'Evolution' in Mandalay Bay refurb

By JoAnna Haugen
Mandalay Bay TheHotelMandalay Bay hosts thousands of conference and convention attendees each year, but a lack of nightlife and entertainment have kept the property from being an all-in-one resort destination for the average visitor.

An extensive transformation currently under way at the property aims to change that.

Mandalay Bay has entered into new partnerships with leading hospitality brands to alter the face of the resort through a massive renewal going on through 2014.

"This isn't about a one-time renovation," said Chuck Bowling, president and COO of the resort. "This is about an evolution and a transformation of Mandalay Bay over the next 18 to 24 months."

Changes at the resort began taking place earlier this year with the renovation of 424 rooms of the Four Seasons Hotel, a boutique property located on floors 35 to 39 of Mandalay Bay. The hotel's redesign was inspired in part by the art deco period with interiors reflecting a stylish, modern feel. Its new indoor/outdoor lobby bar, Press, will open this spring.

Mandalay Bay Citizens KitchenThe Light Group, a hospitality development and management company, recently relaunched Red Square, a popular restaurant that had closed last year. Its menu features contemporary American favorites infused with Russian influences; several easy-to-share plates include tuna tartare, chicken Kiev with bacon Brussels sprouts and an extensive selection of caviar. The Light Group also opened Citizens Kitchen & Bar, a restaurant with contemporary American comfort fare, in January.

In the coming months, Mandalay Bay's guests will see other significant changes in accommodations, entertainment, nightlife and dining, as well.

The resort's all-suite property known as TheHotel is being completely redone through a partnership with Morgans Hotel Group to introduce the Delano brand to Las Vegas. Delano will offer the intimate boutique experience for which TheHotel is known, but common areas are expected to be more energetic and social-centric. All 1,100 suites in the property will be redesigned beginning this fall and are scheduled to open in early 2014.

Though the resort's event center and House of Blues music hall attract concerts and events, Mandalay Bay has been missing a permanent show for quite some time. This, too, will be remedied in 2013, with the introduction of "Michael Jackson One."

"We were fortunate to sit down and partner with the creative genius of Cirque du Soleil and combine that with the greatest entertainer of all time, Michael Jackson," Bowling said.

With a grand opening on June 29, "One" will showcase Jackson's music while celebrating his career and legacy.

"It's impossible not to get excited about having a show like 'Michael Jackson One' here," he said.

Mandalay Bay Light Nightclub renderingCirque du Soleil will also be partnering with the Light Group to introduce the Light Nightclub, which will open at the end of this month. The club will have top-tier production and theatrical elements, and residencies will include electronic musicians Skrillex and Swedish House Mafia's Sebastian Ingrosso.

"We were missing that element of great nightlife, and we're going to solve that problem soon with Light," Bowling said.

During daytime hours, guests can dip their toes into the water at the Daylight Beach Club, which opens Memorial Day weekend in time for the 2013 summer season. This 5,000-person, 50,000-square-foot day club will feature a pool with three wet decks and lots of flexible outdoor space.

While the resort may have been lacking in entertainment and nightlife, it has always been home to a handful of noteworthy chefs, including Michael Mina, Hubert Keller, Sue Feniger and Wolfgang Puck. Citizen's Kitchen & Bar and Red Square may be new on the Mandalay Bay scene, but with the property's makeover, new attention will be placed upon existing restaurants — Border Grill, Fleur, Lupo and Burger Bar, among others — and the chefs are ready for the publicity by adding a variety of new offerings to their menus. In addition, the Light Group is expected to add a Japanese concept to its dining portfolio later this spring.

A propertywide revitalization project like this one is not simple to execute, but working and collaborating with partners who shared the overall vision for Mandalay Bay was essential, Bowling said.

"It started with a great master plan, and then we made sure that each one of those components worked with each other," he said.

With this revolutionary project in the works, Bowling said any visitor to Las Vegas will find something of interest at the property.

"It's not just one hotel making one offering to a single type of guest," he said. "When people come to Las Vegas, they like having everything at their fingertips, and Mandalay Bay is going to be better positioned to do that in 2013 and 2014 than it has been in quite some time."

Visit www.mandalaybay.com.
 
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