My New Favorite Hotel in Las Vegas

Serenity and the Las Vegas strip do not normally fit together in the same sentence, but the Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas is an exception.  Missing here; the flashing lights of a casino, noise of slot machines, the odor of smoke and the crowds.

The Mandarin is located in the City Center complex in the heart of the strip (Las Vegas Boulevard).  City Center includes Aria Resort and Casino, Vdara Hotel and Spa, and the Mandarin Oriental.  

Quick Facts: Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas

  • Rooms: 335 Guest Rooms, 57 Suites
  • The hotel is part of a joint venture MGM Resorts
  • The hotel's lobby is on the 23rd floor, guest rooms are below the lobby.
  • The floors above the lobby are residences at the Mandarin
  • Home to Twist, a restaurant by Pierre Gagnaire serving French cuisine 
  • 27,000sq' Spa spanning two levels
  • Pool and extensive fitness center on the 8th floor
  • Hotel is smoke free
  • Hotel does not have a casino

The Hotel

While placed smack dab in the middle of the strip, the Mandarin is designed in a way that makes it very private.  The entrance is separated from the rest of City Center and is somewhat hidden.  If you didn't know what you were looking for you could easily miss it, and I think that's the point.  As my cab driver put it, only those who have business being there find it.  

Upon pulling up, we were immediately greeted by the bellman and escorted into the lower lobby of the building.  Elevators take you from the entrance to the main lobby on the 23rd floor.  (Guest rooms are not accessible by these elevators.)  The lobby is serene and inviting.  The Mandarin's front desk sits in front of a wall of windows overlooking the Strip.  Dark marble floors and high ceilings give a sense of space and a dramatic gold sculpture wall greets you as you step off the elevator.  

Check-in was a breeze.  There were no long lines like I've experienced at other Las Vegas hotels.  I was quickly greeted by a front desk agent who verified my reservation.  During the process I was also given a cold towel to wash my hands and a cup of tea.  So far the service was living up the AAA Five Diamond rating this hotel has earned.  The front desk agent escorted us to the bank of guest elevators and gave us a quick lesson on how to access the floors using our room key.  (Reminder: don't leave your room without your key, you won't be able to return to your floor without it.)

I had reserved a Strip View room, but was upgraded to a Mandarin Premiere Room.  My room was on the sixth floor facing north towards Aria and The Cosmopolitan.  The room was very chic and modern, with touches of luxury everywhere.  The foyer leads to a small bar before you enter the main part of the room.  My room featured a king sized bed.  (The bedding was amazing)  The room also had a desk tucked away near the bar.  A large walk-in closet led to the massive bathroom.  The bathroom was approximately 10'x10' and featured a free standing tub, glass enclosed shower, double sinks and a vanity with a television hidden in the mirror.  The toilet was located in a separate room, which is a nice setup allowing more than one person to use the bathroom at the same time.  

It's the little things and small details that help make a hotel stand out and this room was full of little things.  In the bathroom the hotel provided what looked like a fine jewelry box.  Inside were many common travel essentials.  Everything from the typical shower cap to a razor and shaving cream.  On the desk in the room an assortment of cables for charging your iPhone, mobile devices or for plugging your devices into the rooms entertainment system.  

The room itself was very smart.  Upon entering after checking in the lights automatically came on and the drapes opened.  On the bedside table a touchpad allowed me to control lighting, air conditioning, the television, etc.  Instead of a typical alarm clock, the system allowed me to set a wakeup time that would open the drapes, turn on the tv to soothing music and images, and turn on the lights.  In the event you get bored of standard tv channels, the Mandarin provides various channels that show you images from around the world.  Want to wake up to a tropical beach scene?  Not a problem.  

The bar in the room was stocked with assorted snacks, liquor, wine, soft drinks and beer.  Just be warned they are not free, there's an in-room bar menu provided with pricing.  While the room did not include a coffee maker, there was tea and an electric tea kettle.  (Complimentary coffee is provided on the third floor between 6a-8a each morning.  It would be nice to see this extend to 9a.)

The Mandarin, like many of the large Vegas hotels, charges a nightly resort fee.  ($25/night during my stay)  This includes use of the WiFi, pool, fitness center, a daily newspaper, and shoe shines.  Each guest room has a valet closet.  If you haven't seen one of these before don't feel bad, this feature caught me by surprise.  The closet is accessible by hotel staff from the main hallway.  Inside your guest room, guests can access the closet from a second door.  This is how my newspaper was delivered and where I placed my shoes for a shoe shine.  The idea is that the hotel staff does not disturb the guest and can provide service even when not visible.  Ingenious.  

