Arrival Experience: This gleaming glass tower whose top floors house the Mandarin Oriental sits in the heart of the modern City Center project, which is the middle portion of the world-famous Las Vegas strip. Guests enter the ground floor lobby, where a bell desk gladly dispenses bottled water and a small sitting area allows guests to await taxis, which gives way to an elevator bank leading to the 23rd floor lobby level. Once guests step off the elevator, there are few places to meander. The floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the strip are the primary draw luring guests toward the well-staffed reception desk. Formalities are dispensed with quickly, and arrivals pass their time sipping scented tea and refreshing with chilled towels in traditional Mandarin Oriental fashion. The award-winning concierge staff is readily available to provide recommendations on where to dine and play nearby. What is most appreciated of the Mandarin, besides the bespoke service, is the fact that it is an entirely nonsmoking hotel and casino-free.
Dining: Twist by Pierre Gagnaire is the notable dinner restaurant serving creative cuisine in a modern environment. Reservations are a must, and tables can go quickly since non-guests are often interested in dining here. Poolside dining is another favorite of guests that want fresh air and a spa-focused café menu. Most meals are enjoyed in the third floor Mozen Bistro, which handles the casual breakfast crowd plus light-hearted lunch and dinner fare for those that prefer not to be in the maddening crowds along the strip. Much of the cuisine exhibits an Asian flair, and the nearby coffee bar is popular. Nothing can top the Mandarin Bar though, which attracts visitors for its seasonal craft cocktails and impeccable strip views. A light tapas menu helps to satiate the crowd that often must wait in line for a spot. A tea lounge forms a small portion of the lobby, and afternoon tea is a luxurious and respected affair. Book early to secure the trio of tables directly by the window.
Accommodations: All rooms here have an excellent view whether of the full strip or the City Center complex and the hotel's swimming pool. Even the "back" view overlooks the New York, New York Hotel and distant desert scenery. Once guests pass their key in front of the door panel, they enter a spacious oasis of calmness in this bustling city. The lights are immediately illuminated as the drapery swings open electronically. This dramatic touch is only the beginning of the high-tech features in rooms. All functions are controlled by an electronic bedside panel, and the television handles additional functions including providing airport flight information. Desks, positioned by the windows for the best views, have panels for charging every possible gadget, plus a technology kit with international converters and Internet cables. Speaker phones, iPhone docking stations, complimentary wireless and wired high speed Internet, and cushioned chairs ease the worry of the business traveler. Beds feature thick goose down mattresses and Ploh duvets with a mountain of overstuffed pillows. Small sofas with ottomans sit in the corner while minibars and tea makers are standard. While coffeemakers are not ensuite, complimentary coffee is available each morning on the third floor as part of the Mo to Go program. Bathrooms are immense and feature an open-plan concept (translucent glass shields much of the space for privacy). Deep soaking tubs, marble-laden showers with strong pressure, and dual vanities stocked with Shanghai Tang toiletries are lovely. Flat-screen TVs are built into the mirror, and extras like Frette robes, slippers, makeup mirrors, and drawers housing hairdryers and curling irons bring that luxurious touch. All rooms have exceptional views although cityscape and strip-view rooms are more expensive simply due to their higher position in the building. Turndown service visits nightly to deliver bottled water and refresh bathrooms.
Conclusion: Many a celebrity have been known to stay here, but Mandarin has a policy of "no kiss and tell" meaning they never announce who is a guest. An outdoor swimming pool features private cabanas and shaded lounge chairs around it. Guests prefer it here for a quieter respite away from the larger, more raucous pool scenes at other properties. The hotel's spa and fitness center are located on the eighth floor. The gym boasts the latest in cardio and weight lifting equipment and provides free classes including yoga on a scheduled basis. Spagoers think highly of the Mandarin's spa, and with 17 treatment rooms, many are filled with outside visitors. Separate relaxation areas for men and women include whirlpools, experience showers, saunas, steam rooms, and lounges. A beauty salon handles makeup or hairdressing needs, and while there is not a great deal of meeting space here, there is enough to meet demand. Small groups, especially, love the tailored service the hotel can provide. Mandarin Oriental is all about the detailed service, and this sparkling property is just as good as its counterpart across Asia.
Charlotte travelers can fly nonstop on US Airways (part of the new American Airlines) multiple times daily to Las Vegas.