A welcome respite from Sin City’s commotion for those traveling on business or anyone desiring a little retreat.
Many years ago (the 1980s to be exact), I began to travel to Las Vegas on business. After a long day of meetings and sales calls, I would make my way “home” to my hotel, making a beeline for the elevator via a cigarette smoke filled lobby, the slot machines clanging away, ringing in my ears. I had no idea there was a newly opened hotel that answered the need of the traveler who did not gamble, or attend big shows or conventions. The following year, I decided to try this hotel, and booked it: the Alexis Park.
It was a big deal at the time, after all, whoever heard of a Las Vegas hotel without a casino? Naysayers from the tourism board said it wouldn’t last a year. Alexis Park was very unique in that it offered (and still does), all suite accommodations, some with kitchenettes. A big plus—it was located away from the buzz and bling of the famous strip.
What a difference staying there made to my wellbeing and productivity while doing business. Dolly Parton and Sugar Ray Leonard were among the guests when I was there. They probably needed that bit of privacy, a hideaway if you will. I thoroughly enjoyed another unique experience: having a microwave and refrigerator in my room as well. (Something we may take for granted today now that we have options in other suite hotels like Residence Inn by Marriott.)
Three decades later, the renamed Alexis Park Resort is still open. It’s an affordable option, touted as family friendly and can also accommodate pets. Following this business model, a few giant hoteliers of Las Vegas including the Mandalay Bay and the MGM Grand have opened smaller, boutique hotels located behind their properties with separate entrances and a much quieter vibe. This, I think, is the best of both worlds as one can enjoy the offerings of the large hotel that anchors the resort, but stay in the unique boutique to get away from it all.
The Signature at MGM Grand was my home away from home while I attended a conference at the MGM Grand a couple of years ago. Its three towers are located behind the MGM resort with a separate entrance, but its adjacent to the MGM via a secure covered walkway. The parking is complimentary by valet, and I had all the signing privileges for the MGM which was handy. What’s not to love about a hotel with refined suites and the entire property is non-gaming and non-smoking throughout? My suite had a gorgeous view and was complete with fine linens, super comfy pillow top beds and the full-sized deluxe toiletries.
Tucked behind the Mandalay Bay complex is probably my favorite boutique hotel in Las Vegas: the Delano. It has such an understated feel and is also non-smoking and non-gaming throughout. The rooms are all suites and it is dog friendly to boot. I found my stay there a bit more relaxing and luxurious than the Signature, perhaps it was the Zen-inspired waterfall and lighting gracing the entrance, or maybe the spa? I just felt so pampered there. The Delano’s marketing team touts their hotel as a luxury boutique retreat for the “discerning” traveler. This is not far from the truth.
Perhaps another reason I enjoyed my experience at Delano was the cuisine! Yes, foodies have been flocking to Las Vegas and its plethora of fine restaurants for a few years now. But the celebrated Chef Alain Ducasse has an envied location for his restaurant at forty-three stories up in the Skyfall Lounge. Our team met for drinks and nibbles after a long day on the trade show floor; the flavors I consumed (combined with that incredible view) made my business trip seem like a vacation.
While the Delano is behind the Mandalay Bay itself, there is an additional hotel occupying its top four floors: the famed Four Seasons. And while it is not a stand-alone boutique, it is also non-gaming with a separate entrance like its sister property. Of course, it offers all the ultra-deluxe service oriented experience that Four Seasons is noted for.
Whether you’re headed to Las Vegas for business or pleasure, this is for sure: the “Vegas experience” has changed remarkably, tastes have evolved and the Traveler is spoiled for choice. There is still exciting gaming and great entertainment of course, but one can now revel, retreat style, in your own home from home suite in a unique boutique.
Catherine Addé is a native of Pasadena, a Certified Travel Counselor affiliated with TravelStore and Signature Travel Network. She has a Master’s Degree in Tourism Management and has held executive positions with Royal Caribbean, Holland America, Windstar and Cunard Line Ltd.