• Mandi Graziano

A Real Live Meeting-Part 2-What does Vegas look like & how were the hotels?

As a follow up to my first article A Real Live Meeting-Part 1-The Logistics I wanted to expand on what it was like on the strip in Las Vegas and how the hotels looked overall.


Hotels

First things first, the conference was held at MGM Grand Hotel. They Nailed It. The client was so happy we are looking to rebook for next year.


Security/Safety/Sanitation: The presence and staffing was excellent. There was a security guard and a health inspector in every pressure point of the hotel--main lobby, casino floor, elevator banks, meeting space. They were assertive yet kind when I tried to enter a meeting space without my wristband. They denied me while still providing good customer service. I asked one staffer for a bandaid and he took me into the wellness lounge, let me pick my bandaid, had me sit down in the lounge to apply it and then gave me hand sanitizer. 

My favorite Covid safety measure was the custom hand sanitation stations placed throughout the lobbies and meeting spaces. Each station had disposable masks, gloves and hand sanitizer. Many patrons of the casino used the gloves.


Another standard for this hotel, which is becoming standard in most hotels is the "seal" on the outside of the room. I still love breaking the seal and being the first in the room after it was cleaned. It gave me peace of mind.

Food and beverage: All group meals were served buffet style. The hotel did an excellent job keeping us safe and fed us fast. There was plexi-glass in front of each buffet staff asking us which item we wanted. There was never a line. The food selection was good and the taste was fresh. Everything was on time and ready. The theme for the week was certainly Resilient and Ready.  Outside of the group meals some restaurant and bars were closed due to low occupancy. I appreciated how the hotel communicated the operating hours to guests. There was a sign placed in front of each venue stating open or closed and hours. The one day I got a Starbucks coffee and they handed me a napkin in a bag. I have never received a napkin in a bag before. It was interesting.


There was a QR code that guests could scan to discover daily operating hours of each outlet. That means, the QR code told me where to get my coffee each day. This is so important because hotels are running a skeleton crew and with low occupancy there is not a need for so many dining options. It can be confusing in a large hotel with so many dining outlets to know what is open and what is closed. I appreciated the sign. It helped me make some dining decisions on the spot, on property.


Guest Rooms: I was in the Stay Well guest rooms (click video). Each Stay Well room had it's own Stay Well Air Purifier and Stay Well mask & hand sanitizer amenity kit.

Each room had a door hanger that gave guests the choice to decline housekeeping service and remain safe. I declined service both nights I stayed. All the guest rooms had signage inside the rooms that reminded guests to wear their masks and remain 6 feet distance apart. The elevators had signs in front of the elevator banks reminding guests of social distancing and to wear a mask. There were no restrictions on the number of people that could be in the elevator.

Communication: At every point I knew what was open and closed. The QR codes (click video for signage) everywhere were awesome. When I went to Starbucks and it wasn’t open I scanned that code and found an open Starbucks. When I wanted room service, scanned the code and although I was bummed to learn it closed at 2 pm, I didn’t have to look far for the info.

Overall MGM Grand did a great job and I would recommend staying there for fun and booking the hotel for a meeting/conference.


The Strip: One afternoon I cruised the strip to lay my eyes on the scene. (click video)

It was much more crowded on Friday afternoon than it was on Thursday afternoon or Wednesday night, and it was not body to body people. I was happy to see most people wearing masks. I was frightened to see the number of mobility scooters whizzing passed me. That didn't feel too safe. It was also fun to see the home town football team pride. Now that Las Vegas has a football team, there were many Raiders jerseys worn by humans and lady statues. (see above in front of NYNY hotel)

A difference I noticed between the two hotels was that MGM Grand did not take temperatures of guests but Mon Ami Gabi at Paris Hotel did. I went to the famous patio of Mon Ami Gabi and had a seat outside. I was delighted to see the Bellagio fountains were still running, even if at limited hours. They went off at 3:30 PM to the tune of Viva Las Vegas by good ole Elvis. I never tire of the Bellagio fountains. (click here & see for yourself) I visited Aria hotel and went to dinner at Carbone restaurant inside Aria hotel as well. The Aria hotel had great staff presence and signage on the benches thanking guests for social distancing. (see video) Getting a reservation at Carbone was easy, for a Wednesday but, I would recommend doing it in advance. When I got to the restaurant I asked if I could wait at the bar for my guest and she told me I needed a reservation for the bar as well. The experience was top notch and so was the veal parmesan.


I am glad I got to experience Las Vegas during Covid 19 for myself. I had a different expectation going in and was pleasantly surprised on the way out. I do think it is going to take some time before Vegas is back up to it's previous business levels. However, for now, go, enjoy it at half mast at the great rates with the kind staff. The city just got approval yesterday to hold meetings up to 250, 1000 and 2500 each (click here for new guidelines) with it's own set of rules. Vegas is ready for you.


If you are curious about what it looked like while I was there or have a meeting for Las Vegas you need help with sourcing or designing, please reach out, anytime. I am here for you. Email me at: mgraziano@hpnglobal.com OR see the videos from my door to door Vegas journey by clicking on Mandi's Excellent Site Inspection Adventures.


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