The part of Las Vegas where most visitors on vacation, including those traveling with their families, wind up staying, is the Las Vegas Strip. In addition to the superior accommodations, casinos and nightlife, this is the area where the vast majority of the popular tourist attractions are concentrated and where some of the biggest names in entertainment perform. The Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino is the southernmost major casino hotel on the Strip. This location offers the major advantage of being much closer to the airport than most of the Strip hotels. So regardless of whether your mode of transportation is shuttle bus, limo, or taxi, your ride will be faster and cheaper. The disadvantage is that with the exception of the two adjoining hotels, Luxor and the Excalibur, and a few others that are in walking distance, you are somewhat cut off from another hubbub of activity in the center of the Strip. While access is certainly feasible, it is not as convenient as it would be from a hotel that is more centrally located.
On the other hand, Mandalay Bay is no ordinary hotel. Its outstanding amenities more than make up for any inconvenience you might experience due to its location. As a luxury resort, it is certainly not one of the least expensive places to stay on the Strip. But it is not the most expensive either, and particularly during the off season, you can get special deals for a lot less money than you would expect. Mandalay Bay is also surprisingly family-friendly.
When planning a vacation with your kids, few activities can match the fun of frolicking on the beach. While all of the major hotels on the Las Vegas Strip have pools, Mandalay Bay is the only one with a sandy beach and surf, too!
Even if you have never stepped foot inside Mandalay Bay, you have probably seen pictures of it on TV or in the movies. The hotel has been used as a setting on the TV shows "CSI" and "Top Chef" and in the movies "Rocky Balboa" and "Ocean's Thirteen."
Once you see this magnificent resort in person, you will be even more impressed. But you may find it hard to believe that between 1956 and 1996, a very modest hotel and casino called the Hacienda stood on the very same location. When the Hacienda was first built, it only contained 256 rooms, but over the years, it expanded to 1,140 rooms. Circus-Circus Enterprises purchased the property in 2005 for $80 million, only to close it down a year later and then implode it. The Hacienda was imploded on 12/31/96 to enable a new project that at the time was called Project Paradise. In March, 1999, the new 43 story hotel, which was renamed Mandalay Bay, finally opened, after an expenditure of $950 million.
The Mandalay Bay Convention Center opened in January, 2003, and in December of that same year, a boutique hotel called THEhotel at Mandalay, was added. Its 1,117 rooms brought the total number at the hotel up to 4,752.
Mandalay Bay was the newest of a trio of adjacent casino hotels all owned by Circus Circus Enterprises. Therefore, a sky bridge was built in 2004 to connect the Mandalay Bay property to the Luxor Hotel and Casino situated just north of it. The Luxor was already connected to another casino hotel to its immediate north, the Excalibur. However, in April, 2005, the MGM Mirage Company bought all three casino hotels--Mandalay Bay, Luxor, and Excalibur--from Circus Circus Enterprises, for $7.9 billion and renamed the three adjoining casino resorts the Mandalay Resort Group.
While Mandalay Bay is a complete resort with plenty of activities for the whole family, most guests will also want to venture out of the hotel to see what the other nearby places on the Strip have to offer. Going back and forth between the Mandalay Bay and the Luxor and Excalibur is easy because the hotels are all connected. A free tram running every few minutes (reportedly between 9 a.m. and 12:30 a.m. daily but double check hours to be certain) can take you from Mandalay Bay to either the Luxor (the first stop) or to the Excalibur. However, going back, keep in mind that the southbound tram from the Excalibur goes directly to Mandalay Bay, bypassing the Luxor. So if you want to visit both the Luxor and Excalibur and are taking the tram, it is best to go to the Luxor first. Otherwise, to get from the Excalibur to the Luxor by tram, you will have to go to Mandalay Bay first and then take the tram back in the opposite direction. Or you can simply use the indoor walkway which will take you in either direction between the Luxor and the Excalibur. Another alternative to the tram is the pedestrian bridge connecting Mandalay Bay to the Luxor. The Excalibur is the easiest hotel to use as a starting point to other casino hotels. There is a pedestrian bridge that connects the Excalibur to New York-New York to the north and to the Tropicana on the other side of the Strip, and the MGM Grand is a very short walk from the Tropicana.
