As the closest MGM-owned casino hotel property to the Park and the T Mobile Arena, the Monte Carlo has been selected to undergo a two-year, $450 million makeover that will create a new luxury property to be known as ‘Park MGM’. Work will begin this year and be completed by the end of 2018 it has been announced.

The design of Park MGM, a 2,700-room luxury property, will apparently build on the property’s history, incorporating European design influences while retaining a branding connection to The Park. No one can say a refurbishment isn’t overdue as the guest rooms and some other areas of the Monte Carlo have become tired and dated, after all it was built in 1996. This announcement is also reflective of the buoyant feeling about the town with the market doing better and visitor numbers rising again at last.

Apparently the hotel won’t close during the project and workers will work floor by floor during the course of construction. Some public areas may have to be closed though as work progresses. Look out for some potentially exciting deals then. You can often get rooms for next to nothing when building work is in progress and how often are you in your room anyway during a trip to Vegas?

monte carlo fireBy way of Monte Carlo history – the 32-story property opened in June 1996, shortly after the Stratosphere. The property eliminated the “00” on its roulette wheels, giving players a slight advantage (smaller disadvantage) by using the 37-pocket wheel as used in the French European version of the game.

The property was closed for a while in January 2008, following a fire on the top six floors of the building apparently caused by construction workers whilst welding. The property said damage and lost business totaled $100 million. A year after the fire, the Monte Carlo made two big changes: MGM Resorts converted the top floor to Hotel32, branded as an ultra-luxury boutique hotel with 50 lofts and an exclusive lounge, and at the end of 2009, the hotel became connected to the newly opened CityCenter complex via the Aria Express tram.

I have my reservations about this. The Monte Carlo fills something of a niche in the market. It is very affordable (if you said cheap I wouldn’t disagree) yet is very well located. Aria is right at the top end of the market in terms of price. Monte Carlo doesn’t just sit right next to it, it’s connected to it and the free tram service to Aria, Crystals and Bellagio. For the savvy traveller it’s a way of staying right in the heart of the action at a fraction of the price. I’ve also always found the staff to be pleasant and down to earth and there’s a food court with very sensible prices including a MacDonald’s. Will that continue when room rates escalate and the new breed of visitor demands different things from the property? Every property can’t be the same, there needs to be a variation both in price and what is offered.

If the price does go through the roof (which, after all, is the usual by product of a lot of money being spent on something) we’ll have to look elsewhere for our bargain hostelry in that part of the Strip. NYNY might come in to its own – located next door and very close to the Park and the T Mobile Arena  – this move may have the curious effect of promoting the Monte Carlo’s neighbour. Also owned by MGM it already has one of the best pubs in town – Nine Fine Irishmen. I wasn’t that keen on the hotel when I stayed at NYNY but if it becomes better value for money than everything around it we might be happy to overlook its other shortcomings. Watch this space!

Written by eilv