I’ve been to Las Vegas many times in the last few years, usually staying at one of the large hotel casinos on the strip. On my most recent trip I decided to avoid the flashing lights, clanging machines, and bleary-eyed guests promising themselves one last hand or spin. I chose the Mandarin Oriental in the City Center and had an experience that resembled a relaxing stay at a five star island resort.
Mandarin Oriental properties are known worldwide for their luxurious accommodations and impeccable service. Finding such an oasis in the midst of the Las Vegas strip, however, is surprising and welcoming. With under 400 rooms and no casino, the hotel is able to promise and actually deliver very personal assistance.
Taxis pull up to the Mandarin’s entrance within City Center and attendants are waiting to help guests with their luggage. The first floor includes a lobby, but check in is on the hotel’s twenty-third floor. This second lobby in the sky boasts a lounge area where guests can relax with tea or Champagne while waiting for their rooms to be readied, or merely to unwind after a long plane ride. Following check in, a front desk agent escorts guests to the elevator, holding the door, and wishing everyone a pleasant stay.
Guest suites at the Mandarin are roomy, but not as large as others on the strip. (Those at the Venetian and the Palazzo, for example, are two-level with both a bedroom and a sitting area). Still, the room manages to combine a queen-size bed, a desk, and a small sitting area within the space. Our room looked out onto the hotel pool, a more restful view, though a less touristy one, than looking out onto the strip.
The room’s decor evokes Mandarin’s roots (the chain’s first hotel is in Hong Kong) and conveys an atmosphere of zen-like tranquility. The subdued colors are calming; the artwork in keeping with the theme add a touch of color.
The bathroom, featuring a free-standing deep tub and a separate shower, is separated from the bedroom area by sliding doors and glass with a gauze-like effect. A satin covered jewel box with drawers contains the various accoutrements typically provided by a top notch hotel—showercap, shoe shine kit, beauty accessories. Shampoos, conditioners, and bath salts are plentiful and fragrant. There are plenty of fluffy absorbent towels, extra ones cheerfully delivered upon request, as well as a cozy terry cloth robe.
The room’s technology, managed through the television, takes a little getting used to. (We must confess that we never figured out how to set a wake-up call through the TV and ultimately needed to call the operator). But we did manage to open and close the curtains, both sheer and blackout, and check our final bill.
As part of City Center, the Mandarin is a short walk to Crystals, an upscale shopping center. Here we found all the usual suspects—Tiffany’s, Gucci, Prada, etc.—yet the shops were virtually empty, as were the public areas. Vegas is still reeling from the recession and there is little evidence of the high rollers that once kept the city humming.
Dining choices with the Mandarin are limited but what is there is top notch. For breakfast, we enjoyed the MOzen Bistro which features standard American fare as well as Asian-inspired choices. Our table overlooked City Center and we were allowed to relax and enjoy the food and the view without being rushed.
Before our dinner at Twist by Pierre Gagnaire, we had Champagne in the Tea Lounge. Although pricey ($45 a glass), the pink Champagne arrived with froth and bubbles. Dry and delicious, it was worth the cost.
On the morning of check out, our front desk agent printed out our boarding passes and called downstairs for a cab to take us to the airport. The cab was waiting, the door opened by one of the Mandarin’s attendants.
Arriving home, we could answer honestly whether we had hit the tables or the slots. We were never even tempted.
Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas
3752 Las Vegas Boulevard South