Backstory Vegas regulars will recognize Mandalay Bay’s gleaming, 43-story gold tower from its previous (unGoogleable) incarnation as THEhotel. But since a major rebranding and renovation, completed last September, this all-suite hotel-within-a-hotel has been the western outpost of South Beach’s sleek Delano hotel.
Design Notes Located at the southernmost end of the Strip, the sophisticated styling here feels much more inspired by the minimalism of the nearby desert than the tacky glitz of neighboring resorts. Upon entering the foyer, you’ll pass between the two halves of a 126,000-pound metaquartzite boulder found in the Mojave Desert, and then you’ll walk along a carpet inspired by an aerial photograph of the winding Colorado River. Enormous columns made from perfectly draped sheer white fabric and a soundtrack of dance beats will remind you that you are still in Vegas.
Best Place to Hang Out The lobby craft-cocktail lounge, Franklin (get it?), is designed to evoke fireflies in the night sky, with hundreds of tiny twinkling lights dangling overhead. Cocktail names pay homage to either the hotel’s presidential namesake (such as the D’Ussé cognac–based New Deal and the Mr. Hyde, which takes its name from FDR’s hometown of Hyde Park, New York) or the Delano’s Miami origins (such as the Mojito Cubano and the South Beach Sunrise).
Hot Dish Like any Vegas resort worth its salt, the Delano boasts a celebrity chef: multiple-Michelin-starred Monegasque maestro Alain Ducasse is set to open a brand new spot on the 43rd floor this fall. But the hotel’s biggest culinary surprise is Della’s Kitchen, a homey farm-to-table bistro that sources ingredients from area hydroponic farms and the hotel’s own greenhouse. A menu highlight, and one that stands in stark contrast to the over-the-top offerings you’ll find up and down the rest of the Strip, is the simply prepared toasted cheese sandwich with tomato soup—as the menu notes, FDR’s favorite dish.