Mirage Hotel & Casino
3400 Las Vegas Boulevard South, Las Vegas, Nevada
By Chuck Hawks
The very popular Mirage, opened by Steve Wynn in 1989, was the first of the "new style" Las Vegas resorts. It set the pattern for the upscale mega-resorts that followed, such as the Monte Carlo, Venetian, Mandalay Bay, and Bellagio. The Mirage was awarded AAA's four diamond rating.
The Tropical Island theme decor is attractive and well done, without being overly intrusive. There are streams, waterfalls, and live exotic plants everywhere. Skylights near the entrance to the casino actually admit natural light in the daytime; practically unheard of in other Las Vegas resorts.
Outside, in front, there is a 100' volcano that erupts regularly every night, as well as a huge pond complete with a stream and several large waterfalls. In back is the extensive pool complex, which includes a waterfall and a swim up bar among other features. Also in back is the "Habitat," which includes a couple of large saltwater pools populated by trained dolphin. An adjoining jungle area called the "Secret Garden of Siegfried and Roy" features the beautiful white tigers that appeard in the Siegfried and Roy show, plus lions, leopards, and even an elephant.
Inside a huge saltwater aquarium containing 1,000 species of marine life, set into the wall behind the registration desk, gives you something to watch while you wait to register. As you would expect, the rooms are very well appointed. The restaurants and bars are varied and of high quality (and some of the latter stock Irish Mist). The 24 hour Caribe Cafe coffee shop serves excellent breakfasts, the shops upscale, and the casino a little quieter and more restrained than most, despite heavy customer traffic. Mirage Resorts was acquired by MGM Grand Inc. late in 2000, but it still maintains a five-star (*****) rating.