Only in Las Vegas: The Grandest of the Grand
Las Vegas, Nevada
With the greatest array of opulent hotels, entertainment, restaurants and casinos, there can be no doubt; Las Vegas is the world capital for adult fantasy vacations. If you can dream it, Las Vegas can supply it. And then some.
The Wynn is the newest five-star hotel on the strip and it compares favorably with lavish Belagio and luxuriant Venetian. However, the grandest of the grand in my opinion is still the mega MGM Grand. It opened its doors in 1992 and although it only commands a four-star rating, the MGM management genuinely care that you have a good time whilst you are their guest. From the check-in desk to your departure, their employees are trained to be accommodating and caring, which is a rare find in hotels of this huge size.
Sure, the five-star hotels may seem more luxurious with better-furnished rooms, but the MGM has everything any adult will need to have a grand vacation at a reasonable cost. It is home to a dozen or more exquisite restaurants that are owned by some of the best chefs in the world, such as Wolfgang Puck and Joel Robuchon. It also houses ten fast food eateries that cater to every taste. To top it all off, the Grand Buffet lunch at $15.95 is not only a great value for money, but the quality of every dish is excellent. It is impossible to sample everything laid out in such a splendid banquet, however, you will be able to savor many fabulous dishes, so go hungry.
While I was dining at the Grand Buffet, an old man was hobbling towards the exit that had steps. Two of the concerned staff ran after him and when they could not change his mind to use an exit without steps, they walked with him and helped him negotiate the steps safely. That is just one of the many instances I observed caring assistance from dedicated staff who sincerely desire to make your stay enjoyable.
The innovative Cirque du Soleil performs their newest show KA at the MGM. It takes the theater into dimensions the likes of which you can only dream. The set cost many millions to construct and takes over all of the theater, designed so that the audience feels as though they are seated in the middle of the acts. Intricate hydraulic mechanisms tilt the stage in a multitude of angles while the performers enact their amazing, masterstroke choreographs.
On a different theme, the show La Femme, also at MGM, is an erotic, tantalizing, sensual and artistic portrayal of the perfection of the female form. Every girl is naturally beautiful and performs her magical nude act as if you are the only one in the room. The theater resembles the Crazy Horse in Paris, however, the show is a few notches above anything I have ever seen there.
With great shows and fabulous food, there is reason enough to stay at The MGM Grand for a couple of nights.
Of course, there is the gigantic casino that caters to every form of gambling. They have a players club for people who have gone to Vegas to gamble, and the high rollers are treated like royalty in the twenty-seven mansion suites available to those who spend time and money in the high stakes salons. I spoke for a short while with a fine gentleman at the host desk named James and watched him give upgrades to folks who had gambled for a given amount of time. His service and manners were impeccable even when the odd player tried to give him a hard time.
It does not matter if you win or lose, just so long as you spend a certain amount of time gambling you will be entitled to many free upgrades, shows and meals. Of course, the longer you gamble the more chances the house will win, as the odds are stacked in their favor. I think most gamblers know that, but even so, maybe they think they will be the one who breaks the bank?
For the people who just go for fun and like to spend a few dollars on the slots, horse racing, or card tables, free drinks are always plentiful and pleasantly served by smiling girls. You will find some of the most unique characters on the face of the earth in the casinos of Las Vegas–Where else would you see a man with a giant, flashing light-filled stuffed parrot on his head standing in the middle of a room wondering which tables to play? He told me he had come to Vegas to have a good time; I told him his buddy was a very pretty Polly, upon which the lights on the parrot’s head flashed faster and brighter, as if it was thanking me for the compliment.
They say what goes on in Vegas stays in Vegas; just make sure it’s not more of your money than you budgeted. If you like to have a little fun playing the slots or tables, set a limit to how much you want to spend as entertainment, not as a gamble, and never exceed it. In addition, don’t drink alcohol if you are playing games in the casino. Instead, drink plenty of bottled water.
The one critique I have is that there is far too much cigarette and cigar smoke. I don’t mind walking in and out of ringing bells, flashing lights and a whole host of razzmatazz slot machines, but the smoke is just too much. I suggest the management should make half the casino a non-smoking area and allow non-smokers to enjoy the ambiance of walking to all the shows and restaurants in a smoke free zone.
For the non-gamblers, the outdoor garden area is vast, with at least four mega-swimming pools, cascading waterfalls, and a winding river pool where you can enjoy sitting in a tube while the currents carry you round the pool. The area is free to guests of the hotel.
Other attractions are an indoor lion habitat enclosure and a studio testing room where the guests can view new shows and rate them before they are screened to the public. The Grand Garden Arena hosts big fights and many fine concerts. The hotel also has a large spa with many treatments, so you could use the hotel as a health resort (provided you ignore all the smoking).
There are great package deals on the Internet at various discount travel sites. You can find rooms from $79.00 a night midweek and some deals include a $35.00 dining credit. It is best to pick a quiet time of year when there are fewer conventions; the price of your vacation will be even cheaper than the other value packages. It is a great alternative for people who cannot cruise because of seasickness or other restrictions. If you enjoy good service and fast-paced action with many choices, MGM Grand gets my vote as the complete resort at a fair price, with caring staff that make all the difference. Viva Las Vegas, the eighth wonder of the world.
Michael Levy is the author six books.” Michael’s poetry and essays now grace many web sites, journals and magazines throughout the world. His new book “The Joys of Live Alchemy” is now available at all bookstores.