Vegas is good for at least two trips a year. If you are looking for a little golf with convenience, look no further than Bali Hai Golf Club and the Mandalay Bay Resort just around the corner. Late May and June are one of my favorite times to visit with warm days giving way to pleasant evenings.
Mandalay Bay Hotel
This place has something for everyone. If you are a pool person, this may be the best set up in Vegas. The Mandalay Bay Beach is set on 11 acres and offers a Wave Pool, Lazy River, three swimming pools, jogging track, and 2,700 tons of real sand. Little ones will be further intrigued by a visit to the adjacent Shark Reef Aquarium. There are over 2,000 animals on display, including sharks, sawfish, giant rays, endangered green sea turtles, and even piranha.
The rooms at Mandalay Bay are very sleek and include some spectacular views especially in the higher floors, which go up to 60. Our room was at the end of the building and had a wraparound view panning across the Bali Hai Golf Club over the airport and then down The Strip. With all the activity of the airport and Strip, one could find this view captivating for hours. The rooms themselves are very comfortable with the best in bedding and electronics. Oversized marble bathroom areas complete the experience.
Mandalay Bay has numerous fine dining options, but one that really interested me on this visit was Fleur de Lys. Many years ago I had been to the original location in San Francisco, which was then mostly known to the Pacific Heights elite. Chef Hubert Keller is the genius here and after our menu of samples I can fully attest to his ability.
We started with Ahi Tuna Tar Tare that was the freshest creation I have ever tried. We also tasted Seared Hudson Valley Foie Gras, which was mouth watering. This was followed up by equally delicious tastings of their Pan Seared Duck Breast and Colorado Rack of Lamb.
Chef Keller’s attention to detail makes this dining experience very unique. I was quite struck with our tour of his kitchen area. Never in my life have I seen such an immaculate culinary workspace.
Fleur de Lys Las Vegas also has a very interesting interior inspired by his origins in the French Wine country. The walls look like the interior of an Old World winery and there is an elaborate glass enclosed wine cellar above and in view of all guests. This wine cellar houses over 3,500 of the world’s finest wines. Keller, who grew up in France, spent a good deal of time in Brazil before moving to San Francisco. See FleurdeLyssf.com.
Each time I visit this tropical paradise more of its unique features seem to unfold. Bali Hai Golf Club is located at the southern edge of the Las Vegas strip just across from McCarran International Airport and next to Mandalay Bay. The building of this course was a monumental achievement by Bill Walters of Walters Golf and done in an era when all other golf courses on The Strip were disappearing. Gone are the Dunes and Tropicana golf courses but Bali Hai has more than filled the void. This is a layout with a lot of character.
Bali Hai has extensive water features all in keeping with its tropical theme. This starts with a stream running the length of the par four third hole. There is something hypnotic about a pristine waterscape such as this one or the greenside ponds on holes 4 and 5. The water hazards continue to evolve and on holes 11 and 18 where they flow into beach areas guarding each green. The vista is reminiscent of a Polynesian island setting.
Most of the north-facing holes offer a dramatic view of the Mandalay Bay and other properties on the Strip. Bali Hai is not a crowded course by design and you can always get around in 4 hours or less. Every time I have visited this course the greens and fairways have been excellent. Forecaddies are available.