Weekend Getaways from New York City: My Review of Foxwoods and MGM Grand Resort and Casino

This past weekend I had the pleasure to be invited out to Foxwoods for an assignment. I had never been and was so excited to go. I’m not much of a gambler but I was looking forward to food, fun and sun by the pool! We left early Saturday morning of Memorial Day weekend and even though it should really take 2.5 hours, with traffic it was more like 3.5. But it goes quickly and we made some fun stops along the way: Pez Visitor Center and Mystic, Connecticut (I’m going to post more on both of those so stay tuned). Foxwoods is definitely a fun, weekend getaway, especially if you’re going for one of the many great shows or if you enjoy gambling.

MGM Grand Exterior

We made it up to Foxwood’s early in the evening and checked in. There was a little mix up with the room but it was sorted out quickly. Though to be honest, I was a bit surprised that the staff wasn’t more apologetic about it. But you know me, I’m spoiled from the Four Seasons I was staying in the Grand Pequot Tower in the main Foxwoods building. This building is a bit more traditional in its decor than MGM. The rooms in Grand Pequot are very spacious and include amenities like a coffee maker, refrigerator, flat-screen TV and beautiful views. The decor is nice, neutral and clean. The beds were very comfortable and I always love white bedding because I know it’s immaculate. The fabric can hide no secrets! Foxwoods has convenient access to the resort’s shops like Rolex, Chopard, etc., which are located over here.

Room at Foxwood’s Grand Pequot Tower

I visited my friends who were staying over at MGM Grand at Foxwoods. The rooms here are a bit more contemporary but also a little smaller. They are decorated in rich blues and browns. The views are nice but not as nice as our room in the Grand Pequot Tower. The outdoor pool is also located over here. It’s huge, nearly 6,000 square feet. It’s a small taste of Vegas, there are cabanas that house mini-bars and of course flat-screen TVs. Every Sunday this summer the resort is holds Liquid Sundays, which is a massive pool party where guests get drunk and are entertained by celebrity hosts like Snooki and DJ Pauly D (entertainment changes every weekend)!

The grounds of the entire complex are sprawling and just absolutely ginormous. The walk between the two resorts is a bit of a hike, it probably takes 7-10 minutes depending on how slow you walk but we found it to be a good way to work off some of the giant meals we ate. There are also shuttles if you don’t want to do the walking. But if you do there are actually moving walkways in case you’re feeling a little lazy along the way! (Which many people were!)

The Entertainment.

The first night we arrived, we bought tickets to see a comedy show. The entire lineup of shows for the MGM Theater is extremely high caliber. We saw SNL Veterans, Kevin Nealon, Dana Carvey and Dennis Miller. Aerosmith is coming later in the summer as well as other famous comedians like soon-to-be Late Night host, Seth Myers!

The Spa.

G Spa at MGM Grand

Of course the weekend I visited, the sun refused to shine, which really busted up my plans to get a summer base tan! Luckily, MGM houses a great spa, G-Spa (kinda naughty name, right?) so being inside all day didn’t seem like as much of a bummer. The spa was extremely clean and featured lots of areas to just relax. There is a large indoor pool and hot tub that is unisex so if you come with your hubby you’ll have somewhere to relax and unwind together. There are lounge chairs in here and its relatively quiet and peaceful so you could definitely bring a book and mellow out. It was a little crowded but not overly so, plus I suspect that on days when it’s warm, many of these guests would be at the pool. The rest of the amenities were located in the locker rooms so female guests could lounge around comfortably without prying eyes of men. There was a lovely Jacuzzi, complete with waterfall, a steam room, sauna and tranquility room where you could help yourself to tea, trail mix and fresh fruit. The spa was definitely upscale, very clean and classy. There is also a fitness center that is available to hotel guests and spa patrons.

The Restaurants.

David Burke at Foxwood’s

There are over 30 restaurants in the Foxwood’s complex so choosing where to eat is quite a feat! The good news is there is definitely something for everyone. The first night we were there we decided on David Burke. While the meal was good, it wasn’t exactly the same quality that it’s New York restaurant boasts. However, to be fair, living in New York City I am quite spoiled by the quality of restaurants. Compared to many cities I have been to this was definitely top quality. The food was good, it just wasn’t incredible but I suspect that non-New Yorkers would say it was fantastic. Plus the restaurant itself was beautiful. The next morning we went to Veranda’s for breakfast. There was a make-your-own-omelette-station that everyone seemed to enjoy. The breakfast buffet was decent, nothing over the top, but it definitely held its own. Everything was fresh and there was a large fruit selection, which is what I usually care about. For dinner the second evening we had reservations at Paragon. This was by far the best restaurant that we ate at. The service was impeccable, the ambiance was romantic and the views (from the 24th floor) were breathtaking. There was also a live piano player, which I absolutely love. The restaurant says that it is French Fusion, though in my opinion it’s a bit more fusion than French. Most of the items on its menu, while delicious, were a bit more international–Vietnamese noodles, Aglio Olio. They were delicious but the French-nenss was a bit attenuated. The cocktails here were really creative and clearly well thought out by someone with original ideas. I had a cocktail that contained pink champagne, Hendrick’s Gin and Pama liqueur (pomegranate). It was delightful as was our entire meal. This to me was the most luxurious place to eat by far.

The Service.

Grand Pequot Lobby

Aside from my little mix-up at check-in, my dealings with the staff was virtually non-existent. I don’t think I saw a hotel employee other than a waiter or a security guard for my entire stay. I’m not saying this is necessarily a bad thing since personally, I don’t enjoy when hotel staff hovers over you and incessantly ask how you are doing. And its not like I ever needed a staff person and couldn’t find one, but it’s definitely not a place where the staff is fawning all over you to make sure you’re doing well. But again, based on personal choice, this may be your preference. Everything seemed to be running smoothly behind the scenes.

The Little Things.

The entire property is equipped with free Wi-Fi internet access. Always a nice bonus.

Most of the property, minus the spa and restaurants has a smoky smell (that includes lobbies and common areas). It’s not overwhelmingly gross but it is there. While it is to be expected, it is a casino, but it’s worth noting because if you can’t handle the smell of smoke, you won’t be thrilled.

The Crowd.

There are high rollers but then there are also a few compulsive slot machine ladies and a few trashy folk. The overall feel though is that there is a nice crowd. It’s not the classiest hotel I’ve been to but it also depends where you hang out. The crowd at Paragon is obviously quite different from the ones at the more casual spots. If you’re hoping for a classy experience you just have to make sure that you book the more expensive restaurants and lounges because there are some less savory characters here that you may wish to stay away from. It’s a casino, what do you expect?  There really is something for everyone though whether you’re there for a bachelor party or a romantic getaway.

The Final Word.

If you’re looking for a fun weekend getaway, this is definitely a fun spot to go with friends or family. It is rather pricey so I recommend going on a weekend when you can utilize the pool unless you are a person who will be happy inside gambling all day. The hotel itself was nice. It wasn’t the most upscale hotel, it’s not a Five Star hotel room but Foxwoods is a good time–especially if you see a show, go to the pool, gamble and use the spa. There really are tons of options for everyone.

*I was here as part of a press trip as I mentioned above but as always you can’t buy the love. My opinions are always honest as you can tell*

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