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While stranded in Las Vegas during Hurricane Sandy a few weeks ago, I decided to explore the Fine Hotels & Resorts benefit of my Amex Platinum Card by staying at the Encore for two nights. Little did I know I’d be stuck in Sin City a few days longer thanks to Sandy, but when the situation became clear, I decided to test out my cardholder benefits at another FHR property, the Mandarin Oriental.
The Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas is in the heart of MGM’s CityCenter complex and has a total of 392 rooms and suites. I had booked a king standard room for $225 a night, but as part of FHR’s benefits for Amex Platinum cardholders, I was given an upgrade to a Mandarin Premier room which would have been $90 more per night.
However, I asked if I could have a Strip View room instead, which is a standard-size room but with a Strip view instead of a bigger room and they agreed to it – probably because it’s only $50 extra a night! But still, what’s a stay in Las Vegas without a view of the Strip?
The Strip view rooms are 500-sq.ft. large and typically start at $265 a night. Each room has a separate bath tub and walk-in shower, toiletries from Shanghai Tang, bathrobes by Frette and a high-tech control panel on the nightstand that opens and closes the shades, regulates the room temperature and turns on and off the TV, music and lights.
Here’s a quick video tour of the room:
All in all, I thought it was a beautiful room, and I loved the signature Mandarin Oriental service, with turndown in the evenings and the agents in reception greeting me by name. It was well worth the $225, especially considering these other perks I received through the FHR program:
+ Daily continental breakfast for two ($48 value)
+ Noon check-in, based on availability
+ 4pm guaranteed late check-out
+ $100 in spa services
With all my “savings” I decided to go all out at Twist, the restaurant from acclaimed French chef, Pierre Gagnaire, whose sole restaurant in the U.S. is this one at the Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas. The chef’s tasting menu costs $190 for just the dishes, $320 if you include the wine pairings, or $395 for the grand pairing. Although I was tempted by the grand tasting, I ordered a bottle of wine instead and just had the tasting menu itself.
Another highlight of the Mandarin Oriental is the Mandarin Bar on the 23rd floor which has killer views of the Las Vegas Strip. The bar opens nightly at 5pm and serves cocktails, fine wines and light apps. Even if you aren’t a guest, this place is worth a stop. However, it does close at 2am on the weekends so it’s not a place to rage.
Rounding out the other services and amenities at the Mandarin Oriental is the all-day dining spot Mozen, the Tea Lounge which serves a proper afternoon tea, the two-floor spa and fitness center and the 8th floor pool deck, one of the more low-key pool scenes in Sin City.
Though it’s in the thick of it, after spending two nights here, I’d say if you want to come to Vegas but not want to have an experience that’s completely “Vegas,” the Mandarin Oriental might be the hotel for you. After the over-the-top, blinged-out hubbub of the Encore, this was a nice, relaxing change of pace and all the extras made it that much better. There is no casino at the Mandarin Oriental and the property is non-smoking, so it’s a really nice oasis in a city known for its calamity. I’d definitely stay again at the Mandarin Oriental, though I need a break from Vegas for a while!