Sunday, February 21, 2010 Rates Every Casino

In yet another way to help plan for a better Vegas vacation, ratings have been added for every casino. They include an overall rating based on everything about a hotel as well as individual ratings for things such as the pool and the quality of the nightlife. For quite a few places, reviews from recent trips have been added and a review for every casino will be posted shortly.

The ratings are entirely my own (one of the perks of running your own Vegas website!) but I think they would represent the feelings of a majority of people. If you feel I am off-base on anything and want to argue Arizona Charlie's 1 star rating, feel free to let me know!

Check out your favorite casino's rating here...

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Monday, February 15, 2010

THEhotel at Mandalay Bay Review & Room Pics

A few weeks ago, a stroke of good luck came by as on the same day I received an email offer from Mandalay Bay for 3 comped nights, my boss told me I got 2 "Comp" days for all the OT we have been working lately. Naturally, the irony wasn't lost upon me and I immediately book a trip to Vegas despite 3 trips in the previous 2 months. Even the wife was surprised! The offer from MB was pretty unexpected as I have given them virtually zero play in the past year or two but MGM/Mirage seems to be throwing around rooms to all of their properties for anyone who plays at any of them. Its actually something we haven't seen in a very long time and a major score for those of us who still are going to Vegas. I decided to use 2 nights at THEhotel at Mandalay Bay and the last night at Green Valley Ranch on Station's monthly 3 free nights offer.

I rolled in Mandalay Bay around 4:30 PM after what was probably the easiest drive ever to Vegas. There were zero delays the entire way and I banged it out in 3.5 hours. I wish every drive was as nice. It was still early on Saturday the valet and lobby were unexpectedly busy. Despite all the buzz, there was only a 30 second wait for check-in and in no time was on my way to a 30th floor room. Every room at THEhotel is an actual 2 room suite and it was exactly as I remembered it from my stay a few years back. The living room has a comfortable couch and chair, big flat-screen TV with DVD player, wet bar and a writing desk. With a half bath off the entryway, it's a great area to hang out in and could easily entertain 4 or 5 people comfortably. The bedroom is a totally seperate room unlike some of the faux-suites around town. It is dominated by a huge armiore that holds a regular tube TV, a safe and all of the clothes storage. The bed was quite comfortable and the linens all seemed fairly new. There is also a Bose radio/iPod dock, robes, slippers and iron/board in the room. The bathroom is standard for most of the recently built hotels and it seems like I have had the same one 20 times in the past few years. There is a seperate shower stall and a large deep tub both lined in marble, a dual sink vanity and a seperate toilet room. It also has a small flat-screen TV, makeup mirror, scale and blow dryer plus a good collection of soaps and other assorted bathroom goodies.

Outside of the room... I only ended up eating one meal at MB, a late night breakfast at Raffles, their 24 hour coffee shop. The room is one of the nicest coffee shops in town and even commented on the "swanky-ness" of it to the hostess. However, the menu was pretty limited maybe even the smallest I have seen and the service was hardly the best. I have noticed a trend lately with bad service after midnight in a mostly empty restaurant. If you only have one table, wouldn't it behoove you to make sure you get the best tip possible from them? I just don't get it. I did play a little in the casino while I was there and didn't have much luck. The casino is huge as is the sports book with all the latest and greatest machines. It is a video poker wasteland and the table minimums were mostly $10-15 regardless of time of day. Drink service was great in some places not so much in other so if that important to you, you may have to move around to find a place where the liquor is flowing.

This was my second stay at THEhotel and it was a very different experience from my last stay a few months after it had opened. I wasn't thrilled the first time around but by the end of my second night this trip, I absolutely loved the room and the place in general. My problems last time were largely outside of the room and most of them went away by simply being familiar with the place. It is definitely a little confusing and the signage is still pretty bad especially driving around the property. The only other real knock on THEhotel is location. Mandalay Bay itself is at the far south end of the Strip and THEhotel is quite far from much of MB, particularly the pool which is almost a good half mile walk from elevators. All in all...if a hotel with large rooms, a world-class pool and a good collection of restaurants and nightlife are a priority, I highly recommend THEhotel especially considering the price is often comparable to regular rooms elsewhere.

Click Here for Room Pictures

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