Las Vegas Rumored To Be Getting A Waldorf Astoria

I used to go to Las Vegas a few times a year for fun. I like Las Vegas in moderation (meaning 48 hours or less), though it has been a while since I’ve been. The truth is that I struggle to stay up past 8PM and I’m usually out of it after a cocktail (I stick to wine), and I feel like that’s a combination that makes the Strip not fun.

However, when I did go to Las Vegas I always liked the Mandarin Oriental. It’s not a casino hotel, so even though it’s near everything else, you feel like you’re a world away. It’s nice to have a view of the Strip without actually feeling like you’re part of the action.

A couple of weeks ago news broke that MGM was selling the Mandarin Oriental in a $214 million deal. The buyer of the nearly 400 room hotel hasn’t yet been disclosed, so there has been quite a bit of speculation surrounding the future of the hotel. Are we just seeing a new investor, or will the hotel actually rebrand?

While there still hasn’t been an official announcement, VitalVegas notes that during an Aria meeting, sources suggested that the Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas will become a Waldorf Astoria, possibly as soon as late August 2018. Apparently this would also include a $50 million renovation.

As a points enthusiast, I was certainly hoping that the change of ownership would lead to the hotel joining one of the major brands where you can earn and redeem points, and I guess Waldorf Astoria would be a good fit, as members could earn and redeem points at the hotel.

For weekdays and quieter weekends, I find the best value is to book through Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts or Virtuoso. With FHR you could book a one night stay for $199 and receive a $125 spa credit, free breakfast, a room upgrade, 4PM check-out, and more. That’s quite a deal. If this hotel becomes a Waldorf Astoria, I suspect it would continue to belong to these programs, and the value would only get better, as you could stack elite benefits and earn points, even for these stays.

While I’d love to see this rebranded as a property where points can be earned or redeemed, I do question whether they expect to see improved performance here due to a rebranding. It just seems like there’s only so much upside to spending $50 million renovating a hotel when you don’t have a casino, and when many of the highest rollers get comped rooms at other hotels. While some other luxury hotels (like the Four Seasons) don’t have a casino, they’re at least located inside casino hotels.

Would you like to see the Mandarin Oriental rebranded as a Waldorf Astoria?

(Tip of the hat to TravelZork)

Comments

  1. I think they’re going after business travelers going to conferences in Las Vegas. I would guess they typically have the highest budgets of any travelers for room rates themselves.

    At this point the hotel is 9 years old, and those are *Vegas* years. I haven’t been in that MO, but I’ve spent some time in the adjacent Aria and Vdara, and those look extremely worn. So I would not be surprised if MO needs some attention.

  2. Today I learnt that Mandarin Oriental + 50m renovation = Waldorf Astoria. Would have thought it would be the other way around….

    Makes sense they went with Hilton Group though (and so Waldorf Astoria was the default choice);

    IHG’s members get funneled into Venetian+Palazzo
    Marriott’s members have more options (Cosmo, ex-SLS and all their own brand properties)
    Hyatt has the whole MGM portfolio

    Hilton has the free agent untapped members.
    Would have expected Hilton to sign a deal with TotalRewards/Caeser but this works too

  3. This bums me out. The MO is my happy place in Vegas. I assure you it needs no work. I’ve had generally bad experiences at Waldorf properties. This hotel felt exclusive and special, I’m afraid Waldorf will trash what makes it special.

  4. A reflag to Waldorf would be a shame, not because the Waldorf brand is bad, but because MO Las Vegas has become a wonderful alternative to the Vegas mega-hotel nonsense. It’s an oasis of calm combined with great service (and unheard of concept in Vegas, service that is). (As an aside, the new Waldorf Beverly Hills is pretty remarkable…)

    I have stayed at MO Las Vegas on many occasions and it’s by far the best option in Sin City. While the Four Seasons is also a great option, it lacks the central location IMO, and feels a bit more kid oriented and less “sophisticated city destination”.

    Where else in the US can you feel as though you’ve been transported to an Asian cosmopolitan city, paying $200 USD/night for this caliber of product and service? Hoping it remains under the MO group!

  5. Went to Vegas for the first time last year and opted for the Encore Tower Suites over the MO and Bellagio which were also on our short-list. We wanted a 5-star luxury option but went for Encore because we wanted the Vegas experience of staying in a big casino integrated resort, whereas the MO seemed more like a generic MO property we could get in any city. We were also fairly non-plussed by our recent MO experiences in DC and Kuala Lumpur whereas we have had great experiences with Preferred LEGEND properties which the Tower Suites are part of. As we don’t really drink much or gamble and head to bed early too, I can relate to @Lucky. Still, we really enjoyed our Vegas vacation.

