The Tropicana-Las Vegas Boulevard intersection in the centre of Las Vegas has more hotel rooms than any other spot in the world. It is host to some of the world’s largest, most glitzy and most famous places to stay. The biggest and most iconic of these is the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino at 3805 Las Vegas Boulevard, which opens the doors to as many as 5,044 rooms and suites each night, making it the second largest hotel in the world.
It started in the 70s
The original MGM Grand Hotel and Casino was located on Las Vegas Boulevard and was the biggest and most expensive hotel ever built when it opened in 1973. Owned by the head of MGM movie studio Kirk Kerkorian, it was designed by the seminal Sin City architect Martin Stern, Jr, but burned down in November 1980, only to be rebuilt and then sold five years later.
The MGM Grand we see today on the credits of CSI was built by the same two men – Kerkorian and Stern – in 1989, with a theme inspired by one of the MGM studio’s most enduring movies, The Wizard of Oz. The colour of the hotel is a reference to ‘Emerald City’ from the book and film, and the Oz Casino was designed to be accessible by a Yellow Brick Road.
The City of Entertainment
While the Wizard of Oz theme was thought to add charm and warmth to the huge complex, it has been steadily toned down over the years, as the site has become marketed at a more mature audience. It now hosts some of the world’s biggest sporting and entertainment events in the MGM Grand Garden Arena, which is now the undisputed home of boxing and has been since the 1990s, when Mike Tyson savaged his opponents in its ring.
Most of boxing’s biggest bouts in recent history have been fought here, including the title fights of Lennox Lewis, Oscar De La Hoya, Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather, to name but a few. With some of the best sight lines and acoustics in operation, providing you can get a ticket – the Mayweather fights tend to sell out in under a day, and they’re not cheap – a night of boxing at the MGM Grand is bound to be a knockout experience.
When there isn’t a fight going on, shows by the likes of Diana Ross, illusionist David Copperfield and the theatrical troupe Cirque du Soleil, along with many other blockbuster events, take place in the arena. The MGM Grand also has its own nightclub where some of the world’s most prominent DJs, rappers and musicians regularly perform, including recent sets by European trance star Tiesto.
A recent addition to the MGM Grand’s attractions include CSI: The Experience, an interactive murder mystery challenge. Recommended for people of 12 and above, it’s a fun way for fans of the show to step into the shoes of Gil Grissom and co. in one of the show’s most enduring locations.
Staying at the MGM Grand Las Vegas
Guests looking for the most convenient or funky room on the Strip don’t come to the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino. As a miniature town in and of itself, the MGM can be a little disorientating and hectic, especially at weekends, which get very busy.
People come to the MGM Grand in search of that classic Las Vegas experience, and a no-nonsense approach to things. Providing you can navigate a map, finding your way around the massive complex (and car park) shouldn’t be a problem. As soon as you step foot into the City of Entertainment, you’ll inhale the history of Las Vegas and even get a whiff of its unforgettable scent.
The service at the MGM Grand is efficient but never threatens to become too fussy. Similarly, the rooms and suites, when compared with some of the others in Vegas, are fashionably retro. By keeping it simple, they are also some of the more affordable rooms on the strip, with lots of special offers on weekdays and out of season.
Whether you’re after a Sky Loft with a shimmering view of the city or just a decent, affordable room in Las Vegas, the MGM Grand is a classic piece of modern Americana.