The Mirage

The Mirage in Las Vegas opened in the fall of 1989 and my first visit was the summer of 1990. I was six years old. My family fell in love the Polynesian-themed hotel and has stayed at The Mirage every year since. My family will never let me live down the time we were in Vegas for a wedding and I cried because we weren’t staying at The Mirage. I know, it sounds ridiculous, but it was home. I grew up there. In fact, I recently celebrated my 30th birthday at The Mirage and I thought it was time to share all the reasons this hotel is my home away from home and why I love it as much as an adult as I did as a kid.

DSCN0184Keep the Cost in Check:

Normally room rates are pretty steep, but if you join the Mlife rewards program you get discounted room rates. The more points you earn the better the deals. Save on everything from room rates, to dinning vouchers, to drink credit and even gambling credit.

mlife“But I am not a big gambler.”

That’s fine. Neither am I, but points are earned by eating, drinking, purchasing gifts or attraction tickets as well as gambling. The Mlife is the way to go to save money at The Mirage as well as other participating hotels. Mlife Group.

Drop Your Bags:

When I was a kid the rooms had a more tropical décor, but since the new ownership there has been a shift to the retro with the introduction of the LOVE Beatles Cirque Show. The rooms are very nice with clean lines, popping colors and geometric shapes. The bedding is out of this world and as a birthday present HotDaddy bought me my Mirage pillows! Now I feel like I’m sleeping in a hotel every night!

DSCN0689DSCN0692DSCN0694Get Your Grub On:

If you won a little something and you want to splurge, there are plenty of fine dining options within the hotel.

Tom Colicchio from Bravo’s Top Chef has Heritage Steak House. Located right off the atrium, the restaurant serves up delicious organic meat dishes prepared over an open flame with views of the waterfalls and palm trees.

IMG_3035 DSCN0928FIN is an elegant, yet whimsical with gorgeous silver bubble-balls seemingly floating from the ceiling. The Chinese cuisine is served family style and is delicious. There is a minimum age requirement of five for dining at FIN which kind of puts a cramp in my style when traveling with toddlers. Oh well, I eat there again in three years. Ha.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJaponais has sushi as well as other contemporary Japanese dishes. On Friday and Saturday nights they run the Late Night Menu which features specials on sushi, Robata skewers and small plates.

STACK has an awesome atmosphere of being surrounded by canyons. You feel like you are in a cave yet you can see the casino floor while you dine on contemporary American cuisine.

Portofino is a delicious representation of the Italian city in which it’s named and is an elegant dining experience that comes with an minimum age requirement of five just like FIN.

Samba Steakhouse offers Brazilian style Rodizio which is basically skewered meats over a rotisserie. Although the meat is unlimited the age is and guests under five are not invited to Samba.

Although the menus at the fine dining establishments are pricey there are ways to get a deal. Many offer Prix Fixe menus that range from $21-$55 per person which is a pretty good value, because you get appetizers and entrees and desserts for the cost of one entree and some of these establishments. In addition to the Prix Fixe, many of the restaurants offer a dinner and show package with save 15-25% off show tickets with a reservation to the restaurants.

For casual dining, BLT Burger is located in the original White Tiger viewing area, but now it is an outrageous gourmet burger joint. The burgers are prepared on a giant grill in the center of the restaurant while guests sip on beer or one of the many monster gourmet shakes.

The Paradise Café is located by the pool, so the view is fantastic. We usually have one meal a day here because it is nice to dine outside with views of the waterfalls. Plus, it is super convenient when you are spending the day by the pool.

DSCN0795Carnegie Delicatessen is definitely a favorite, because of the Matzo Ball Soup. I love this soup so much that I get it every time I visit and sometimes I sneak it in as a midnight snack before heading up to the room for the night! YUMMY!

DSCN0261 DSCN0763 DSCN0772They are also known for their ridiculously large sandwiches, which HotDaddy somehow finished. Hello tummy ache.

DSCN0260 DSCN0263For a quick snack try Blizz Frozen Yogurt or The Roasted Bean. They make for great breakfast stops as well as an after pool treat.



Roasted Bean

Roasted Bean

Cravings Buffet is probably the best food and the best value in the hotel. Kids under five are free and adults at breakfast and brunch are about $20. You get unlimited access to international cuisine as well as unlimited beer and wine. Yes, unlimited beer and wine. I can spend over $20 in alcohol alone during a meal, so this was awesome for our family! Not only that, but Goose Island IPA is one of the beers offered. It was ice-cold and served in a fabulous beer glass. Needless to say, I was a happy mama.


DSCN0923Near the sports bar is California Pizza Kitchen if you just want something familiar.

Coming in September 2014 will be the new 24-hour dining, Panty. I can’t wait to check it out.


