THEreview: THEhotel at Mandalay Bay

THEdeal with THEhotel: Don't believe THEhype

Posted by Chuckmonster

Maybe you've noticed the random quote that appears about 2 inches above what you're reading right now. Take a second to locate it, and read it. If you're lucky you've gotten the quote from "Casino" by Robert DeNiro's character, Ace Rothstein. If you haven't been so lucky, refresh this webpage (F5 on a PC or cmd-R on a Mac) and see if you get it this time. If you didn't we'll spare you 25 spins on the refresh slot machine and repeat the quote, this time in its entirety:

"In the old days, dealers knew your name, what you drank, what you played. Today, it's like checkin' into an airport. And if you order room service, you're lucky if you get it by Thursday."

With the rise and expansion of the casino mega-resort, beginning with Mirage in 1989, and on through the openings of Paris, the new MGM Grand, new Aladdin, Excalibur, Luxor, Bellagio, Venetian and Mandalay Bay, the concept of customer service has gone through a radical shift, from simple etiquette and needs anticipation to an amenities-based model. Gone are the days where employees go out of their way to provide a personal experience to each guest. Individual attention has been replaced by a hotel megaplex offering a massive range of amenities that provides comfort despite the customer service roadblocks in the way of this comfort.

This may seem like mumbo jumbo, but for clarity here's an example:

Guest A arrives at Casino 1958 and inquires to the concierge about the possibility of getting a Swedish massage. The concierge takes the request, makes a call to an offsite masseuse and sets up a session for Guest A.

Guest B arrives at Casino 1998 and calls guest services inquiring about the possibility of getting a Swedish massage. Guest services tells the guest that a Spa is located on site and they are open at 9am the following morning and leaves it at that. Guest B goes to the Spa the next morning and gets the Swedish massage.

The end results are essentially the same, both Guest A and Guest B got their massages. Or are they? Guest B had to do more of their own leg work to arrange the massage, and in process of doing the leg work recieved "average" customer service from their hotel liason at Guest Services and was treated with contempt by the attendant at the Spa while asking questions about Spa offerings... thereby removing some degree of value from the experience by adding impediments to the process.

THEhotel at Mandalay Bay is a worse version of Casino 1998. Before we go further with the glowing portrait of their luxurious rooms, allow us to make one thing perfectly clear: if you are looking to be treated with respect and proper customer service - DO NOT GO TO MANDALAY BAY. A phone call to THEhotel's guest services revealed that they have NO CONCIERGE (a 4 diamond resort with no concierge?), their guest services phone staff is rude and unhelpful, casino drink service was virtually non-existant, and a large bribe/tip when a drink order was given resulted in never seeing the server again, a slot tech was incredibly rude to us when their cash out ticket machine jammed... causing us to leave the casino for better vibes (sorry to inconvenience you Mr. Assholeslottech), BATHHOUSE booked a reservation in the OTHER spa and gave no directions to get there, just a "fuck you its over there" vibe. How they can expect to continue doing such brisk business (at $300-600/night) no less) is dumbfounding. Never again will we stay at Mandalay Bay. Maybe you've had a different experience and love the place... not us.

Megaresorts have noticed this disconnect in customer service and have begun to build accordingly. Some, like Wynn Las Vegas [ see also: Wynning Isn't Everything, It's The Only Thing - Review of Wynn Las Vegas ] have made a conscious effort to improve the overall customer experience through aggressive service training and by selectively hiring only the best, most patient and friendliest staff from the talent pool in Las Vegas. Others have turned to structural models to provide a degree of this intimacy, the most prominent being THEhotel at Mandalay Bay.

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Comments & Discussion

I agree the service at Mandalay is pretty bad, but the rooms at THEhotel are beautiful. Wynn is the way to go.

Great review.. I was going to stay here next time I was in Vegas (sucker for the aquarium) but now I think I will save my 'pennies' for the Wynn.

While my visit to THEhotel back in 2005 was, on balance, a good one, you make an interesting point that providing amenities in lieu of service is a the preferred business model for most upmarket Vegas hotels. While we never encountered any rude or hostile employees, there were quite a few I would characterize as indifferent, particularly in the small lobby bar and the front desk. The Bathhouse Spa was the one area we did receive very good service.

For the money, I would agree that Wynn is a much better experience. It takes more than a nice room to build a successful hotel.

I did fine at THEhotel, but then I'm not a heavy user of hotel services. I already know what restaurants I want to go to, where I want to gamble, what spas to visit, etc. I had good service in the lounge and at Mix, though.

It's really hard to fault the rooms at THEhotel and the Mandalay pool complex is nice as long as you're willing to shell out the extra for the adults only pool.

The sports book is fine. Table games are more fun over at the Luxor on the other side of the little mall.

THEbathouse is only just OK. Wynn has it beat for luxury and Canyon Ranch has it beat for services.

I think THEhotel is worth it for the room, if you catch a decent rate.

GREAT website!

I've had similar experiences at Mandalay Bay: beautiful rooms, generally rude service and guests that all seem to be having a 'bad convention'.

My most recent trip was to Mirage; the service was fantastic throughout. One of many great places to stay in Vegas, the best vacation city in the world!

weird. couldn't find it via browsing. thanks chuck!
skimming the review the rooms sound nice but not good value at THE. value is always a dicey mathematical formula, but i think 550 DR seems worthy of consideration...

Things must have definitely changed since this review was written. I have stayed at THEhotel 3 times in the last year and outside an incident with the lock on one room our stays there have been the best of any In Vegas, that includes the vaunted and IMO over hyped Wynn. THEhotel does have a concierge, to the right of the check in desk as you enter th lobby first off and the staff has went above and beyond every time we had a need to be full filled.

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