Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino
3950 Las Vegas Boulevard South, Las Vegas, Nevada
By Chuck Hawks
Mandalay Bay, opened in 1999 by Mandalay Resort Group, is at the extreme south end of the Strip. It is an attractive property with an exotic southwest pacific theme and has become one of the top places to stay on the Las Vegas strip, along with Bellagio and the Venetian.
Opposite the registration desk is a lovely walk around saltwater aquarium and exotic birds displayed in large cages. The latter take part in the resort's trained bird show when they are not on display.
Another popular attraction is the separate and extensive "Shark Reef" aquarium complex, which holds millions of gallons of sea water. The extensive outdoor pool complex is very attractive, and incorporates an 11-acre swimming pool with a sand beach and a wave machine that can create 6-foot surf. There is also a lazy river ride.
Like the other new, upscale resorts with which it competes, Mandalay Bay is a little less glitzy and hectic than the ordinary Las Vegas hotel/casino. It features large rooms and nice shops, lounges (one surrounded by an indoor stream and accessed by small bridges), and restaurants and coffee shops where patrons can kick back and relax. The Raffels Coffee Shop is particularly noteworthy for casual meals. Major stars perform in the 12,000 seat Mandalay Events Center.
I give the Mandalay Bay a four-star plus (****+) rating. Mandalay Bay's customer satisfaction rating is about average for resorts at that level.
Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts manage the top five floors of Mandalay Bay, incorporating 424 rooms. These accommodations are 5-star rated and have separate elevators, which are key operated and go directly to floors 35-39. Four Seasons amenities include a private spa, pool, 2 exclusive restaurants, and the Club Bar. Four Seasons customers give the hotel a good overall rating. There is a monorail connecting Mandalay Bay with Luxor and Excalibur, which at least partially compensates for the end of the Strip location. All three are owned by the Mandalay Resort Group.