The Mirage Las Vegas: The Complete Guide

The Mirage hotel

TripSavvy / Taylor McIntyre

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The Mirage

3400 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109, USA
Phone +1 800-374-9000

Walk into Mirage Las Vegas Hotel & Casino, the Polynesian-themed casino resort on a packed stretch of the Las Vegas Strip, and you might wonder where you are. You’ll walk into a lobby and atrium packed with palms and water features and check in at a registration backed by a 53-foot-long aquarium with its own (faux, environmentally sound) coral reef swimming with wildly colorful tropical fish. In other words, you’re not in the Mojave Desert anymore.

This resort was planned to be as transporting an oasis as possible when Steve Wynn came up with the idea for its creation in the mid-1980s. Many people credit this resort for setting a themed standard for the Strip, and it continues to set the tone 32 years later, with its iconic features like a nightly erupting volcano out front, tropical rainforest-like interior, and gently aging favorites like its garden for giant cats and a dolphin habitat.

History of the Mirage

The Strip’s tourism numbers began to decline in the 1970s and ‘80s as other gaming destinations like Atlantic City opened up, and the razzle-dazzle of the golden era of Vegas was over. Its entertainment stalwarts like Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley were aging or gone. Downtown Las Vegas was in a downturn, and the Strip was anchored by resorts—Desert Inn, Tropicana, The Dunes, Caesars (pre-expansion), Sahara—that were no longer new. The last new resort to have been built, MGM Grand, was then 16 years old. Vegas needed an infusion of glamour. In stepped Steve Wynn, then the young owner of the Golden Nugget Las Vegas, who came up with an audacious idea for a themed tropical resort, whose then-monumental cost (planned at $565 million, but which topped out at $630 million) was financed by junk bonds issued by American financier Michael Milken. At the time, the 3,044-room resort was the most expensive hotel-casino in history—and the most outrageous. The Mirage’s recognizable gold windows were tinted with actual gold dust. Wynn even paid two other Mirage-named properties a quarter million dollars for the rights to the Mirage name.

When it opened in 1989, the Mirage was the largest hotel in the world, and its Y-shaped design was a model for several future resorts. Wynn’s idea for high roller rooms and penthouse suites brought a whole new level of luxe to the Strip. Recognizing that the Strip needed to embrace tourists who weren’t here to gamble, the Mirage debuted the Siegfried & Roy show in 1990, where the duo performed magic tricks alongside massive lions and white tigers in its 1,500-seat showroom. In the years that followed, the Mirage would open an extended-run Cirque du Soleil show in a tent in the Mirage parking lot and would later open its Beatles-themed Love production; singer and impressionist Danny Gans would begin performing nightly, and Mirage would begin opening restaurants with marquee-named chefs like Tom Colicchio.

MGM Grand Inc. acquired Mirage Resorts in 2000, and the hotel is now owned and operated by MGM Resorts International. While Mirage is due for a few renovations, it continues to be an icon on the Las Vegas Strip and has one of the best locations—situated between the Forum Shops at Caesars and Treasure Island and across the street from Venetian. Some recent restaurant openings, a great pool scene, new entertainment, and those still-there icons keep it relevant.

The Hotel at the Mirage

The average size of rooms in the United States hovers around 330, and the Mirage rooms start at 394 square feet. They’re generally smaller than the average room in Las Vegas, which is considerably larger than the national average. For instance, the room size across the street at Venetian starts at 650 square feet. They’re also due for a reno: Many of the resorts renovate their rooms every few years, and Mirage last saw a major room renovation in 2009. Still, that last redesign is holding up, and the rooms have a nice, contemporary feel in brown, tan, deep red, and gray (in other words, nothing OTT). You’ll get Serta Perfect Sleeper pillow top mattresses, LCD TVs, Bluetooth speakers, backlit vanities, and minibars, and free Wifi.

Like other MGM resorts, Mirage has some Stay Well rooms, which come with air purifiers, aromatherapy, circadian mood lighting, and other touches that will make you feel a little less Vegas, a little more destination spa.

