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WESTERN TRAVEL | SLEEPOVER

Feeling grown up at MGM's Signature

August 27, 2006|Catharine Hamm | Times Staff Writer

Las Vegas — THE first thing you hear when you enter the new Signature hotel at MGM Grand is ... nothing.

Can this really be Vegas, where ka-ching is king? It can. It is. And it's a little slice of heaven.

Unless you're 25. Then, apparently, it's obviously "for an older crowd."

That was how my niece, Maridith, assessed the Signature. Clearly we were looking for different things on this trip to Sin City to check out the first of the three new towers behind the MGM Grand. (The other two will open in the next year.)

It's a bit of a walk -- all indoors -- from the 576-suite tower to the MGM's restaurants and casino. It was good exercise -- and a good reminder of what grown-ups will like about the Signature. The instant we entered the MGM side of things, the noise hit me like the Wall of Sound, and I knew the party was over for me. For Maridith, it was just the beginning.

Bunking down: My 550-square-foot junior suite was done in gold-green and dark woods; the bed had the requisite white down comforter. What made this room different from, say, the Wynn was its kitchenette. A fridge (with bottled water! that was free!) and a microwave were nice, but the two-burner cooktop, dishwashing liquid, complete utensils, toaster and blender were even nicer. I didn't whip up any smoothies, but I could have.

A 32-inch flat-screen TV hangs opposite the king bed and the queen sleeper sofa. The marble bathroom had a smaller TV, jetted tub and separate shower.

Hanging around: Though it has no casino, the Signature has a pool and bar, an intimate little affair where the cocktail server also passed out cool, wet washcloths. Nice touch here, where lying by the pool feels a little like sunbathing in a wildfire. The Starbucks had not opened the weekend I was there (it opened July 31), but if I had needed a cup of coffee, the bar-lounge is just off the lobby. And if I had wanted to work up a sweat by actually doing something, there's a well-equipped fitness center.

Going out: When it's 105 degrees, who wants to? And that, of course, is the logic behind linking the Signature to the MGM complex. You can stroll to Joel Robuchon's or Emeril's restaurant without bursting into flames.

Peeves and perks: Although not blessed with the best senses of direction, neither Maridith nor I could find the MGM Signature, which just opened in June. We saw the towers, and a valet told us where it was. But when we got there, the sign said MGM Residences. We dialed information. No listing. So we called the MGM Grand and were connected with the Signature. Surprise. The Residences are the Signature. Individually owned units can be part of the hotel stock when not in use.

Also, McCarran airport was visible from our room, and some takeoffs caused a little decibel disturbance. On the plus side, the service was gracious; the staff frequently called me by name, even though it was Maridith's, not mine. There are worse things than being confused with someone half your age.

The Signature at MGM Grand, 145 E. Harmon Ave., Las Vegas, NV 89109; (877) 727-0007, www.signaturemgmgrand.com. Introductory rates start at $200. Tower 2 is expected to open in November and Tower 3 in May.

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