MGM Grand begins $160 million hotel renovation
MGM Resorts is embarking on a $160 million remodeling of its signature hotel, MGM Grand.
Company officials announced Tuesday that every hotel room in the main tower of MGM Grand will receive a makeover. That’s 3,570 guest rooms and 642 suites.
The resort operator also plans to overhaul the property’s casino floor, restaurants, clubs and showrooms in the coming months, in a project the company has named “the grand renovation.” Executives remained tighter-lipped about the details and cost of that wider upgrade.
Tim Kelly, vice president of hotel operations, said the first batch of rooms should be finished by mid-November. About 700 rooms will be under construction at any given time, and work will be limited to daytime weekday hours to minimize disturbance to guests. Construction on each section of rooms is expected to last six weeks, and the entire hotel renovation is scheduled for completion in September 2012. Work started Monday.
MGM Grand opened in 1993 at a cost of $1 billion and received its last major remodel in 1999. Kelly said company officials felt the property needed a face-lift to keep it current and competitive with other Strip resorts.
“We always want to enhance the guest experience,” he said. “We felt it was necessary to refresh our room product not only for look and feel but also for functionality and from a technology perspective. There are basics customers expect when they come to Las Vegas.”
For the first time, the hotel’s rooms will feature mini bars and media hubs. Each will be equipped with a flat screen TV and environmentally-friendly accessories, including LED lighting, solar shades and biodegradable bath amenities. New systems to improve door locks, Internet access and movie downloads will also be installed in the main tower.
MGM is the latest in a string of resorts to undertake a major rehab. Because of the sour economy, casino operators are increasingly turning away from new megaresort projects and looking instead to cheaper, more manageable renovations.
This year alone, Steve Wynn spent $99 million to upgrade the Wynn Las Vegas’ 2,700 hotel rooms and suites (only five years after the property opened), the Stratosphere embarked on a $20 million hotel and casino renovation, and the Bellagio underwent a $70 million face-lift. In additon, the Plaza downtown reopened in August after a $35 million overhaul, and the Tropicana last year received a $180 million transformation.
Resorts fight for customers from the same pool of visitors and recognize that having the newest rooms can set them apart. “Our goal is to make enhancements to ensure we’re competitive in this city and worldwide,” Kelly said.
MGM Grand plans to erect a model of one of the renovated rooms in its main lobby later this month. The last resort to use such a marketing tool was the Rio when it opened in 1989, Kelly said.
“It will be an opportunity for guests coming to the property to view what we’re offering,” Kelly said. “With all our entertainment, events and experiences, we drive a lot of customers from other properties.”