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Random Vegas Photos 11.2010
18 November 2010

Mandalay Bay

The shimmering Mandalay Bay tower

We stayed at Mandalay Bay this time and were favorably impressed. It lives up to the "Mandalay" in its name by presenting a subtle yet distinct Southeast Asian rainforest motif indoors and outdoors. The many columns in the casino area, with their indirect lighting and ornately carved capitals, lend an exotic and luxurious aura like that of a well-patronized Burmese Buddhist temple.

And the "Bay" in its name makes perfect sense, despite the Mandalay Region of Burma being landlocked. The property boasts an extravagant and diverse network of pools, including the famous wave pool and beach with its 2,700 tons of sand. We saw the wave pool in action, but it is the off season so only lifeguards were at the beach for training.

In many ways, the Mandalay Bay seems to be designed for the Palms and Hard Rock crowd when they grow up. Sure, there are trendy lounges and nightclubs (e.g. Mix Lounge and the lounge) but they are in the adjoining, upscale THEhotel. The hotspot on the casino floor is eyecandy lounge, with huge projection TVs and presumably a DJ. For live music there is the House of Blues, the dueling pianos in the Orchid Lounge and, surprisingly, the Mizuya sushi and sake restaurant. Mizuya is described as being located in a "tranquil water setting," but the nearby stage hosts some really good cover bands at night.

Skylight near Mizuya restaurant

Shark Reef Aquarium

Mandalay Bay's most exotic attraction is its enormous Shark Reef Aquarium. The entry fee is a fairly steep $17, but it's worth every penny. As you progress throught the aquarium you descend from jungle to reef to shipwreck, with dozens of species of exotic flora and fauna.

Piranha skull

Blacktip reef shark

The aquarium's signature shark exhibit tunnel, where 1.3 million gallons of water surround you.

The lionfish is one of the ocean floor's most venomous fish.

Moon jelly fish. No eyes, ears, or brain.

Stingray in the interactive touchpool exhibit

Next Time

Even with Sunday off, we didn't get to see all of the Mandalay Bay. We tried the Noodle Shop, Red White and Blue, and Raffles Cafe, but next time we'd like to try Wolfgang Puck's Trattoria del Lupo and maybe Aureole.

Next: World Poker Tour at Bay 101...

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