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MGM Grand or Mandalay Bay....or neither....

Discussion in 'LV Strip Hotels & Casinos' started by Beth1976, Jul 6, 2016.

  1. Beth1976

    Beth1976 Tourist

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    Hey.... My husband and I are going to Vegas for our very first time in September. I have our flights booked which seems to be the easiest part of the planning lol. I'm hoping I can get recommendations from more seasoned travellers. Here's our criteria (however i'll use that term loosely because if I happen to not be thinking of something important my criteria might change).

    I want to stay in a hotel that has an awe factor when you first walk in and that has updated rooms.

    My husband wants to stay in a hotel that has a cool pool area (lazy river is what I think he thinks is cool)

    Our plan is on day one to check in and hang out at the pool and relax for the day and then see a show in the night. Day two will be to wander the strip, going into casinos and seeing the sights. Day three I haven't thought about yet - possibly wander the strip some more if we don't get it all done on day two.

    In my research I've come across the MGM Grand and Mandalay Bay. They both look like they have nice rooms and fun pools. The only concern I have is that they both are at the end of the strip. Is this a huge negative? I don't think I truly get the concept of how far things are along the strip however if we plan to take a day to just wander around anyways is it that big of a deal?

    In everyone's overall feel for MGM Grand vs Mandalay Bay is one a true winner? Or should I be looking at another hotel completely.
     
  2. kansaisupra

    kansaisupra Low-Roller

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    Tough to answer without more information but

    Do you have a car?
    Are you okay with walking?
    What is your spending budget like?

    So assuming I dont have a car and I am perfectly find walking long distances, but this was my first time in Vegas, Id stay at Aria, Vdara, Cosmo, Venetian or Wynn.

    If the pool is a huge priority over everything else, Mandalay Bay has a super nice pool. Wynn has a nice one too.

    If it comes down to Mandalay Bay vs MGM Grand, and you were perfectly fine with walking, I'd pick Mandalay Bay. There is a Tram that leaps you forward pass Luxor and Excalibur so you can save time time not walking.
     
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  3. h0und10

    h0und10 Low-Roller

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    i would not call MGM the "end of the strip.. but Mandala is definitely at the end of the strip. I would say they both have the best pools in Vegas with the advantage going to mgm. MGM has the huge lazy river and pool complex.. They both have good eating options. For anyones first trip I highly recommend the closest to "mid strip" as you can get (which would be MGM) If you start playing myvegas now you might each be able to earn a free night at either property.
     
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  4. kboltwkreations

    kboltwkreations Low-Roller

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    Both properties are great for what you are looking for. I think MGM is better for first time trip. Property has alot to offer, you have easier access to other casinos and the pool is amazing.
    Both are at the southern end of strip, but if you like to walk and its your first time there, you will be casino hopping anyway to see everything so more than likely wont be a problem.
    We love both properties so cant fault either. Have you picked a show yet?
     
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  5. nostresshere

    nostresshere Mr. Anti Debit Card

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    They can both work. Did not notice your age or normal types of hotels you visit. Low, Mid or High budget.

    If you skip the lazy river, it opens up more places.

    M-Bay is wonderful and can keep you busy. You can easily walk to two more casinos indoors, and short outdoors to NYNY and MGM. Look up a map online.

    Even though it is at the end of the strip, between those two I lean towards MBay.

    Either is fine, especially for first Vegas visit. Other than the fancy pool, I would normally suggest something mid strip and maybe not as fancy depending on budget. They are all special. I assume you have scanned the rates for various hotels.

    By the way, no way in the world can I imagine spending the first day at the pool. There is so much to go see in Vegas.
     
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  6. willywilkes

    willywilkes Low-Roller

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    I'd personally pick Mandalay Bay - I haven't been in the rooms since the update but they were literally just refreshed and more square footage in a basic room versus the grand rooms at MGM. Plus there is opportunity for possible upgrades to Delano, and I'd say those rooms definitely have wow factor.

    Also depends on the vibe you're looking for - MGM to me has more of the party vibe, for me I like MB because it is quieter and I feel like it's a bit more quality (not much though). MGM has a bit more of that "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" feel/experience so if you're looking for that then MGM may be better. I do think MGM has more restaurant options on site and I do like their casino.

    I really enjoy walking so the location is no issue for me.

    I've stayed at Luxor, MB, Delano, MGM, and Aria and MB/Delano is my favorite, plus I get better comps at MB over MGM.
     
  7. RunningRam

    RunningRam Tourist

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    I'd go with MGM. The pool meets your requirements and it has better food, club, and show options. I'm not a fan of MB primarily due to location. MGM is much better for a first timer as it's so much closer to everything.

    I'm not as much of a pool person so I suggest looking at the Cosmopolitan. It has a great "wow" factor with the Chandelier bar and has the best collection of restaurants on the Strip. It does have a good pool scene but no lazy river and it is dead center on the strip for a newbie to explore.
     
