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18 things to know before staying at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas

Oct. 28, 2022
16 min read
Mandalay Bay exterior
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At the south end of the Las Vegas Strip sits the 43-story Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, a wonderland for all types of travelers — singles, couples and even families.

Its upscale rooms, extensive amenities, and on-site dining and entertainment venues make it an ideal option for your next visit to Sin City.

Whether you’re booking your first stay or are a Mandalay Bay regular, there are a few things you may not already know about this popular Las Vegas resort. Here are 18 of them.

Mandalay Bay Beach. JENNA FISHER/LAS VEGAS CONVENTION AND VISITORS AUTHORITY

Mandalay Bay is a massive resort

With 3,209 rooms, Mandalay Bay is a very large property. Beyond the main Mandalay Bay accommodations, there are an additional 424 rooms at the Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas and 1,117 suites at the Delano Las Vegas, both of which sit within Mandalay Bay towers. That brings the complex's total room count to 4,750 accommodations, putting it just behind the largest resort on the Strip — the MGM Grand Las Vegas.

Prices for standard rooms in the offseason start at about $59 per night (excluding a daily resort fee) but can cost several hundred dollars per night on busier dates.

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Related: Book this, not that: Las Vegas points hotels

Its pre-construction history is pretty cool

Mandalay Bay sits on the site of the former Hacienda Hotel, which had this neon sign of a horse and rider commissioned by its owner. CAROL M.HIGHSMITH/BUYENLARGE/GETTY IMAGES

While Mandalay Bay opened in 1999, it was built on the site of the former Hacienda Hotel and Casino, which started welcoming guests back in 1956.

The Hacienda was the second property in the Spanish-themed motel chain and boasted the Strip’s most glorious pool at the time. The hotel even had its own fleet of charter planes that brought gamblers in from all over the country.

After owner Warren Bayley’s death in 1964, his wife Judy took over the business, becoming Las Vegas’ only female casino owner at the time. She commissioned the iconic neon sign Caballero on Palomino, which became part of the Neon Museum Las Vegas in the early 1980s. In 1996, the same year the Hacienda shut its doors, the sign was restored and later moved to its current home at the intersection of Fremont Street and Las Vegas Boulevard.

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Related: A classic getaway: Revisiting the Las Vegas of my childhood to love it even more

The property is affiliated with MGM Resorts

Circus Circus Enterprises purchased the former Hacienda Hotel, along with 74 acres of land next door, in 1995. Not long after, it became part of the Mandalay Resorts Group, eventually merging with MGM Mirage to form MGM Resorts International in 2010.

The MGM Resorts brand comprises 29 distinct hotel and destination gaming offerings in the U.S. and Macau. Its portfolio includes some of the most iconic properties in the resort industry, such as the MGM Grand, Bellagio Resort & Casino, Aria Resort & Casino and Park MGM Las Vegas.

Mandalay Bay’s opening in 1999 was quite the event. A parade of motorcycles led by grand marshals "The Blues Brothers" — actors Dan Akroyd, Jim Belushi (brother to the original Blues Brother, the late John Belushi) and John Goodman (who had just been featured in the 1998 sequel "Blues Brothers 2000") — drove through the resort's front door.

Since the property is part of the MGM Resorts family, you can use points to book a stay here. Award rates range between 17,000 and 23,000 World of Hyatt points per night, depending on the dates of your visit.

A newly launched MGM Rewards program lets World of Hyatt members earn twice as many World of Hyatt points on their stays. They can also tier-match with MGM Rewards and take advantage of show discounts, guaranteed room rates and other exclusive perks.

If you have the MGM Rewards Mastercard, you get automatic Pearl status (the basic tier), which gives you free self-parking at MGM Resorts. That saves you $18 per day.

It was named after a poem

The real Mandalay in Myanmar that inspired Kipling. SARAVUTVANSET/GETTY IMAGES

Originally, the hotel was to be called Project Paradise. However, it was later renamed after Rudyard Kipling’s 1890 poem “Mandalay.” The poem romanticizes life in colonial Burma (now Myanmar) — a place that, interestingly, Kipling had never visited.

