THEreview: THEhotel at Mandalay Bay

THEdeal with THEhotel: Don't believe THEhype

Posted by Chuckmonster

THEhotel, a boutique hotel addition to the sprawling Mandalay Bay complex offers its visitors some of the best digs in Las Vegas. From the exquisite semi-private back entrance to the sci-fi asian vibration lobby to the deliriously gorgeously decorated suites, THEhotel is truly a feast for the eyes and the senses. It's marble adorned vestibule and lobby contain melds the organic and synthetic in its very first impressions - quartzite formations and shiny metallic spheres are maintained in dual displays in the hotel's lobby. Both reinforced by smart marble columns, backlit synthetic variations on Japanese rice-paper shoji walls framed by a richly stained cherry wood. The tones of the surrounding THEcoffeeshop and THElounge are calm, muted and perfectly matched to the "low lit" vibes all around. The casino is isolated from THEhotel by a 100 yard long corridor, you will not be trudging through a maze of slot machines to get to the resort elevators.

We arrived on Friday, December 23 at approximately 9pm, not early, and not particularly late... there was still a very good chance that we would not be stuck with an oddball suite, far from an elevator with an excellent view of the parking garage. We wandered up to the lobby desk to find each of 4 open stations occupied by guests involved in the check-in process and one couple ahead of us. Long lines at check-in particularly after an agonizing 5+ hour blast through the desert in our desert shark are always a drag. One station opened up and the couple in front of us stepped up to check in. Two minutes later another group of guests arrived behind us, followed by another, then another, then another. Four minutes later the line had begun to snake down 1/3 of the way of the lobby. After 10 minutes of waiting, a group of visitors recieved their keys and jettisoned from the front desk to their room. The THEhotel employee who helped them wandered "backstage" leaving his station empty as even more guest continued to arrive behind us. He returned 3 minutes later, I began to walk towards the reception desk only stopping when he pulled out his cash drawer and retired "backstage" never to be seen again.

Being first in line for the better part of 20 minutes we became extremely restless, hoping that a fresh attendant would open up their station to accomodate this growing crush of guests. Eventually guests at one of the stations completed check-in and we were beckoned to begin the process. Knowing before hand that we would be taking photos of the suite for y'all, I requested a room with some sort of a view. The Front Desk attendant told me the only suite she had left in the price range we had registered at (a standard 2 room suite) was on the 5th floor, and it had no view.

"None of THEhotel suites have a view, except of the LuXor," her sales pitch began.
"Fine... LuXor, we'll take it," I said.
"It's on the 13th floor," she replied.

I thought there were no 13th floors in Las Vegas... hrm. Being superstitious, I declined the offer of the 13th floor suite (I doubt i'm the first person to do this). After much checking the computer, I felt the need to pull out the review card.

"We're here to write a review of THEhotel for," I said, sliding a business card across the marble. "We're going to take photos of the room, including the view so our readers can see first hand what THEhotel is all about."

I generally don't play the "review card" mostly because I prefer to fly anonomously and let the experience play itself out as if there were no review involved, but I felt compelled to give THEhotel a shot to represent, which they declined. It was the first of many many MANY times I was forced to remind myself that THE hotel is Wynn Las Vegas not THEhotel.

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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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