New Kids on the Strip: The Delano and SLS Vegas Faceoff, Round Two

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Over just the last month, the Strip in Las Vegas had two new hotels open amidst a ton of buzz. The four-pearl SLS Las Vegas -- from the luxe brand known for its properties in Beverly Hills and South Beach -- debuted on the site of the former Sahara Resort & Casino and, not to be outdone, the 4.5-pearl Delano replaced THEhotel at Mandalay Bay shortly after. We were lucky enough to get an exclusive, inside look at both and see some of their stellar (and some of their mediocre) features first-hand. Though both have their pros and cons, we've had them battling it out in a few categories to declare a winner. In round one of our Delano versus SLS faceoff, we compared their scenes and locations to determine which has the bragging rights for each -- and with SLS taking the scene and Delano scooping location...well, now it's time for a tie-breaker. So in round two we're going to see which hotel can say it has the best rooms and features. Signal the bell!

Category: Rooms

At the Delano...

If you’ve stayed at the Delano in South Beach, then you’ll be familiar with the design scheme in the rooms. A major shift from the dark public spaces, all of the 1,117 rooms are styled in whites, with gray and gold accents; they’re bright with light pouring in from the floor-to-ceiling windows.

All rooms here are suite-style, so expect a separate living area and an additional half bath in each. Furnishings are chic and more feminine looking, aside from a comfy black leather chair. Plush white bedding and very firm pillows (that are being replaced) are the standard. Although bathrooms weren’t renovated since the Delano takeover, they’re spacious with two vanity sinks, a marble-backed soaking tub, and a separate glass walk-in shower in each. Snug robes, slippers, and a small flat-screen are thoughtful touches.

Other unique decorations include pots of succulents and large black-and-white photographs of underwater scenes from the Delano property in Miami; the ice bucket is also shaped like FDR’s favorite hatbox.

At the SLS

There are three towers at SLS, all with a unique design geared toward different types of guests. The largest is the World Tower, with 1,121 rooms decorated in a black, white and pink color scheme. Rooms are small by Vegas standards, but opposing light-up mirrors enhance the space and flat-screen TVs are huge.

Plush bedding sans a top sheet is standard, as is a large work desk with an adorable illustrated map of Vegas, a chic white couch, and a stocked minibar with colored crystal glasses. The Lux Tower is filled with suites for the big(ger) spenders; rooms feature a similar design with chaise lounges, peek-a-boo showers, and wall-to-wall tapestries.

Rooms in the Story Tower are for those guests who are really only looking for a place to crash, as there’s not much room to move around. Plastic bed frames light up in the gray and yellow spaces that also have overhead mirrors. Bathroom construction is unique and efficient, with mirrored doors opening to the showers and toilets on opposite sides of small sinks.

And the winner is…Delano! See who wins for features after the jump >>

Category: Features

At the Delano

Due to its size and being connected to Mandalay Bay, the list of features at Delano is much smaller than typical Vegas properties. Downstairs, there’s 3940 Coffee + Tea, which sells gourmet coffee, paninis, and flaky pastries until early evening. There’s ample casual sitting, including a community-style table with built-in outlets.

Across the lobby is Franklin, the suave bar featuring twinkling overhead lights and textured velvet sofas. It serves a daily punch and barrel-aged cocktails, along with a wide range of draft beer. Della’s Kitchen is located in the connecting hallway to Mandalay Bay and serves upscale comfort food in a modern farmhouse setting. Since it closes after lunch., you’ll have to head up to miX, the fine dining restaurant and lounge on the top floor, for later eats. It will be replaced by Rivea in 2015.

BATHHOUSE Spa is still at the hotel from its THEHotel days and includes a gym, plunge pools, and a variety of treatment options. Several of the rooms are dog-friendly, so you can bring your pooch with you (for a fee, of course). There’s no pool, but guests can make the 10-minute walk down to the expansive pool complex at Mandalay Bay.

At the SLS

Though the casino (and property in general) isn’t very large, SLS manages to pack several features into its space. It has a total of eight restaurants and one coffee shop, The Perq. The Griddle Café serves oversized pancakes 24/7; Umami Burger offers burger and beer in a TV-filled room; Bazaar Meat by James Beard award-winning chef José Andrés has entrees like grilled Maine lobster and suckling pig. There’s a restaurant at every price point.

The outdoor pool area is a relaxed spot with lounge chairs, a bar, and a rubber ducky theme. For a more lively scene, guests can head to one of the three nightclubs — Foxtail is connected to the pool; The Sayers Club features live music; LiFE/Beach LiFE is open Friday and Saturday and has DJ-led music, aerial performers, and state-of-the-art lighting.

The aptly named Monkey Bar is across from reception, and Center Bar sits in the middle of the casino floor. Ciel Spa has various treatment options and is connected to the modern fitness center, which is fully equipped with Technogym equipment. Paying homage to their Californian roots, various Fred Segal stores are spread throughout the property.

And the winner is…SLS!

Overall Winner?! SLS!!!

Although both hotels won two of the categories each, we’re naming SLS the winner. The customer service and rooms may have a couple quirks, but overall it has much more to offer than the Delano. The location far north of the strip can be a bit of a hassle, but the area is continuing to grow and the monorail stops right outside to take you down to the main strip area. If you’re going to Vegas, chances are you want to dine at some delicious (and expensive) eateries, hit the lively clubs, and perhaps do a little gambling; SLS offers all these things without having to leave the property.


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