For 40 years, the southernmost casino along the Las Vegas Strip was the Hacienda Hotel
, built just across from the international airport and so capturing the most impatient of the newly-arrived gamblers, but this was torn down in 1996 and replaced by Mandalay Bay, a top end resort that in terms of land occupied is the biggest in Las Vegas. Much of the space is taken up by the Mandalay Bay Convention Center
- the fifth largest in the US, this has 1.7 million square feet of event space, and includes the biggest pillarless ballroom in the country. Besides the main accommodation tower of over 3,000 rooms, the complex also contains a 43 storey tower (Delano Las Vegas
, previously THEhotel), offering 1,117 luxurious suites at least 725 sq ft in area. Both this and the main tower have an AAA Four Diamond rating, though the top five floors of the hotel are occupied by the Four Seasons Las Vegas
, which has a Five Diamond rating, and rates about double. There is no exterior attraction at Mandalay Bay, and no particular theme, though the design and decor are loosely based on a Southeast Asia beach resort.
Mandalay Bay is at a slight disadvantage when it comes to attracting non-resident visitors due to its relatively isolated southerly location, though a free 24 hour tram
connects with the next two properties north (Luxor
, both also owned by MGM Resorts International), from where a short walk reaches the Las Vegas Monorail station at MGM Grand
, and hence allows people to travel in comfort right to the northern end of the Strip. But the hotel has so many facilities on-site that guests may not want to leave. There are 22 restaurants & cafes, eight nightclubs & lounges, two spas, 135,000 of casino space, and the 36-store Mandalay Place
shopping arcade. Las Vegas weddings can be staged at any of three chapels, one built on the shores of an 11 acre lagoon that forms the centerpiece of the extensive pool area; this also has cabanas, a poolside casino, a wave machine, several hot tubs and a short river. Another water-based attraction is the Shark Reef Aquarium
, a 1.6 million gallon tank home to 2,000 animals, including 15 types of shark.
In 2013 Mandalay Bay was briefly without a headline show following closure of Disney's The Lion King, but this has now been replaced by a new Cirque du Soleil production, Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour
. Live music is performed regularly at the House of Blues Concert Hall, or for the bigger acts, in the 12,000 seat Mandalay Bay Events Center
, a venue also used for conferences and sporting contests.