The poem later inspired a movie, a luxury cruise ship and a Frank Sinatra song.

The Mandalay Bay pool scene is epic

Mandalay Bay’s sprawling 11-acre pool facility is touted as one of the best pool complexes in Las Vegas — for good reason.

It’s composed of four different pool areas, including Mandalay Bay Beach, which is filled with 2,700 tons of real sand.

You also can cool off in the exclusive adults-only Moorea Beach Club, which is located on the second level of the beach tower. Its frosted glass panels separate it from the other areas, creating the privacy needed for its top-optional policy.

If you'e looking for a bit more activity, you can play in up to 6-foot-high waves in the massive 1.6-million-gallon wave pool (the height requirement for the wave pool is 48 inches). Or, you can grab an inner tube — either use one you brought or rent one on-site — and drift down the lazy river, one of only three in the city.

Other pool area lures include the Daylight Beach Club venue that features the main pool, two private pools for cabana guests, refreshing cocktails and a variety of events and entertainment. Cabana rentals start at $275 and come with a stocked fridge, a personal safe, butler service and other perks.

Related: We stayed at the first new casino in Vegas in a decade — and it accepts points

There's a designated ride-hailing area

When it comes time to explore more of Vegas, find the ride-hailing area by walking left past the front desk to the Convention Center Entrance to the rideshare lobby. You can schedule your ride through your preferred ride-hailing app and then wait in air-conditioned comfort until you see your driver pull up.

You can see the 'King of Pop' here

A Cirque du Soleil production, Michael Jackson ONE, is at Mandalay Bay. The show is a mix of acrobatics, dance performances and visual effects that pull you into the King of Pop’s biggest hits like "Thriller" and "Beat It," among others.

You’ll want to arrive 30 minutes early to enjoy the Cirque-style pre-show entertainment.

Ticket prices start at $69 per person. Note, though, that these rates don’t include taxes, fees or the additional live entertainment tax of 9% added to all live productions in Nevada, so budget a bit more than $69 to cover everything. Also keep in mind that kids 4 and younger are not permitted, while guests between 5 and 17 years old must see the show with an adult.

It's a dog-friendly resort

Mandalay Bay allows up to two (fully housetrained) dogs in each accommodation, as long as the dogs' combined weight is less than 100 pounds. The add-on cost is $100 per night per standard room (plus taxes) and $150 per night for suites.

Note that only service dogs are permitted in public areas like the food and beverage spaces or the spa and pool areas (except for passing through).

FERNANDO TRABANCO FOTOGRAFIA/GETTY IMAGES

There’s a designated dog park available on the resort grounds. Plus, you can arrange doggie butler services or dog walking through the concierge staff. If you’re in a meeting or out for a quick bite, you can request that staff check on your pup and text you an update. The cost for butler services is $25 for 10 minutes. Staff can also schedule dog walking through a vetted local service.

Order a Buddy’s Box ($29.99) before your arrival and your pup will be greeted with three treats, two toys and a new bandana to sport during its Vegas vacay.

Related: If your dog loves to travel, check out these 11 hotels that celebrate National Dog Day every day

You'll find a convenient tram system

A resort-connecting monorail was installed when Mandalay Bay, Luxor Resort & Casino and Excalibur Hotel & Casino were constructed. It’s a quick and convenient way to get around and is a lifesaver during hotter times of the year. It’s also free.

One track carries passengers directly from Excalibur to Mandalay Bay. The other (longer) track makes stops at all three stations.

Trams run about every five minutes, so wait times are minimal.

Note that this free tram is different from the Las Vegas Monorail, which includes seven stops along the Las Vegas Strip.

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The massive arena hosts major events

Mark Anthony performs at Michelob Ultra Arena on Oct. 23, 2021. BRYAN STEFFY/GETTY IMAGES

The 12,000-seat Michelob Ultra Arena hosts a variety of sports events and concerts, including big names like Katy Perry, Mark Anthony and Mary J. Blige. The arena has also been home to the Latin Grammy Awards every year since 2009.

