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Middle Age Miles

Hotel Review – Delano Las Vegas

Delano Las Vegas [featured image courtesy Delano/MGM]

This article is part of our Trip Report – It’s Vegas Week at Middle Age Miles!

Summary

Day in and day out, the Delano presents perhaps the best value proposition among all Las Vegas hotels. It’s certainly near the top of our “preferred hotels in Vegas” list.

The rooms are large and beautifully-decorated in a sleek, modern style. Every room is a suite of at least 725 square feet, with a living/working area, a bedroom, and 1½ baths. Being immediately adjacent and connected to Mandalay Bay, it’s convenient to all of the fun of a casino hotel. Yet as a smaller hotel (in Vegas terms at least) that is its own property, it’s quieter, less crowded, and less frenzied than the mega-casino hotels.

As for rates, except when there’s a large event at Mandalay Bay that causes the Delano to get booked up, the rates are consistently lower than other nice Vegas hotels. The Delano participates in the Chase Luxury Hotels & Resorts Collection (LHRC) and American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts (FHR), which allows us to score some nice benefits with our Delano booking. And as an MGM property, we can earn points and elite nights with Hyatt through the MGM-Hyatt partnership.

For us, the only real downside to the Delano is its location. At the far southern end of the Las Vegas Strip, it’s pretty far removed from most of the action and the other sights you’ll want to see along the Strip. But if the location isn’t a huge issue for you, the Delano is an awesome place to stay.

Basic Stats and History of the Delano

The Delano is 43 stories tall, and it has 1,118 rooms, all of which are suites. It originally opened in December 2003, as THEHotel at Mandalay Bay. It was fully renovated in 2014, and in the fall of 2014 it was re-branded as the Delano. Given the recent renovation less than 5 years ago, the rooms feel new and fresh. There is one other Delano-branded hotel, in South Beach Miami.

Booking and Rate

We stayed at the Delano for two nights, checking in late on the night of Thursday, December 13 and checking out just after lunch on Saturday, December 15. These were the first two nights of our end-of-semester trip to celebrate the 21st birthdays of some of the Middle Age Miles kids.

On this trip, we hotel-hopped to help us score some great deals and get content for Middle Age Miles. Now, like most sane people, Philly prefers to stay at one hotel for the duration of our stay wherever we’re traveling. But this time, I was able to persuade her to go along with the hotel-hopping plan by explaining the deals.

The Delano, like all of our Vegas hotels on this particular trip, was booked through the Amex FHR program. Our average nightly rate was $122.80, which became about $175 per night all-in, including the resort fee and taxes. Booking through FHR gave us a room upgrade subject to availability, a breakfast credit of up to $60 per room per night, and a food & beverage credit of up to $100 per room per stay. With those benefits, this was an outstanding deal for the all-in rate of $175 per night.

At this point, a few notes about the booking are in order:

  • In most cases, to maximize the food & beverage credit of $100 per stay, we would have booked only 1 night under the FHR rate. If we wanted to stay 2 nights, we would have booked the first night under my name and the second under Philly’s name, then asked the agent at check-in to keep us in the same room for both nights.
  • However, in this case it wasn’t worth jumping through any hoops. We knew we would be arriving at or after midnight on Thursday night, so we wouldn’t be able to use the food & beverage credit for our first night anyway. So for simplicity, we just booked a two-night stay.
  • As of now (January 2019), the $100 food & beverage credit is no longer available as a benefit using Amex FHR at the Delano. The food & beverage credit has been replaced by a spa credit, which I’m going to guess is less useful to about 98% of hotel guests. This is all part of the myriad of issues with FHR now, which we reported on in our article, Amex FHR Is a Hot Mess These Days.
  • Fortunately for us, however, the Delano also participates in the Chase LHRC program. By booking through Chase LHRC, we can still get a room upgrade if available, up to $60 per day in breakfast credit, and a $100 food & beverage credit per stay. (See our recent article, How to Use the Chase Luxury Hotels & Resorts Program to Score Great Deals in Vegas (and earn points & status too)!) Going forward, we’ll definitely be using Chase LHRC to book our stays at the Delano!

