Mandalay Bay Review: Is This Vegas Hotel Worth Staying At?

Heading to Las Vegas soon? You may have your list of things to do in Las Vegas all set, but what about hotels? Just as there are SO many things to do in Vegas, there are equally SO many hotel options here!

Having lived so close to Las Vegas, I have seen my fair share of hotels in Las Vegas. I have stayed in some of the best hotels and resorts that the city has to offer (and even some of the worst!) over the years, and I can say with confidence that Mandalay Bay is one of the best.

Yes, you read that right! To my complete surprise, this hotel offered a lot more than I had previously given it credit for!

I had seen photos of their iconic pool complex (it has a beach and a lazy river — I needn’t say more!) and wanted to try it out, thinking ‘oh I’ll just deal with the just-okay rooms, as long as I get to lay by the pools all day’. But the rooms were awesome! As was the rest of my experience at Mandalay Bay!

In this post, I’ll give my honest review of what I thought of Mandalay Bay. There are quite a few things to love about this hotel, but also a few not-so-good aspects. So if you’re on the fence about staying here, I hope it’ll ultimately help you make your decision!

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Mandalay Bay Resort Overview

Mandalay Bay Review - Is This Las Vegas Hotel Worth Staying At?

Located at the southern end of the Las Vegas Strip, Mandalay Bay is a massive resort that offers everything you could want in a Las Vegas vacation. From the moment you step into the lobby, you are greeted with an atmosphere of luxury and sophistication.

I mean, you can’t deny the exoticness of these elephant door handles!

Mandalay Bay’s theme is essentially ‘exotic’ meets ‘tropical luxury’. The hotel is based on a tropical South Seas theme and covers 120 acres (a totally massive property). Along with a huge casino, there are also over 3,200 rooms.

The atmosphere is bright and airy, with natural light streaming in through the windows and tropical plants and flowers throughout the space.

The decor is inspired by the natural beauty of the tropic seas, with intricate wood designs, white and warm woods, earthy tones, and colorful accents. The overall atmosphere? Vibes of relaxation and tranquility, with a touch of sophistication and adventure!

At times, it feels like a luxury safari resort. At other times, it’ll feel like you’re in an Indiana Jones movie!

Mandalay Bay Review: What We Liked

  • Massive 11-acre pool complex with wave pool, lazy river with waterfall, beach with sand, hot tub, and multiple other pools
  • Rooms are way more elegant and nicer than you’d expect at this pricepoint
  • We loved the large bathrooms with separate soaking tubs
  • Has two other pool day clubs, Moorea Beach and DAYLIGHT Day Club
  • Tons of really good quality restaurants that fit every type of budget, including a few by celebrity chefs
  • Bars have a variety of themes (rooftop bar, ice bar, speakeasy, etc.)
  • Shark Reef Aquarium, House of Blues, and Cirque du Soleil “Michael Jackson ONE” are located here
  • The 30,000 square foot world-class Spa Mandalay exudes opulence
  • There is a free tram that takes you up the Strip so you don’t need to waste your energy walking
  • Hotel rooms are way more affordable compared to other hotels of this quality

Pro Tip: While I love (it’s my go-to hotel booking platform 99% of the time), I have typically found the best Las Vegas hotel prices on Priceline. Your results may vary, but it may be worth doing a quick spot check on hotel room prices.

Mandalay Bay Review: What We Didn’t Like

  • Hotel charges for parking, even for hotel guests (all MGM resorts offer 1st hour free, but charge after that)
  • Location can be inconvenient as its the southernmost hotel on The Strip
  • Weekends can get really crowded with families because of the hotel’s massive pool complex
  • Daily resort fee (which is common for most hotels on the Strip)
  • Has a coffee machine in the room, but you still have to pay for the coffee kit (which is common for most hotels on the Strip)
  • Lazy river tubes used to be free to rent, but now they charge $30 to buy one (don’t buy them here, go to the ABC Store instead — they’re $3 each!)

Mandalay Bay Resort: An In-Depth Review


One of the things that’s worth noting is that Mandalay Bay is the first hotel (or the last hotel, depending on the direction you’re coming from) on the Strip. Mandalay Bay is located at the southern end of the Las Vegas Strip, situated between the Luxor and the Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas.

