Stepping inside The Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino is like stepping inside an upscale Miami beach resort. The wave pool, waterfalls, and shark reef give the hotel a tropical vibe, but the cream-colored marble interior and high-end shops and restaurants lend enough of a refined edge to ensure the beach decor isn’t overdone. Let the softly coconut-scented air cleanse away the stress as you relax and enjoy your stay.
Hit the pools early to avoid the crowds and the triple-digit heat. And yes, that’s “pools” plural—the hotel has seven. First stop: surfing. The Mandalay Bay beach has a wave pool where the waves are rumored to get as high as six feet tall. The water is cool and refreshing, and “Just went surfing in the middle of a desert” makes for a fun status on social media. You head to the lazy river next, eager for a relaxing float in the sunshine. The desert heat feels heavenly on your weary body, but it’s easy to slip into the water for a refreshing dip when you get too hot.
Ready to head inside for some air conditioning and a cold drink, you decide on The Border Grill, a Mexican restaurant famous for its bottomless mimosas and Bacon Jalapeno PPJ. The latter is similar to a fried egg sandwich, but served on a biscuit and made with peanut butter, homemade jelly, bacon, and jalapenos. The churro tots dipped in fruity sauces are by far the best thing on the menu. You eat so much that you have to waddle out.
After the crowded pool, Spa Mandalay feels like a quiet, tropical oasis. Besides the masseuse who buffs your body with a honey-infused sugar and coconut oil scrub, you don’t see a soul. You soak in the hot water until your toes wrinkle and then take a nap in the spa’s quiet room. Now that you’re fully relaxed, it seems a glass of wine is in order. The first thing you notice upon entering Aureole Las Vegas is the four-story wine tower. Reaching up to the ceiling like a staircase to the heavens, the wine tower, which holds more than 60,000 bottles, is so tall a “wine angel” needs to be hoisted up to fetch your merlot. Outfitted in a sleek, all-black cat suit, the wine angel is “flown” to the top of the structure using a pulley system that looks like something out of a movie.
Burger Bar is located is in the stretch of shops between Mandalay Bay and Luxor, providing you with the perfect opportunity to enjoy the Shoppes at Mandalay Place before feasting on one of Sin City’s best burgers. At this retro American restaurant, you can choose from dozens of burger toppings including classic favorites such as cheese and avocado, or more unique options such as pan-seared foie gras, cranberry sauce, and asparagus. Order the skinny fries as your side dish—they come well-salted, crunchy on the outside, and soft and warm on the inside. The truffle mayo dipping sauce is so good that you have to resist the temptation to eat it by the spoonful.
As soon as the elevator doors open on the 63rd floor, you make a beeline for The Foundation Room’s balcony, barely taking note of the Buddha statutes and Persian rugs you pass along the way. Like almost everyone who visits The Foundation Room, you are here for the panoramic view of the Strip. The sun is setting and the entire Vegas valley is glowing pink, from the gold Mandalay Bay sign to the Eiffel Tower in the distance. Because you’re here early, you practically have the small three-room lounge to yourself. Apple-scented smoke from someone’s hookah wafts over you as you sip your drink by the fireplace and watch the day slowly transform into night.