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The two halves of an enormous red-brown metaquartzite boulder plucked straight from the Mojave Desert stand sentry at the entrance of Delano Las Vegas. Guests must pass between the imposing 10-foot-tall rock chunks — each sanded smooth on one side to reveal layers of rich color — to reach the lobby of the 1,117-room, all-suite hotel, which officially opened Sept. 2 in the tower formerly known as TheHotel at Mandalay Bay.
The divided boulder is like the hotel itself: solid, quiet and elegant with layers of subtle charm. The non-smoking, non-gaming property received an $80 million refresh at the hands of MGM Resorts International in a partnership with Morgans Hotel Group, proprietors of Delano South Beach in Miami Beach, Fla. It's the latest member of the boutique trend sweeping the Strip (think SLS Las Vegas and The Cromwell), and the hotel-within-a-hotel setup seen at Nobu Hotel Caesars Palace, Encore at Wynn Las Vegas, and, of course, its former incarnation as TheHotel at Mandalay Bay.
Despite Delano's #DefiantlyInspired hashtag campaign, there's nothing actually defiant about the design, as the property purposefully eschews the in-your-face personality of competitors such as Palazzo or The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. It’s like the middle child of the Mandalay Bay complex — more mature than Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino's energetic 21-year-old, but with less of the classically attentive service of any Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts property.
In addition to the boulder, a dynamic floating stone art piece by Korean artist Jaehyo Lee, an abundance of earth tones and a carpeted depiction of the spiraling Colorado River in the stately lobby hallway all provide a Southwest ambiance.
The hotel’s tranquil Bathhouse Spa was not redesigned, but now includes new treatments with a nod to Las Vegas’ desert surroundings, as well as more globally influenced services. The invigorating Cactus and Desert Lily Firming Body Treatment incorporates a cactus mask and the Eastern practice of cupping (cups are applied to the body to draw out toxins with a suction cup-like action). Sound too intense? Opt for the soothing Desert Stone Massage instead.
The guestroom decor is understated and clean, with a decidedly neutral color palette consisting of white, gray, blue and beige. The crisp white linens, white bedroom furniture and white drapes are a nod to the Delano South Beach’s all-white color scheme, which was conceived in the ‘90s by Frenchman Philippe Starck, the design guru behind SLS Las Vegas.
The suites feel spacious and modern, although a hodgepodge of styles might hint at a bit of an identity crisis. Mid-century modern pieces intermingle with gold accents and slick black marble bathtubs and showers that invoke '80s glam, but seem out of place alongside bland beige granite countertops.
A suspended-stone sculpture greets guests at Delano Las Vegas, a recently opened boutique hotel that replaced TheHotel at Mandalay Bay. // © 2014 Robin Rockey
Suites feature a blend of styles, including mid-century modern furniture and a photo captured at the hotel’s sister property in South Beach. // © 2014 Robin Rockey
Gold accents bring ‘80s glitz to the bedrooms at Delano Las Vegas. // © 2014 Robin Rockey
Food for thought in the form of quote cards in guestrooms // © 2014 Robin Rockey
Malin + Goetz toiletries, along with super soft white robes and slippers, bring a touch of powder-room luxury to Delano Las Vegas. // © 2014 Robin Rockey
The Belgian waffle with Pudwill Farms berry compote and maple mascarpone from Della’s Kitchen is a breakfast must. // © 2014 Robin Rockey
A boulder from the Mojave Desert was hoisted into the hotel’s foyer as decor. // © 2014 Robin Rockey
References to presidential namesake Franklin Delano Roosevelt abound. In the intimate Franklin lounge, guests can settle into sumptuous leather sofas with a toasted cheese sandwich, which is allegedly FDR’s favorite snack. The New Deal, a cognac-based cocktail crafted with Licor 43, lemon juice, and emulsified Bonne Maman Plum Mirabelle marmalade, can help wash it all down.
In other culinary offerings, Della's Kitchen hits the mark with a solid selection of comfort food and healthy options for breakfast and lunch, such as cold pressed juices, caramelized onion hash and custard pancakes with wild blueberries and vanilla butter. Named after the property address, 3940 Coffee + Tea features a well-curated selection of global coffees and some sugar rush-inducing espresso drinks such as the S’mores Mocha.
In 2015, a dedicated pool experience for Delano guests is slated to open, and Mix, the French restaurant with incredible Strip views helmed by Monegasque chef Alain Ducasse, will get a makeover.
So what type of traveler would dig Delano Las Vegas? Anyone who craves a calm, sophisticated respite from the hustle and bustle of Sin City, with easy access to the casino, pools, shopping, restaurants, nightclub and other amenities offered at the attached Mandalay Bay Resort.