Related: The best times to visit Las Vegas

You can walk to the Luxor without leaving the building

While Mandalay Bay is located pretty far south on the Strip, you can get from there to the Luxor without going outside, as the two properties are connected by an enclosed walkway. It’s an easy five-minute walk from Mandalay’s main casino to the Luxor’s front entrance.

You can also use the previously mentioned tram system if you’d rather catch a ride.

There's a tattoo parlor

If you never want to forget your trip to Vegas, you can get a tattoo at Mandalay Bay.

Starlight Tattoo is touted as one of the best spots to get inked on the Strip. It’s owned by globally known celebrity tattoo artist Mario Barth. Notable Starlight Tattoo clients include Ice Cube, Deadmau5, Criss Angel and Usher.

In addition to its impressive list of clientele, another cool stand-out feature of Starlight is that it uses vegan-friendly ink from Intenze Products, a company founded by Barth.

Resort fees apply, but you can avoid them

Resort fees can rack up if you travel a lot. Most Las Vegas resorts attach them to room rates, and Mandalay Bay is no exception. Daily resort fees here currently cost $39 plus tax (13.35%), which can be a pain point in a multiday stay.

The good news is you might be able to avoid paying them. If you have elite status in the MGM Rewards loyalty program (which you can match from Hyatt), you can get them waived.

It’s home to a shark aquarium

Built to give the impression of being in an ancient temple that sank to the ocean floor, the Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay is a cool diversion for both hotel guests and visitors. The aquarium teems with 15 species of sharks, piranhas, stingrays, endangered green sea turtles and other captivating marine life. Its underwater tunnel is especially mesmerizing.

Basic tickets cost $29 for adults, $27 for seniors 65 and older, and $24 for kids between 5 and 12; admission is free for children ages 4 and younger. Entry includes an undersea virtual reality experience. Interactive programming like marine animal feeding is also available for an additional cost.

An ice bar is available for cooling off

Just inside The Shoppes at Mandalay Place and above the escalators is the Minus5 Ice Lounge. Everything, including couches, the bar, walls and architectural details, is made of more than 90 tons of ice; the inside temperature is set to a cool -5 degrees Celsius (hence, the name) or 23 degrees Fahrenheit.

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A basic visit package starts at $24 and includes admission, gloves and a cozy parka to use during your time in the bar. A $49 ticket gets you adds two cocktails (or mocktails for nondrinkers) served in ice glasses (what else?).

Kids ages 7 to 16 can visit before 9 p.m. but must have an adult with them. The basic package for that age group is $13 and comes with gloves and a parka. The Kids V-ICE-P Experience ($29) also includes a souvenir and one mocktail.

There’s plentiful and distinct dining

You certainly won’t go hungry during your stay at Mandalay Bay thanks to the almost two dozen dining options.

The resort offers everything from casual spots in the food court to higher-end venues like Rivea. Among the selections are steakhouses, Italian eateries, Asian restaurants and Mexican spots, giving patrons all kinds of options to appease various palates.

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For those craving an elevated meat-and-potatoes experience, check out StripSteak, a Japanese twist on a modern steakhouse. Head to Border Grill or Hussong's Cantina for flavorful Mexican dishes and on-point margaritas.

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Libertine Social boasts next-level craft cocktails and a fantastic gastropub menu led by James Beard Award-winning chef Shawn McClain.

Aureole is a must for oenophiles wanting to splurge. It’s helmed by another James Beard Award-winning chef, Charlie Palmer. Pair your meal with one (or more) of the thousands of bottles of wine stored in the restaurant’s remarkable four-story, climate-controlled wine tower.

Related: 9 exciting new things in Las Vegas that will make you want to book a trip right now

You can feed your soul at House of Blues

Carlos Santana performs at House of Blues. DENISE TRUSCELLO/GETTY IMAGES

When Mandalay Bay opened to much fanfare in 1999, The Blues Brothers not only led the parade but were part of the House of Blues Restaurant & Bar’s impressive list of iconic first performances. Bob Dylan and Bono also rocked the house when the venue launched.

On the main level, House of Blues serves up a cool, folk-art atmosphere and delectable Southern soul food like shrimp and grits, jambalaya, barbecue baked beans, house-made slaw and jalapeno cornbread. There’s also a gift shop.

