Amenity Madness: Exploring our Mandarin Oriental hotel room—a premier room with 650-sq.ft.—was like unwrapping an endless present. It seems that in every drawer or closet we opened, there was something for us to use. We loved the yoga mat and yoga DVDs, the Conair flat iron in the bathroom, the jewelry box in the bathroom that held a dozen toiletries, the little pillow on the spa tub, the Technology kit and even a darling little box that held the in-room compendiums.
But our favorite feature was the valet closet where staffers can place things in your room via the hallway as opposed to you having to answer the door all the time. Typically, the closet is reserved for your morning newspaper and shoe shines but we had room service place breakfast in there one morning. Awesome.
Dining Scene: We retreated to the Mandarin Bar on the 23rd floor just off the check-in area for some pricey drinks and more views of the Strip. The place felt mature and sexy with nary a piece of Ed Hardy in sight. In short, this should be your new respite from the Strip.
We also ate at the MOzen Bistro on the third floor, which has up-close views of CityCenter and gracious staffers, but the offerings are a little pricey for ordinary breakfast items. Our single glass of iced coffee was $9.
And now, the bad....
Valet Parking: If you didn't know, parking, even valet parking, is free at nearly every hotel on the Strip. Vdara has valet-only parking for guests but the service is rolled into the $15 resort fee, which also includes internet access.
However, the Mandarin Oriental charges $30 a night for overnight parking. Ugh. If this was New York or San Francisco, we would understand. But if no one else is doing this on the Strip, then it doesn't make sense.
If you want to self-park, your best option is Aria, which for reasons too complicated to explain, we were not able to use during our stay. You could also self-park at Bellagio and take the CityCenter tram to The Crystals and then walk over to Mandarin. Or you could park next door at Monte Carlo.
We actually looked over the website carefully and did not see any mention of a $30 parking fee anywhere. The welcome email also did not mention this fee. When we complained to the front desk, they were very apologetic and tried to help us out with the self-parking issue but ultimately, they just removed $15 off from our bill. So either don't drive your car to the Mandarin Oriental or self-park at Aria, but be prepared to walk.
The view from the Mandarin Bar.
Internet Access: Here the Mandarin Oriental has won their very first award ever for being the U.S. hotel with the highest WiFi charge—a shocking $18 a day. Do not use.
The Spa Prices: The spa treatments at Mandarin Oriental sound incredible. Sadly, we did not have time to experience the spa because of time constraints but the treatment prices weren't helping either. A pedicure was $130 and all prices are $10 to $15 more on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays than during the week.
The CityCenter (is) Complex: As of writing this, we're still not quite sure how to get around CityCenter. Some of it is still under construction, and not very much of it is pedestrian friendly. The tram stops at Bellagio, Aria, Crystals and Monte Carlo—but not Vdara or Mandarin Oriental, so there's a bit of extra walking to do if you can find the right way.
Additionally, Mandarin Oriental's layout is complex itself. You enter in the lower lobby but you take the elevator to the Sky Lobby on the 23rd floor. Then you take a separate elevator down to your room. We were on the 10th floor so we went up to go down.
It's not the end of the world and if you're smart, you'll figure your way around but it's not something frequent visitors to Vegas have gotten used to yet.
Bottom Line: We booked the "We Fan Las Vegas" offer, which gave us a free night for one night booked. The total worked out to be $520 for two nights, not including valet parking. So it's a luxury hotel at luxury prices. We know you'll love your rooms and the view from the Sky Lobby and that service will be outstanding and then you can brag to your friends that you were big pimping at the Mandarin Oriental in Las Vegas. But you should remember there are other more affordable luxury options very close by.