Housekeeping was very prompt each day.  Instead of hanging a do not disturb tag on your door, each room has a button near the door that lets staff know to leave you alone.  When you're ready for your room to be cleaned simply turn it off or better yet the touch pad allows you to send a message to housekeeping that you're ready for them to clean your room.  Turndown service was also like clockwork and seemed to come each evening while I was at dinner.  Here's a tip: At turndown, they leave you a bottle of water and fill the ice bucket.  If you can hold off, don't buy the bottled water in your room.  

The Food

My reservation included daily breakfast for two, which we split between the hotel's Mozen Bistro and room service.  Mozen is the Mandarin's breakfast, lunch and dinner option.  There is also a cafe at the pool.  The food was excellent.  The first morning I had the continental breakfast.  Trust me, you won't leave hungry.  It included coffee and juice, an immaculately prepared bowl of fresh fruit, yogurt, and a basket of pastries.  Service in the restaurant and with room service was outstanding.  For example, the bowl of fruit was sliced into perfect little cubes and stacked together with a mint leaf on top.  This was just for one component of a continental breakfast!  

One of my new favorite nightspots in Las Vegas is definitely the Mandarin Bar.  The bar is adjacent to the lobby on the 23rd floor and overlooks the strip.  At night, it's a fantastic view of the action, and traffic, on the Strip.  My only complaint is that three of the four nights I was at the hotel the bar was closed due to private events.  While the hotel's staff did attempt to make alternative options available I think it's poor judgement to close one of the best features of the hotel to guests for multiple nights in a row.

We did not try Twist on this trip, but we did eat at Sage next door at Aria.  (Review to come)

Pool and Fitness Center

The pool, spa and fitness center are located on the 8th floor.  You exit the elevator onto into very dark surroundings.  The walls and floors are dark wood and marble with minimal lighting.  It's an appropriate welcome to the spa, which is just past the elevators.  Down the hall is a large fitness center featuring cardio and weight equipment as well as a yoga studio.  There are also mens and women's locker rooms.  The pool area by contrast is bright and welcoming.  There are actually a couple of pools and seating areas as well as cabanas available for a fee.  Attendants will follow you to your desired lounge chairs and set out towels, bring you bottled water and respond to any requests.  The cafe's full food and drink menu is available anywhere on the pool deck.  Drinks are served in nice acrylic glassware, not cheap throw away plastic cups.  The pools are located on the roof of the 8th floor so remember sunscreen.  My only complaint with the pools was a couple in one of the cabanas blasting music.  Several guests at the pool complained to the hotel staff and while the staff made several attempts to get them to turn it down, and they did slightly, it was still ultimately a distraction.  (Maybe only allow music with headphones?)

The Spa 

When at a tropical or beach destination I often like to check out the spa.  It's a great way to pamper yourself and relieve some stress.  Many spas, inlcuding the Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas, offer services geared towards men.  I had heard good things about the Mandarin's spa so I decided to make an appointment for their stress buster massage.  

First off, the facility is fantastic.  I've been in some amazing spas and the spa at the Mandarin Las Vegas was one of the best.  Upon checkin I was given a cup of tea, turned in my shoes for slippers and was escorted to the mens locker room and relaxation facilities.  The spa area included various relation areas, many of which overlooked the Strip.  There was always an attendant nearby and I feel like they anticipated everything you could possibly ask for.  I needed water, and before I could ask he was there with a bottle of water.  When I needed a towel, he was there with a towel.  

The spa had the typical steam room and sauna, but one feature I haven't seen before are what they called "experience" showers.  These were shower rooms with a touch screen that had different themes such as tropical rain and cold rain storm, etc.  Each "experience" lasted about 30 seconds.  (Beware of the cold rain.  Lets just say its invigorating.)

The massage itself was excellent and if you have the time I highly recommend a treatment.  It's worth the price.  The treatment included a body scrub and then a 90 minute hot stone massage.  The Spa also offers couples massages and a full range of other services.  

Conclusion

I now have a new favorite place to stay in Las Vegas and I can't imagine staying anywhere else.  The service, rooms and amenities are just top notch.  The Mandarin, unlike some other Strip resorts, does not feel cheesy or touristy.  It's sophisticated, elegant and relaxing, a quiet oasis on what is otherwise a crowded and noise Strip.  

The staff works very hard at the Mandarin and I tipped appropriately.  If you're looking for casual dining, there's a Starbucks and Bobby Flay's Burger Palace just outside the front doors of the hotel.

Online: Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas

How did I get my room?

This review as not solicited, nor paid for by anyone.  I booked my stay using American Express Platinum travel services as part of their Fine Hotels & Resorts program.  My reservation included a complimentary room upgrade upon availability, breakfast for two each morning and a $100 spa credit.  

Other Vegas Reviews:

Elara Las Vegas (Hilton Grand Vacations)