Although you’ve heard a lot from the other BoardingArea bloggers who were invited to BAcon (BoardingArea Conference) in Las Vegas, I was already there two weeks before with Ben from One Mile at a Time. In two days we saw and experienced more than I thought humanly possible — in fact, by the time we ate breakfast on Sunday morning we both refused complimentary Champagne. Yes, you read that right. We had finally had enough. 😛
But it was a great experience that I’m going to share with you this week so you can be inspired for your own trip to Las Vegas.
I first familiarized myself with the M life loyalty program run by MGM Resorts in September 2013 when they announced their partnership with Hyatt Gold Passport. It’s been a great experience so far getting reciprocal elite status in both programs and earning points and stay credit with Hyatt Gold Passport when I stay at any of 12 MGM properties in Las Vegas. You can read more about the M life program and the M life/Gold Passport partnership in previous posts.
In addition, MGM runs a program called “M life Moments” that provides unique experiences to go behind the scenes of Las Vegas and be a part of the action. These include simple perks like a mixology course with the bartenders at Monte Carlo to the more unusual, like swimming with the dolphins at Mirage, backstage access at Cirque du Soleil, or choreographing the Bellagio fountains.
But let’s get back to the drinking… Our first night was off to a rough start when Ben’s flight was delayed in Chicago due to not one but eleven drunk and disorderly passengers who had to be removed from his flight from Chicago. I ate dinner without him and by the time he arrived I was just sitting down with friends at the Franklin bar and lounge at the new Delano Las Vegas (as in, Franklin Delano Roosevelt). This hotel is the former THEhotel attached to Mandalay Bay but has been fully renovated. Franklin quickly became a favorite spot during our trip, and we both stayed at the Delano when we came back for BAcon, returning to Franklin every night.
We now have a favorite waitress, one who spent most of the evening sitting at our table talking about her experience growing up in Sin City and the crazy stuff she’s seen customers do. She learned enough about our own likes and dislikes to order for us off the menu. And I can tell you from experience it’s a ton of fun when you can actually relate to the server as a person rather than someone who just fetches you food. More than other places, Las Vegas is a city where I’ve been building a mini-Rolodex of favorite bartenders, waiters, and other employees I look forward to seeing on every trip.
Because the Delano doesn’t have its own casino, the lobby is comparatively peaceful. It has a South Beach style that I will discuss more when I review the property next week. The bar itself reminded me of sitting outdoors at a campfire — if you could ignore the music. Hundreds of fiber optic lights above the bar twinkled like stars, and a few of the benches are made out of reclaimed logs.
The drinks are really why you should go. Rather than the usual yard-long slushy or free drinks on the casino floor, Franklin has some sophisticated bartenders. And when a bartender knows his stuff, I’m inclined to try a different cocktail every time to learn more about the diversity of his skills. (How Ben managed to go for so long without trying an Aviation is beyond me.)
Some of my favorites were the Delano Daiquiri, 1944 Classic Mai Tai, Mojito Cubano, and Mr. Hyde. I appreciated that most cocktails had only three or four ingredients rather than some overly complicated, made-to-impress concoction.
Drinks were still a little on the sweet side, which I find is typical for Las Vegas, but I was pleasantly surprised by a few new creations. Our first round was delivered with some cute conversation cards. (It took me embarrassingly long to work out a haiku.)
The only problem we had was that the kitchen shut down at 10 PM. I have seen some good pictures on Instagram regarding the menu and would have liked to have more to munch on since we were there until 2 AM. I’m sure Ben felt the same after missing dinner. But as far as liquid meals go, I’m not sure we could have done much better.
Disclosure: Accommodations, dining, and activities were provided by MGM Resorts. I paid for my own flights and ground transportation. No other compensation was provided. This content is the opinion of the author and was not reviewed or approved by MGM Resorts.