While it may not be in the heart of the action, it is still in a very convenient location. It is just a short walk or tram ride away from some of the most popular attractions in Las Vegas, including the Luxor, Excalibur, MGM Grand, Eataly, and the T-Mobile Arena.


Mandalay Bay Review - Rooms

Earlier I mentioned that Mandalay Bay’s whole idea is to transport you to the South Seas — to make you feel like you’re embarking on an exotic beach vacation!

The rooms at Mandalay Bay continue this theme, with modern decor and warm wood touches that make you feel like you are staying in a high-end beach resort.

The fact that the bedding is plush and super comfortable is something worth mentioning. For the extremely affordable price I paid, I had expected regular bedding and mediocre pillows but boy was I wrong! On both nights, my partner and I had such good nights of sleep on those fluffy pillows!

We honestly wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference between whether this was a Mandalay Bay bed or a Palazzo / Venetian bed (our favorite hotels on the Strip). Huge points to Mandalay Bay for the nice beds!

When it comes to room types, Mandalay Bay offers a variety of options to suit any budget or preference. We opted for the Resort King, but there are also the options of two queen rooms, king suites, and penthouse suites, as well as a variety of one- to four-bedroom living spaces as part of their Luxury Collection.

In terms of the standard rooms, they come with a massive bathroom equipped with two separate sinks, a separate soaker tub and stand-up shower, a TV, mini-bar, a sitting area, two large closets, and a coffee maker (though they do charge for coffee).

Mandalay Bay also offers a level up to the standard rooms which they call “Stay Well”. The features that come with a Stay Well room are as follows:

  • Air Purification
  • Aromatherapy
  • Stay Well Cleaning Protocol
  • Dawn Simulation
  • Night Lighting
  • Stay Well Mattress
  • Stay Well Mattress with Stay Well Mattress Encasement
  • Vitamin C Shower Infuser
  • Water Purification
  • Cleveland Clinic Newsletter


Mandalay Bay Review - Mandalay Beach Pool Complex

While the rooms were quite a pleasant surprise to us, perhaps the biggest draw of Mandalay Bay is the Mandalay Bay Beach pool complex! Mandalay Bay Beach is an 11-acre aquatic playground that is the crown jewel of this hotel.

This is by far the best pool we’ve ever had the chance of enjoying of all Las Vegas hotels. Yes, even better than higher-end hotel pools such as Wynn, Encore, Caesars, Venetian, etc!

With a wave pool, lazy river, waterfall, beach area (with real sand!), and multiple other pools and hot tubs, there is going to be a body of water that suits your taste. The pool area is surrounded by palm trees and cabanas, making it feel like a tropical paradise in the middle of the desert!

Honestly, this beach complex was so much fun. We stayed on a Sunday as well as a Monday in early May, and on both days, guests of all ages were having a blast! While there were lots of kids and families running around on Sunday afternoon, the Monday experience was so tranquil.

Nevertheless, the wave pool and lazy river are going to make you feel like a kid again!

Mandalay Bay Review - Is The Pool Area The Best In Vegas?
These tubes cost $30 each, no thanks.

Pro Tip: The lazy river tubes used to be free to rent, but now they charge $30 each to buy and there is no option to rent–lame. Don’t buy them here, buy one online before your trip or go to the ABC Store instead — they’re ~$3.50 each! They should also have tubes at Walgreens, Walmart, or Target.

Because everyone who stays at this hotel is probably thinking the same thing — that they have to experience the beach at least once during their stay — there’s a ton of seating here. More than I’ve seen at any other hotel/resort in Las Vegas!

Expect tons of beach loungers to be up against one another in rows. The red chairs are reserved seating (where you can rent umbrellas for a fee), while the white chairs are free for all.

If you’re feeling cute and bougie, you can also rent a cabana for a few hundred dollars for the day. This includes a private shaded space with lounge chairs and personal bar service.

The pool complex also offers a variety of dining options, including three bars as well as the Beach Bar & Grill. This is the perfect place to grab a bite to eat or a refreshing drink while soaking up the sun.

Pro Tip: If you’re looking to save money on food, you can bring your own snacks into the pool area.

Entertainment and Things To Do

But the entertainment at Mandalay Bay doesn’t stop at the pool. The hotel offers a variety of shows and entertainment options to its guests. From the world-famous Cirque du Soleil show “Michael Jackson ONE” to the House of Blues music venue, there is always something going on at Mandalay Bay.

