The Aureole Wine Tower
Photo: Arlene Wszalek

When signing onto the in-room wifi at THEhotel at Mandalay Bay, as we did when we stayed there in June, we were automatically redirected to the hotel’s website. We found that quite fortuitous, as one of the website’s promotions was for the Happy Hour at Aureole Wine Lounge. We had dinner reservations elsewhere in the complex that evening, and agreed that a lovely glass of wine beforehand at Aureole would be perfect. We’ve been there before for both drinks and dinner. We love the wine and food, not to mention the audacious four-story “wine tower” that dominates the room. The 2-for-1 Happy Hour promotion sealed the deal.

He ordered a Philipps-Eckstein Riesling, I a Vincent Girardin white Burgundy. As our server placed the glasses before us, I mentioned how pleased we were with the Happy Hour pricing. A cloud passed over his face, but he didn’t respond. A few minutes later, he was back to inform us that while the Happy Hour promotion was no longer in effect, they would honor it “since you mentioned it.”

Mandalay Bay website displaying the Aureole Wine Lounge’s Happy Hour promotion. Click to enlarge.

I turned to my husband. “Was I imagining that promotion, or did we not just see it online?” “You were reading to me from a web page,” he assured me. I dove for my phone, and sure enough: there it was on the Mandalay Bay website. (As we discovered later, it was also printed on the in-room “Resortist” promotional piece, as well as on the Charlie Palmer website). I called the server over and showed it to him. He shrugged apologetically and mumbled something about how the hotel never tells them anything.

We also ordered some appetizers from the terrific small plates menu. The lettuce-wrapped fried tofu with peanut dressing managed to be crunchy, spicy, sweet and savory all at once, and the cilantro and lime hummus with grilled pita was delicious without being filling.

When it came time to pay the bill, we signed it to our room in THEhotel. Our server thanked us, took the folio away, and we relaxed to finish our wines (both of which were lovely). But he returned with a furrowed brow and a slightly accusatory tone to inform me that I must have “missed a digit or gotten the room number wrong.” No, I responded, I did not. That is most definitely our room number. Feel free to call the front desk and confirm.

After a few more back-and-forths he sorted out whatever the issue was, and we took our leave. But not before asking to speak with Rebecca, the restaurant’s manager on duty, and venting our concerns. To her credit she listened, and apologized (the room number problem was an issue with their computers, as it turned out), and invited us to return the next evening for a complimentary drink.

Our schedule precluded doing so, and we weren’t complaining to get freebies. We were just astonished, and disappointed, and felt she should know. True that this was just one visit, but had it been our first we would surely never be returning. Aureole is a Charlie Palmer fine dining restaurant, a AAA four-diamond restaurant. Whether the issue is communications between the hotel and its restaurants, staff training, or both, something clearly needs improving here if Aureole is to maintain its rating and its reputation.

Mandalay Bay
3950 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, NV 89119
(702) 632-7401