MANDALAY BAY is definitely on my list of top hotel pool experiences. Even though Vegas has been trying to lose its “family friendly” reputation over the past few years (i.e. the “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas campaign), my kids still love it. The lights, the excitement, the bigness of it all. The pool at Mandalay Bay sums it up perfectly. Designed for the Vegas adult crowd and laden with cabanas, drink servers and a party vibe—the pool is pure, joyful over-the-top fun.
Only in Vegas do they bring the surf to the strip with an actual beach with mechanically manufactured waves! Not for the really little kids (48” height requirement), the wave machine sends out a new curl every 30 seconds or so. Body surfing made easy. There’s a sandy beach as well and my 5-year-old loved playing at the edge of it, where we could feel the gentle pull of the wave machine without being in the thick of it all.
There’s a big regular pool of course but our favorite part of the Mandalay Bay pool is the lazy river, featuring a current you can ride via inner tube or even on your own, swimming along with a push. In true Vegas style, this lazy river seems to go just a little bit faster than others we’ve been in. Not so fast that even the kids can’t ride it, but just a wee bit more exciting than others we’ve experienced. The only negative is that inner tubes must be purchased and they aren’t cheap—$12 when we visited. We waited around long enough for some girls’ weekend hipsters to hand down their tubes as they left the pool early to get ready for their night on the town.
The web site says there are 100 rentable cabanas, day beds, bungalows and villas, all with personal service. It’s definitely not the kind of place that caters to families, but if you and your kids can handle the party crowd (which gets bigger and more pronounced later in the day), it’s a lot of fun.