Earlier this summer, Jake and I decided to join some friends on a last-minute trip to Las Vegas. They had already booked rooms at the MGM Grand, and we knew we would also want to stay there so that we could spend time together at the MGM pool, which only admits hotel guests with room keys (it was July in the desert, after all). We also knew we’d want to use points if possible because we hadn’t budgeted for the trip, and while we couldn’t find availability at the MGM Grand itself, we managed to grab at room at the The Signature at MGM Grand next door. Read on for a full review of The Signature hotel, including the good, the not-so-good, and how to book it for free!
STAYING AT THE SIGNATURE HOTEL IN LAS VEGAS
BOOKING THE SIGNATURE HOTEL
For some reason, rates over our weekend were unusually high. While I’ve seen nightly rates over other summer weekends in the low $100s for The Signature, for the Friday night we needed, we were looking at a price of more than $400 in cash (excluding Las Vegas’ dreaded resort fees).
I knew that rate was out of our budget, so my first step was to check award availability on Hyatt‘s website. Hyatt has a partnership with MGM, meaning you can use Hyatt points to book MGM hotels. Luckily, Hyatt is also a transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards, so even if you don’t have a stash of Hyatt points lying around, they’re easy to come by through an instant transfer.
Then, we had the option of booking outright with points—for 20,000—or using a mix of cash and points. I’m usually in favor of the all-points option, especially where resort fees are involved; with Hyatt and Hilton rooms, if you use all points, you won’t have to pay the fee. But the first 10K points knocked all but $129.50 off our room bill, so the choice came down to forking over another 10K points or the $129.50. I had a feeling I could get more value out of 10K points elsewhere, so we went the points-plus-cash route.
The three Signature towers sit right next to the MGM Grand, set slightly back from the Las Vegas Strip. You can easily walk outside between the Grand and any of the Signature’s towers, or there’s an indoor walkway that connects the buildings. I actually preferred staying at the Signature when it came to ease of getting around, as I found it much easier to find the outside world without having to navigate a casino. The larger hotels also have certain designated ride-share pickup areas that can be tricky to find, whereas at the Signature, you can grab a car right outside the lobby!
In relation to other things on the Strip, the MGM Grand and the Signature are on the south side. But there’s plenty of action all the way up and down this street, so you’ll still be in the heart of it all.
The staff at the hotel was super friendly, and check-in was a breeze. We arrived around 10 a.m., well before rooms are normally ready, and the woman at the reception desk found us a room we could check into early. I’ve never been let into a room that far ahead of time without some kind of hotel status, and in this case, we had none!
She also did her best to put us in a room that was as close as possible to the MGM Grand, where our friends were staying; there are three Signature towers, and she got us a room in the one that gave us the shortest walk. In fact, we would up having a shorter walk to the MGM Grand pool than they did!
Staff members elsewhere around the hotel were also friendly, although unfortunately, they had to enforce a slew of onerous guest rules that I’ve never seen anywhere else. We’ll get to those shortly!
Rooms at the Signature were absolutely gigantic. Aside from the king-sized bed, there was also a living room-type area, a desk, and a kitchenette complete with everything you could possibly need. The bathroom also had both a shower and a whirlpool tub.
Our favorite part, though, was the views. The room overlooked the lazy river pool at the MGM Grand, and we also had a direct line of sight to the airport, so we could watch planes taking off and landing against a mountain backdrop.
While it wasn’t the most modern room in the world, it definitely represented good value and we were sad to leave it after just one night.
MGM SIGNATURE POOL AREA
When it comes to pools, The Signature has it all. Guests have access to all of the MGM Grand’s pools, plus a separate, private pool for each tower.
The pool area is where we ran into issues, though. First of all, on the day we stayed at the hotel, the MGM Grand’s main non-lazy-river pool was closed for a private event. This meant everyone was in the lazy river pool, making it extremely crowded. You also couldn’t charge food or drinks to your room without your ID on you, which is a rule I’ve never encountered elsewhere. While I understand that it’s there to prevent fraud, it still made things pretty inconvenient.
Hoping to escape the crowds, we went over to the Signature’s private pool, but unfortunately, we didn’t do any better over there. The staff wouldn’t let us open the umbrellas to provide shade, claiming that it was “too windy” for them. In the July desert sun, there was nowhere to hide except under several towels… in 100-plus-degree heat. Then, they closed the pool altogether because of the wind and made us leave (though for some reason, the MGM kept the lazy river pool open). It all felt very arbitrary and definitely threw a wrench in our “pool day” plans.
The bright side? Because we weren’t able to use the main pool, the staff refunded me the $41.95 resort fee on request upon checkout. Nice recognition of the fact that you shouldn’t have to pay for an amenity you strictly can’t use.
DINING AT THE SIGNATURE HOTEL
This was the other area that presented problems for us during our stay. As it turned out, the Signature no longer served the vegetarian item on the room service menu, and it had very little to offer in the way of meat-free options at its bar and cafe. Luckily, there is a Starbucks on-site where I stocked up on snacks; near the lobby, there’s a grab-and-go shop where you can charge snacks, alcohol and other items to your room, too.
While the Signature was a nice option in a pinch, I’m not sure I’ll be running back there anytime soon for another stay. The pool rules need some serious reworking, and the dining options could use some more diversity, too.
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