All the fine dining restaurants listed above have fantastic specialty cocktails; some even have lounges like Japonais, Heritage Steak and STACK if you just want to pop in for a drink and appetizer.

For more of a bar scene, my favorite at The Mirage is the RHUMBAR not only because of their deliciously fun cocktails, but because they have an awesome patio overlooking the strip. This HotMama likes heat and any chance I am able to enjoy a warm summer night outside, I am a happy girl.


DSCN0279My favorite bar during the day is the Dolphin Bar, located by the pool. This is where Grammy and Papa hangout while HotDaddy and I take the kids for a splash in the pool. As far as drinks go, if you are going to have more than one drink, splurge on the big cup for $23. The jumbo Bloody Mary has three shots of vodka, which is great. It may sound crazy, but one drink is about $15 so when you look at it that way, it just makes sense to go big or go home.

DSCN0812Throughout the casino you can find little drink stops like the Lobby Bar, The Sports Bar, Bare Pool Lounge or in the High Limit Lounge (although I’ve never stop there haha). When in Vegas it is fun to experiment with drink, even when traveling with the kids. There are plenty of opportunities to grab libations with kids in tow, but for the adult-only establishments I recommend bringing a babysitter, grandparents or using the hotel’s babysitting service just to steal an hour or two.

Entertain Me:

First things first, let’s talk about the pool. This is the main reason I loved The Mirage so much as child. The pool is a topical oasis with waterfalls and palm trees. There used to be three water-slides, but they have since been removed. Sad face. I was crushed at the removal of the water-slides. I remember the sheer joy of going down that thing all day long and wanted the same memories for my children. Oh well, things change, but at least the pool atmosphere remains the same. I love sipping on a big Bloody Mary or a Pina Colada while the kids splash and giggle in the waterfalls. It really makes you feel like you are somewhere far away. Even as an adult I could hang by this pool all day with no problem. Guests can reserve lounge chairs as well as reserve cabanas. For adult fun check out the Bare Pool which features European-style bathing (aka boobies).

Family fun for everyone

Family fun for everyone

DSCN0825We love to visit the Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat every time we stay. It is pretty reasonable and Mlife members get a discount. I like how relaxed and personal the experience is and for additional costs guests can participate in VIP tours, Painting with the Dolphins, Trainer for a Day and Yoga with the Dolphins. I just like to wonder around the premises, leisurely enjoying the animals. I like to go in the late afternoon or early morning as it starts to get cooler and the animals are more active. Big cats can be kind of lazy, so when they are up and roaming around it is very exciting.

Dolphin Habitat

Dolphin Habitat

Secret Garden

Secret Garden

IMG_3011IMG_2999I got to sit with a cold beer as my kids talked with the trainers and watched the dolphins play. The highlight of Firecracker’s day was getting splashed my Osborn the dolphin.

Dolphins are ready to play

Dolphins are ready to play

Firecracker getting splash by Osborn the Dolphin

Firecracker getting splash by Osborn the Dolphin

Firecracker & Cuddle Bear talking to trainer

Firecracker & Cuddle Bear talking to trainer

My Cuddle Bear had a bit of a meltdown, because he felt he was big enough to explore on his own. He is not, so he decided to throw his fit in front of the lions’ area. Bad idea. The lion got up and walked to the fence, so I picked up screaming Cuddle Bear and held him in front of the lion. The lion look at him, then at me, and then back at him before roaring Cuddle Bear into submission. Daddy lions know how to keep their cubs in check.



The Volcano is located at the entrance to the hotel. It starts erupting at 8pm and continues every hour on the hour until midnight. Firecracker got a front row seat and although her face was on fire, she loved every explosive moment.

DSCN0778 DSCN0782Shows are great, but kids under five are usually not allowed. So that leaves me out for a few years. I used to love going to the shows and can’t wait to finally be able to take my kids. At The Mirage you can get tickets to LOVE, the Beatles inspired Cirque show, or the Terry Fator. There are usually concerts as well as comedy shows available at any given time, so be sure to check the website periodically.

DSCN0349I can’t talk about a Vegas hotel without mentioning the casino. The Mirage has great selection of games, but I have my favorites. Even though we bring the kids, we make time to have a little fun in the casino, by switching off or by bringing my cousin to babysit for a couple hours during the night.


I know a large part of my love for The Mirage comes from a sentimental place. I’ve been going there for 27 years. Crazy! The Mirage is truly a spectacular stay with fantastic accommodations, dining options and entertainment. It is still my favorite hotel to stay in Las Vegas, even though I’ve stayed in many others. I would definitely recommend The Mirage to anyone traveling to Las Vegas, especially with kids. I just got home, but I can’t wait to get back. Las Vegas. Las Vegas. It is calling me home. See you there!


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