One of my personal favorites is the Shark Reef Aquarium, which is a must-visit for anyone staying at Mandalay Bay. While the ONE show and the concerts at House of Blues cater to adults, the Shark Reef is something that kids will LOVE!

This massive aquarium houses over 2,000 animals, including a plethora of sharks, stingrays, and sea turtles. It is a great place to take the whole family for a unique and educational experience.

Shark Reef Mandalay Bay Las Vegas

For those who prefer to gamble, Mandalay Bay has a massive casino floor with all the latest slot machines and table games. The casino is spacious and well-designed, with plenty of room to move around and try your luck.

On game days, you can also take advantage of what’s called The Fan District. Located just 15-minutes away from the Allegiant Stadium, Mandalay Bay and Luxor come alive at The Fan District, the go-to destination for sports fans to rally before and after Allegiant Stadium events. You can usually find Fan District Exclusive Offers (BOGO free offers on beers and light bites) and Game Day Drink Specials too.

And if the offerings at Mandalay Bay don’t suit you, it’s super easy to get to other hotels so you can enjoy some of the other award-winning Las Vegas shows and attractions offered on The Strip! Here are just a few examples:

Luxor (one hotel over)

Nearby Attractions at Luxor - Mandalay Bay Review

Excalibur (one 5-min tram ride away)

MGM Grand (one tram ride and short walk away)

KA by Cirque du Soleil MGM Grand Las Vegas


When it comes to dining options, Mandalay Bay has something for every type of tastebud preference you can imagine. Whether you’re in the mood for a fancy dinner or a quick bite to eat, I’m sure you will find something to satisfy your appetite.

I was totally shocked when I walked through the hotel and discovered just how many restaurants lied within the Mandalay Bay property!

Starting with the higher-end dining options — one of the most popular restaurants at Mandalay Bay is Fleur ($$$), which offers classic cuts of premium steaks, pasta and seafood.

Then there’s StripSteak ($$$$), where guests can experience the fire-born flavor and the signature flair of Chef Michael Mina. There’s also Lupo ($$$), Wolfgang Puck’s first Italian restaurant, and KUMI ($$$) serving up modern Japanese cuisine with a Korean American twist.

For those in the mood for something more casual, there are plenty of options to choose from! Libertine Social ($$) is a popular spot for burgers and other gastropub eats, while Noodle Shop ($) offers all types of Asian noodle dishes and Slice of Vegas ($) offers classic Italian dishes such as pizza and pasta.

If you’re looking for something a little more exotic, Mandalay Bay has you covered. Border Grill ($$) is another noteworthy option — it’s a vibrant, modern Mexican restaurant from award-winning Chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger. They have their Border Brunch, featuring unlimited small plates and bottomless mimosas, micheladas and Bloody Mary’s every Saturday & Sunday!

Retro by Voltaggio ($$) is the newest restaurant offering, featuring a funky remix of America’s favorite dishes with an electrifying throwback spirit.

But perhaps the most unique dining experience at Mandalay Bay is Rivea, which offers stunning views of the Las Vegas skyline from the 64th floor of the hotel. The menu features Mediterranean-inspired dishes, such as grilled octopus and roasted lamb loin.

There’s also the House of Blues Restaurant and Bar, Wahlburgers, Citizens Kitchen & Bar, a few breakfast/brunch restaurants, an Irish pub, and a handful of other eateries. Yep, like I said, tons of options!

And while there is no buffet on the Mandalay Bay property, you can easily head over to The Buffet at Luxor (the nearest buffet just one hotel away).


When it comes to bars and lounges, again — there is no shortage of options! Whether you’re in the mood for a sophisticated cocktail or a cold beer, you’re sure to find a spot that suits the vibe you’re going for that night.

One of the most popular bars at Mandalay Bay is S Bar, which combines craft cocktail experiences with a modern and sultry lounge ambiance. Celebrating the culture of mixology, S Bar features innovative libations paired with creative shareable bites.

For those in the mood for something a little more upscale, there’s the Foundation Room. This exclusive lounge is located on the top floor of Mandalay Bay and offers stunning views of the Las Vegas skyline. The menu features a variety of craft cocktails and small plates, and there’s often live music or DJs playing in the evenings.

