The best things about the new Delano Las Vegas

You’ll never be caught between a rock and a hard place at Delano Las Vegas. But when you enter the stylish new resort, you will have to walk between a divided rock – a 700-million-year-old metaquartzite, to be exact. It stands 10 feet tall and tips the scales at 126,000 pounds. That’s more than 10 large elephants weigh. Perhaps this unique art installation, called “In Between Places,” is meant to symbolize the gargantuan good time you’ll have during your visit.

Okay, that’s a bit of a stretch. But for those who know of and love the Delano hotel in Miami’s South Beach area, the arrival of one on the Las Vegas Strip is a godsend.

Formerly THEhotel, Delano Las Vegas debuted in early September after undergoing a transformation that touched almost every nook and cranny. Located adjacent to Mandalay Bay, this all-suite property is perfect for people who crave exclusivity, but still want to be steps away from the crowds and nonstop action Vegas is revered for.

I had a chance to stay at Delano Las Vegas shortly after the dust had settled. And I liked what I experienced. It felt like a solid beginning for the chic hotel brand here, and I’m not talking about that giant rock now. (Although I could be. Clearly that rock made a big impression on me.)

Here are several other things that piqued my interest at Delano Las Vegas.

The coffees and afternoon tea service at 3940 Coffee + Tea

3940 Coffee + Tea is a walk-up counter with a homey space to hang out in. The “3940” comes from the numerical part of Delano Las Vegas’ address.

Although 3940’s selection of pastries – things like cookies, cupcakes, cake pops and the “doughssant” (yes, you read that correctly and it’s a must for anyone who’s been jonesing for a cronut) – is incredible, the coffees truly set this place apart.

They’re hand-picked and come from exotic places around the world – like Kenya, Ethiopia and El Salvador. There’s even a custom “Delano blend” made from beans grown in Columbia and Guatemala

At 3940 you’ll never end up with a stale cup poured from a pot that’s been sitting for hours. Most of these coffees are served tableside and use a clever brewing technique that combines the best of the filter drip and French press methods. You can really taste the difference.

Along with these coffees of the world, there are some truly divine, dessert-like coffee concoctions at 3940 that could turn a non-coffee drinker into a complete coffee lover. Jelly Doughnut Coffee, anyone? Or how about the S’mores Mocha? I’m not a coffee drinker, but if you’re talking mocha, espresso, milk and marshmallow with a whipped cream and graham topping, then you’ve got my attention (and my heart).

Plus, afternoon tea service is offered at 3940 on weekends from 2 – 4 p.m. Keep your eyes peeled for a four-wheeled cart covered with goodies. You can choose from “Sweet” or “Savory” menus ($20 each) – or get them both for $35. On the sweet side, devour things like white chocolate apricot scones with berry jam and Devonshire cream as well as raspberry Lintzer cookies and Nutella tarts…while the savory indulgences include petite quiche, goat cheese tarts and porchetta crostini.

Of course, afternoon tea is nothing without a cup of the beautiful brew and at 3940 you’ll have a selection of 12 loose leaf teas to pick from. Sip on something traditional like English breakfast tea or try the unconventional mango oolong and organic lychee green teas.


The down-home ingredients at Della’s Kitchen

Della’s Kitchen is where you should go for breakfast or lunch at Delano Las Vegas.

Justin Crowe, the resort’s restaurant manager, said he likes to describe the place as a “historic farmhouse meets urban kitchen.”

But what does that mean? Well, just think of all the latest catch phrases in the healthy food movement. Farm-to-fork. Hormone-free. Chemical-free. Hydroponic. Desert sustainable. Pretty much all of them pertain to Della’s Kitchen.

