MGM Resort Las Vegas Visitor Warning: Don’t drink the Smart Water !

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MGM Hotels and Resorts are setting trends for Las Vegas biggest industry: The travel, tourism, and the gambling industry. When a trendsetter like MGM become rogue, it can affect every single person in a city like Las Vegas, because tourism is everyone’s business, and tourism is repeat business when done well, and tourism is a fragile business.

Don’t drink the Smart Water and think before taking the Fiji Water in your room or suite at an MGM Hotel and Resort in Las Vegas. MGM officials were speechless and never responded to eTN’s repeat request for comments. Here is the story:

Here is a list of MGM Resorts in Las Vegas:

I recently stayed at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas attending a travel security tourism conference at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Having been on the plane all day from Honolulu via Los Angeles to Las Vegas, I felt tired after I arrived late and had to wait for another hour at the “Gold preferred Line” to check into the MGM Grand Hotel.

I was granted an upgraded suite for the first night and was required to check out and check into another regular room for the additional two nights (what I hated to do). I reluctantly agreed because I needed some sleep.

water2 | eTurboNews | eTNI woke up at 5 am and felt the urgent need for some water. I searched my suite for some water and found a bottle of “Smart Water” on top of the TV.

I also noticed a mini bar with another smaller bottle of cold “Fiji Water” inside. I always prefer cold but thought to check the price before investing in expensive Fiji Water.

I was looking for a menu, but there was none. I noticed a small sign on top of the mini bar saying any item removed would be charged to the room immediately and to check the TV under “Dining Options” for prices. I turned on my TV and look for the “dining” option.

In the meantime, I was awake and concentrated on the TV menu to locate “Dining Option.” There was no such option.

wtaer4 | eTurboNews | eTNI turned on the rest of the lights in the room to find out the number for “guest services” I picked up the phone. I asked for the price of the bottled water. I was told there are different prices for the water inside the refrigerator and the one on top of it. (Wow, they charge for what I thought was free.)

I asked again how much and was told to look for the dining option on the TV. I explained no dining option was included. I was transferred to an IT expert who tried to walk me through the many options available. He insisted there was a “dining option.” I couldn’t find it. He offered to send someone to my room.

It was 5 am and I wasn’t yet dressed to impress and refused. He transferred me to room service and I was finally told the water inside the refrigerator was $10.00 and the “free water” one on top of the refrigerator next to the television sells for an affordable $15.00 plus tax and service fees.

I didn’t think to spend $15.00 plus fees for a 50 cent bottled water was reasonable, and I felt tricked but was glad not to have fallen for the scheme.

Since I was now right awake, I got dressed and took the elevator down 26 floors to the casino to have a drip coffee at Starbucks for $6. On my way back I stopped at the convenient store next to the elevators.

Conv | eTurboNews | eTNA nice store with a lot of items, including bottled water. I again looked for a price and noticed not one item in the convenient store showed any price. I asked the cashiers. She told me the small bottle of water was $7.00. In the meantime, I was over it and paid the $7 but asked why the store would not show prices. I was told by the shop assistant, she had many complaints over the years and kept bringing it up to management.

In my room, I called guest services again. This time the phone next to the couch didn’t have a dial tone. I used my mobile phone and was able to reach a manager. The manager told me why I was nickel and dime her for a bottle of water. However, she agreed to send someone from room service to locate the dining option on the TV.

I opened up my computer and started to do some work. Two hours later there was no sign of the assistance. I called again and this time someone showed up within 10 minutes.

The nice bright young gentleman from room service new immediately why I couldn’t find the “dining option” on TV. He also said he had brought this up to upper management many times and they refuse to show the option since the water was so expensive.

Here is the official reason was given to me finally by a manager why there was no dining option on the TV. I only had the room for one night and on the day of check out dining and movie options were deleted so the hotel can prepare my “final bill.”

In my case, I checked in on the day of departure after midnight so under MGM reasoning a  dining option was no option for me. I asked if this would mean the water and minibar is free. The response was “sorry”.

To clarify I was charged a $100.00 deposit when I checked in and another $200.00 deposit for the last last 2 night stays in a different room. The hotel had my credit card on file. I had only used $7.00 of my $300.00 deposit.

The next surprise was a $42 “resort fee” I  was charged even though my written confirmation did not mention such a fee.  It didn’t show on my confirmation, because I had a reward reservation, which is free.

The mandatory resort fees range from $34.01 to$39.68 per night plus taxes at MGM operated hotels. It can be very difficult to find out whether or not your hotel charges a resort fee before you book your room, especially when one books a reservation through a partner website or through a third party travel agency website.

I never paid for water in a Hyatt hotel before, maybe because of my Globalist status. When calling Hyatt they understood my problem and explained MGM is a contract partner and operates different. Hyatt credited me 15000 points, enough for a “free night at the MGM Grand.”

I can only say Hyatt knows how to make a client happy, but MGM understands how to legally or perhaps illegally extort every dime possible from clients and get away with it.

Trendsetters are powerful, at least when business is good. I filed a complaint with consumer protection authorities in Nevada.

In October I brought up the same issue in an article on eTurboNews about a Starbucks and MGM Extortion Scam.

It hasn’t changed, so please take my advice: DO NOT DRINK THE WATER in an MGM operated hotel or resort. Since MGM is a trendsetter who knows if this is the same for other hotels in Las Vegas.

There is, of course, a solution; Win the jackpot!

About the author

Avatar of Juergen T Steinmetz

Juergen T Steinmetz

Juergen Thomas Steinmetz has continuously worked in the travel and tourism industry since he was a teenager in Germany (1977).
He founded eTurboNews in 1999 as the first online newsletter for the global travel tourism industry.

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