As the auto industry rebounds and Detroit, Michigan, struggles to regain its footing, one industry thrives: gambling. The luxury hotel chain MGM Grand has a Detroit outpost with a casino along with plenty to attract non-gambling families: deluxe rooms, lots of restaurants, and a top-notch pool and exercise facility.

You never have to leave the hotel – you can also indulge at the gorgeous spa – but you will find plenty to do beyond the MGM Grand’s giant doors.

MGM Grand

The gorgeous pool at the MGM Grand. Credit: Judy Antell / Vegetarian TravelingMom

Vegas comes to Detroit

Inside the MGM Grand you would never know Detroit was a troubled city. This mini oasis, which sells out regularly boasts a huge casino, multiple restaurants and a to-die -for spa and fitness center. And there is plenty to do here to entertain a family on a long weekend or more.

I was in town for the SAE World Congress so I spent my time at the CABO convention center.

If you splurge for the concierge floor, you get killer views and enough free food to keep the kids happy all day. I find that the price differential with concierge access is usually a wash if you’ve got two or more kids: a huge spread at breakfast and snacks throughout the day. You can even have dinner, included in your room price. When we stay at places with concierge access, my kids have some appetizers there, a light dinner, and then dessert. You really can save some money this way.DestinationReview


The evening food choices at the MGM Grand include appetizers of cheese and crackers and lots of veggies with dip. There was charcuterie for the non vegetarians. And many many desserts.

MGM Grand

I loved this bathroom. Credit: Judy Antell / Vegetarian TravelingMom

What to do in Detroit

Detroit is a great city to visit if you like baseball. Not only can you see the Detroit Tigers play, but also Dearborn’s Greenfield Village hosts Historic Base Ball Games every Saturday and Sunday, June 13 to August 23.

Every Wednesday in July and August, Detroit Zoo’s Wild Summer Nights features live concerts; bring a blanket and picnic during the performance.

If you plan to visit a few museums, the D Discount Pass includes a bunch of area attractions, at a 20% or more discount. The pass is good through December 31, 2015.

What works for families

  • The infinity edge pool is great for toddlers and young children.
  • There are so many dining options that you can easily feed the family without going far, and if you have access to the concierge level, you can get free snacks throughout the day.
MGM Grand

Bed with robe. Credit: Judy Antell / Vegetarian TravelingMom

What doesn’t work for families

  • The smoky casino: no one under 21 can enter the casino but to get to Starbucks you have to skirt the smoke filled exterior. You can also go outside but one morning in late April when I was in Detroit it was 32 and freezing rain.
  • The fitness center is for ages 18 and over only; usually, the age in gyms is 16.

The room

I stayed in a king deluxe with a couch, a too soft king sized bed and an amazing bathroom. There was a glass enclosed water closet, (aka toilet) glass enclosed shower with both a rain shower head and a regular shower head and a double sink. There was a light up make up mirror, a stack of premium soft towels and h2o bath products (the same ones used at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts and Disney Cruise Lines). I would stay at the MGM just for this bathroom.

And I haven’t even mentioned the bathroom TV and water closet phone. The TV can be used to play the radio.

MGM Grand

The appetizers in the concierge level lounge. Credit: Judy Antell / Vegetarian TravelingMom


In a lounge off the lobby there is a coffee machine and a separate hot chocolate machine. Both are free.

After  a workout in the fitness center or a swim you can grab a free piece of fruit or chilled water infused with citrus.
A robe and slippers were on the bed along with a couple of chocolates and bottled water. I really felt cosseted.

Dining options abound

Dining choices include a food court with five different cuisines, a buffet restaurant (this really is a mini Las Vegas), a Starbucks and three sit down restaurants: two by Wolfgang Puck along with a sports bar. You won’t go hungry. The sports bar has an extensive selection of local beers on tap.

MGM Grand

You can see all the way to Canada. Credit: Judy Antell / Vegetarian TravelingMom

Note: I was a guest of Honda at the SAE World Congress, which paid for my room at the MGM Grand. Opinions expressed are my own.