Checking out what’s new in Vegas at MGM Resorts

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Las Vegas is constantly evolving, and no one is more attuned to the necessity of making those changes than MGM Resorts International, the company behind such Vegas properties like Mandalay Bay, Aria and Bellagio. Two weeks ago, Bullz-Eye was invited to check out MGM’s latest hotel, the completely renovated Delano Las Vegas, and sample the accommodations, restaurants and nightlife that visitors can expect during their stay. But because there’s a lot more to what MGM Resorts is doing beyond the launch of the Delano to enhance its guest experience, we were invited back this past weekend to witness first-hand some of the newer additions that have helped transform Las Vegas into a destination that’s more about luxury than gambling.

In fact, MGM has seen a major shift over the last 10 to 15 years in how important things like food, entertainment, pools and nightclubs have become for the typical Vegas visitor, to the point that casino gaming now only makes up about 30% of its business. That’s a pretty remarkable statistic for a city where gambling used to be its bread and butter, but it just goes to show why MGM is striving to stay ahead of the curve in addressing the priorities of its guests, and they’ve done an amazing job so far. This may have been my first visit to Sin City, but after discovering all the cool things it has to offer, it definitely won’t be my last.

Day One

There’s nothing worse than air travel, especially when you’re forced to deal with unwanted layovers and delays, so by the time I finally arrived in Las Vegas and checked into my room at the hip and swanky Delano, the only thing on my mind was face-planting into the comfy hotel bed for a much-needed nap. But the folks at MGM had invited myself and three other travel writers joining me on the trip to an once-in-a-lifetime cognac dinner at Sage inside Aria, and it was an event not to be missed.

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In addition to a specially crafted five-course menu by Chef Shawn McClain, with Drappier champagne pairings chosen by Director of Wine Kim Wood, we sampled five different cognacs brought by special guest Benedict Hardy, the CEO of Hardy Cognac. Though the menu featured plenty of highlights, including a Fois Gras Custard Brulee, Kobe Skirt Steak Diane and Dark Chocolate Panna Cotta, the chance at tasting some high-end cognacs was a real delight, especially the pre-1870s unblended variation confidently called Perfection, a genuine antique that runs $25,000 bottle (or about $800 a glass), of which only 200 or so remain.

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Delano Las Vegas another feather in the cap for MGM Resorts

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As MGM Resorts continue to expand and modernize their portfolio of properties in Las Vegas, the momentum picks up with the recently launched Delano Las Vegas. Bullz-Eye visited the new resort recently and found out exactly what the hype was all about with the Delano opening her doors in Vegas. With its all-suite boutique offering, Delano Las Vegas (which is the same building as the former The Hotel) brings the effortless style and unparalleled service of the original Delano South Beach to the energy and buzz of the Las Vegas Strip.

When you first enter the Delano Las Vegas, you know there is something different about this hotel, from the private and separate entrance from the attached Mandalay Bay resort and Casino, to the natural desert fixtures welcoming you to the true desert resort. This all-suite oasis features rooms with a clean color palette of whites and neutrals, like the 725 square-foot king suite, which incorporates Delano’s iconic window sheers, crisp white linens and oversized tufted headboards, updated with playful gold accents for a bold and modern touch. Each suite features a private bedroom with a king-sized bed, a spacious spa-style bath and separate living room with its own powder room. Clean and neat is measured to the max and we appreciated the understated luxury that was very cool without trying too hard.

We started most days at the 3940 coffee and tea joint on the lobby floor. Inspired by the shaded area of a sun-drenched desert, 3940 is a comfortable retreat featuring mid-century modern furniture, plush sofas and communal seating. The ceiling’s unique lighting features cast a patterned glow to the comfortable surroundings, where we lounged and unwound by the marble fireplace or in the alluring living room. The menu is perfect for a quick bite or refreshing beverage and one can enjoy one of their many artisanal teas, freshly squeezed juices and signature coffees, or perhaps sample one of the signature menu items such as our Breakfast Burrito and Ham & Brie Paninis. The granola with yogurt was superb and was a smart healthy option.

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The exciting Mandalay Bay transformation is now underway

There is plenty of buzz in Las Vegas around the transformation taking place at Mandalay Bay. Bullz-Eye had the opportunity to learn about the many facets of this exciting undertaking from Chuck Bowling, President & COO of Mandalay Bay during our Mlife experience in April.

Yes, Mandalay Bay is currently undergoing its first major property-wide transformation since opening in 1999, from the premiere of Cirque du Soleil’s Michael Jackson ONE to the debut of the Delano Las Vegas, a new all-suite boutique hotel within the resort. The 120-acre resort is collaborating with brands such as Morgans Hotel Group, Cirque, The Light Group and Four Seasons to create a totally new experience for its guests.

Some of the highlights include:

· Delano Las Vegas – Later this year, Mandalay Bay and Morgans Hotel Group will begin the transformation of THEhotel at Mandalay Bay into Delano Las Vegas, a new all-suite hotel scheduled to open in early 2014 that will embody the soul of Delano South Beach with Vegas flair.

· Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas – Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas, located on floors 35-39 of Mandalay Bay, began the year with a complete renovation of all 424 guest rooms and suites inspired in part by the vibrant Art Deco period. This spring, Four Seasons also introduced Press, a new indoor/outdoor lobby bar that creates an energetic social hub that evolves from espressos in the morning to draft beers and wine at night.

· Michael Jackson ONE by Cirque du Soleil – June 29, the resort will debut Michael Jackson ONE, a permanent Cirque du Soleil production that will bring to life the King of Pop’s music while celebrating his worldwide legacy.

· LIGHT Nightclub – Memorial Day Weekend, Mandalay Bay will unveil LIGHT Nightclub by The Light Group, a venue that combines the imagination and artistry of Cirque du Soleil with a roster of top DJs in the world. Designed to bring a unique, memorable experience each evening, LIGHT will tantalize senses with state-of-the-art production and theatrics.

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