The music hall is located on the lower level. Currently, Santana is the House of Blues’ resident headliner.

House of Blues offers daily live music as well as a packed calendar of special performances — and it’s more than blues music. Entertainment here covers a variety of musical genres, including gospel brunch blues, reggaeton, indie rock and heavy metal.

Other big names who’ve taken the stage here over the years include Guns N’ Roses, The Killers, Aretha Franklin, Eminem, Destiny’s Child, B.B. King, Beach House and Dolly Parton.

A bevy of room options is available

From standard 550-square-foot rooms to expansive luxury suites measuring more than 2,000 square feet, there’s a wide variety of accommodation options within the Mandalay Bay complex.

Mandalay Bay comprises most of the main Y-shaped tower, with the AAA Five Diamond-rated Four Seasons occupying the 35th to 39th floors.

Floor-to-ceiling windows in Mandalay Bay's king and two-queen rooms provide nice views of either Mandalay Bay Beach or the Las Vegas Strip.

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For those keen on maintaining a more holistic and healthy lifestyle, book one of Mandalay Bay’s Stay Well rooms; accommodations come equipped with wellness amenities like air purification, non-toxic cleaning protocols and a shower infuser that reduces chlorine. These rooms also come with free access to Cleveland Clinic’s online programs for stress, sleep and nutrition.

There are 424 guest rooms within the Four Seasons section, which offers amenities like a hotel-exclusive pool (open seasonally), a spa, a health club and other exclusive perks. Four Seasons guests also have access to the restaurants, pools and other amenities across the entire Mandalay Bay property.

FOUR SEASONS HOTEL LAS VEGAS

Guest rooms often start at $720 per night (for a stadium-view room). The Presidential Suite with a view of the Strip goes for $2,915 per night.

In a separate tower, Delano Las Vegas also forms part of the larger Mandalay Bay property. It's an all-suite, boutique-style hotel — 1,117 suites, in fact — with rooms measuring at least 725 square feet. The most spacious option is the 4,500-square-foot Delano Loft. A handful of Delano suites also offer the Stay Well treatment.

Delano guests can lounge at the property’s private pool area, Delano Beach Club, or pamper themselves at Bathhouse Spa.

Bottom line

Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas has enough going on to keep you busy for days, regardless of how much time you do — or don't — spend at the actual casino.

If you are planning a trip to Vegas, here are some more tips to help you bet on a winning trip.

Featured image by TORY KOOYMAN/LAS VEGAS CONVENTION AND VISITORS AUTHORITY
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
3 / 5
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10XEarn 10x points on eligible hotels and car rentals booked through the Credit One Bank travel partner site
5XEarn 5x points on eligible travel, dining, and gas
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    Earn 10,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on eligible purchases in the first 90 days and redeem for a $100 statement credit, gift cards, or travel

    Earn 10,000 Bonus Points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    Fair/Good

Why We Chose It

The revamped Wander Card from Credit One Bank earns cardmembers up to 10 points per dollar spent on eligible travel purchases. With no foreign transaction fees, the card is also great for international travel. However, points earned from this card can only be used at a fixed value, so it may not be the best option for those striving to get maximum value from their rewards.

Pros

  • This card has no foreign transaction fees and earns up to 10 points per dollar on travel purchases through the Credit One Bank travel partner site.

Cons

  • While cardholders can earn a significant amount of points on travel purchases, there isn't any way to redeem points from the Wander Card for maximum value (beyond 1 cent per point).
  • Earn 10,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on eligible purchases in the first 90 days and redeem for a $100 statement credit, gift cards, or travel
  • Earn 10x points on eligible hotels and car rentals booked through the Credit One Bank travel site
  • Earn 5x points on eligible travel, dining, and gas
  • Earn 1x points on all other purchases
  • Redeem your reward points for statement credits, gift cards, merchandise, flights, hotels, and more
  • With $0 Fraud Liability, you won’t be responsible for unauthorized charges
  • Free Online Credit Score and Credit Report summary, terms apply
  • If you are a Covered Borrower under the Military Lending Act, you may get a different offer
  • See Rates & Fees