Monte Carlo is in the midst of a transformation, set to be complete by the end of 2018. As of this writing, the centrally located Strip resort is morphing floor-by-floor into two hotels, Park MGM and The NoMad Las Vegas, which will breathe $450 million worth of new life into the moderate, middle-of-the-road hotel. Look for new, New York-influenced eateries such as Eataly and Primrose, helmed by Michelin-starred chef Bryce Shulman. The original was never all hoity-toity like Bellagio, but was never exactly the Riviera, either (R.I.P.). Yet, it’s quietly survived, making changes when needed, and this time it’s going the full monty. 

In its current incarnation, Monte Carlo has always been consistent in service and ameneties, but a bit bland. Now there’s nothing wrong with bland or beige, the de rigeur color of Monte Carlo. It’s easy on the eyes. Classic lines and furnishings welcome you into the rooms, which offer respectably comfortable beds, granite bathrooms, and faux European wood furniture. And it’s one of the few hotels on the Strip where you can get from the reception area to your room without walking through the casino, making it a favorite of families. Feel like getting a little crazy? The 700-square-foot spa suites have oversize hot tubs smack dab next to the bed. Why Monte Carlo, you old devil you.

The addition of boutique Hotel 32 on the top floors also spiced things up, offering a limo pickup, private elevator, personal suite assistant (are they not called butlers anymore?), and all the rest of the perks that come with being a VIP (and paying the VIP price). At the very least, the rooms are swankier, if not more colorful. 

In the past year, Monte Carlo started taking advantage of its Strip-front property by opening a pedestrian plaza right on the Strip. It now connects to the 2-acre open air entertainment and retail space known as The Park, and you’re now within spitting distance of the new 20,000-seat T-Mobile Arena, plus a new dazzling Park Theatre, which features headliners such as Cher and Bruno Mars. With restaurants such as 800 Degrees Pizza, Double Barrel Roadhouse, and local coffeehouse Sambalatte at the front of the hotel, passing tourists don’t even have to set foot in the casino for a drink or bite to eat. 

The pool is fun, but even with the lazy river it isn’t the best on the Strip, having dropped in ranking behind those at Mandalay Bay and MGM Grand. But, we’ll reserve any further judgment until see what resort-wide changes come along with an infusion of millions of dollars by the end of the year.