Taxi is the fastest, but most expensive way to get to the center Strip. Alternatively, you can either take the Deuce bus or walk to the tram station at the MGM Grand from the Excalibur (a long walk, but you won't have to contend with the traffic on the Strip). The tram makes stops at several mid-Strip casino hotels.
If luxurious accommodations are important to you, Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino is an excellent choice. Even the most modest rooms at this hotel are 550 square feet, considerably larger than the standard rooms at many other Las Vegas hotels. Or, if you want really spacious accommodations, there are more than 500 suites to choose from, the smallest of which is 690 square feet and the largest over 6,600 square feet. The cheerful décor and stylish bold statement furnishings, plush bedding, and abundant amenities, should make staying at the Mandalay Bay Resort an absolute pleasure. While naturally, the most luxurious accommodations are very expensive, the rooms and smaller suites are surprisingly affordable. The following are a few examples of the the kinds of rooms or suites that might appeal to you.
Resort Queen Room - 550 square feet
This room contains two queen sized beds with a Simmons pillow top mattress. (There is also a Resort King Room that is the same size but with just one king sized bed.) The description of the room on the website states that the room accommodates up to 4 guests, but it is not clear if a sofa bed is provided or if an extra bed must be requested. An extra fee is assessed for any extra beds or cribs that must be brought to a room. In addition to the beds, the Resort Rooms contain the following amenities:
- Seating for three people
- Floor-to-ceiling windows with Strip, beach, or mountain view
- Lighted closets
- 42" LED TV
- Alarm clock radio with USB port and Bluetooth capacity
- TV media hub, including multiple charging and connection outlets
- Complimentary Wi-Fi
- Fully stocked mini-bar and coffee maker
- Cordless phone
- Iron and ironing board
- Luxurious bathroom with separate glass-enclosed shower and soaking tub. Additional bathroom amenities include makeup mirror, hair dryer, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, soap, lotion, Q-tips, and cotton balls
The average cost of this room, as shown on the website (not including any extra beds and resort fee and tax) is $56-$80 per night, which seems very reasonable. This room would probably be adequate for two adults and one child. However, if you have a larger family, you will need two rooms or suite. The Panoramic 2 Bedroom Queen, described below, seems like a good option.
Panoramic 2 Bedroom Queen - 1,450 square feet
This 2 bedroom suite with views of the Las Vegas skyline can accommodate up to six guests. One bedroom has a king bed and the other has two queen beds. There is also a separate living room and dining area and a private bath for each bedroom. In addition to all of the amenities described above for the Resort Rooms, the Panoramic 2 Bedroom Queen offers the following:
- Two 46" LED TVs, one in each bedroom
- Seating area for up to 11 people
- 15" in-mirror LED TV in each bathroom
The website lists the average cost of this 2 bedroom suite (not including resort fee and tax) as $265/night. Although larger, more extravagant suites (for more money) are also available, they are primarily designed for guests entertaining large groups of people and way beyond what you would need for your family.
Deluxe Accessible Queen Room or Accessible Deluxe Queen with Roll-in Shower - 550 square feet
Guests who are handicapped, as well as anyone with short stature or limited reaching capacity will appreciate these wheelchair friendly rooms in which the toilets, towel racks, closet rods, and drapery and thermostat controls are all lower. These rooms are no more expensive than the regular rooms. A limited number of wheelchairs are available for rental from the Bell Desk on a first come first served basis at a cost of $15 for 1-2 days. Scooters are also available for $45/day.
Special Deals on Mandalay Bay Hotel
Mandalay Bay Resort offers special discounts to AAA and AARP members and active members of the military. In addition, at different times during the year other special offers may be available, but only to those who book online. For example, the Winter Offer, which is currently in effect, includes a food and beverage credit of $100. The offer is subject to availability and excludes certain blackout dates. There is a maximum of four guests per room, but the quoted rates are for single or double occupancy, with an additional charge of $35 for each extra guest. There is also a two night minimum stay. The offer must be booked by and is valid through 3/31/16.
Another similar offer called Resortist Recipes is for $75 food and beverage credit. That offer must be booked by 1/31/16 but is valid through 4/30/16.