If you need larger rooms, consider upgrading to its Tower Deluxe rooms on the 24th and 25th floors, which range from 812 square feet to a 1,714-square-foot hospitality suite with extras like iPads, private entrances, private backyard pools, and personal chef and butler service. One little-known perk of booking through MGM is the ability to see and compare all the properties’ rate calendars at a glance. You might find, for instance, a suite at Mirage at a lower price than a smaller room at MGM Grand. It always pays to check.

The Casino

The casino at Mirage isn’t the largest casino in Vegas, but it has a good variety of slots and table games, plus a high-limit lounge, a 25-table poker room, and 10,000-square-foot sportsbook with 85’ HD projection screens. You can sit at one of five interactive tables that let you watch all the sporting events you want. Horse racing enthusiasts love the six big screens that show the action at the best racetracks from around the world. Those devoted to the tables will find blackjack, baccarat, craps, Pai Gow, roulette, Let It Ride Poker, and more—all the crucial games.

What to Do

You’ll obviously want to catch an eruption at the Mirage volcano, the artificial volcano that flares nightly on the hour beginning at 7 p.m. Its scarily realistic lava flow is accompanied by a soundtrack by The Grateful Dead’s Mickey Hart and Indian table musician Zakir Hussain. (Be warned: You’ll actually feel the heat from the volcano effect, which can scare young kids.) One must-visit is Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat, which has been in residence here since 1990, conducting scientific research and conservation outreach—and of course entertaining guests with sightings of white tigers, white lions, leopards, and bottlenose dolphins. You can even book an experience that lets you meet, feed, and pose for a picture with the dolphins; work with dolphin trainers, and take VIP tours. The Spa at Mirage may not be a newsmaker like larger spas on the Strip with their ice and salt rooms, but this spa is well-equipped, with a relaxing and contemporary vibe and a good selection of treatments. Unlike many other spas, Mirage has gotten into the medspa game, bringing in Kalologie Medspa for dermal fillers, neurotoxins, and IV therapy so you can look nice and refreshed after your visit, despite what you did to your body while you were here. The Mirage pool is one of the Strip’s great oases, with lots of space, great cabanas, plus bars and a café. (Kids aren’t allowed in the adults-only Bare Pool Lounge.)

The Mirage has built a good reputation for its solid entertainment lineups, hosting The Beatles Love Cirque du Soleil show; its Aces of Comedy series (think Bill Maher, David Spade, Tim Allen, Ray Romano, and more); and the recent addition of Shin Lim: Limitless, an astonishing magic show in Mirage Theatre.

Where to Eat and Drink

MGM’s casinos occupy a solid spot among the many amazing dining options along the Las Vegas Strip. A don’t-miss at Mirage is Tom Colicchio’s Heritage Steak, which has been the anchoring find dining restaurant here since 2010, focused on preparing meats entirely over wood-burning and charcoal grill flames. The resort doesn’t have the most options of any hotel, but it has a great range, from expensive and high-end to accessible. Diablo’s Cantina is a fun place to go for margaritas and Mexican food. Its relatively new Costa restaurant is a light and bright room serving very good coastal Italian food. And Mirage refashioned its former Japanese space into the robata grill and sushi restaurant Otoro. For those who want to pace their spending, there’s Pantry, California Pizza Kitchen, and Starbucks (warning: the line to Starbucks can get long in the morning).

Tips for Visitors

The Mirage sits on a stretch of the Strip that’s packed with casinos and shops, right between the Forum Shops at Caesars and Treasure Island. The Venetian is right across the street. For those who love to be in the center of the action, the Mirage is a good choice. You can hop on a free tram that sits just outside the front entrance to Treasure Island about every 15 minutes. And you can get a taxi, Uber, or Lyft whenever you’d like right out front. McCarran International Airport is a 10-minute drive away.

One of the best tools among the MGM resorts is a rate calendar that allows you to search for room rates based on dates among all their properties. Depending on conventions and events in the city, rates can swing wildly, so we recommend always using this tool.

If you want a good spot at the volcano, arrive early and get your place in the front. But as we mentioned before, things literally heat up the closer you get, and this experience may not be as thrilling for little kids as it is for everyone else. Consider asking for a volcano-view room so the littlest guests among you can enjoy it from behind the safety of your gold-tinted windows.

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The Mirage Las Vegas: The Complete Guide