The Latest From Park MGM, Plus Bad News About the Future of Comped Drinks

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

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.

Park MGM

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.

Park MGM

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.

Park MGM

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.

Park MGM pools

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.

Park MGM high limit

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.

Park MGM bar

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.

Park MGM Juniper Cocktail Lounge

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.

Park MGM Juniper Lounge

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.

Park MGM sports bar

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.

Park MGM sports bar

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.

Park MGM

Not optimal.

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.

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.

Park MGM Las Vegas

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.

Park MGM Eataly

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.

Park MGM resort rendering

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.

Park MGM

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.

Park MGM Progress - June 2018

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24 thoughts on “The Latest From Park MGM, Plus Bad News About the Future of Comped Drinks

  1. Keith

    So if they don’t comp drinks for VP at the bar, and this starts to creep casino-wide…what are casino policies on flasks? Obviously i wouldn’t sit at the bar with one, but do they care if you have a flask on the casino floor?

    Reply
  2. LG

    Their new sportsbook is reaching out to locals – this from an MLife email a few weeks ago:

    Complimentary Local Brews for Locals at Moneyline Sports Bar & Book
    Bets and big screens, burgers and beer. It’s all there at Moneyline Sports Bar & Book, a lively place to whet your appetite for competition. We invite you to experience Park MGM’s newest venue with this offer exclusively for our locals.

    • For each sandwich purchased hot off the grill, we’ll pair it with one local brew on the house.
    • Draft beers are always half off with your valid Nevada ID.

    Reply
    1. SALVATORE FERRARO

      complimentary brews but have to pay for parking to get the brews. MIght as well stay home. lol

      Reply
  3. Dennis F. Natoli

    What happened to the ‘Nomad’ part of the hotel…. Did they wise-up and realize it would be chancy if not unwise to do such a particular additive to the overall concept….The ‘Nomad’ in Manhattan is not a big deal and far too particular, as well as , OVERPRICED….

    Reply
  4. Cindy Schaefers

    We stayed at the MGM Park last September before it was converted. We were able to stay in rooms that were already renovated. Rooms were comfortable but there was absolutely not one thing going on anywhere in the complex… Complete dead zone! Luckily New York-New York was across the street for there was plenty of action. Hope MGM Park improves on their activities to draw customers inward… Boring!

    Reply
  5. George

    Stayed there last month and staying again over the 4th — I’m a Cosmo/Aria customer but I’ve enjoyed this as a change of pace. The redone rooms are solid – the offerings are pretty good and as you’ve mentioned, the staff is great. I’m thinking once the rest of it opens up it will pair well with Aria as both Aria and Bellagio seem to attract mostly 40s up crowd. This seems aimed at 20/30s set. Anyway – it was solid.

    Reply
  6. Vice

    All part of MGM’s Profit Growth Plan (aka take more of your money) I’ve been done with MGM properties for a while and their policies just keep on getting worse. 5 years ago I would have never thought CET would be way better.

    Reply
  7. Funkhouser

    The only appeal I see of this property is The Park theater and proximity to Aria convention center and T-Mobile arena. As a millennial hotel the re-brand falls short and the footprint of the rooms, pool, and dining don’t raise it to the level of a luxury resort. It’s a pretty big effort to take a low to mid tier resort hotel and re-brand it as a more luxury resort offering. Just tearing down the theme and re-configuring some pool, and restaurants won’t do it.

    They squandered their opportunity to evolve the existing pool space into something worthwhile. The old lazy river while small gave them something that other strip resorts did not have. There is nothing right now about this property that appeals to me, to make it an MGM destination hotel.

    Reply
  8. Vice

    Forgot to mention that last October we strolled down MGM’s answer to the Linq and it was dead. It was about Noon and all the venues were hurting.

    Reply
  9. Jr

    Las Vegas is going to outprice themselves how do they think people that make $15 an hour are going to afford a drink that’s 15 to $17 they are going way over their head Plus in the United States there’s way more places to gamble now

    Reply
    1. Fresh Produce

      This is exactly why Vegas has turned to high buck restaurants, ultra lounges and other bullshit to make money. The thrill of gambling doesn’t exist for today’s young adults, to a point, because they can do it at home. Whether it’s crappy lottery games or casinos with a wide array of tables and machines, it’s just not special to go to Vegas when it comes to gambling, and now we’re going to start seeing sports betting erode what little uniqueness is left in the Vegas gambling scene.

      Yes, people will always come for expensive dinners, high priced drinks, fancy shows with triple-digit ticket prices, etc., but many of us cannot justify those prices for the privilege of vacation. Vegas, at least fancy strip properties, are becoming more like country clubs, affordable to a select portion of society.