  8. Edserv

    Edserv Low-Roller

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    I'm staying at MB in a few days, so I'll have a better idea, but you can't go wrong with MGM. I've stayed there at least 20 or 25 times and would be staying there again this trip if not for a concert I'm going to at MB.
    The pool/lazy river is amazing and the restaurant selection is huge. I've had pretty decent luck in the casino, and the layout is fairly easy to get used to. I like the location on the strip- you can get to many other properties quickly and the walk to mid-strip is not that far. I've attended several conventions at MB, and the extra distance seems like a little bit of a negative, but I don't mind walking and am excited to give MB at try.
    Good luck!!
     
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  9. IM ALL IN

    IM ALL IN Low-Roller

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    I'm a homebody at Mbay since 03. And yes it's at the end of the strip, (I'm moonlighting over at Bellagio for a $500 buy in Slot Tourney tomorrow) but I'm not a shopper.(and I'm female) I've been Vegas enough times (105, but think more than that I just guestimated) I don't lookyloo at the strip hotels anymore, I don't shop, I don't walk the strip, I kinda gamble. HOWEVER. It IS at the end of the strip and that's a problem for some. I have met people who agree that the mid fabulous strip hotels are sooooo busy with lookeyloos, and if you are a gambler and a bit claustro, and sitting at a bj table with people behind you in the aisles in droves...I can't do that. When you end up at MBay...you can just go....AHHHHHHHHH... Relax...unwind...You don't get the torrents of people walking past. The lazy river is decent, the wave pool is simply awesome, an adult playground...(hence not too many children, but summer now so there could be)...if you are staying at Delano you get the private Delano Beach Club,,,(I mean Delano Beach oven)...(there is no wind, so you do bake)...I personally have never stayed at MGM, but have seen their pool area many times and ..if I was younger...awesome spot. Don't know what shows you like but I've seen MJ One 7 times now? (diff friends come down)...and a wonderful show although I think I'm done. MGM has David Copperfield?..Another show, if you are wanting a little bit racey raunchy erotic and exotic, but tastefully done is Absinthe at Caesars. Mid strip. You will laugh. Love the show. And probably will see it with a gf of mine who's coming down tomorrow and hasn't seen it...(as I say to my people at work...don't get me on the subject of Vegas...sorry for being long winded..Can't help it, and I don't even get Absinthe comped)..
     
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  10. IM ALL IN

    IM ALL IN Low-Roller

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    Forgot to add...Cosmo for my mid strip hotel...
     
  11. Multifarious5

    Multifarious5 High-Roller

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    I am not a big pool person, but actually REALLY love a lazy river pool. One option to consider with a lazy river pool is The Mirage. It has a gorgeous pool with a really lush lazy river.

    The entrance of Mirage has a gorgeous, very soothing atrium, and the check in has a spectacular, huge fish tank that runs behind the entire desk. You're also close to The Venetian (definitely one of the prettiest spots to me), Treasure island, and a bunch of others. (My only pet peeve is some rooms in Mirage have shower curtains, ask for ones that are glass enclosed.)

    I have not stayed at MGM or Mandalay Bay, but I personally prefer MB over MGM if I did stay, but that's just me. The downside is that, at MB, your satellite hotels are only Luxor and Excaliber, unless you walk quite a bit. (But MB is very pretty.)

    I love Aria and Cosmo as my personal favorites, but the pools are standard pools/non lazy river pools. Mirage might be my big vote for your likes, blending the wow factor of the entrance, a great pool, and location.

    I have stayed at: Aria, Bellagio, Cosmo, Mirage and Monte Carlo. Ok, and Circus Circus as a teenager, but I was under-aged and thus eons ago, so it doesn't count! :D

    I'm excited for your first Vegas trip, I hope you both love it as much as we do!

    P.S. if you do Mirage, it'll be a longer cab ride being the north end. Bell Transportation VIP limo share is a flat rate of right around $28 person ROUND TRIP (plus tip). So beats a cab, and not much more expensive...plus no ticker!
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2016
    Sooooo far away still...
    Cosmo, always our favorite part of our trip!
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  12. Boogaloo

    Boogaloo Low-Roller

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    I'd go with MGM too, due to a much better location for a first times (closer to center), better pool (since that's one the key criteria) and better dining options in the vicinity.

    Rooms tend to not be as nice in my experience, but if you're willing to spend a little more you can stay in a 'Stay Well Room', which has been updated more recently and is supposed to offer more healthful features.
     
  13. Aces and Eights

    Aces and Eights VIP Whale

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    If you stay at MB, take the express tram to the corner of Trop and LV Blvd (unless you want to go to Luxor). The other tram ends where you have to walk into, through, and out a corridor of Excalibur. If you walk across Tropicana Ave.past NYNY, you can enter Monte Carlo, walk all the way to the back and get on a tram that takes you to Aria, then to Bellagio. That will keep you out of the heat except for the walk from the Tropicana Ave to Monte Carlo; although in September the weather may be ever so slightly cooler.
     
