It’s been awhile since we popped into the Park MGM. In fact, the last time we visited, it was Monte Carlo.
All that’s changed, because Monte Carlo is no more.
Park MGM might have less character than Monte Carlo, but we love that new hotel-casino smell.
That’s right. Monte Carlo, after two decades, is officially Park MGM, a member of the MGM Resorts family.
The company is investing $550 million in the rebrand.
While the hotel’s name has changed, the resort is still in transition, so we snapped some pics to keep you in the loop about what’s up. No thanks, necessary, although we are a big fan of foot rubs. Just saying.
Yes, you’re suppressing a yawn, but it gets better.
We’re pleased to report Park MGM isn’t in the rough shape we’d heard rumors about. The rebrand of Monte Carlo started in 2016, if you can believe that.
Business at the Strip resort has taken a huge hit because guests encountered extensive construction for months on end, with lots of venues closed and walled off, and word spread.
Now, though, things are starting to take shape at Park MGM, including the unveiling of new offerings like Juniper Cocktail Lounge and Money Line sports bar.
Let’s take a look at Park MGM, back to front.
The rebrand has included the build-out of a new reception area.
Vegas hotels have castle themes, circus themes, Egyptian themes and Venice themes. Park MGM is foliage themed.
Nearby, there’s a new restaurant and bar, Primrose.
Primrose comes from a Scottish word meaning “tree of the moor,” moor or less.
The hotel’s pool area has been completely done over. Now, there are three small pools, with lots of seats and umbrellas and people wishing they’d hit the treadmill a bit more often before their Las Vegas vacation.
The pool complex offers a number of ways to spend money, including reserved lounge chairs ($15), daybeds ($75), cabanas and Baja loungers ($15).
There’s a new high limit slots room, where we made sure to donate some of our disposable income.
The high limit table games are awkwardly out on the casino floor nearby, but we suspect they’ll have a new home soon.
A very new addition to Park MGM is its new West Bar. It’s a fairly typical casino bar, with 19 video poker machines.
Only about half the seats at West Bar have video poker, presumably because guests aren’t gambling like they used to.
We played some video poker and were given comped (that’s Vegas for “complimentary”) drinks during our play. And, yes, they even poured Captain Morgan spiced rum from a bottle.
Yes, we’re touting the fact a casino bar 1) comps drinks, and 2) pours liquor from a bottle. You’ll see why in a minute.
Making our way through the casino, we got to see the new Juniper Cocktail Lounge. We’re pretty sure this was the same space as Monte Carlo’s Hit Lounge.
Juniper has a pretty swanky design, and features a number of video poker machines at the bar.
Don’t try to read that sign or you’ll put an eye out.
As you might expect at a lounge called “Juniper,” there are a ton of gin-based cocktails on the menu. Gin gets its main flavor from juniper berries, a reminder how much you can learn while hanging out in Las Vegas cocktail lounges.
Most of the cocktails at Juniper Cocktail Lounge are in the $15-17 range.
We were dismayed to learn no drinks are comped (free) for those who play video poker at the bar. Hey, we warned you in the headline there would be bad news. There’s more to come.
We say either have video poker and comp drinks, or don’t have video poker. Otherwise, you’re just being annoying.
Closer to The Strip, there’s the new Money Line Sports Bar & Book.
Money Line Sports Bar & Book has a welcoming layout, with a pool table and a couple of mini bowling lanes.
When you bet on a “moneyline,” you’re betting on the outright winner of your favorite sportsball game.
The bar, of course, is lined with video poker machines.
As we started to play, we were informed (again), there were no comped drinks for video poker players. Not even a soda.
The Moneyline sports book and bar was almost entirely empty during our visit. On a Saturday night. Coincidence?
Our earlier dismay turned to annoyance as we realized this isn’t a fluke, but a trend, and not the good kind.
It seems MGM Resorts is taking a page from the Wynn Las Vegas playbook, as Wynn stopped comping drinks at its video poker bars some time ago.
This “trend” is troubling because while Wynn and Encore are just two hotels, MGM Resorts has a slew of them on The Strip. Don’t be surprised if this is a glimpse at things to come.
Denying video poker players comped drinks is getting some customer backlash, according to staff we spoke to, but whether this policy will spread remains to be seen.
Oh, well. We’re not going to let a misguided policy put a damper on our visit. Probably. We’ve got more exploring to do.
Much of the negative buzz about Park MGM has had to do with the temporary entrance from the Las Vegas Strip.
It’s fairly easy to see why.
Again, these are growing pains, so adjust your expectations accordingly.
Let’s head out front. Who needs comped drinks when we’ve got a security breach to lighten our mood?
Here’s a look at the construction on the Strip side of Park MGM.
Former home of 800 Degrees Pizza, Blvd. Creamery, Yusho Japanese Grill and Sambalatte. Hey, they were all four years old, so time to go!
There are a ton more photos in the gallery, so hang out awhile.
Our first Park MGM security breach. You always remember your first.
This front structure is supposed to be Eataly, a “vibrant marketplace with cafes, to-go counters and sit-down restaurants from Mario Batali, the guy accused of sexual misconduct.”
We added that last part ourself.
This whole Eataly thing is complicated.
MGM Resorts says the $13 million project will continue despite explosive allegations against Mario Batali, but we’re thinking the company is probably looking for another partner for the venue.
Las Vegas Sands (owner of Venetian and Palazzo) recently pulled the plug on three Batali restaurants, despite his company’s claims Batali is no longer involved.
Set to close July 27, 2018, are B&B Ristorante and Otto at Venetian and CarneVino at Palazzo.
If you miss the Monte Carlo casino, we hear there’s another, less interesting one, in Europe somewhere.
MGM Resorts has been very public about its zero tolerance policy for sexual misconduct, so they’re in an impossible position at the moment.
The space is looking pretty good, though, and here’s what it’s supposed to look like when it opens.
They’re definitely trying to class up the joint. Just ask the former Diablo’s Cantina.
So, that’s our whirlwind tour of the new Park MGM, a work in progress.
While we’re not thrilled about the comped drink policy at Juniper Cocktail Lounge and Money Line sports bar, there’s a lot to like about Park MGM, including the staff.
Most members of the Monte Carlo staff have made the transition to Park MGM with their friendliness intact. They’re not shy about admitting there’s been some chaos during the rebrand, but they’re starting to see former Monte Carlo customers return.
The reality, though, is those Monte Carlo customers aren’t really the target customer of Park MGM. Park MGM has aspirations to attract younger, more affluent customers.
A prime example is Bavette’s Steakhouse & Bar. While we’ve heard it’s good, it’s not really for the value-conscious.
Juniper seems more along the lines of Skyfall at Delano and Clique at Cosmopolitan than fans of the Hit Lounge.
Although it’s not on the sign, Park MGM will have a boutique hotel, NoMad. NoMad needs a better agent.
It’s odd to think of the Las Vegas Strip without Monte Carlo, but Las Vegas is always throwing something new against the wall to see if it will stick.
Enjoy more photos from our recent foray to Park MGM.
Update (7/3/18): We hear Moneyline sports bar and Juniper cocktail lounge have revisited their policies and now comp a limited selection of drinks for video poker players.