Finally, we were also able to pay for part of our stay using an Amex card that had an Amex Offer to earn 5,000 Membership Rewards (MR) points after $250+ spend at an MGM Resorts property. Using our baseline value of 1.5 cents per MR points, this generated a points rebate to us worth about $75, in addition to the other points we earned – MLife tier credits (which ultimately helped advance us to Gold status at MLife, which in turn matched to Explorist status with Hyatt including Club Level Access Awards), Hyatt points, Hyatt elite nights, and points from our credit card spend.

Location

As we mentioned in our Summary, the main negative to the Delano is its location at the far southern end of the Las Vegas Strip. It’s a long way from the Delano to any of the places in the heart of the Strip, and more likely than not you’ll want to visit some of those places while you’re in Vegas.

Here’s a map showing the location of the Delano with respect to other hotels and casinos along the Strip:

The Delano’s location challenge is ameliorated somewhat by the fact that there’s a free tram, relatively easily accessible through the Mandalay Bay casino, that runs all the way up to the southwest corner of Las Vegas Blvd. (the Strip) and Tropicana Avenue. Once you get off the tram, you’re at the corner where the Excalibur, Tropicana, New York-New York and MGM Grand hotels are located, and you’re within reasonably close walking distance to the new T-Mobile Arena.

The other thing that helps with respect to location is that the Delano is immediately connected to the Mandalay Bay casino, and there are plenty of fun things to do right there, including numerous restaurants, some nearby shops, the Mandalay Bay Shark Reef (which we’ll review separately), the Mandalay Bay’s pool areas, the theater for the Cirque du Soleil Michael Jackson One show (the theater entry is in the hallway connecting the Delano to the Mandalay Bay casino), and the Mandalay Bay race & sports book (which is immediately at the end of the same hallway into the Mandalay Bay casino).

Arrival, Check-In and Service

We arrived at the Delano by taxi, at around midnight on Thursday night. I don’t recall whether there was a bellman, but we could easily handle our own bags and didn’t need assistance.

When you enter the Delano from the taxi drop-off, you turn to the left, and the check-in desk is all the way down at the end of the lobby area. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture, but the lobby area and check-in desk are nice. There was no line for check-in at that time of night!

The agent who helped us check in was very nice, and he was knowledgeable about the Amex FHR program and benefits. We were able to work through all the details of our stay pretty easily, including getting the check-in agent to attach our MLife and World of Hyatt numbers to both rooms.

Here is the letter we received at check-in, outlining our Amex FHR benefits at the Delano (remember that the food & beverage credit is no longer offered as a FHR benefit, as of January 2019):

Note that the Amex FHR food & beverage credit was only available at restaurants located on-property at the Delano and Mandalay Bay (and not at other MGM-affiliated properties). In addition, even though there are a lot of choices, not all of the restaurants located on the Mandalay Bay property were included – be sure to check carefully about where you use the credit!

A Note About Check-Out, Credits and Points Posting

In my experience, getting credits like those from FHR to apply correctly and getting points to post correctly is always a challenge with MLife stays. The points-posting issue is even more problematic in situations like ours here, where we made the reservation through a third-party program like FHR.

This time, we were fortunate that all FHR credits were properly applied at check-out. However, we had a different issue at check-out. We had been charged for some mini-bar items that we didn’t actually take. The good news was that the charges were readily removed when I presented this to the front desk agent – but it took an extra 10 minutes to deal with the issue and get manager approval.

Beyond that, true to form, we had several issues with points credits. Again, they were handled well once I raised them, and they all turned out fine in the end. But once again I had to track these, raise the issue, and follow up, all of which took time and effort that I’d certainly prefer not to have to do.

First, for some reason we didn’t receive as many MLife tier credits as we should have from this stay. I called and talked through things with an MLife rep, and tier credits were added within a few days. I’m still not sure they were 100% correct, as the crediting rules are challenging and nowhere fully disclosed by MLife as best I can tell. But I was satisfied with the updated total.

In addition, we did not automatically receive our Hyatt points and nights for one of our rooms at the Delano (even though we received most of our MLife credits for both rooms). After I followed up on this with MLife, they passed the issue to World of Hyatt, and the Hyatt points ultimately posted, including points from a then-active double points promotion. But all of this required tracking and follow-up by me that should not have been necessary.

