There is no chance MGM Grand, which dominates the northeast corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Tropicana Avenue (the busiest intersection on the Strip), will ever become dated. In fact, the iconic resort has completed a glamorous makeover. All of the rooms have been remodeled and several of the property's entertainment, dining and nightlife experiences are brand new.
Today, as in the past, guests can always count on unparalleled entertainment at the resort. First and foremost, the MGM Grand is an entertainment destination. Its 16,000-seat Grand Garden Arena hosts concerts by the world's top artists, championship boxing matches, award shows and so much more. Magician David Copperfield is a regular headliner in the more intimate Hollywood Theatre -- and he isn't disappearing any time soon. In addition to “the greatest illusionist of our time,” the venue hosts an assortment of talented musicians and comedians.
MGM Grand is also home to the Cirque du Soleil production "KÀ." This show is a visual feast. It's comprised of acrobatic feats and often compared to a martial arts movie -- just in theater format. And Brad Garrett's Comedy Club hosts an array of nationally known comedians who will have you doubled over in fits of laughter.
An 8,500-square-foot performance theater featuring Beacher's Madhouse pushes the boundaries of entertainment and fantasy. It offers a late-evening show/club atmosphere with a circus-like energy.
With more than 20 restaurants, you can have a taste of the finest cuisine from around the world at MGM Grand. Many acclaimed international chefs helm one-of-a-kind dining experiences here.
Joël Robuchon is the namesake restaurant of the legendary chef who has received numerous awards. He is the first and only three-star "Michelin Guide" winner in Las Vegas. His French cuisine creations are like works of art. Guests can choose to indulge in a tasting menu or order à la carte in either the elegant main room or a garden-designed dining room. Next door, L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon offers a similarly divine menu, but in a less formal atmosphere.
At Craftsteak, Tom Colicchio has the preparation of steaks, chops and seafood down to a science. Michael Mina Pub 1842 provides a distinctive take on classic pub fare along with an extensive selection of beers and cocktails. You can indulge in the richness of Creole cuisine at Emeril's New Orleans Fish House. Another imaginative menu -- with items like his famous wood-fired pizzas as well as pastas, grilled fish and succulent meat -- is available in the Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill. The Morton Group's restaurant Crush has a cosmopolitan shared-plate menu with selections inspired by traditional favorites as well as standouts from regions around the world. And then there's Pearl, The Grand Wok and Sushi Bar, Fiamma Trattoria & Bar, Shibuya...and the list of fabulous restaurants goes on and on.
Casual meals are available too at MGM Grand. The jungle-themed Rainforest Café provides a wild time for all ages, thanks to animatronic critters. Hecho en Vegas prepares traditional Sonoran cuisine as well as popular Mexican favorites. For an inexpensive breakfast, lunch or dinner, head to the MGM Grand Buffet, which dishes up more than 30 different entrées, pastas, casseroles and fresh veggies. Avenue Café is another option with plenty of choices for breakfast and lunch.
In addition, quick bites are available at the MGM Grand Food Court, Project Pie and three sprawling Starbucks. Or grab a quick treat at Blizz Frozen Yogurt, Corner Cakes and the decadent Sugar Factory retail store.
For relaxation, there are five outdoor swimming pools in the 6.6-acre Grand Pool Complex, complete with a 1,000-foot river and waterfalls. And summertime always brings steamy fun, courtesy of Wet Republic. The chic ultra pool provides guests with a nightlife-like atmosphere featuring private bungalows, cocktail service and DJ-spun music.
Speaking of nightlife, there are virtually a million places to drink, dance and party. MGM Grand's Lobby Bar and center bar, called Centrifuge, are great spots for meeting up with friends and family. Tap Sports Bar has more than 48 draft beers and a large selection of handcrafted bottled beers -- plus, you can eat American food favorites for lunch and dinner, peruse sports memorabilia and watch games on 60-inch HD TVs. And Hakkasan Las Vegas, an 80,000 square-foot club with a Cantonese-themed restaurant boasts spectacular indoor and outdoor views of the Strip, a huge dance floor with a suspended performance area, the Ling Ling Lounge, the Ling Ling Club and other unique nightlife experiences.
Among MGM Grand's other offerings are a comprehensive casino floor, the Grand Spa (try The Dreaming Ritual, its two-hour signature treatment that includes Australian Aboriginal massage techniques and other forms of all-over pampering), Cristophe Salon and a huge fitness center.
If you love the TV show "CSI," don't miss CSI: The Experience. It lets you jump into the role of a crime scene investigator and piece together evidence in order to solve one of three mysteries. Plus, MGM Grand houses the research center CBS Television City, where you can be among the first to give feedback about TV pilots, video games and consumer products.
Those in the mood to shop can browse through the stores along The District in the main thoroughfare, explore The Underground on the lower level of the main lobby or check out a variety of souvenir outlets located throughout the premises.
The race and sports book at MGM Grand is the place to catch your favorite sporting event. Brimming with energy and excitement, it features 17 betting counters, comfortable seating, a bar and the adjacent Stage Deli. Video walls and high-tech media are spread throughout the room and exclusive "skyboxes" add to the experience. Also visit the high-end gaming lounge called Whiskey Down. In addition to blackjack and video poker, it has a 64-seat bar serving a fine collection of brown spirits (American, Canadian, Irish and Scotch whiskies).
Accommodations at MGM Grand are as varied as the rest of the property's offerings, ranging in size and price. As mentioned above, the resort recently completed a $160 million remodeling project that included 3,570 guest rooms and 642 suites in the hotel’s main tower. The redesign utilized a warm color palette with contemporary furnishings. It will also incorporated environmentally responsible elements such as LED lighting, improved thermostats, solar shades, upgraded faucets and showers, and bath amenities that are 100 percent biodegradable. Plus, there is now a "Stay Well" collection of 42 rooms, which are loaded with amenities designed to promote better health and combat jet lag.
MGM Grand is weaving a modern vision while respecting its entertainment roots. It continues to elevate itself as a tour de force of hospitality, ambiance and design in Las Vegas. And visitors of all walks of life are toasting the resort's latest accomplishments while eagerly anticipating all the new entertainment, dining and nightlife experiences yet to come.
-- By Renée LiButti