  14. Quick Sand

    Quick Sand Low-Roller

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    I'm unsure about M-Bay but I've stayed at the MGM Stay Well Suites. The rooms are well equipped and comfortable but the carpets, the marble, the bathrooms looked a bit tired and show their age. I also think that the stay well suite is a hype and seems more of a marketing scheme. The rooms can be quite far away from the elevators so be ready for a good walk within the hotel.

    The good thing is that there are some good restaurants. The monorail also starts from here and you could use it to get further up the strip. However, be warned that even though you might technically get off further up, there could be a decent amount of walk to get on to the strip as the monorail runs parallel to the strip and connects to some other hotels.

    In any case, I would also suggest that you get a ticket for the deuce which runs from M-Bay to the Fremont if I remember right. Might save you a walk even though it can be painfully slow depending on the time of the day.

    I'm not a pool person as many others here and therefore cannot comment on the pools as I've never been to the pool at the MGM.

    Hope this info helps.
     
  15. eksantirik

    eksantirik Low-Roller

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    I think for a first trip mid strip would be best. But on the other hand, my first trip was to Hooters and yet I enjoyed the trip very much (everything except the hotel) :) So, I'm sure you'll love it either way.

    If I were you, I wouldn't be too much set on lazy river etc but focus more on the Vegas experience. Besides, all of my recommendations have nice pools anyways. Assuming budget is no issue, top picks would be:

    Classic: Bellagio, Mirage, Caesar's
    Modern: Aria, Cosmo
     
  16. IM ALL IN

    IM ALL IN Low-Roller

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    Have to comment on Venetian. It HAS TO BE, the most beautiful.
     
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  17. phade

    phade Low-Roller

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    I have to agree the Mirage seems like a candidate that should be considered with the amenities and what the OP is looking to get.

    That said, MGM over MB solely due to location at this point. First time visitors in my book should really be mid strip if at all possible.
     
  18. Nevyn

    Nevyn VIP Whale

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    MGM and Mandalay will both have good and comparable rooms, and are both noted for their pools.

    If you are planning to hang out by the pool day one, do some thinking about your arrival time and early check in. Strip hotels tend to be fairly strict these days making you check in at 3-4 or later, or charging you a fee to check in early. You can always leave luggage at the bell desk, but I hate using the pool when I don't have my room yet. So maybe budget for an early check-in fee.

    Mandalay marks the very south end of what is considered the strip, but it does have a free tram that stops at Excalibur and Luxor, so that would help cut back the walking. As to how much of a problem being on the South end would be, it really depends on your plans. If you are going to take one sightseeing walk up and down the strip, it won't be that bad. But if you keep having restaurant reservations and shows elsewhere it may cramp your style. There IS a monorail behind MGM, but it is not free, and still involves a fair bit of walking.

    A good way to get a sense of scale of the strip is to play around a little with Google Street View. These are giant hotels, so something being 2 hotels away could still be a fairly significant walk.

    The recommendation of Mirage is a good one. All three of those hotels are owned by the same group, and at a similar price point, so most of the difference between them comes down to little particulars and location.
     
  19. Irishkicker23

    Irishkicker23 Low-Roller

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    For a first time trip, I personally would choose neither. They are both splendid hotels. For a first timer in Vegas, you are going to want to explore and see the sights. From these two hotels, that means a A LOT of walking. My first sightseeing adventure in Vegas, I walked 13.2 miles. My advice is to make sure you bring comfortable "broken in" walking shoes.
    However, if the pool area is of the utmost importance to you, MGM and Mandalay Bay are the best in Vegas in my opinion. They are both similar to small waterparks.
    Other posters have recommended properties that are closer to Mid-strip and I would choose one of those.
     
  20. KKB

    KKB VIP Whale

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    Lots of good thoughts here (although no one would consider MGM "midstrip" as one poster suggested.

    The reason we suggest midstrip is the fact that the Strip is about 3 miles from Encore to Mandalay Bay. If you stay midstrip it is easy to tour north Strip one day, and South another.

    Dead center midstrip is the corner where Bellagio/Caesars/Ballys/Cromwell is. MGM is about a mile south of that. MBay almost another mile.

    If you want a WOW resort, go midstrip: Bellagio or Caesars; personally I like Cosmo better, even Aria. All have nice pools but no lazy rivers. (Venetian/Palazzo definitely has a WOW factor, but quite a bit north of center)

    3 days isn't a lot of time--you will easily be able to fill 3 days just seeing the Strip.

    BUT if a lazy river is important, Mandalay Bay fits the bill. It has more of a WOW factor than MGM in my opinion (though MGM's size is WOW). If you could pull Delano or Four Seasons you would get even more WOW.

    You will just likely have to spend some $ on cabs (I recommend Uber or Lyft) if you stay on the southern tip of the Strip.