Nonsmoking and /or handicapped accessible rooms can be assigned on request. But surprisingly, there is no indication that any of the aforementioned accommodations at Mandalay Bay include a refrigerator. Also, there is no mention anywhere on the website what this hotel's policy is with regard to providing extra beds or cribs if needed. It is hard to imagine that a hotel of this caliber would not provide such basic amenities on request. Inquire on availability and extra costs before you make your reservation.
The best person to contact regarding any special requests, as well as any questions or concerns during your stay, is the concierge. The concierge can also help you with dining reservations, show tickets, and tour reservations. There is a concierge on duty daily from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. The direct phone numbers for the concierge are 1-877-305-3166 and 1-702-632-4760.
Keep in mind that the quoted room rates are for single or double occupancy. There is an additional charge of $35 for each additional person (including children) in the room. In addition, all Mandalay Bay guests are charged a mandatory daily resort fee of $33.60 ($32.48 plus tax), which covers the following services and amenities:
- High speed wireless Internet service in rooms and public areas
- Cardio center access (located on the beach level)
- Daily newspaper
- Unlimited local and toll-free phone calls
- Outgoing faxes
- Notary services
- Complimentary airline boarding pass
The normal check-in time is 3 p.m. However, if the guest's room or suite is ready, early check-in is permitted. The normal check-out time is 11 a.m. If late check-out is desired, it can be requested from the front desk on the morning of departure, and an effort will be made to accommodate you.
Delano Las Vegas
Another option for guests who would like to take advantage of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino amenities is to book a suite at the Delano Las Vegas. Delano Las Vegas is a luxury 43-story all suite tower that is part of the Mandalay Bay Resort complex. The entire hotel is smoke-free. The smallest suites are 725 square feet, cost about $100, and offer the following special amenities:
- Separate living room area
- Floor-to-ceiling windows with Strip, beach, or mountain views
- Two Samsung LCD HD TVs, including a 46" TV in the bedroom and a 55" TV in the living room
- TV media hub in living room and charging and connection outlets
- High speed wireless Internet
- In-room dining option
- Wet bar and fully stocked mini-bar with a personal refrigerator storage section
- Bedside stereo system with docking and charging outlets
- Dual closet armoire
- 1 and a half baths
- Bath amenities include marble and granite surfaces, separate glass enclosed shower and soaking tub, twin vanities with backlit make-up mirror, and 2 plush robes
Or you can reserve a more spacious 1,142 square feet suite with the same amenities but two separate bedrooms for under $300/night. The larger bedroom contains two queen beds, and the smaller bedroom contains 1 king bed.
Check-in time is 3 p.m. and check-out time is 11 a.m., the same as for Mandalay Bay guests. However, the hotel will try to accommodate requests for early check-in or late check-out. All guests are charged a daily resort fee of $33.60.
Four Seasons Hotel
Yet another option for families wishing to take advantage of the Mandalay Bay Resort facilities is to stay at the Four Seasons hotel, which is actually an extension of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, but with a separate entrance at 3960 S. Las Vegas Blvd. All of the rooms and suites at the Four Seasons are located on the 35th through 39th floors so the view is exceptional. But the main reason for choosing this hotel is that it goes out of its way to cater to families. Unlike the other rooms at the resort complex, every room at the Four Seasons hotel comes already equipped with at least one rollaway bed or crib. In fact, some of the suites include a sofa bed, two rollaway beds, and a crib, so they are large enough for a family with three or four kids. Furthermore, if you let the hotel know the names and ages of your children ahead of time, there will be special welcome gifts waiting for each child on arrival.
Guests at the Four Seasons Hotel also have to pay a daily resort fee of $33.60, but have full access to the Mandalay Beach and other resort facilities. While check-in and check-out times are more strictly enforced than for Mandalay Bay guests, check-out time at the Four Seasons Hotel is an hour later, 12 noon instead of 11 a.m.
Expect to pay considerably more for a room or suite at the Four Seasons hotel than comparable accommodations at the Mandalay Bay or Delano. Superior rooms (the cheapest accommodations) run close to $200/night. while deluxe rooms run close to $300/night, and this is before adding taxes and resort fees. However, even at this very expensive hotel, money saving deals are possible.
