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Delano: The Evolution (or Execution) of a Perfectly Fine Property

By MikeE on Tuesday, 2nd September 2014 11:52am
  » filed under Las Vegas  comments: 9


Ah, THEhotel. They were the only property in the city that boasted "all suites" and weren't lying about it. They had doorbells on every door and light-up do-not-disturb signs. They were the first to abandon the enormous armoire and introduce flat-panel televisions. Even the bathroom had an LCD hanging in it. The spa escaped the Roman bath aesthetic for something a little more Zen and contemporary. MIX restaurant featured a chandelier that's still a sight to behold even if you've become jaded by Cosmo's multi-leveled light fixture. And that lounge, its glass elevator running up the side of the building, and that view - a decade since and I'm still impressed by it.

All this opened in December 2003 save the top-floor components that came a year later. With the exception of a somewhat mediocre cafe and an enormous check-in line almost all hours of the day, THEhotel was a fine property that was far, far ahead of its time. The rooms had never been renovated, but with strong midweek deals, their enormous size, and fantastic north-facing views, most guests were quick to forgive. Still, we wondered how awesome the property would be with a light refresh.

And then BAM! It's turning into a Delano! This isn't a wallpaper and furniture kind of renovation. We're talking jackhammers and plaster. What?! As if THEhotel's public spaces needed any altering at all. As if THEhotel wasn't a nearly turn-key property to begin with. As if we needed more South Beach in Vegas.

Slightly conflicted, I decided to spend the last day of my last trip poking around the nooks and crannies of THEDelano as they prepare to open as… err… just Delano.

The entryway. THEhotel's was very minimal, but this one features two enormous boulders. Upon arrival, confuse and bewilder your bellhop by walking around these boulders rather than in between. The rocks also make great hiding spots when playing hide and seek with your hooker. Tell me I'm not the only one who does this.

Delano Las Vegas - Boulders

The walkway heading towards the main lobby and check-in. The carpet has some kind of pattern that reminds me of cowhides. I like it a lot. The surrounding stone is actually made to look like hardwood. And your escort will never find you hiding in those draped columns!

Delano Las Vegas - walkway

3940 Coffee and Tea (named after Delano's street address - these guys are soooo hip!) is behind the construction curtains. It appears to be very metallic looking. I think I'd rather they never finish it and just leave the coolest "Pardon Our Dust" sign there instead.

Delano Las Vegas - Franklin

Looking back towards the entryway and a sneak peek at what used to be THElounge, now Franklin. It was completely dark and empty at the time - a good spot to hide if you're short on paying your companion for the evening.

Delano Las Vegas - Lounge

And the front desk. Minimal to the max with an Ikea-esque light fixture on steroids. For some reason, the wavy wood pattern on the columns reminds me of 1970s-era Encino homes. In other words, the set of a classic porno. The ladies were asking if a Mr. E was staying at the hotel. Fortunately, the good folks at Delano are all too happy to code you as a non-registered guest.

Delano Las Vegas - Front Desk

The hallway that leads to and from Mandalay Bay. I'm happy to see that despite some major changes, the backlit onyx remains. Gone is the black and beige, scuff-ridden marble, which after a several-day stay trekking to and from Mandalay, wasn't exactly a pleasure to walk on. The new space is bright and far more airy than in THEhotel form. Its openness leaves you vulnerable. Avoid at all costs.

Delano Las Vegas - hallway

And finally, the future Della's Kitchen without tables in place. I'm fairly certain the booths remain from THEold THEcafe - nothing some new vinyl reupholstering can't spruce up. Also, the wall that lines the restaurant is totally from a stage in Mortal Kombat. With a little luck and cat-like reflexes, you may find yourself fortunate enough to dine here alone the next morning.

Delano Las Vegas - Kitchen

I made my way up to MIX before the crowds and hookers rolled in. I saddled up to the bar to make conversation with the bartender and learned what I could. According to him, the lounge and restaurant will both receive a thorough makeover next year with Alain Ducasse's eatery taking on an Italian concept. The spa will also be receiving a full renovation. This, I must stress, was from the bartender, so WHAM BAM VT EXCLUSIVE! No, just kidding. These plans change all the time, but if they don't, you heard it here first.