Another great option for cocktails and views is Skyfall Lounge, which is located on the 64th floor of the Delano Tower. The lounge offers unbeatable panoramic views of the city and features a variety of creative cocktails and small bites.

If you’re looking for a unique experience, be sure to check out Minus 5 Ice Bar. This bar is made entirely out of ice, from the walls to the furniture. Guests are provided with parkas and gloves to keep warm while they enjoy their drinks, which are served in ice glasses. It’s such a fun experience if you’re looking for something different and lighthearted!

And if you’re in the mood for a speakeasy-style bar, head over to the Mandalay Bay Shoppes and look for 1923 Prohibition Bar. This ‘hidden’ bar features a variety of classic cocktails (like the mint julep, sazerac, 1923 barrel-aged old-fashioned, brandy milk punch, etc.) and a cozy atmosphere that feels like a step back in time.

There’s also the Eyecandy Bar & Lounge (light-up dance floor!), Rhythm & Riffs (lounge-style atmosphere with live music Thursdays to Mondays), and the Rí Rá Irish Pub.

Day Clubs and Nightclubs

Daylight Day Club - Mandalay Bay Hotel Review

While there is no formal nightclub within Mandalay Bay that partiers flock to at night anymore, there is an awesome day club here beside Mandalay Bay Beach — DAYLIGHT Beach Club.

At the day club, expect a live DJ, dancing, and lots of mingling! You can expect DJs playing Top 40 and EDM music on Fridays, and hip-hop performers and DJ’s performing on Saturdays and Sundays.

They even have a new experience this summer featuring the best reggaeton performers at NEON VIBRA, Las Vegas’ hottest Latin nightswim event!

Prices start at $30 for gentlemen and $20 for ladies, but if you get in contact with a Las Vegas promoter, chances are you can just get in for free (they usually throw in some drink tickets too).

Mandalay Bay Daylight Beach Club
Courtesy of MGM Resorts International

Other Amenities

Aside from all the entertainment options you can find at Mandalay Bay, other amenities include:

  • The huge casino that operates 24/7
  • Mandalay Bay Spa & Salon – a full-service 3,000-square-foot spa and separate salon
  • Kalologie Medspa – offers IV Therapy and B12 Injections, along with medical aesthetic treatments.
  • The Shoppes at Mandalay Place – lots of eclectic stores such as fan shops, souvenir shops, jewelry stores, candy stores, and a surf shop
  • a small but mighty fitness center
  • Weddings by Mandalay Bay Las Vegas – you can also get married here.
Casino at Mandalay Bay

If you’re short on time, the restaurants offer online and mobile ordering for your convenience too.

For your morning coffee fix, there’s a Starbucks and Hazel Coffee & Cocktails conveniently located within the hotel.

Pro Tip: If the Starbucks line is too long in the mornings, do a mobile order. You’ll get your drink way faster than waiting in the normal line!

Bottom Line: Is Hotel Worth Staying At?

In my opinion, Mandalay Bay is totally worth staying at. For the price and the level of quality and amenities here, it just can’t be beaten!

The Mandalay Bay Beach is worth the stay alone if your main objective is to get some pool time either with friends or family. Mix in all the other amenities (the plethora of awesome restaurant options, luxurious beds, spacious and luxe-feeling bathrooms, rooftop bars, cute speakeasy, Michael Jackson ONE show) and it just gets even better.

We also loved the fact that this hotel had a free tram that took hotel guests further north up the Strip — in 96-degree weather, this was exactly what we needed to avoid the beating, soul-sucking sun!

Free Mandalay Bay Tram Las Vegas

Pro Tip: The Mandalay Bay Tram runs between the Excalibur – Luxor – Mandalay Bay hotels. The southbound tram runs only from the Excalibur to Mandalay Bay, but the northbound tram starts at Mandalay Bay, stops at Luxor, and ends at the Excalibur. The FREE Mandalay Bay Tram Runs every 3 – 7 minutes.

The one potential drawback is its location. While it didn’t cause us any issues with what we were trying to accomplish on our trip (which was to lay by the pool most of the day and watch KÀ by Cirque du Soleil one night), I could see it being a potential issue for some Vegas-goers.