For example, the Vegas Escape offer includes 20% off on the room rate for stays of two nights or longer in a Deluxe Room or higher accommodations through March 31, 2016. Or if your stay is going to be at least three nights, you might consider the "Stay Longer Third Night Free" offer. For every two nights (Sundays through Wednesdays only) you stay in a one bedroom suite or higher level accommodations, you receive a third night free! Applicable taxes, service charges, and resort fees are extra on both of these deals.
All of the regular and discounted accommodation rates described above apply to the general public. However, Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino is one of the many casino properties belonging to the MGM-Mirage group of casinos. Therefore, if you are already a rated player at Mandalay Bay or any of the other member casinos, there is a very good chance that you will be able to stay for considerably less money or possibly even at no cost at all. Even if your recent play has been minimal, you may still be on the casino's mailing list to receive special offers. If you already have a host or feel your play warrants one, contact the appropriate person at least a few weeks in advance of your trip to see what the hotel can do for you. Otherwise, if you have an M Life casino player's card from any member casino (not necessarily Mandalay Bay), even if you have not received any current offers via regular mail or email, contact Card Services. You may be pleasantly surprised.
On the other hand, if you plan to stay at the Mandalay Bay (or Delano or Four Seasons) and don't have an M-Life card as yet, be sure to pick one up as soon as you arrive. Or you can save time and apply online. The card is absolutely free and puts you under no obligation, so there is no reason not to have it. During the course of your stay, you can present it every time you play in any M-Life casino. You can also charge expenses like meals and show tickets to your room and at the time of check-out see if any of those costs can be picked up. You may also receive a small discount on store purchases. Even if your play doesn't qualify you for any comps on the upcoming trip, you will at the very least get on the casino's mailing list for future special offers.
Keeping in mind that because Las Vegas is a vacation destination primarily intended for adults, and therefore none of the hotels cater to children to the extent you might hope, Mandalay Bay Resort is one of the more child-friendly ones. What makes this hotel stand out from all of the rest in terms of appeal to children is probably first and foremost Mandalay Beach. No other hotel in Las Vegas offers anything like it. Mandalay Bay is also home to the world-famous aquarium known as Shark Reef. This Las Vegas must-see attraction will excite children of all ages. More good news is that you won't have to venture far out of your way to find suitable places to eat. While there are several world-class restaurants on the property that are very expensive, there are also several reasonably priced restaurants that would be a good choice for the whole family. While the evening entertainment options are limited, you won't go wrong taking your kids to see ONE, a Michael Jackson tribute show by Cirque du Soleil.
Your kids will also love taking the free tram that goes back and forth between the Mandalay Bay, Luxor, and Excalibur. The Luxor and Excalibur also have a lot to offer children, as do several other casino hotels like New New York - New York and MGM Grand, which are also located near Mandalay Bay. So, as hard as it might be to tear your kids away from the pool and beach, be sure to allow enough time in your schedule to visit these places. The following are some of the family friendly activities that Mandalay Bay itself has to offer.
Mandalay Bay Beach
Mandalay Bay Beach was voted by Trip Advisor as one of the best pools in the U.S. But the Mandalay Bay Beach pool area is much more than a swimming pool. It encompasses four pools surrounded by palm trees, fountains, and waterfalls, including a massive wave pool and a sandy beach consisting of 2,700 tons of real sand. There is also a lazy river, perfect for relaxing on a scorching summer day. Rafts and inner tubes are available for rental, as are daybeds, cabanas, gazebos, bungalows, and villas for guests with deep pockets. But if you don't want to spend the money, there are plenty of chairs and chaise lounges open to all on a first come first served basis. A beachside casino, couple of restaurants and bars, and shops offering such items as sunscreen, sunglasses, T-shirts, swimwear, beach bags, and jewelry complete the scene. In other words, Mandalay Bay Beach is an oasis in the desert where guests of all ages can easily spend a good part of the day.
Cabanas range in prize from $325/day to $1,800/day, depending on location, type, and size, and include the following amenities:
- Dining table and chairs, 2 or 3 deck lounge chairs, and in some cabanas a cushioned love seat
- Refrigerator stored with drinks and ice
- Personal safe
- Ceiling fan
- In-house phone
- 37" LCD TV
- MP3 docking station
If you would like more information or would like to reserve a cabana, gazebo or bungalow for your family, call 1-702-632-7997.
