How is the Mandalay Bay?

I'm taking my first trip in late April. We are staying at Mandalay Bay. How is it?

Joe
(St. Louis)

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Mandalay Bay is probably the nicest place on the south end of the Strip, and it's only a half-notch down from super-classy spots like the Wynn and the Venetian. The only knock on the place is that, because it is at the far end of the Strip, it's a bit isolated. But I wouldn't be too concerned about that, you can always make your way to the MGM Grand, which is fairly close, and take the monorail to Strip locations further north.

Mandalay Bay is also home to what is probably the very best pool in Vegas (it's definitely my own favorite). In fact, the term "beach" is more accurate than "pool," because the sprawling area is complete with sand and waves. There's also a topless area if that's your sort of thing. Be aware that while it's easy for women to get into that area, dudes have to shell out a good chunk of change to enter.

While the Disney-flavored entertainment (Such as "The Lion King," which is actually worth seeing) may make you think it's a hotel overflowing with families, that's not the case. The clubs and lounges are strong lures to lovers of nightlife, which means there's always a strong contingent of 20- and 30-somethings at the place.

My favorite thing about Mandalay Bay remains the Shark Reef aquarium. If you've ever found yourself transfixed by "Shark Week" television, this attraction is pretty close to mandatory. The giant aquarium costs only $16, an incredible bargain considering how fascinating it is.

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