Tag Archives: MGM Resorts

COVID Precautions: Caesars vs MGM

I was in Las Vegas last weekend and was surprised by the drastic differences between how the 2 companies approached the COVID precautions. Both companies advertise social distancing, reduced capacity at table games and slot machines as well as mask requirements. The approach each company takes on the casino floor is very different.

MGM properties have every other slot machine turned off or disabled. At table games, they have plexiglas dividers between each player space as well as between the players and the dealer. They have similar plexiglas barriers in the poker room. I still felt the poker room was too crowded.

View of tables games at the Bellagio with Plexiglas separating each player spot.
It may be difficult to see in the photo, but there is Plexiglas between each of the available player positions as well as between the dealer and the players at the Bellagio. Also true for other MGM properties.

Caesars on the other hand has every slot machine on. They are expecting players to not use a machine next to another player, but they are not being proactive. I saw multiple instances of players playing and sitting next to each other, so that isn’t working. Caesars doesn’t have barriers at tables or in the poker room, either. They have removed seats to limit the number of players at each game. Caesars seems to be taking a more staff oriented approach. They have dealers wearing plastic face shields in addition to masks, but there is nothing separating players..

An empty table game at Caesars Palace. Limited chairs, but no barriers in place.
An empty table game at Caesars Palace. Limited chairs, but no barriers in place.

MGM has also installed hand washing stations around the casinos and has stands with free disposable masks and hand sanitizer near the entrances. I saw hand sanitizer available at Caesars properties, but not to the same extent as the MGM properties.

COVID safety kit in Bellagio rooms with hand sanitizer, touchless door opener tool and reuseable masks.

Check in lines and hotel lobbies were also very different. The Bellagio had a lot of space available to keep distanced while in the check in line. MGM Grand also had a lot of space. Neither place was crowded when I visited. The Flamingo check in line was a mess. They did create some space to keep the waiting line away from the check in counter, but the line continued across the lobby and down the hallway. People in line were much closer than 6 feet. There were no markings to indicate where people should stand in the extended line. It was a hazardous situation. It also created a road block if you were trying to get from the casino to the Spa Tower.

We each have our own personal risk tolerances. The situations at Caesars Palace and the Flamingo made me very uncomfortable. I was happy that I was not staying at either place. It would have made for a very stressful trip for me. Unless things change, I cannot recommend staying or playing at a Caesars property in Las Vegas until things get better.

On the other hand, my stay at the Bellagio was really good and relatively comfortable given the situation. I would readily stay at the Bellagio or another MGM property during the pandemic if necessary.

When Are Strip Hotels ReOpening?

UPDATED June 30, 2020
Las Vegas casinos and hotels will be able to reopen after the COVID-19 closures starting June 4, 2020. Everything isn’t going to instantly reopen and try to get back to normal, though. I plan to do a series of posts on the topic in the coming days. I am going to start with the most pressing one.

Which hotels are reopening on June 4th?

Continue reading When Are Strip Hotels ReOpening?

MGM M life Is Extending Tier Statuses Through January 2022

Since the casinos are closed due to COVID-19 and will probably stay that way for a bit longer, M life Rewards is extending current tier statuses through January 31, 2022.

They are also revamping the program calendars. The new Tier Earning Year will be January 1 – December 31 and the new Tier Benefits Year will be February 1 – January 31. This basically gives you a 1 month pad if you didn’t renew your status and matches the Caesars Rewards calendars. The previous calendars were both October 1 – September 30.

Continue reading MGM M life Is Extending Tier Statuses Through January 2022

MGM Is Selling The MGM Grand and Mandalay Bay

MGM Resorts is selling the MGM Grand Las Vegas and Mandalay Bay to the Blackstone Real Estate Group. MGM will lease back the properties and continue to operate them. This continues a recent trend where MGM is selling properties and leasing them back. A few months ago MGM sold the Bellagio to Blackstone with a similar arrangement.

The average visitor shouldn’t notice a difference in the short term, but it does mean that MGM Resorts no longer owns the actual structure. The properties will continue to be part of the Mlife players club program.

Park MGM Hotel Overview

I stayed at Park MGM in November 2017, during the preview stage of the remodeling and stayed there again in early 2019.  I like many of the individual pieces of Park MGM, and it could become one of my favorite resorts, but it lacks any cohesion  and feels like it is still trying to figure out its identity.

Rooms:

The room layout with the large table by the couch is very welcoming and less hotelish. That table was a very comfortable work and dining space. One of the more surprising non-hotelish features is the lack of the typical clock/radio … or a clock at all. I’m guessing they expect you will have your own in one form or another. The TV can be used as a Bluetooth speaker, though, which is nice. This helps with the minimalist design, but the lack of a clock seems like a mistake. They do have in interesting sliding panel that serves as the door for the bathroom and the closet. When it is slid to close the bathroom, it reveals the closet. When slid to open the bathroom, it covers the closet. The SLS uses a similar sliding panel concept for its bathroom and shower.

The room layout has one big problem, though. It has minimal storage space. There is a very small 2 drawer unit in the closet and some hanging space. That’s it. When I mentioned this in November 2017, I was told they were aware of the problem and planned to address it. As of mid 2019, that hasn’t happened.

Bars and Restaurants:

Most of the construction is completed and there as some nice dining and entertainment options. I enjoyed Primrose of my first trip (that was the only real option back then). I checked out Best Friends, Bavette’s and Juniper this time. I’ve been happy with all of those choices. One of the biggest changes is the addition of Eataly, the sprawling Italian market and food court. They made an interesting choice with the foot-traffic for this. If you enter Park MGM from the Strip, you enter through Eataly. You have to walk through it before you get to the casino. How’s that for a break with Vegas tradition?

Juniper is a gin focused cocktail bar/lounge. It is still trying to figure out its identity. The overall feel was very unwelcoming on my first attempt to visit. It was close to midnight and in nightclub mode which could be part of it (I had just gotten into town and was not in club mode). The next evening, I gave it another attempt and am glad I did. The bar staff was great. Between the staff and the 80’s/90’s R&B/Soul music playing, it was a great vibe, but it also felt a bit incongruous.

I think it wants to be a high end cocktail lounge, but it has bartop video poker machines. Playing those machines can get you the usual rail drinks comped, but none of their specialty cocktails or any of the notable gins on their menu.

The new On The Record speakeasy and nightclub is a great addition. On the weekend I was there, Questlove was performing one night and Pete Wentz the next.

Location and Logistics:

The location is really good for me. Easy access to CVS on one side and NYNY on the other. There is a Deuce bus stop just across the street (with a conveniently located crosswalk) if you want to head further into the Strip or downtown. There is also the free tram to the Bellagio. This provides really convenient access to the Botanic Garden. It is also next to the T-Mobile Arena.

panorama view of Park MGM from across the street

Park MGM is part of the Mlife players club. You can also earn comp rooms, FreePlay and various dining and entertainment discounts for Park MGM by playing myVEGAS

For room reservations, visit :  https://www.parkmgm.com/en/booking/room-booking.html