So with enough construction done to get a good idea of what to expect, the question remains: is this an upgrade? Maybe ever so slightly. I like it a lot. But I also liked THEhotel a lot. It's more of a lateral move, certainly far more open feeling, and perhaps a tiny bit more in line with the aesthetic of Mandalay Bay. I'd love to give them a stay once they complete all their renovations and my debts to "Savannah" are forgiven.

Tagged: delano   thehotel   mandalay bay   


Comments & Discussion:

Mandalay Bay and THEhotel (and now Delano) have lighting issues. The casino floor is too bright, THEhotel was too dark, the public thoroughfares are cold and the hotel rooms have that blu-green interior tint from the gold window wrap. Delano looks like they've worked on some of that, although I wish they fully gutted all of THEhotel - specifically the Asian modern backlit wall panels etc. MGM is pitching this as a "new hotel." MGM is pitching Delano hard as a "new" hotel, not so sure if I believe it even if I'm enthralled by the room product.

THEhotel truly was 'the shit' for a few years and attracted a very dedicated clientele, I wonder if Delano can repeat that.

Chuck, funny you should mention. The moment I walked into Mandalay, I instantly noticed that they'd turned the lighting way low, perhaps to ease the jarring contrast between Delano and the casino. Regardless, I actually felt it looked worse.

MIke - did you get fondled by your casino host at Light?

I throughly enjoyed this rendition of 'Hide The Hooker'. I look forward to more.

I've got a stay booked for the 3 days immediately post-VIMFP, so ... well I guess I'll make a trip report after that. They're open now, I guess. I've stayed at THEhotel a bunch, but mostly because I stay/gamble at Mandalay fairly often and the MB system will give me comps to THEhotel while the Luxor sends me offers for $49 a night. I'd think at some point MGM would be sufficiently integrated to say "oh, hey! You lose money at Mandalay? Why don't you come over to the Mirage and lose some money one weekend, we'll give you a free room?" But no, that doesn't happen. Bastards.

I've only once checked in at THEhotel, though, and there was no line. There was a huge line at checkout, and they also decided to charge me for every single item in the minibar that trip, so ... yeah, I've been happy with letting the execs at the MB desk check me in.

And for THEhallway... god I hate that thing.

I loved THEHotel. It was my number 2 property in Vegas after Wynn. In fact I usually split my stays between Wynn and there. Personally always really liked the dark mood lighting vibe, and the room decor especially after coming from light and airy Wynn. Sort of a ying/yang thing. From the reviews on Trip Advisor I can glean that Delano birth is going better than SLS's so that is a good thing. Only problems seem to be 1.) the rock hard pillows that everyone is complaining about 2.) The stupid armoire that was designed incorrectly (you can't hang a shirt or dress in it without touching the bottom) 3.) The all white/sparse decor is not for everyone (I like black/grey).

I think Delano will do well, but I don't think it will be my cup of tea. I was going to stay there on my upcoming trip for a night or two to check it but have no interest paying what they were asking for a base suite, and their Pents are sold out the days I was going to be in town. Four Seasons and a loft/Pent at Hotel32 are a far better deal for the money and thus have my business.

Has that breezy long hallway been fixed. I recall a continious gush of wind running down that.

I stayed there several times on free invites. Was not to bad to great. Alot of space for the money in terms of a hotel room. The darkness of it all was rather depressing though.

I loved the old color tone of THEHotel, walking thru the redesigned public areas last week left me flat. It seemed more like many other places I've been. They are barraging my friend with $79 a night offers but I told him to beware the resort fee addition. So far - between it looking less interesting to me (I don't know what the rooms are like yet) and the fact that Red Square was made less unique by the Light Group (smaller selection - VDKA has a better stock now, and no self-flavored vodkas on the bar anymore - there go the best Bloody Marys), I lost the desire to run to Mandalay like I used to.

BTW, the entrance carpet is a latteral blowup of a portions of Lake Mead and the Coloroado river, I think. It certainly looks like that.

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