Waterfalls, aquariums, palm trees and an 11-acre tropical lagoon all smack dab in the middle of the Vegas Strip, not to mention the desert. It's Mandalay Bay and it's all about luxe island surroundings. Shark Reef, one of the more recent additions to the resort, offers visitors a glimpse into life undersea with 100 different species of sharks, exotic fish, reptiles and turtles. The decor is tropical and lush and the service impeccable. So much so that Mandalay earned the AAA Four Diamond Award in recognition for exceptional hospitality, service and attention to detail.
Main Attraction: Shark Reef, a 90,560-square-foot aquarium opened in June 2000, is home to 100 species of sharks, fish and other creatures.
Ideal For: Couples looking to get lost in the tropics during their visit to the Strip
Dining Options: Choose from 16 restaurants, including high-end Aureole (seasonal American), Wolfgang Puck's Trattoria del Lupo (Italian), Shanghai Lilly (Cantonese), 3950 (contemporary cuisine), China Grill (world cuisine), Charlie Palmer Steak (American). Specialty restaurants include Border Grill (Mexican), Rumjungle (tropically inspired foods) and House of Blues (Southern-inspired cuisine) among others. There are also four casual restaurant choices.
Accommodations: Mandalay Bay has 3,644 rooms, 424 of which are managed by Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts and more than 100 of which have a House of Blues theme.
Fascinating Fact: The 11-acre beach area contains 1,700 tons of sand.
Claim to Fame: House of Blues Restaurant and Concert Hall has featured Bob Dylan, Sheryl Crow, B.B. King and Chris Isaak on stage.
Entertainment Options: House of Blues, Mandalay Bay Event Center (sports and entertainment complex), Outdoor Beach Stage (summer concerts are always a sure-fire hit) and three lounges.
Activities: Dive Into Shark Reef, swim and suntan at Mandalay Beach, rejuvenate at Spa Mandalay and renew at Robert Cromeans Salon.
Casino Stats: More than 135,000 square feet of gaming space includes 130 tables, 2,200 slots, a high-limit parlor and a 300-seat race and sports book.