      Reply
  10. Jr

    How do they expect people that make $15 an hour to buy $15 to $17 drinks they are overpricing themselves plus there’s a lot of places in the United States you can gamble now and I’m not going to get ripped off for food and drink and drink

    Reply
    1. Robert Frahm

      I have been going there for 30 years and no comps on drinks when playing a video poker game at the bar – insane.

      Reply
  11. MICKEY SOULIS

    I stayed there for a couple days last week. It’s definitely made a lot of strides since I was there in April. The rooms are meh, still small and still paper thin walls but they are certainly an improvement over the standard ancient MC rooms. Bathrooms are nice. The new bars are all great additions.

    I was in there Tue-Wed and it was stone dead in all the venues, but the place has a built-in customer base whenever there are events at the Theater or the arena. Sure it’ll be fine. They intended to upgrade MC and they’ve already succeeded in that.

    Reply
  12. Funkhouser

    MGM invested 450 million in the re-brand, I am struggling to see how they re-coupe without jacking the hotel rates up. I am sure they will get the rates for popular events at T-Mobile, but who are they going to get to pay Aria rates the rest of the year?

    Reply
  13. William Wingo

    [Duplicate post: originally put in the wrong thread.]

    I went to Monte Carlo exactly once years ago to have a beer at some brewpub whose name I can’t recall, and to see a magician that I think was Lance Burton in a cavernous theater. I was pretty much underwhelmed and haven’t been back since; and after reading this, I don’t think I’ll be checking out Pay-to-Park MGM any time soon.
    Traditionally in Vegas, the bar video pokers are a set little tighter than the floor to make up for the comped drinks. Now they won’t even have comp meter lights on the machines–they just won’t have it at all. Another example of the kind of dynamic, forward thinking that will keep the Strip the world’s number one tourist destination for decades to come.
    We were in town for the WSOP last weekend and stayed off strip near the Rio, two nights comped and two discounted. We enjoyed free drinks on the floor, meals on points in the restaurants, 3-to-2 double-deck Blackjack, highly competitive Video Poker schedules, and free parking. There was a resort fee for two nights–but it was considerably less than most places on the strip; it covered the Wi-fi; and they quoted me the correct total price without having to be asked when I made the reservation.
    Driving down I-15 from one off-strip property to another was as close as we got to the Pay-to-Park, and as close as we’re likely to get for a while.
    And FWIW, at the Rio we were charged $16.50 for two hot dogs and a bag of potato chips. I hope they didn’t spend it all in one place.

    Reply
  14. TheRobin

    This whole re-brand is a total FAIL. I was a happy MC customer for decades. Loved the wave pool with DJ + lazy river, affordable food court, and zero attitude. AND the room rates were great! It really is the straw that breaks my Vegas-back… I have stopped visiting there the last 2 years. We used to go 2-3 times a year.

    Reply
  15. Ann Moody

    Well we are all certainly a bunch of negative nellies, aren’t we? Unfortunately this rebrand has me rethinking my own policy of “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” So here it is:

    Back in the day, Vegas was different. A lot of what was different was very appealing and lots of fun to Baby Boomers (mom) and Gen-X (me). Free parking, free booze, cheap food, rooms, shows. Generous comps to help even with those. We are old now. . . we are a bunch of financially responsible cheapos who learned how to work their system. . . we are fat and slow moving and unattractive and not in such great health (more or less). . . and most important, Vegas can’t make a living off of us anymore. They have to try to change to survive with a completely updated clientele. Which involved removing most of our cheapo fun and trying to replace it with expensive millennial focused fun.

    Now, I am not really confident Vegas can make a living with this new strategy, either. Because as others mention, the younger generations are not necessarily earning royalty level salaries, and they can only max out so many credit cards before the fun ends. We oldsters have the money but can get better fun bang for our buck elsewhere, even at our own local casinos, which are now located across these 50 states, or on the vast sea of non-gaming vacation options provided within or beyond our borders. Vegas is becoming an occasional (or maybe just one last) return trip that grates on our old dog nerves more than it revives our beloved nostalgia for days gone by. Good luck to ya. We’ll always have our memories of the smoky, crappy old Imperial Palace and Boardwalk hotels and the experiences they provided that could come from one place only, a shamelessly naughty playground oasis in an old railroad desert town grown out of the wild west frontier. Peace.

    Reply
    1. Charlie

      That’s one of the best commentaries that I have read regarding this hotel and Las Vegas in general. I am headed there in late November. And yes, I’m an “old guy”.

      Reply

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