This is a guest review by my good friend Mike from frequentflyermiles101.com, a site for those just learning the points game. One of the smartest miles+points people that I know, Mike is also obsessed with getting amazing value on luxury experiences.
Also, be aware that we also have a Review Version 2.0, that covers a few additional details about SkyLofts.
Before reading this trip review, it’s important that you know something about me: I’m not a luxury traveler. Normally, the Westin is just fine with me, and when I dine with baccarat_guy and he chooses the restaurant, he’ll whip out his phone to take photos of the amuse-bouches while I pick up the spoons and think, “Ooh, samples, just like Costco!”
Nevertheless, I’m willing to make an occasional exception, and the SKYLOFTS at MGM is one of those.
One of the many perks at the Skylofts is the free pickup service from the airport, or wherever you happen to be, saving you an awkward conversation with a cab driver about why they took you on the highway instead of the back roads.
Upon arrival, they take you through a private entrance where there are several employees lined up to welcome you. It’s actually a bit much, but who am I to turn down a nice welcome. You’ll make a quick stop in the VIP lounge, which has (very) light snacks and coffee/soda/water. They’ll walk you through to the elevator, where you’ll get key-activated access to the Lofts.
Helpful Hint: As you walk past the row of desks, there will be mints on your left. The ones in the brown wrappers are standard mints, but the ones in the white wrappers are chocolate-covered. They are the superior mints.
Check-in is done in-loft. You’ll head up with the person who is going to check you in, the bellman and your butler.
They’ll give you a guided tour of the loft, but you’ll be able to figure most of it out on your own. I would describe the loft as modern. This is not traditional Ritz-Carlton luxury, but it’s certainly one of the nicest “rooms” that I’ve ever stayed in. The downstairs area has a living room, office area and one of the best views in the city.
The butler is a traditional butler and there is somebody on call around the clock. They can get you anything you need, from dinner reservations to show tickets. Needless to say, you won’t have trouble getting in anywhere.
The upstairs is just as luxurious as the downstairs. Next to the bed, you’ll find an odd contraption that controls everything in the room, including the lighting, the air conditioning, music, etc. I’m pretty sure that there was a button to mow the lawn. The remote, of course, was impossible to work, in the grand tradition of hotel rooms.
Helpful hint: The pay-per-view is entirely free, but the TV keeps track of the last five shows you watched. Let’s just say that the guest who had been in my loft before I was had some, um, interesting tastes.
One of the interesting phenomena in upscale hotels has become the competition for “who has the nicest bathroom.” As far as I’m concerned, we have found a winner.
More a shower kind of guest? Don’t worry, it’s big enough to host a small party, with six showerheads if you actually do host a party. On the downside, there’s no TV.
Yes, those are Bulgari amenities that you see in the shower (and the bath, and on the sink and in the downstairs bathroom).
Helpful Hint: They service the room twice per day, so if you steal the amenities in the morning, they’ll restock them for you to take them again in the evening. Personally, I’m a big fan of the green, but the red is nice, also.
After exploring the loft, which may take you a good twenty minutes, you may want to hit the floor. Or the town. Doesn’t matter, they can get you a private gaming table or a private car, whatever suits your fancy.
One of my favorite perks of the Skylofts is that you can take your meals at The Mansion, which is where the true high rollers are staying. These are the most elite of the elite, willing to wager five- or six-figures. Per hand. If you’re not willing to put a minimum of a couple of million on the line, don’t bother applying. The Mansion is like the American Express Centurion card: there are people who will swear that it’s an urban legend. It isn’t. It’s actually pretty easy to find, but the 12-foot iron gates keep the riff-raff out. The scent of lemons will hit you before you even get to The Mansion, and you’ll see why when you reach the atrium:
We ate breakfast there every day and it was a fantastic way to start. There was rarely more than one other family there at any given time and three servers to take care of anything we needed. Oddly, while I thought the food was definitely above average, I did not think it was quite at the level of other high-end restaurants at which I’d eaten Of course, you’re not there only for the food, you’re there for the atmosphere, as well. Here’s the view from our table:
Of course, if you aren’t a big gambler, you can pay to stay. The smallest villas, just over 2,000 square feet, start at a mere $5,000 per night. On the plus side, the WiFi and bottled water are free.
So the Skylofts got an A-. There are some kinks in the system, and most of them come from the fact that the infrastructure is due for an upgrade. In particular:
- It’s hot in there. Granted, it’s summertime and a really big loft, but we couldn’t get the room cool. For this kind of luxury, good air conditioning isn’t too much to ask.
- The wireless is awful. I’m sure part of it is because they want you gambling, not on the internet, but enough people stay here for business that they need to get the wireless consistently above 1-2 Mbps.
- Televisions: Older TVs, half-hearted remotes. Again, they’d rather that you were downstairs gambling.
But the nit-picking is minor. Overall, it’s an incredible experience with a gorgeous loft and a staff that truly seems concerned with your happiness. The only downside: Once you stay there, you’ll never want to stay anywhere else.