Many of the technical conferences I speak at are in Las Vegas. Las Vegas is perfect for a conference — huge hotels that can accommodate an entire event (as opposed to scattering attendees all over a city), easy to get to (daily flights from just about anywhere), relatively inexpensive, and lots of interesting things to do outside of conference hours.
Some time ago, I was at a conference in Vegas, where I was speaking about neural networks. A guy I used to work with was in town too. He’s in sales. He makes a lot more money than I do. My buddy asked me if I wanted to hang out with him so I said yes. He was staying at the MGM Grand Hotel in one of their super fancy “Skyloft Suites” — two stories high, complete with butler and chauffeur. I’m not kidding.
What I didn’t know is that inside the MGM Grand is a secret hotel called the Mansion. Because my buddy was staying at the Skylofts, he was allowed to go to the restaurant at the Mansion, and so we went there.
The Mansion Hotel itself is by invitation only. Typically, the people who stay there are heads of state (kings, prime ministers, presidents), super-famous movie stars, and ultra-wealthy gamblers (many from China). The Mansion has its own secret, ultra-secure entry road. But surprisingly, you can get to the Mansion from inside the MGM Grand.
You go down an unmarked hallway until you get to an unmarked, unguarded, unlocked gate. Then you walk down a very long hallway that is eerily deserted — but if you look closely you’ll see tiny security cameras and devices hidden everywhere.
At the end of the hallway you’re met by two security guys who are standing at attention waiting for you because they been monitoring you as you approached. You have to show the security guys a special card that my friend had. I’m not sure what would have happened if we didn’t have the special card, but I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t have been good.
The Mansion Hotel itself is unbelievable. It’s literally a big building inside a huge building. It’s covered by an enormous glass roof that looks like a super fancy greenhouse. I believe there are approximately 20 “rooms” in the Mansion. In the photo below, one “room” is an entire floor of the building!
The Mansion restaurant is located in the atrium of the Mansion. My buddy and I ate there. I was surprised that the prices weren’t all that high and were pretty much like the prices at any other high-end Vegas restaurant. (I think so anyway; I’m more of a Burger King budget person).
Anyway, eating at the restaurant of the secret Mansion Hotel was very cool. I need to find more rich friends.