Both Mirage and Mandalay Bay are excellent Vegas resorts, if you ignore the huge location difference (more about this later); one could say that Mirage has arguably a couple of ‘bad aspects’ (see below, especially towards the end). The choice between the two will depend on your specific needs. Important things to consider:
1 – comfort of regular rooms. Since most top Vegas hotels have excellent and comfortable high-end suites, we are talking about the regular rooms that most people book or get for a good Vegas deal.
Mandalay Bay has beautifully appointed rooms as well as extremely comfortable. Their bathrooms are larger than the basic rooms at Mirage and they offer flat screen TVs in the bathrooms as well as high-end HD TVs in the bedrooms.
The level entry rooms at Mandalay Bay don’t have ergonomic chairs with their desks, but both have good, large flat screen TVs with plenty of channels. They can both be noisy hotels these days, for different reasons; if noise is an issue I would recommend you book a room at the end of a corridor. Mandalay Bay has plenty of non-connecting rooms, probably more than Mirage, since we have been easily assigned non-connecting rooms at the former whilst Mirage has always been a problem in that respect.
2 – the pool. Both Mirage and Mandalay Bay excel in the pool areas. They are both outstanding albeit different. You can read about it on ‘best Vegas pools‘.
3 – resort fees. Both resorts charge extortionate prices as ‘resort fees’, so there is no significant difference here. Around 25+ dollars a night per room for Mirage and 28+ for Mandalay Bay. Always check with the resort directly over the phone or on their own website because these things vary all the time and can increase or be waived without any warning.
4 – casino. I prefer the Mirage casino (plenty of slots, lively though a bit too smoke-filled with poor ventilation) but I know many absolutely love the casino at Mandalay Bay, with its live bands and many great restaurants all around. Neither ‘paid’ well last time we were there, unlike previous years, unfortunately. We had much better luck at the MGM casino. We also have a page on the best Vegas casinos, with some tips, and hopefully you’ll find it useful if you are interested in casinos.
5 – location. Without a doubt, Mirage sits in a much better location for those who like to be in the middle of the action. It faces Venetian and Palazzo (so you can go there for a change) and it’s next to Treasure Island and Caesars Palace. It is walking distance to the famous Bellagio and Paris resorts. Mandalay Bay sits, beautifully, in the middle of nowhere; however it’s convenient for a few things, such as the famous Vegas sign, Fry’s Electronics or the popular higher-end shopping area at Town Square, or the M Resort with the best buffet in Vegas (if you drive you may like the shorter distance). But for anything else, if you don’t drive, as it’s located at the far end of South Strip, and you will have to catch their free shuttle to Excalibur, after which you have to keep walking a very long distance (rendered so by the non-direct route through City Center) to reach mid Strip; as per late 2016 between NYNY and Monte Carlo you can enjoy the new Park District (trees, cooling areas, restaurants and much more), so you can at least pit stop there for a while; then from the very far back of Monte Carlo you can catch another shuttle to go to Bellagio (mid-Strip). By the time you end up there, you may have played at all the casinos on the way and tired yourself out to the point of no return! Of course, you can always rent a car or hop on a taxi; you can read about the best ways to get around Vegas.
6 – food. Mirage has a much better buffet and it’s surrounded by a lot of famous restaurants and cafes. However, these days Mandalay Bay has caught up with good restaurants too (and the famous ‘Aureole’), though its buffet is small and average… to be kind.
7 – nightclubs. Mirage is across the road from Tao and near Pure, whilst Mandalay Bay is close to LAX at Luxor. We have a page on Vegas nightclubs which may help you on this topic.
8 – Internet. Mirage Internet is worse than at Mandalay Bay; painfully slow, both wired and wireless. It’s an outrage since it’s included in the resort fee but it’s hardly a service at all. Mandalay Bay and pretty much every other MGM Resort in Vegas is better than Mirage with regards to Internet.
9 – Gym. Both good but Mirage’s gym now closes at 7pm (though they can change this without notice, so double check) whilst Mandalay Bay has now placed a modest cardio room which stays open until 8pm. I wish eveyrbody complained about those limiting opening hours: if we are asked to pay a very high resort fee, then there must be a set of resort services available for guests at all hours! Don’t hesitate to complain, the more voices they hear… The more quickly they will change their schedule and services.
10 – Noise. On our last trip Mandalay Bay was an extremely noisy resort; we could hear, whilst inside our bedroom, the loud noises at all hours along the corridor at all hours; it may be due to the fact that it’s now attracting a large number of families with children and a significant number of twenty-something’s. Mirage has also had noise issues, so neither of these 2 resorts are really that ‘relaxing’ nor necessarily suitable for a romantic getaway.
We have more detailed page on the Mandalay Bay resort, if you want to know more. If you found this page useful, please share it, thank you.
On our youtube channel jules at top-buffet.com you can see a variety of videos, many of the Mirage resort, inside and out (tip: our recent videos are better in quality than those of previous years). For example, you can view our video of the Mirage standard room or, in order to decide if the location of Mirage is right for you, you can view our Mirage Vegas Outside & Location video.