Proving once again we have the world's best traveled readers.
Originally Appeared on Condé Nast Traveler
How did it strike you on arrival?
Mandalay Bay is like a giant, multi-sensory theme park. There are restaurants of every kind, from the ice bar and vodka vault of Red Square to the irreverent Libertine Social and beautifully re-thought Aureole. But then there's the famous shark aquarium and a massive sandy beach. It can feel a little like a zoo, but in the best possible way for those who want lots of options.
Nice. What’s the crowd like?
This is a hotel that's a giant fun zone, and runs the gamut from ultra-sophisticated to camp. Similarly, travelers run that same gamut, so you'll get all kinds.
The good stuff: Tell us about your room.
There are lots and lots of room categories at Mandalay Bay, and nearly all of the rooms have been recently renovated. The most recent room I stayed in was a Resort King Strip View (which is a step above the Resort King). It's 550 square feet (large by most cities' standards but standard by Vegas') and has a great new design that includes a kind of blown-up quartz design behind the bed (feels connected to the desert surroundings but is colorful and a great foil for the white and creamy neutral palette of the rooms otherwise).
We’re craving some deep, restorative sleep. They got us?
The bed was a nice, soft pillow-top with what I appreciate most of all: a firm, leather-backed headboard for when you want to be on your laptop in bed and need the extra support. The view from the bed of the Strip was great (as with Delano, you'll want to ask for a higher-floor room).
How about the little things, like mini bar, or shower goodies. Any of that find its way into your suitcase?
Mandalay is kind of the bridge between Delano on one side and Four Seasons on the other: All belong to the Mandalay Bay compound, but this is the one for people who don't want to be separated from the action by much more than an elevator bank. So you'll trade some quiet and some room amenities for this break in room rates. Still, it has all the things you want: a good-sized TV, desk with plenty of charging and connecting outlets. And if you're here in the summer, it's a quick walk out to the 11.5-acre Mandalay Beach, where parties and concerts happen all spring and summer long - and well into the fall.
Please tell us the bathroom won’t let us down.
Bathrooms are nice-sized, with back-lit mirrors and small TVs.
Maybe the most important topic of all: Wi-Fi. What’s the word?
The Wi-Fi was good enough to stream and included in the daily $40 resort fee.
Room service: Worth it?
Mandalay Bay's in-room dining menu is solid, with all the things you'd expect (salads, sandwiches, a few updated items like Greek yogurt), but it's not one of the most varied or original you'll find on the Strip. Considering just how many dining options there are very close to your room (and for those who can't live without it, there are two Starbucks locations in Mandalay Bay) taking a quick walk downstairs might be the best idea.
Staff: If you could award one a trophy, who gets it, and why?
Whoever is figuring out crowd control at Mandalay Beach deserves a medal. People love it here because it genuinely feels like a beach (with thousands of gallons of sand poured in). Vegas locals love Mandalay Bay for a staycation, too, because in their landlocked state, it feels like oceanside luxury.
Anything stand out about other services and features? Whether it’s childcare, gyms, spas, even parking—whatever stuck with you.
The beach and the Shark Reef are some of the biggest attractions in Las Vegas. This is a great hotel for those who are just coming for food and nightlife, but it's also surprisingly kid-friendly.
What was most memorable—or heartbreaking—about your stay?
Here's my tip for Mandalay Bay: If you love to come to Vegas for a spa treatment and don't want to deal with a busy area, book next door in the Bathhouse at Delano, whose intimate, Asian-inspired spa actually has small, private baths, where you can take an aromatherapy soak in absolute solitude - for when everything else gets a little overwhelming. The best thing about Mandalay Bay is that it has three entirely different experiences in its complex—Four Seasons, Delano and Mandalay Bay itself. And all are in within a short walk of each other.
Bottom line: worth it, and why?
I think these rooms are worth the money if you really want to be right in the action. Personally, I would book a room in Delano and have all of the fun of Mandalay within a few steps of my sanctuary-like hotel. But if you're a family whose priority is the beach or the shark aquarium, Mandalay is your best bet.