I was ready to begin the second half of my Vegas vacation. The Mandarin Oriental is, frankly, out of my league and I did wonder how comfortable I would be staying there. I had visions of cold politeness and snootiness. However, it was a new place to stay and it definitely would be a change of pace . . .
I schlepped my bag from the MGM to the MO early Friday morning. Gray-suited doormen sprang to attention at my approach and had the doors open with smiles, offers of service, and hearty "good mornings". So much for cold politeness. I was already being blown away by the overwhelming courtesy and helpfulness I would receive throughout my stay by all of the staff.
Upon entry, it was immediately apparent that, unlike almost every other major Strip lodging, this was a hotel first and only. Not even a hint of frantic excitement, no flashing lights or ringing bells, no loud or drunken behavior here; just soothing calm. I was just steps from the Strip, Aria and the rest of CityCenter and I felt completely cut off from all of it. If you are looking for a stimulating rather than a recharging atmosphere, this may not be the place for you.
I had been to MO's Twist on a prior trip and I read the Internets, so I wasn't confused by the false lobby on the first floor. The elevator zipped up to the 23rd floor and I approached the real front desk area with a hope I'd be able to check in despite the criminally early hour. Well, yes and no; as sometimes happens, I was able to check in, but not take possession of the room yet. My phone number was taken down, my bag whisked away, all with sincere good cheer by the clerk. It's difficult to explain - I've not exactly faced rudeness at other hotels, mind you, quite the opposite; but MO's level of service was in a different class altogether. Less pro forma, more inviting.
So, with time to kill, I mosied through Crystals and across the bridge to have lunch at the Cosmopolitan's Wicked Spoon buffet in the meantime. Somewhere in the middle of my second helping, my phone rang and a voicemail alerted me that my room was ready. Sweet. I rolled back over, received my keys and then took the key-activated room elevators up to my 18th floor CityScape room.
Holy smokes, what a room! Description-wise, on the surface, it would sound dull: all dark woods, beige, cream and whites. Clean angular lines and a neutral palette. But! what it lacked in flash, more than made up in comfort and quiet elegance.
No need to call up to the bell desk for my suitcase: to my right in a short hall lined with dark wood closets and drawers, my bag waited for me. There was the clever valet closet, where my chosen daily paper would be delivered discretely every morning. Every nook seemed to hold something, often useful, whether it was a shoehorn, an umbrella, a yoga mat, or a stoneware bowl (which ended up part of the turndown service ritual). Robes and slippers of course. Best ever was the little card in one of the bedside tables, assuring me I could live just like this, year-round in the Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas, for the low, low price of one million dollars.
The spacious bath contained what would turn out to be the most comfortable tub for lounging I've ever experienced. I tested it daily. Perfectly shaped at each end for shoulders to rest without slipping into the water, even for short people like me, with wide ledges to place a drink or the remote right at hand, and positioned to face the second TV directly opposite. Exhibitionists or peepers could push the sliding painted wooden curtain to the side from the bedroom area; there was no similar cover for the entryway side of the frosted glass. The shower and the throne each had its own room. The shower let loose excellent water pressure, held its temperature, and offered a separate flexible shower wand. The towels were plentiful, thick, and absorbant. Amenities included bath-salts, a complete vanity kit, and a scale. The soaps and lotions were by Shanghai Tang.
Next, the bedroom area. My view from the floor-to-near ceiling was pointed right at Crystals and Veer; if I tilted my head straight down I could peer at the oddly shaped pool. On one night during my stay, there was a pool-side event and a small amount of sound could be heard; however, it ended well before midnight and certainly did not approach anywhere near the thumpa-thumpa levels as experienced at Wynn.
The bed itself was the most comfortable ever (yeah, I know it sounds redundant, but I mean it). Plenty of pillows, with the offer to choose different types if the default ones didn't suit. There were a few books, some art and sculptures for added sophistication. The flat-screen TV had been turned on to one of the soundscape channels for my arrival; the range of offerings overall was truly impressive. The bar was packed with the usual pricey stuff I wouldn't touch. The hotel's amenities books had their own tassled chest. Water was also there for a price; however, the turndown service and the doormen liberally gave away free bottles which was much appreciated. Housekeeping, day and night, kept my room spotless and fully stocked. In the evenings, the second housekeeper, as part of the turndown service, would strategically scatter about fresh rose petals and float some in the small bowl. Yeah, I definitely could get used to this. Spoil me please.
The fitness center was very large and fully equipped, with a wide range of machines and free weights; it had excellent temperature regulation as well. The spa was beautiful and its flexible padded lounge chairs were -say it with me now- the most comfortable ever. I hit the Mandarin Bar just before I had to head to the airport *sob*; pricey of course but the drink was delicious and the views were a knockout. The service was, unsurprisingly by this point, attentive without being obnoxious.
The Mandarin Oriental has a resort fee (as they term it - a Golden Access fee), which was $25 plus tax per night. While I tend to resent the ridiculous number (or rather, the TYPE) of hotels in Las Vegas which dare to slap an additional "resort" fee to the bill, in my opinion the MO came closest to actually offering more worthwhile perks with the charge. Wi-fi, free calls, paper, morning tea or coffee, access to the fitness center, and a variety of fitness classes were on the table at the time of my stay.
Staying at a Mandarin Oriental in Las Vegas may seem a bit weird. After all, there are MOs all over the world. The hotel may follow Vegas' latest design trend of glass-and-steel sleek modernism (rather than say, be a castle or a European city), but contains no casino, nightclub, or showroom. What the Mandarin Oriental does have - true five-star quality and warm welcoming service in a city where that rating is rather loosely bandied about and the best amenities and behavior seem primarily reserved for whales. The hotel's rate may seem to trend high for Las Vegas, but it is low for an MO and, based upon my experience, I thought it was practically a bargain compared to what's offered at touted top-notch hotel-casinos I've stayed at. The Mandarin Oriental has raised the bar for me in terms of service, peacefulness, and comfort, and I'm going to find it difficult to stay anywhere else in Las Vegas.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.