The giant Mandalay Bay offers a ton of features for kids (wave pool, streaming lazy river pool, shark reef aquarium) and adults (lively bars, world-class restaurants, a large spa), but the constant crowds, long lines, and airport noise can make it a slightly less attractive mid-tier luxury option. All of the hotel's 3,211 rooms underwent renovations in 2015 and 2016, resulting in some of the most visually appealing accommodations in Vegas (which is saying a lot). If the Mandalay's slightly cut-off-from-the-Strip location presents a problem, travelers could check rates at the Cosmopolitan, which is in the heart of the Strip (but is not even slightly kid-friendly).
Massive hotel with an 11-acre pool complex and an on-site aquarium that attracts both families and partiers by the thousands
Even when you compare it to the other giant hotels in Vegas, the 3,211-room Mandalay Bay hotel is crowded, especially after you factor the 1,117 rooms at the connected Delano Las Vegas and yet another 424 rooms at the Four Seasons (both have shared access to the pools and the casino at Mandalay Bay).
Given the hotel's aquarium, wave pool, and broad assortment of nearly 30 restaurants, it rates with hotels like the MGM Grand as one of the best upscale family hotels in Vegas. There's still plenty of beer chugging at the four pools and 10 bars, and the 1,800-seat House of Blues (which has its own tattoo parlor) draws twentysomethings every night. Conventions are also a big chunk of the hotel's market (the hotel's on-site convention center is the the fifth largest in the continent, with more than two-million square feet of event and meeting space).
The Mandalay's location on the southern edge of the Strip make it a bit more cut off from the attractions in the center of the Strip, where you can find the Mirage and the Bellagio.
On the south side of the Strip, so close to the airport you can hear the planes taking off from your room, and a bit cut off from the major Vegas attractions
The Mandalay Bay hotel complex, which also houses Delano Las Vegas and the Four Seasons hotels, is on the southernmost end of a three-and-a-half mile long stretch of hotel-casinos known as the Strip. Outside the complex, there isn't much in the immediate vicinity -- some vacant lots, rundown motels, and strip malls. To get closer to the central Strip attractions, you can take the free, 0.7-mile tram that connects Mandalay to the Luxor and Excalibur, the two closest hotels to the north.
Most Las Vegas visitors want to explore all of the big properties along the Strip. Cabs are easy to find at virtually any time of day or night. A generally less expensive option is the Deuce, a double-decker bus that runs up and down the strip 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There's also a monorail system, which stops at MGM Grand, Bally's/Paris, Flamingo/Caesars Palace, Harrah's/the LINQ, the Las Vegas Convention Center, the Westgate, and the SLS -- but it's a long walk to the MGM Grand stop from Mandalay Bay. If you're traveling along the Strip with at least one other person, a cab is often the least expensive option.
Virtually every hotel on the Las Vegas Strip is a 10- to 15-minute cab ride from McCarran International Airport.
Swank rooms have tons of visual appeal after a 2015-2016 renovation, but do hear a bit of street and airport noise
All guest rooms at the Mandalay have been renovated with a bold and contemporary aesthetic that's full of texture and contrasts, with nature-inspired murals, wood-paneled accent walls, bright body pillows, and plush carpets with subtle wood-grain or ikat patterning. Mid-century modern furniture includes sleek consoles and writing desks with Eames-esque chairs. All rooms have well-stocked minibars, coffeemakers, 42-inch plasma flat-screen TVs, and pillow-top mattresses.
The 11-acre pool area, aquarium, and food and drink options are exceptional -- but the spa, fitness center, and casino average
Mandalay Bay Beach, the enormous pool complex with an open-air bar and a small casino, is pretty incredible. But even with four pools across 11 acres, the place still manages to get crowded. The largest pool, and clearly the kid favorite, is the 1.6-million-gallon wave pool, which produces waist-high (on an adult) waves every few minutes -- and is the Strip's only wave pool. The waves aren't especially dangerous (they're just barely large enough for a kid to body surf), but the hotel keeps lifeguards posted and all children much be at least 48 inches tall to go in the pool. Less intense, but still fun, is the lazy river pool, where kids and adults can float in inner tubes down the winding stream and through waterfalls. A lazy river pool can also be found at the MGM Grand. Once kids have had their fill of frolicking in the wave pool or floating down the lazy river, they can try to spot the 100-odd species -- including a dozen different kinds of sharks -- in the 1.6-million-gallon Shark Reef Aquarium.
The hotel complex (which includes Delano Las Vegas and the Four Seasons) has more than 30 dining options -- more than most hotels on the Strip -- spanning price points, styles, and cuisines. The Mandalay rivals even the best Vegas foodie-hotels with its broad range of fine dining options from acclaimed chefs, including Charlie Palmer's Aureole, Michael Mina's STRIPSTEAK, Hubert Keller's Fleur, and Wolfgang Puck's Lupo.
The Mandalay complex is also home to some of the best bars on the Strip, including the House of Blues Foundation Room, which is a Vegas favorite thanks to its amazing views and private "tea rooms" that feel far more intimate than the mega-clubs and lounges everywhere else. Red Square serves caviar and infused vodkas over a bar that's actually made of ice -- a fine way to keep your drink cold. The 38,000-square-foot LIGHT nightclub has a nightly DJ lineup.
The 30,000-square-foot Spa Mandalay has warm and hot whirlpools, a cedar sauna, an eucalyptus-scented steam room, a cold plunge, and 23 treatment rooms. The fitness center costs a daily fee (typical at most Vegas resorts) and includes a good selection of cardio equipment with private TV monitors, free weights, exercise balls, and strength-training machines.
Like everything else at Mandalay, the casino is big (about 135,000 square feet), but it doesn't feel as exciting or interesting as the casinos at other luxury hotels, like the Wynn, Bellagio, Venetian, or Caesars Palace. The casino includes the standard offering of slots, table games, blackjack, poker, race and sports book, along with the high-limit room, but the design and atmosphere is about on par with any other giant hotel in Vegas.
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