To the public at large, Mandalay Bay is famous for being super-cool and yet actually turning a profit, something which other new casinos such as Venetian and Aladdin just can't manage. Yet, ironically, to the serious player, Mandalay Bay is known for having the weakest game protection in Vegas if not the business. That's what I call a win/win situation for consumer and share holder alike! Everybody's makin' money...cool!!!
Here's a view from the club room on the 62nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas. You can't just wander into the bar. You have to ride a special elevator, which is turned on by a special key, to allow you access to the penthouse floor. So far, so good, except that we did observe some of the other customers undoing all of Mandalay's good security intentions by letting hookers get on the elevator and ride up to the penthouse area with them. Argh!!! The food and drinks in the penthouse bar are free, since they are only *supposed* to be accessed by high rollers. And here's the view from our suite:
We were whisked in one of Mandalay's silver limos to the resort, where we were efficiently checked in by VIP Services and learned we would be staying on the very top floor. The suite itself was pretty nice. There was one bedroom, his and her bathrooms, a living room, and a rather small kitchen. The decorating was perhaps a little uninspired.
Her bathroom contained a rather small hot tub. If I recall correctly, there were 7 telephones in the suite, including the ones by the toilets, but only 2 TVs. No TV viewing in the hot tub, sorry! Speaking of telephones, Mandalay Bay does the tacky Vegas thing of charging you $1 for dialing a tollfree number, so we just dialed our ISP once and stayed online on our second phone line at all times, to avoid this silly and petty charge.
An in-room safe, two robes and matching slippers, and a very nice gift basket was provided.
I do have to warn you about one potential problem with Mandalay Bay. I don't feel that they record your action accurately. I have received reports from high rollers who did not get credit for all of their play and were denied the comps they had earned. In fact, every time we check out, there is a little bit of a hassle, because even though we are RFB plus airfare (free room, food, and beverage plus actual cost of our plane tickets), the check-out computer sort of randomly adds extras to our bill. For instance, we ate at Red Square for $200 for 2 people, and they had put a random charge of around $50 on our bill. Our host has always removed these charges, but we've heard of other people who got burned. Also, VIP Services should not tell people they can eat for free at ANY Mandalay Bay restaurant when the Charlie Palmer restaurants (Steak and Aureole's) are not included except by special arrangement. Both times we ate at Aureole's we had a hassle getting properly comped, although the problem was resolved in the end.
Sadly, despite the fun atmosphere, wonderful pool, nice suite, and terrific restaurants, Mandalay Bay doesn't quite earn an A because of this awkwardness when it comes to dealing with comps. Guys, if you're reading this, VIPs like to feel like "guests," not like free-loading beggars whining for a hand-out. Don't make us run a maze to get the cheese.
UPDATE: A friend recently won around $50,000 at Mandalay Bay over the course of a couple of trips, and he was bemused to see that he was demoted from the penthouse suite to a regular room. Boo hiss! Mandalay Bay should take losing a little more graciously, especially since he was betting upward of $1000-2000 a hand. Aren't you guys supposed to try to make friends with the winners, so they come back and give you another chance at the money? All in all, a good resort which just misses being great because of an attitude problem.
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