounges,
daybeds, cabanas, and bungalows.
With most of
Haakasan’s DJs playing on the weekends the Grand’s expanded DJ booth sits under
massive new LED displays with special effects, and the marble bar now stretches
for 95 feet. And for those not
willing to pay a cover charge for their sunbathing and the Grand has a total of
6.5 acres of poolage open to hotel guest which includes 4 pools, 3 Jacuzzis,
and that now adult oriented lazy river.
of how you chose to entertain yourself in Sin City via the Grand (with bedazzled
rooms, ultra nightclubs, or a pools that won’t quit) don’t forget to grab that
conscious on your way back outta town.
Kat Thomas is a writer who appreciates
every aspect of the world of entertainment. You can find out more of her adventures on her food blog
edibleskinny.com and her art blog picsofpeps.com