In case you and your family get hungry or thirsty on the beach, the Beach Bar and Grill, open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. seasonally, has an extensive take-out menu including everything from light snacks to full meals. Breakfast is served from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and includes such items as muffins, French toast sticks, and egg and cheese biscuits. The lunch menu is also very family-friendly. For example, your kids can have a hot dog, cheeseburger, or chicken tenders with a side of French fries. Or another good choice would be a BLT, grilled cheese, or PB&J sandwich with a choice of sides. But make sure they also save room for one of the ice cream truck novelties for dessert. Sandwiches cost about $15 and ice cream costs $4. Cabana and gazebo guests can have their orders delivered to them. Otherwise, you can take your food and drinks back to your beach chair.
Another good place for lunch or a snack, also located on the beach level, is Sea Breeze Ice Cream and Juices. This place, which offers sandwiches and salads, along with juice and ice cream, is open Friday-Sunday only from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the pool season.
Mandalay Bay Beach is open seasonally from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The wave pool is restricted to those who are at least 48" tall. This requirement is for the kids' own safety since the waves can be quite high. There are no age or height restrictions for swimming in the lazy river, but children age 13 and under must be accompanied by an adult. There is also one year-round pool on the property, but it is for adults only.
Another must do attraction for anyone staying at the Mandalay Bay Resort is the Shark Reef. In fact, this world-famous aquarium is worth a visit by all Las Vegas visitors regardless of where they are staying. Shark Reef is home to more than 2,000 aquatic creatures, including 15 species of sharks, along with other dangerous aquatic predators. The hours of operation are Sunday-Thursday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (till 10 p.m. in the summer) and Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Admission is $20 for adults, $18 for seniors, and $14 for children ages 4-12. Children age 3 and under are admitted free. Tickets can be purchased online to save waiting time when you get there. The newest exhibit called Sea Monsters Unlimited is the world's largest exhibit of uniquely preserved sea creatures. Optional guided tours for an additional fee, include close-up encounters with sharks, sea turtles, or sting rays as well as an opportunity to feed the animals.
Shoppes at Mandalay Place
While there are several family-friendly places to eat interspersed with the shops (see the section of this article on Restaurants), the shopping itself is far more geared toward adults than children. The following are a few shops you might take a look at with your kids:
- Flip Flop Shops: Flip flops and sandals for the whole family
- Ron Jon Surf Shop: One stop shopping for all of your beach needs
- Las Vegas Sock Market: The name is self-explanatory
- House of Blues Company Store: Merchandise, apparel, and CDs
- MVP: All kinds of sports memorabilia
The prices are high at all of these places. You will probably find more of what you are looking for to get your children at better prices if you shop instead at the Luxor or Excalibur. Also, there is a candy shop among the Shoppes at Mandalay Place called Lick, but it is not recommended for children. Parents who have visited this store with their kids warn that a lot of the candy is adult themed and that the store is inappropriate for young kids. Fortunately, there are two wonderful candy emporiums within walking distance of Mandalay Bay Resort that your kids will love, and so will you: M&Ms World at the MGM Grand and Hershey's World at New York-New York.
Michael Jackson ONE
No matter when you and your family visit Las Vegas, several different long-running Cirque du Soleil shows are almost certain to be playing. You won't go wrong taking your kids to any of these shows (even though your wallet will take a hit) because the music, choreography, acrobatics, and costumes will dazzle audiences of all ages. But luckily for Mandalay Bay guests, one of these shows, Michael Jackson ONE, is the featured entertainment on the premises.
Michael Jackson fans of all ages and even those who are not familiar with his music should thoroughly enjoy this rousing tribute to the King of Pop. Rolling Stone Magazine calls this high energy production "a virtual parade of wow." Your kids will agree wholeheartedly.
Show times are Friday-Tuesday at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Tickets priced from $69 to $160 can be purchased either online or at the box office.
If you time your trip just right, you may be able to catch a special event at one of these other venues.
Special Event Center
This 12,000 seat sports and entertainment complex is the setting for the performances of some of the world's leading music headliners and big TV extravaganzas. Maroon 5 will be performing there New Year's Eve 2016.
Concerts on the Beach
If you will be visiting between May and September, you may be lucky enough to catch one of these concerts. Bring your blanket and sit on the beach while you hear top acts in music perform.
