Las Vegas Sun

November 21, 2017

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First look: Miami vibe heads to the Strip with all-suite, desert-themed Delano Las Vegas


Christopher DeVargas

Matthew Chilton, general manager of Delano Las Vegas, shows a rendering of what the newly designed hotel will look like Wednesday, April 30, 2014. Delano Las Vegas, a South Beach-style hotel experience, will have its grand opening in September.

Preview of the Delano

A first look at the guest suites at Delano Las Vegas, Wednesday April 30, 2014. Delano Las Vegas, a South Beach style hotel experience, will have its grand opening in September of 2014. Launch slideshow »

The magical vibe of Miami’s hip and chic South Beach is moving to the Strip as Mandalay Bay converts its tower The Hotel into the stunning Delano all-suite boutique hotel with the Mojave Desert in its backyard as its signature theme rather than the often cold and murky waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

This morning, Mandalay Bay President Chuck Bowling and Delano General Manager Matthew Chilton revealed that construction has begun on the transformation and provided final renderings. The Hotel sign will come down the second week of June, and the Delano sign goes up in August.

I love the Picasso quote hanging over the initial construction wall: “Every act of creation is first an act of destruction.”

The execs predict that the 1,117 suites spread over 37 floors will be made over and ready to take guests as of Sept. 1, with a grand gala opening two or three weeks later. Reservations began today at

The ambitious reconstruction will proceed rapidly at the rate of two or three floors each week to avoid any major room closures during the makeover. However, Mix atop The Hotel at Mandalay Bay will shut early winter and then reopen next year as new Alain Ducasse Italian-Mediterranean bistro Rivea.

Alain says it’s inspired from his many years of visits to the food markets of Italy and Provence in the south of France. “Rivea will feature the flavors and colors of the Riviera in a smart, vibrant and casual setting,” he says.

Lobby bars, cafes, hallways and gathering places also will shut for a week or two at a time as the majestic wonders of the Mojave are delivered. Just like in the Miami parent, Delano Las Vegas will have dynamic social spaces filled with a high-energy, playful atmosphere blended with eclectic details and facilities.

At the new, expansive, stone-and-wood-slatted gate entranceway, expect to see a huge desert boulder hewn in half that sets the tone as the new property’s signature element. There will be as many photos of that going up on Twitter and Instagram as there will be this summer of the High Roller at the Linq.

The striking walkway from there starts with an oversized etched wooden doorway framing the stone floor and towering columns wrapped in signature Delano white sheers and oversized mirrors. Stunning artwork made up of small rocks suspended from the ceilings with other rock sculptures will lure guests further into the luxurious and gorgeous experience.

A new culinary destination, known for the moment as an urban kitchen, will be constructed steps from the marbled lobby. Executive chef Susan Wolfla says it will serve “desert-sustainable cuisine” with an essence of “historic farmhouse meets urban kitchen.” Its name will be designated this summer.

In the sleek, modern and redone suites — now nine years old — it will be “absolute luxury” with iconic Delano window sheers, white linens and oversized tufted headboards. Photography of seductive underwater scenes inspired by South Beach action and excitement will decorate the walls. Standard rooms boast one of the highest square-foot spaces of any Strip hotel at 725 square feet.

The one-bedroom suites include 46-inch flat-screen TVs, spa-styled baths and a separate powder room for the ladies. Artwork throughout the guestroom corridors will depict classic desert roadside scenes. Set against deep blue-gray tones, there’s a hushed and mysterious aura that contrasts with the bright, airy mood of the suites as guests make their entrance.

I’ve always marveled at the Delano in Miami being able to move the daytime social party scene around its pool. Delano Las Vegas gets its own private look-alike version of that laid-back lifestyle just steps from the sand and surf of Mandalay Bay Beach. It will be open in time for the next spring season.

The Delano also will have its own bathhouse spa that will include the “Double the Pleasure Massage” performed in synchronized sweeps of the body by two therapists simultaneously. I’ll say no more!

Chuck says the debut of the boutique hotel will mark the end of Mandalay’s property-wide evolution with its new restaurants, nightclubs, theater attractions and massive convention space expansion announced last week.

“This will be a very special destination,” Matthew told me. “ The Delano is a brand well known to East Coast and South America travelers. Whereas our major market has always been California, we feel that this new branding with its own total identity will expand our market reach to bring in more visitors to our great city.”

Check back for my exclusive one-on-one interviews with Chuck and Matt.

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

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