With high-profile bars, entertainment and eateries as well as shopping and golden sand, the massive Mandalay Bay tips the scales of fun to the south end of the Strip. The vibe: Boasting a vast beachy layout, this one-stop has-it-all (including massive convention facilities) What we love: This pool area will impress even the snobbiest of beach freaks. Called Mandalay Beach, it spans a whopping 11.5 acres. In addition to three large pools, a lazy river and tons of white sand, there’s a 1.6-million-gallon wave pool where the surf’s always up. If you’re looking to explore the depths of the ocean check out the Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay that features a wide variety of reptiles and aquatic animals as well as hands-on shark and turtle feeds for an extra fee. Insider tips: Because this resort is all about the water vibes, why not have the most luxurious bath of your life by getting a room with one of their massive tubs and stopping by Lush in The Shoppes at Mandalay Place to stock up on colorful bath bombs, bubbles, and oils to make bath time a work of art. Good to know: Remember that awesome pool we told you about above, well, it closes during winter (usually from November to February). Being a mid-range, upmarket hotel, you’ll pay more for rooms here…but don’t expect luxury amenities. The standard deluxe rooms are spacious at about 550 square feet and come with a 42-inch flat-screen TV as well as a 15-inch one in the bathroom. But there’s no refrigerator (just a minibar with sensors that charge you if you move anything). Keep in mind if you book a non-smoking room and light up in here, you’ll be charged a hefty cleaning fee at checkout. Your best bet is to smoke downstairs in the casino or neighboring bars. The cardio room at Mandalay Bay is small for such a huge resort but you’ll get a lot of exercise just from walking around. Location-wise, Mandalay Bay sits on the southernmost end of the Strip (it’s not in the heart of the action). Many visitors like the remote location, but if you need to get to showrooms and restaurants at other hotels, make sure you leave well in advance. If you don’t have a car, there are Deuce/RTC bus stops in front of the resort. Use those to get anywhere you want to go. There’s also a fully enclosed (and air-conditioned) walkway between Luxor and Excalibur.