Checking in at Vegas' new boutique hotels

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The Nobu Villa.
The Nobu Villa.

Las Vegas' hotels are in a constant state of flux, and every new property adds a new personality to the mix. Delano Las Vegas, the Cromwell and Nobu Hotel are three of the new, boutique-style hotels on the Strip, and they are each different in what they offer visitors. Sometimes the best way to check out new properties out is to simply check in ... and so that's what I did.

Delano Las Vegas

One-of-a-kind twist: Complimentary infused water in the lobby.

Though the Delano's primary entrance is through the Mandalay Bay parking garage, walking into the hotel, I couldn't help but feel relaxed. Where other Las Vegas hotels tend to be loud, crowded and overwhelming, the Delano Las Vegas is impressively quiet, spacious and low-key.

A guestroom at the Delano Las Vegas, located within Mandalay Bay.
A guestroom at the Delano Las Vegas, located within Mandalay Bay. Photo Credit: JoAnna Haugen

And as grossly overthemed as some properties are, the Delano has embraced the desert landscape of the Southwest. A 126,000-pound boulder retrieved from the Mojave Desert adorns the entryway, and a color palette of white, tan and brown is accented with stones and pieces of wood in the lobby.

Even the hallway leading to the two-room king suite is desert-inspired, with a carpet runner that looks like a stream and photos from the surrounding natural area.

It took no time at all for me and my husband to make ourselves at home in the suite. Opening the curtains revealed floor-to-ceiling windows, and the abundance of natural sunlight made the space feel light and airy, but it was the room's detailed touches that caught my attention. I adored the ice bucket, which was shaped like Franklin Delano Roosevelt's hat box, and a quirky postcard propped up on the pillow of the bed that read: "I like work: It fascinates me. I can sit and look at it for hours."

Though Mandalay Bay is hidden just a few steps down a hallway, the Delano has its own spa and food options. I thoroughly enjoyed Della's Kitchen, where I ordered a delicious breakfast burrito, and Franklin, which serves as the hotel's lobby bar, lounge and nightlife area all rolled into one.

The chief complaint thus far at the Delano has been about the pillows, which many visitors say are too hard. General Manager Matthew Chilton responded to this criticism, saying he appreciates guest feedback and the property is "in the process of replacing the existing pillows in all ... rooms to a softer alternative."

However, I slept comfortably at the Delano, and, in the morning, after grabbing a cup of coffee from 3940, the property's coffee shop, we walked through the serene, quiet lobby and back into the chaos of Las Vegas feeling a bit more refreshed.

A Cromwell suite lounge bar.
A Cromwell suite lounge bar.

The Cromwell

One-of-a-kind twist: A beverage bar located by the elevator on every floor with complimentary coffee and tea all day.

In many ways, the Cromwell is a classic Las Vegas casino resort, but with only 188 rooms, on a much smaller, more personal scale.

Our experience started with pulling up to valet parking, because there's no self-parking available. Steps from the valet is the intimate lobby area with a desk manned by customer service employees who also serve as the concierge. These employees, like all others we met over the course of our stay, greeted us with a smile and were attentive and sincere.

Our seventh-floor, king-size room was lavish noir with dark wood and rich fabrics, and I was instantly drawn to the vintage touches such as the side tables made from suitcases, a retro radio and an old-school chess set that doubled as a table in the small corner sitting area.

A floor-to-ceiling mirror near the bed was a welcome touch as we prepared to go out for the evening, but -- future guests, take note -- we discovered with the bathroom lights on and the bedroom lights off, it was actually a two-way mirror, giving those in the bedroom a view into the shower.

In addition to a casino floor, the Cromwell is home to Bound, a cocktail lounge where General Manager Karie Hall hosts a cocktail hour for guests from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and Giada De Laurentiis' first restaurant, Giada, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner with an exquisite view on the corner of Flamingo Road and Las Vegas Boulevard.

The vanity in a Cromwell hotel room.
The vanity in a Cromwell hotel room. Photo Credit: JoAnna Haugen

One of the best things about the Cromwell is its location, and after a satisfying dinner at Giada, we took a nighttime stroll to nearby properties located mid-Strip before heading back to our room to crash for the night. Our room was dark, and we fell asleep easily but soon awoke to the pumping bass of Drai's, the Cromwell's nightclub located on the top floor of the property. For hours, the loud music pounded through our room, rattling the bottles in our mini fridge. (Hall acknowledged that, while many of the upper rooms offer fantastic views of the Strip, they are in close proximity to the nightclub. "For guests impacted by noise level, we recommend requesting a lower floor," she said.)

I left the Cromwell feeling unrested and wouldn't eagerly return for another night's attempt at sleep, but for those who want to hit up the Strip's nightlife experiences, this may be the ideal Strip property: not too overwhelming, small enough to offer quality service and amenities and perfectly situated to explore all that's happening in the heart of Las Vegas Boulevard.

The exterior of Giada at the Cromwell, the first restaurant by Food Network personality Giada De Laurentiis.
The exterior of Giada at the Cromwell, the first restaurant by Food Network personality Giada De Laurentiis.

Nobu Hotel

One-of-a-kind twist: In-room dining menu from famed chef Nobu Matsuhisa, including several breakfast items.

If we weren't looking for it, we would have walked right past the Nobu Hotel's front desk. The hotel's lobby area is located in the heart of Caesars Palace, tucked away off a walkway linking the two areas of the resort's casino. It consists of one small desk and a bank of three elevators, and the welcome we received was warm and genuine, not at all like one sometimes experienced at big casino resorts.

Though it is very much located within Caesars Palace, the Nobu Hotel is a property all its own. The front desk employees also serve as concierge, happily answering questions I had about dinner plans and additional amenities, such as complimentary morning coffee and tea served in a communal lounge. After showing us how to use the room key to operate the high-tech elevators, we were on our way to the room.

This is the world's first Nobu Hotel opened by chef Nobu Matsuhisa, and it embodies a clean, welcoming vibe.

A Nobu King room with a view.
A Nobu King room with a view.

The accommodations were roomy, with woven and wooden touches throughout. I loved the sitting area right under the window, which provided an awesome view of the Strip. The spacious bathroom had deep bowl sinks and an open, tiled shower.

It was comfortable and inviting, but we had dinner reservations at Nobu, the restaurant, which is located right off the small reception area. The restaurant can also be entered from Caesars Palace so, unlike the Delano, there isn't a restaurant or lounge that belongs strictly to the Nobu Hotel, but its design, which closes off several of the tables into private dining areas, makes it feel removed from the casino resort.

Though guests certainly don't have to dine at Nobu while staying at the hotel, it certainly helps bring the entire experience together. After a long, leisurely meal (made complete with the restaurant's famous jalapeno yellowtail dish), we headed back up to the room, where we hunkered down on the sofa for a comfortable evening in.

Evening bled into the nighttime hours, and the room at the Nobu Hotel wrapped me up like a warm, dark, quiet blanket when I finally fell into bed.

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