Hotel of the week: Check into Park MGM, Las Vegas

There’s been much talk in Las Vegas about Park MGM, the latest hotel on The Strip to complete a redesign inside and out. The adjacent Park Theater is the venue du jour for some infamous Las Vegas residencies, including Lady Gaga, Ricky Martin, Cher. Janet Jackson will arrive in May 2019 (Britney Spears has postponed her show there, while she spends time with her ailing father).

Beyond all the hype, the crowds, and the glitz and glamour of being the new kid in town, Park MGM also supplies all the comforts of a lovely hotel, at prices far below what is typical for a major casino property on The Strip.

Tell us about the “sense of arrival” when you walked in
The entrance to Park MGM is through Eataly, an Italian food hall that features food stations of every Italian variety. Although the first food station is the bakery, and trying to walk past it without eating an entire loaf of bread is a struggle. Just remember: There are three swimming pools in this hotel, and that involves wearing a swimsuit in public.

How was the check-in process?
The Park MGM uses touch-screen check-in kiosks. There was no line when I arrived, which is rare for Las Vegas casino hotels, but using that kiosk made me feel like my father trying to learn how to use his new iPhone. Fortunately, attendants stand throughout the lobby and one of them saw me tapping the screen a lot. He came over and presumed I needed help. Which I did.  He had me checked in two minutes later.

What’s the crowd like? It’s typical Vegas visitors: people in cargo shorts and t-shirts, day drinking. Queer folks are integrated comfortably everywhere.

How was your room?

The standard rooms are modern and pretty big, with a soothing green and earth tone motif that feels refreshing when coming in from the buzzy casino floor. My room’s wall-to-wall windows faced The Strip, and when I walked in at night, the sight of the casinos literally stopped me in the doorway. I know it’s really extra, but I gasped out loud. And then I wandered around my room with the lights off for 15 minutes because I didn’t want to spoil the view.

That’s great, but what about the important stuff: Are the amenities worth stealing?
The soaps and shampoos smell good. I packed my entire supply every morning so housekeeping would give me a full refill. Standard rooms don’t have minibars, suites do, but who needs a minibar when the front entrance is literally an Eataly?

How’s the food?
Besides Eataly, there are a bunch of restaurants, from Starbucks to a steakhouse called Bavette’s. Primrose, located off the casino, has a French country vibe, and the plush furniture and flowery decor are just girly enough to be really fun. The outdoor patio (photo above) was closed, but I talked them into letting me have a table outside under the trees, and seriously it was my favorite part of the trip. Beautiful setting, excellent service, and the pancakes came with a dollop of almond whipped cream. I’m sure the braised short ribs are delicious, but Primrose serves breakfast all day. And I had skipped that bread station in Eataly. I figured I deserved pancakes.

Final thoughts?
I am disappointed that I never saw Lady Gaga walking through the lobby. Can’t blame a gay guy for dreaming.

Check out the full GayCities guide to Las Vegas