Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Fox Tower (aka the Former MGM Grand) at Foxwoods - Ledyard, Connecticut

MGM Grand at Foxwoods
If you've ever stayed in Las Vegas and been at one of the larger hotels on The Strip, you'll know what to expect when you get to the Fox Tower Hotel at Foxwoods. This casino, hotel and resort has something for everyone in an atmosphere that just reminds me of the hotels and casinos in Las Vegas.

In fact, it's become my new favorite place to stay here in the Northeast when I'm looking to gamble and relax. The rooms are great, the service is nice, the casino is fun, the pool and lounge area is relaxing, and the amenities that are offered can keep you quite busy.

The Fox Tower Hotel was built and opened as MGM Grand at Foxwoods several years ago.  Recently (2013) MGM pulled out of the property and Foxwoods took over full management and control of the property - hence the name change.  The property has more or less stayed the same, just that you don't see "MGM Grand" anywhere on the property and it is now more integrated into the larger Foxwoods complex.

Where is it?

The Fox Tower Hotel at Foxwoods is located on the Foxwoods property adjacent to the original Foxwoods Casino and Resort. The two have a connection that allows for walking between the two resorts. They also share the same rewards program. However the two resorts are pretty much run as individual properties and you won't need to travel between them if you don't want to.

The Fox Tower at Foxwoods is located in the southeastern corner of Connecticut off of Interstate 95. It is about 2 hours from Boston, 3 hours from New York City and probably about an hour or so from Hartford. Getting there is fairly easy, The Fox Tower is about 8 miles off of Interstate 95 and the exit and the route are signed well.

As with any casino, there's plenty of free parking. The Fox Tower has its own entrance, parking garage and valet parking aside from Foxwoods' entrances and parking areas.

What's it like?

From the design and layout of the hotel and casino to the types of amenities it has, The Fox Tower is like a little piece of Las Vegas in eastern Connecticut. There's the modern architecture with an Asian influence, an overall 'upscale' feeling to the property, a nightclub, several finer restaurants and plenty of other things to keep you busy.

What's there to do?

Gamble! But honestly that's not all there is to do.

There are several different places to eat, there's a nightclub, a couple of shops to browse in and if you're staying at the hotel, there's the pool area along with a spa and a gym where you can relax or work out.

The restaurants include two fine dining spots, Alta Strada and Shrine. There's also Junior's which I would consider your all around restaurant (burgers, sandwiches, entrees and breakfast). For something even faster, the Gelato Cafe offers sandwiches, salads and Gelato and the food court has several different kinds of food to choose from including seafood, pizza, sandwiches, burgers and Chinese food. All told everywhere that we ate was good, though since you are in a casino, everything is pricey, even the less expensive options. While we didn't dine at any of the three fine dining restaurants, they did look good and the menus weren't as outrageous as I expected. I would suggest reservations though, as they usually seemed to be crowded and I would expect that they would be full, especially on weekends. Junior's also takes reservations, though when we were there a few times during our stay, it didn't seem that we would have needed them.

On certain nights, Shrine, the restaurant also is a nightclub. We have been there on most weeknights and the club has been open. There is usually quite a line to get in and it looked to be a decent place. However, neither of us were really up for going. If you do want to go, expect to have to wait in line to get in.

Outside of the casino itself, the hotel also has the pool area and the spa floor. We spend a lot of time at the pool in the summer, which is a fairly good size. It's fan shaped so that it can hold quite a few people without feeling too crowded. There's seating all around the pool along with seating outside the immediate pool area on the grassed area. There are also private cabana's that can be rented on the outer edge of the pool area should you want them.

Most of the lounge chairs have great sun all day. What's nice about the pool area is that it's adjacent to Junior's restaurant so you can eat there or, if you don't even feel like getting up, there's waitress service around the pool with a limited menu from Junior's and a full drink menu available. So that was nice to lay there and have cold drinks while we enjoyed the sun and occasionally went swimming.

We never made it to the spa level of the hotel, which is home to the spa and a workout facility. The workout facility is part of the spa, but $25 will get you a pass to the workout area (we checked with the concierge) and that's good for your stay. If we were staying longer than our typical overnight or two night treks, I would have splurged since it sounded like a really nice gym.

The Casino

The Fox Tower's casino is not all that large, but it is spread out enough so that you never feel all that cramped when playing. There's a large selection of slot machines in all denominations along with plenty of tables for those who prefer the table games to the slots. There's also a bar on the gaming floor and free beverage service is offered to those who are playing on the casino floor by waitresses.