House of Blues
Both legendary bands and up-and-coming musicians perform in this concert hall.
Child-Friendly Activities Nearby
Mandalay Bay Resort clearly offers more than enough activities to keep you and your whole family happily occupied and well entertained over the course of your Vegas vacation within the confines of the property. But even so, it would be a shame not to take advantage of some of the other fun activities that your kids can partake in nearby. Keep in mind that getting to the Luxor and Excalibur is a cinch, and from the Excalibur, New York-New York, MGM Grand, and the Tropicana are also in walking distance. In fact, there is so much to do in and around these five hotels that unless you are staying a week or longer, you won't have time for everything. So pick the activities and entertainment you think your family would like most.
- Bodies: the Exhibition
- The Titanic: the Artifact Exhibition
- The Blue Man Group
- Criss Angel BELIEVE*
- MGM Grand
- M&M's World
- CSI: the Experience
- New York-New York
- Big Apple Roller Coaster and Arcade
- Hershey's Chocolate World
- Zumanity by Cirque du Soleil
- The New ILLUSIONS
* You can see any two of these shows for the special price of $75 (plus service fee) per person. That's just $37.50 per ticket. Simply go to the Luxor or Excalibur Box Office and ask for the Pick Two Entertainment Special
In addition to the activities your whole family will be partaking in together, there will probably be a few occasions when you and your spouse or partner want some alone time, which means that you will need to arrange for childcare. While Mandalay Bay does not offer any childcare on the premises, the hotel recommends Nannies & Housekeepers USA. If you give the go-ahead, the concierge will contact them for you and make the arrangements.
Nannies & Housekeepers USA is a licensed, bonded, and insured service that has received very favorable reviews (including our own review in the article "Recommended Childcare in Las Vegas: Children with Special Needs" elsewhere on this website). All of their nannies have at least two years of experience, are CPR and first-aid certified, and have passed extensive background, reference, and screening checks. Nannies can be requested anytime day or night to come to the hotel to take care of your kids. However, the service may not be within every family's budget. The fixed rate is $45/hour for up to three children, with a four hour minimum. For more information about Nannies & Housekeepers USA, call 1-702-451-0021 or visit their website www.nahusa.com. Or call the concierge at 1-877-305-3136 to book the service on your behalf.
Alternatively, if the Nannies & Housekeepers USA fees are too steep for you, there are other options open to you, including taking your kids to a drop-off center. There are several articles on this website on the subject of Las Vegas childcare which you might find helpful.
You should have no problem feeding your family well at Mandalay Bay Resort. Whether you are looking for a quick snack on the go or a complete meal, you have lots of options, and if you choose wisely, your food and beverage costs at this hotel can be a lot more reasonable than you might think. Also, don't forget that you always have the option to charge meals to your room and see if any of the costs can be picked up based on your play. We already mentioned two seasonal eateries as a good lunch option if you are spending time on the beach. Here are some family-friendly restaurants at the hotel that you might consider that are open year-round.
Raffles Café, open 7 a.m. to 2: 30 p.m., is a convenient and relaxing choice for breakfast or lunch. The view of the beach also makes for a very pleasant ambience. However, it is not cheap. Everything on the menu is a la carte and there is no special pricing for kids. Figure on spending about $25 per person for either breakfast or lunch. The lunch menu contains several items that should appeal to kids, including cheeseburgers, chicken tenders, and sandwiches.
Citizens Kitchen Bar
This 24/7 eatery offers a variety of kid-friendly dishes. For breakfast, your kids can have Bacon, Egg, and Cheese on a Kaiser Roll ($14.50), Belgian Waffles ($15), or Red Velvet Pancakes ($17). For lunch or dinner, kids can have a sandwich, hamburger or cheeseburger ($16-$19) with a choice of shoestring fries, potato salad, pasta salad, or coleslaw.
Finally, we can tell you about a restaurant where children get a break on the price. The Bayside Buffet is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner daily and for brunch Friday through Sunday. Children under age 5 eat free!