As many of the ingredients as possible are sourced locally or within the Southwest. Breads and other baked goods come from Las Vegas-based Granello Bakery. A fat happy chicken is a delicious chicken, and Crowe said that Della’s Kitchen gets its poultry from Mary’s Farm in California. The restaurant also gets grass-fed beef from Harris Farm in the Golden State. Several of the cheeses used at Della’s Kitchen come from the Lake Tahoe area. Only a few things – like Manchego and Gruyère, the most famous cheeses of Spain and Switzerland, or British bangers – are imported for authenticity.

Some herbs and vegetables (such as tomatoes) are even grown in a greenhouse on the premises of Mandalay Bay.

So anything you order at Della’s Kitchen will be the best of that particular food you’ve ever had – from the various preparations of eggs Benedict for breakfast to the Kurobuta pork shank, which is braised for 16 hours, and the toasted cheese sandwich (Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s favorite meal – and now mine).


The craft cocktails and punch bowls at Franklin

Delano Las Vegas has done the impossible – made its lobby bar cool. Even without the twinkling firefly-esque ceiling sculpture, Franklin inspires buzz.

Not only has it got an eclectic lounge atmosphere, but its menu of craft cocktails goes far beyond what you’d typically find in a bar. The signature drink is the Delano Daiquiri. Made with only three ingredients (Bacardi 1909 Heritage Rum, fresh lime juice and sugar), it seems simple but the sweetly sour taste is mind blowing. The 1944 Classic Mai Tai, Mojito Cubano and Basil Paloma are three other cocktails you’ll struggle not to gulp down too quickly here.

And Franklin has more defining features. Punch bowl service – always great for bringing people together – is offered throughout the lounge. Try the “daily punch,” which is the bartender’s creation. You can get beers on draft or in bottles in a multitude of styles. Plus, all of the wines have been selected exclusively for Franklin and are not available anywhere else in Las Vegas.


The suite experience

Admit it. In your wildest Vegas dreams, you don’t picture yourself living large in a standard hotel room. Who wants the basic bed, cable TV and combined shower/tub setup when they could stay in a suite? It’s not essential to the fantasy, of course – but a suite sure would kick your Sin City visit up a notch.

Delano Las Vegas has 1,117 suites. The “standard” one features a separate bedroom and living room, along with a bathroom so big you could throw a party in it. You’ll also get three flat-screen TVs (yes, there’s one in the bathroom too). Each suite is ridiculously plush, and among the fun details you’ll discover several tributes to FDR. Look for the icebox modeled on his hatbox. And “School of Life” cards are placed upon your bed at arrival and turndown. They bear words of wisdom from famous folks including the 32nd U.S. president, like “Don’t be afraid to fail, be afraid not to try.”

Best of all: The suites at Delano Las Vegas are designed in such a way that the bedroom is buffered from the hallway by both the living room and bathroom. That cuts down hugely on noise. So whenever you’re trying to catch some Zzz’s, you won’t hear the antics of drunken guests returning from their night on the town…or, who are we kidding, other guests at the resort won’t hear you!


The views from miX

Check out the photos above. To the left is the view from inside miX at Delano restaurant and to the right is the view from outside miX Lounge. Both are simply breathtaking. Helmed by internationally acclaimed chef Alain Ducasse, miX is the perfect combination of culinary art and cutting-edge interior design. Situated on the top floor of Delano Las Vegas, it’s one of our favorite spots in town. And right now, with the weather being so perfect, you should sit out on the balcony for either dinner (be sure to save room for the miX candy bar) or a drink (like the miXtopolitan). The mesmerizing views of the Strip are as good as any show in Vegas.


I’m a Las Vegas native. By profession, I write at Mostly about the city’s hotels, but on other topics – gaming and transportation – too. I really love staying at hotels. And the ones here are among the biggest and best in the world. Some key things I’ve learned: Resort fees are inescapable (frustrating but true), a friendly attitude at the front desk may score you a great view and over-the-top room amenities – bath butlers, Japanese tea service, menus with “intimate” items – do exist. What else should you know about me? Well, I’m comfortable at a blackjack table. And I like eating late-night pancakes in hotel coffee shops. A lot. Follow Renee on Google+.