And Finally, a Quick Note on Service

We’ve found service at the Delano to be excellent. Uniformly, our interactions with the front desk staff have been quite pleasant. The Delano certainly benefits from being out of the fray and frenzy of the Vegas mega-hotels, so it’s a much nicer and more personal experience than checking in or our of one of the monster hotels. And beyond the front desk, all of our interactions with people at the Delano have been very nice. I hope our readers have an equally good experience with service at the Delano!

Room

To us, the rooms at the Delano are the highlight of the property. As we mentioned at the outset, all of the rooms are suites, at least 725 square feet large, with a separate bedroom and living/working area, and 1½ baths. Furnishings are modern and sleek yet still functional.

On this trip, we were upgraded to a strip view suite, very high up on the 37th floor. This gave us a nice view of the Luxor, the MGM Grand, and beyond. I’d also note that on a previous Amex FHR booking at the Delano back in 2016, we were upgraded to an awesome corner view suite on the 38th floor. Based on our experience, we’d say that the Delano works hard to make sure Amex FHR customers are well taken care of with good room assignments (and we suspect the same would be true with Chase LHRC reservations).

In the room, you walk in to the living/working area. The half-bath was immediately on the left, then the room opened up. This room included a desk, work chair, couch, coffee table, sitting chair, and wall-mounted TV. Just past the half-bath to the left was a cubby with the coffee machine and mini-bar, and beyond that the entrance to the bedroom. The bedroom included nice built-in closets and doors, a small sitting area, and another wall-mounted TV.

A few notes on the features of the room:

  • Our bed at the Delano was quite comfortable, and we slept well.
  • Wi-Fi was fast, easy to connect to, and stable.
  • We had a Nespresso coffee maker in the room.
  • We also had 2 complimentary bottles of water, with an MLife label (there were also Fiji bottles, but those were mini-bar items with an extra charge)
  • The master bathroom is huge, with a self-contained potty room, a shower stall, and a separate tub.
  • The half-bath had a potty and a sink/vanity area. One small annoyance was that the door to the half-bath would automatically close and not stay open. At some level I understand, because otherwise if someone opened the entry door, it would hit the door to the half-bath. But it was still a pain to be shut into the half-bath when brushing my teeth or shaving.
  • Toiletries were labeled “Bathhouse Spa,” which is the name of the spa at the Delano, and they were good.
  • Water pressure in the shower was good, as was the hot water.

Here’s a tour of the room, in pictures:

Delano Las Vegas – Strip View King Suite – view from the entryway into the living/working room
Delano Las Vegas – Strip View King Suite – slightly different view from the entryway into the living/working room
Delano Las Vegas – Strip View King Suite – desk and chair
Delano Las Vegas – Strip View King Suite – power plugs and other connectors at desk
Delano Las Vegas – Strip View King Suite – looking back into the living/working room from the far end by the windows
Delano Las Vegas – Strip View King Suite – half bath by the entry door
Delano Las Vegas – Strip View King Suite – sink and vanity in half bath
Delano Las Vegas – Strip View King Suite – bar sink and Nespresso machine
Delano Las Vegas – Strip View King Suite – mini-bar fridge
Delano Las Vegas – Strip View King Suite – bedroom
Delano Las Vegas – Strip View King Suite – bedroom tv, closets and dresser drawers
Delano Las Vegas – Strip View King Suite – bedroom, from the other end of the room by the windows
Delano Las Vegas – Strip View King Suite – thermostat
Delano Las Vegas – Strip View King Suite – master bath shower and tub area
Delano Las Vegas – Strip View King Suite – master bath shower
Delano Las Vegas – Strip View King Suite – private branded “Bathhouse Spa” toiletries
Delano Las Vegas – Strip View King Suite – master bathroom double sink and shelves below
Delano Las Vegas – Strip View King Suite – master bathroom double sink and vanity, with perimeter-lighted mirror
Delano Las Vegas – Strip View King Suite – tv in the master bathroom!
Delano Las Vegas – Strip View King Suite – master bathroom robe
Delano Las Vegas – Strip View King Suite – master bathroom self-contained potty room
Delano Las Vegas – Strip View King Suite – view from the 37th floor at night
Delano Las Vegas – Strip View King Suite – view from the 37th floor in early morning
Delano Las Vegas – Strip View King Suite – view of McCarran Airport (LAS) from the 37th floor

Restaurants, Breakfast & Drinks

Here are some notes on the restaurants and bars we actually visited during our stay at the Delano, some of which are actually in Mandalay Bay or the adjacent shops:

Della’s Kitchen – Della’s Kitchen is the restaurant where breakfast credits may be used if you’re staying at the Delano on an Amex FHR or Chase LHRC booking. It’s located in the hallway between the Delano lobby and the Mandalay Bay casino, on the right if you’re walking from the Delano.