Crossroads at House of Blues
Mandalay Bay houses the Las Vegas branch of this popular chain restaurant. Hours of operation are Sunday through Thursday from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 7 a.m. to 12 a.m., so you can go to the House of Blues for any meal you choose. But what makes breakfast at Crossroads a best bet is that it is as kid-friendly and wallet-friendly as any place in town. In addition to the sizeable regular menu, there is a special Kids Menu for children ages 12 and under. At many places in Las Vegas, each person's breakfast, including those of your kids, will easily cost more than $20. Not at Crossroads if your kids have bargain-priced entrees like Kids Pancakes for $4.99, Kids French Toast, Cheese Omelet, or "Mini Waffles of Love" for $5.99, or a combo of pancakes, scrambled eggs, and bacon, or sausage for $6.99.
Also, if your Vegas vacation at the Mandalay Bay includes a Sunday, by all means treat your family to the House of Blues Gospel Brunch. You will have to shell out $40 per person, but you won't regret it because it includes both an all you can eat Southern style buffet and very entertaining gospel singing. Show times are 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Come hungry because in addition to traditional breakfast fare, the lavish spread includes other hearty traditional Southern cuisine favorites like fried chicken, biscuits and country gravy, macaroni and cheese, and jambalaya. After all that food, your family might not have room for dessert: bread pudding, brownies, and cookies.
Slice of Vegas
This pizza place at the Shoppes at Mandalay Place is open daily from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Despite the name of the place, the pizza is N.Y. style with a thin crust. The 1-inch size costs $14.95, and the 18-inch size costs $22.95. Toppings are extra.
The Burger Bar, also located at the Shoppes at Mandalay Place, is open Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. All of your burger cravings can be satisfied at this joint; just don't expect to pay McDonald's prices. (For that, you will actually find a McDonalds at the Luxor or Excalibur). But if you choose to eat here, your kids will surely like the the American Classic (Angus beef with American cheese, bacon, tomato, and onion) on a sesame bun, for $15.40. Or you can customize your burger with any type of meat, bun, toppings, and sides you want. Milkshakes in vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry, or in specialty flavors like Nutella and Pink Monkey, cost $8.75.
The Noodle Shop
Don't be misled by the name. The Noodle Shop, open Sunday-Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 12:30 a.m., serves a lot more than noodles. It is a traditional Chinese restaurant which not only has an extensive regular menu, but a special kids menu! Children ages 12 and under can order any of the following dishes for just $8.99:Orange Chicken Chicken Chow Mein Pork/Chicken Fried Rice Chicken Satay
All children's meals come with a small soft drink, an egg roll, and fried sesame balls.
Summing Up: Is the Mandalay Bay Resort Child-Friendly?
Mandalay Bay is probably more child-friendly than most of the hotels on the Las Vegas Strip. The best time to go would be during the warmer months so your whole family can swim and soak up the sun on Mandalay Bay Beach. The Shark Reef is another unique feature that guests of any age can enjoy. As for family-friendly meals and entertainment, between this property and the surrounding hotels, there is plenty to choose from, so there is no need to take expensive taxi rides to other parts of the Strip. Furthermore, this is a hotel whose management not only cares about the comfort of its guests, but also the safety and well-being of its youngest guests. No childcare is offered on the premises, but the concierge can assist you in procuring top quality care. However, the Mandalay Bay Resort is not for everyone. The following are the main considerations that would probably rule out this hotel for some families.
- It is relatively expensive. Also, you must add to the already high cost, $35 per day for each child in the room and an additional $33.60 per day in resort fees. There are other places to stay on the Las Vegas Strip that are more affordable.
- The resort is huge. So even getting from one area of the property to another will entail a lot of walking, and there will be more walking if you want to use the trams and passageways to other hotels. If anyone in your family has a health problem or physical limitations, navigating these distances could be a challenge.
- While with a little effort, you can keep the cost of your meals at this hotel within reason, the fast food places are exorbitantly priced.
- The hotel is at the far southern end of the Strip. While this is an advantage in terms of proximity to the airport, it is a disadvantage if you want to experience some of what the more centrally located hotels have to offer.
On the other hand, if luxury accommodations are important to you, and the extra cost and walking are not a problem, you and your family will probably be very happy staying at Mandalay Bay. The services and amenities are of such a high caliber that you might not want to leave, but whenever you do decide on a change of scenery, there are other South Strip casino hotels in the immediate vicinity where your kids can also have fun.