If you DON’T plan on using the pool complex during your stay and the entertainment options at the North Las Vegas Strip hotel interest you more, Mandalay Bay might not be the best place to stay for you. The reason is, as it’s situated at the end of the southern end, it is quite far from the northern end of the Strip.

This means longer driving times if you plan on doing things on the northern end of the Strip for the majority of your trip.

And while there is a free tram, the tram line takes you only as far as Excalibur and the Park MGM / T-Mobile Arena area. From there, you’d need to transfer to another tram line (Aria Tram Express) to get further north.

Pro Tip: The Aria Express Tram runs between Park MGM – Aria – Bellagio hotels. This three-station tram gives you easy access to ARIA, Bellagio, Vdara, The Cosmopolitan, Park MGM, and The Shops at Crystals. The FREE Aria Express Tram has a wait time of less than three minutes at each station.

Another thing to call out is that it does get quite busy, especially on weekends. Their iconic pool complex isn’t a secret. That means more kids and more crowds. If you’re staying during the weekdays, crowds and kids likely won’t be a problem, but I can’t say the same for weekend stays!

If you’re a group of adults looking for some peace and quiet, this is probably not the hotel for you (at least during the weekends).

But if you’re someone who definitely wants to take the lazy river and wave pool for a spin, Mandalay Bay is the best option out there!

I do want to mention that the MGM Grand also has a lazy river, so it might be worth comparing room rates if you’re looking to save a few bucks. MGM Grand recently renovated their rooms, so if you’re looking for a more central hotel, they are a good alternative.

All in all, I still think Mandalay Bay is a great option — whether you’re traveling with kids or you’re a group of adults looking for some fun in the sun. It’s especially great for travelers who want to stick to a budget but don’t want to sacrifice on comfort and luxury.

Mandalay Bay is the best of both worlds — you get elegance and sophistication at an affordable price.

And with so many things to do on one property and its nearby attractions, you’ll definitely be able to fill your time with lots of entertainment!

Pro Tip: While I love (it’s my go-to hotel booking platform 99% of the time), I have typically found the best Las Vegas hotel prices on Priceline. Your results may vary, but it may be worth doing a quick spot check on hotel room prices.

Mandalay Bay: Frequently Asked Questions

Alternative Options To Mandalay Bay (That Are Equal Or Better!)

MGM Grand

MGM Grand is the hotel that’s most comparable to Mandalay Bay. At MGM Grand, you’ll get a similar pool setup, ample restaurant options, and lots of entertainment options including:

There are also more clubbing options here, including a daytime and nighttime option: Wet Republic day club for pool parties and Hakkasan nightclub for big-name DJs at night.

Another plus for the MGM Grand is the location. It’s a lot more central than Mandalay Bay, which means you’ll be able to get to other hotels and their attractions a lot faster (which also means cheaper taxi/Uber rides).

The rooms are not too shabby either! In 2012, MGM Grand did a renovation in which all of its rooms and suites in the main tower were fully renovated, along with the casino floor and other public areas. This has provided the hotel with a more refreshed, contemporary room design.

Pricewise, MGM Grand should be pretty similar to Mandalay Bay prices. Depending on the dates you’re looking for, sometimes MGM Grand is cheaper than MB, and other times MB is cheaper than MGM Grand.

Delano Las Vegas at Mandalay Bay

If you’re looking for a more upscale option than Mandalay Bay, but still want access to Mandalay Beach and all those pool amenities, the Delano Las Vegas is a great alternative.

This all-suite tower is located right next to Mandalay Bay, so the location is not much different. However, the rooms at the Delano are way nicer than those at Mandalay Bay, and the overall atmosphere is more sophisticated and luxurious.

The suites offer a separate living and sleeping area with views of the Strip, the pool or the mountains. You’ll also get exclusive amenities too, including the Delano Beach Club, a luxurious pool club with personalized services as well as a submerged chess board, signature cocktails, and chaise lounges!

The Delano is a bit pricier than Mandalay Bay, but if you have the budget for it, it’s definitely worth the splurge.

The Four Seasons Las Vegas

For an even more upscale experience, the timeless and iconic Four Seasons Las Vegas is also located within the Mandalay Bay property complex, so if you’re really looking for the ultimate luxury experience, that is a great contender too.

If you choose to be a guest at The Delano or The Four Seasons, you’ll still have access to Mandalay Beach!

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