Della’s is a sit-down “farm-fresh” restaurant with servers, where you order off the menu. Our costs for the two mornings for breakfast were $52 and $44 (excluding tip, which is not covered by the breakfast credits). That said, it wouldn’t be too hard to go a bit over $60 if each of you had a full breakfast with meat and eggs plus something to drink. We thought the food at Della’s was excellent and that Della’s is a great “breakfast credit” place.

Libertine Social – We had dinner at Libertine Social on Friday night during our stay. It was one of very few options for using our Delano food & beverage credits for something in between “bar food” and “really fancy.” It’s located in the Mandalay Bay casino. If you’re coming from the Delano, go down the hallway into the casino, turn right and go all the way through to the other side of the casino.

Libertine Social is nice but definitely more casual than the really fancy restaurants at Mandalay Bay. It’s contemporary American. I was a little concerned whether we’d find enough “normal” food there to eat. But everyone in our group seemed to be able to order fine, and the food was good. We’d go there again.

PRO TIP for Libertine Social – Go toward the restrooms, and peek behind the black curtain just before you get to the restrooms for a fun surprise.

Slice of Vegas – Slice of Vegas is located in the Shoppes at Mandalay Bay. Take the escalator up from the Mandalay Bay casino floor (if you’re starting from the Delano, go down the hallway to the casino and turn left). The Shoppes connect Mandalay Bay to the Luxor. Slice of Vegas is a few stores down on the left. We had some pizza by the slice and a pretzel that made for a good afternoon snack. Note that Slice of Vegas is not eligible for the Delano food & beverage credit.

Rhythm & Riffs – Rhythm & Riffs is a Nashville-themed bar in the middle of the Mandalay Bay casino. We had drinks there on Friday afternoon. There were more customers than the 2 servers could handle, but it wasn’t a big deal as we weren’t in a big hurry. We happened to be in Vegas during the final weekend of National Finals Rodeo, so suffice to say that Rhythm & Riffs was absolutely hopping at night with cowboys and live music. Rhythm & Riffs is eligible for the Delano food & beverage credit.

Other Features of the Delano

There were several other features of the Delano that we didn’t get to experience, but might be important to Middle Age Miles readers:

  • The Delano doesn’t have a pool of its own, but all Delano guests have complimentary access to the Mandalay Bay Beach and pool area.
  • On top of the Delano is the Skyfall Lounge, which provides great panoramic views of Las Vegas and the surrounding area. It’s open until midnight on weeknights and until 1:00 am on the weekends. Charges at Skyfall are eligible for the Delano food & beverage credit.
  • The Delano has a spa, the Bathhouse Spa, and inside the Spa is the Bathhouse Gym fitness center.
  • The lobby bar at the Delano is called Franklin. We didn’t go there, but it is very classy-looking and distinguished. Maybe next time. Charges at Franklin are eligible for the Delano food & beverage credit.
    • Funny story – The Delano’s name is a tribute to our 32nd President, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Thus, Delano *has* to be pronounced DELL-uh-no. Yet, at least twice while we were in Vegas, a local “corrected” me, telling me that it’s pronounced del-AH-no. Go figure.

The Arizona State Sun Devils were staying at Mandalay Bay for the Las Vegas Bowl while we were at the Delano, and ASU had this cool display in the Mandalay Bay lobby

We hope you’ve enjoyed this review of the Delano Las Vegas. The rooms are awesome and we were treated well. We got a great deal through Amex FHR for our December 2018 stay, although now in 2019 it’s a better deal to book through Chase LHRC. Despite its location, the Delano is on our short list of places to stay in Vegas, and we’d be quite glad to return!

What are your thoughts about the Delano and your experiences there? Please share with us and other Middle Age Miles readers in the Comments!


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