I like the high ceilings since that allows the smoke to rise up and not suffocate you. In addition, the air handling is pretty good. Sure there's some smoke, but overall you're not walking around in a haze of smoke. Plus the size of the no-smoking areas has been increased over time, so many areas are now pleasantly smoke free, especially most of the areas where kids would be (pretty much anywhere off the gaming floor).

The Hotel

If you're staying at the hotel, the easiest way to get there is to pull into the hotel valet parking. They'll help you with your bags and then take care of your car. You walk right into the hotel lobby and the check-in desk is to your right.

Our check-in usually takes about 5-10 minutes at most unless we check in at a busy time. We put a credit card down so we could charge to the room, even though the room itself is usually comp'd for the nights thanks to my play at the casino and the player's club rewards. The lobby also has a Bell Desk where you can check your bags and have them hold them until you're ready to check in or leave.

We've stayed all over the Fox Tower with rooms from the lower floors up to high floors.  We've also had standard rooms up to the basic suites.  The standard deluxe room with a single, king sized bed is what we usually have.  Most rooms, except for the very low floors have good views looking across to the Foxwoods resort and the surrounding forest lands.

The rooms are quite large too. You came into a small hallway when you entered with the bathroom to your right and the rest of the room straight ahead and to the left. The room had a king sized bed, a table, a lounge chair, a dresser and a work area. At the foot of the bed was a cabinet where the TV was held. It rose up out of the cabinet and you could lay in bed and watch it (it was a flat screen TV). The TV also swiveled so you could watch it elsewhere in the room.

The bathroom was really nice, though most don't have a tub, which was one thing I actually looking forward to at a hotel. Instead they have had a large tiled shower with glass doors. A really nice shower, but I want to soak a bit. Besides the shower, there's a large sink area and the toilet.

The beds have been comfortable. They are soft, there were plenty of pillows and we both have slept comfortably when we are there.

There's room service available that includes breakfast, lunch, dinner and catering platters. Pretty much anything you could want.

Over time housekeeping service has been good at the hotel.  We have had our room be forgotten for turnover service, but a call down to the main desk has fixed that.  The only real issue we've ever had is a room with a TV that wouldn't work.  We called the main desk multiple times to have it repaired, but they never did.  When we checked out, they offered to comp all of our room charges or upgrade us to a suite the next time.  We took the suite the next visit and didn't have a problem.


There are the standard deluxe rooms with either two queen beds or a single king sized bed. There are also several different types of suite rooms available.

Room Costs

The Fox Tower isn't cheap, though if you are a regular player at Foxwoods, you'll likely get discounted and complimentary rooms. I consider myself a fairly casual gambler, but I get offers for free rooms each month.

If you did have to pay, the rooms do get fairly pricey - upwards of $250+ a night. I'm not sure if I was on my own I'd pay that, but if you were going with a couple of people, it might be worth it.

The Players Club

For people interested in playing in the casinos at either The Fox Tower or Foxwoods, there's a players club that gives you the opportunity to earn points based on the amount of play that you have. The points you earn can be used throughout The Fox Tower and Foxwoods just like money. When you sign up for the card, you also become eligible for special offers and contests. Almost every month they have a different promotion where you swipe your card each time you are there and you stand a chance to win. There's also a monthly mailing, which depending on your average monthly play, offers free play and bonuses for your next visit, which can include free show tickets and complimentary rooms.


If you do wander across the pedestrian connection (completely indoors), you'll make your way to the Grand Pequot portion of Foxwoods. From there, you can get to the rest of Foxwoods just by walking around.

Overall Impression

Besides the lack of a tub in most of the standard and the occasional housekeeping faux pas, we have not had any serious problems with our stays at the Fox Tower at Foxwoods. For the record actually, I love it. I find it to be a convenient place to go and escape to for a few days. We live about 2 hours away and it is the perfect place to go and just relax. We don't have to drive far, we have tons of things to do, lots of places to eat and a really comfortable room to relax in. I also like that it reminded me so much of a resort in Las Vegas, since that's one of my favorite places to vacation. It was like finding a little piece of Las Vegas here in the Northeast.

Final Thoughts

I know I'll continue to go back and stay The Fox Tower at Foxwoods. I my time spent there. I am able to lay in the sun at the pool, go swimming, dine in a number of different restaurants, gamble in the casino, and relax in a really comfortable room. It is a great place to stay.

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