  6. +1 for @Mark’s spot-on comment. It’s an incredible property, and as Lucky notes, the Virtuoso benefits make weekend rates an incredible value. Waldorf properties always underwhelm me, so I’m sad to see this becoming part of the Hilton family.

  7. @Lucky Waldorf Astoria is coming to Kuwait for your information. You should check it when it opens later this year.

  8. I prefer the MO to most hotels in Vegas, but I recently revisited the hotel last fall and was surprised at how the service and room maintenance had slumped (even if just a little, still notable by MO standards). Most memorably, I recall that the towels were far from five-star-quality (indeed they were thin and worn and altogether unluxurious) and the TV in the bathroom was broken and they never sent someone to fix it over the course of our stay.

  9. @Adarsh Waldorf Astoria Kuwait is due to open in February 2020, not this year [it was supposed to be a Conrad and open in 2019, but the owners completely redesigned it and went in a different direction]. It’s also attached to a mall in the middle of an industrial area, overlooking a residential area and a highway so while the hotel will most certainly be great, it’s environs won’t.

  10. I am not sure how much credibility I would put into this rumor. Scott, @VitalVegas, is a friend of mine, but I am afraid lately his “reliable sources” might be his own imagination. The sale price for the property seemed low which is probably a good indication that it wasn’t performing. Waldorf Astoria seems like a slight downgrade over Mandarin, but having access to Hilton’s customer base is probably worth the downgrade. It seems silly to spend $50 million to renovate the property, but we don’t know where that money is going. It could be used to change the f&b, retail, and meeting spaces to better generate revenue. I wouldn’t expect more than a light refresh to the rooms.

  11. I would love to see they tear it down and build a new 5-star Waldorf Ast. hotel building in the location of the old Man. Oriental. I don’t think that’s going to happen.

  12. Why in the world would they tear it down? Never happening.

    Also, turns out, they have wine in Vegas if you prefer that to a cocktail…also, you previously mentioned the Delano was your hotel of choice in Vegas so not sure where the MO is coming from. Why don’t you try Aria sky suites or an upgraded suite at Vdara sometime.

  13. Blackstone going to double down in Vegas? More like dollar cost averaging after their Cosmopolitan buy… That was a big wager on Vegas, wonder if it’s going alright.

    Waldorf=Hilton=Blackstone. They brought Hilton back public but I think still own a big slug.

  14. Sad to learn of this change. I’ve spent my last three birthdays at the MO in Las Vegas, and it’s a wonderful property. Beautiful rooms, warm staff, and one of the best spa experiences anywhere. All for Vegas hotel prices. I hope they don’t mess it up, but fear they will!

  15. Sadly i’m 99% sure this rumor is true. MOLAS has been struggling for years to make a profit as you can’t charge the rates that Mandarin Orientals can normally charge due to the strip competition which I’m sure is a factor into the lower sale price. Also not to mention the residential half of the building is not included. The renovation makes sense as when I left there a few years ago the rooms were already having some issues, minor but noticeable. CityCenter was constructed quickly and every property on site is paying for the quickly done construction work now.

    Mandarin Oriental was the escape from Vegas in the heart of Vegas and was really special. I’m very sad that the flag is going away.

  16. MGM freeing up some money to take a run at acquiring Wynn and Encore. Price around 20 bill.

  17. That’s so sad. Another one bites the dust. Who wants to stay at a Waldorf when you can stay at a MO? I used to go to this property once a year although last couple years went to other properties due to other reasons. Maybe I can squeeze in a last hurrah before it turns into a dump. I guess it’s to Wynn or Four Seasons when this MO becomes a Hilton. Sigh.

  18. “MGM freeing up some money to take a run at acquiring Wynn and Encore. Price around 20 bill.”

    LOL – the sale price is $214MM. A drop in the bucket. Also, $MGM’s numbers last quarter were pretty crappy. They won’t be undertaking a big acquisition at this time.

    “Blackstone going to double down in Vegas? More like dollar cost averaging after their Cosmopolitan buy… That was a big wager on Vegas, wonder if it’s going alright.”

    It seems Cosmo is doing a lot better these days. New management has made some good changes like installing a sports book on the first floor and changing up the restaurant lineup. Saw an article last year saying revenues are up. Also rooms recently refreshed. But, word is Blackstone looking to sell Cosmo. Not a huge shock. Acquire at a low price, improve the balance sheet, sell hopefully at a profit. Look for Hard Rock International as the possible buyer, per some Internet gossip.

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