What Will Mandalay Bay Do With The Las Vegas Shooter’s Hotel Room?

Filed Under: Hotels

Let me start by saying that I’m heartbroken about what happened in Las Vegas on October 1, 2017. I’m simply at a loss of words, other than saying that my thoughts are with the families and friends of anyone impacted by this, which is a lot of people.

My goal is to make this blog an “escape” from everyday news. Often people say “how can you not address that XYZ happened?” Just because I don’t write about something doesn’t mean I don’t care, but rather just that I’m just not sure posting about it on a travel blog adds much value.

In the case of the Las Vegas shooting, there’s something hotel related that I’ve been wondering about, which Reuters addressed in an article yesterday, and I wanted to share here. The Mandalay Bay has over 3,000 rooms, so what should they do with the room that was occupied by the shooter who killed 58 people and injured more than 500?

This isn’t the first murder to happen at a hotel, though it’s certainly the biggest hotel shooting we’ve seen in the US. In general when something “bad” happens in a hotel room, there are a few directions a hotel can go:

  • They can restore the room to how it was, and go back to selling it
  • They can just not sell the room, realizing that people wouldn’t want to stay in the room if they knew what happened there; however, if you do that, do you leave the room number on the door, do you take off the room number and even remove the door so it looks like it was never there?
  • They could shut down the floor entirely, realizing that people might be uncomfortable being on the same floor at all, while others might specifically try to seek out this area
  • They can try to repurpose the space, realizing that people won’t want to stay in a room where something happened, but if the space is changed up, maybe it would be different
  • I doubt they’ll take this path, but they could set it up as a memorial that could be visited, but the logistics of that may be tough; it could be more practical to have a memorial elsewhere, in a more accessible area

Reuters shared what happened to some of the previous scenes of mass shootings, noting that the hotel hasn’t yet commented on their plan for the space:

Some of the venues have been dismantled completely. Others, like the San Bernardino, California community center where a husband and wife killed 14 people in December 2015, have reopened, with officials saying that getting back to work helping people was integral to healing.

The Orlando, Florida nightclub where a gunman killed 49 people in June 2016, remains closed, and the owner plans to turn it into a memorial.

Connecticut’s Sandy Hook Elementary School, where 20 children and six adults were killed in 2012, was demolished and rebuilt four years later.

While the loss of life is by far the worst aspect of this tragedy, there are also big implications for Mandalay Bay and MGM here. People come to Las Vegas to escape from reality, yet I think if I stayed at Mandalay Bay, this would always be in the back of my mind. I think this is a bit different than an elementary school or community center. Perhaps the closest parallel here would be Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, which will be turned into a memorial.

However, when we’re talking about a 3,000+ room hotel, that can’t quite as easily be shut down and turned into a memorial. I’m not sure there’s a right answer. While a memorial somewhere seems appropriate, do you just stop selling the room, stop selling the rooms right around it, shut down the whole floor, or what?

Personally I’m someone who is pretty “sensitive” when it comes to what rooms I’ll stay in, for reasons way less significant than this. That’s to say that I’ve asked to move rooms when I felt it had “bad juju,” and I’ve also avoided staying in a room in which a murder happened. However, what happened in Las Vegas is on a completely different level, and wouldn’t just make someone “sensitive” to this kind of stuff uncomfortable.

I’ll be curious to see what decision MGM makes. My thoughts continue to be with everyone impacted by this terrible tragedy.

What do you think the appropriate action is for the Mandalay Bay in a situation like this?

  1. Just change the room numbering, like what Days Inn did to the room where Selena got shot.

  2. My bro once stayed at a hotel outside of Chicago. It had no name, website, or even listed on Google maps. Just a phone number for booking. Stayed there during a wedding since the host got it for real cheap. During their stay they encountered blood streaks on door and walls and floor near a staircase. There were often “presence” of a person standing next to the bed as people slept. Among other strange incidents during his stay. The wedding party filed a lawsuit against the hotel and lost.

  3. Forgot to mention. After researching online they discovered that there was a murder at the hotel under previous owner and name.

  4. I think they will wall off the door and you will not even realize the room was there. They may even change the floor numbers in some way so that you don’t realize that you are on the 32 floor. Some people in the Vegas blogosphere believe they will change the name of resort, I don’t see that happening mainly because the tragedy didn’t happen on Mandalay’s grounds, but instead across the street, and as unfortunate as it is, the Mandalay Bay name is more well known around the world because of this.

  5. Agree with TheLostBoyLloyd. Given how short memory spans are in the US, sadly true for things like this and given how frequently they occur and other political “unrest” in the nation at the moment, Mandalay Bay will likely have zero problems renumbering the rooms and reselling. Assuming they don’t make it overly public which room was renumbered to what, I guess. There will always be people that want to stay in that room to satisfy their fetish, but unfortunately the nation as a whole will forget very quickly, and minutiae like this will be lost to all but the tenacious few.

  6. My guess is they will make some type of memorial on the ground level while gutting and converting the suite into something else that is for employee use only.

    It also wouldn’t surprise me if they gut the room then re-do the suite since it’s a highly sought after room type (I believe it was a two-bedroom suite with a Strip view?). They might only give the room to those who specifically request it for a few years?

  7. I go to a trade show twice a year and we use those same rooms to host buyers. They’re called Vista Suites (I have one booked right now for Feb). We’ve had that room on the 32nd floor, but at the end of one of the other wings (32-135 vs 32-235). I don’t have an issue with this. We’ll keep our reservation and continue to return to the Mandalay Bay.

  8. I don’t think they’d do something as drastic as close the entire floor. It’s a massive hotel, and there are a lot of rooms on that floor. Maybe they’ll close the room, but I actually sort of doubt this as well, although it’s possible.

    Most likely, they’ll return it to active use a bit further down the line when things quiet down. Even if people have heard of the shooting, I find it unlikely that anyone will recall the exact room number that Stephen Paddock used. Any memorial would almost certainly be built either at the grounds of the music festival (which is where the people were actually killed) or in a publicly visible location somewhere near or on the strip. Just like how the Pentagon was repaired after 9/11 and the main memorial built nearby on publicly accessible grounds.

    But from MGM’s business perspective, I’m sure they’re eager to put this behind them as no hotel wants to be known as “the one where that mass shooting took place.” And they’re not exactly going to replace the Mandalay Bay either, since replacing a hotel of its size would cost billions and it’s a reasonably new hotel by Strip standards.

  9. It was a tragic event, but move on with business as usual. If you must change the numbering on the rooms.

    Most certainly don’t do anything as drastic as Sandy Hook. Demolition of the school and rebuilding it years later was a ludicrous waste of money that could have been better spent on mental health than pandering to the superstitions and sensitivities of a select people.

    I’d stay in that room tomorrow.

  10. Would Mandalay’s insurance company require the room to be repaired in order to receive the funds?

    Closing the entire floor sounds drastic. Although there are people that do not want to stay in that room, there are likely people who equally want to stay in that suite. Perhaps a suite that is on request only?

  11. They will probably wait a bit and just continue to sell it… I mean, seriously, most people will not care or wont’ know. The odd chance that they do… just relocate them or give them something better. I think it’s a non-issue at that point.

  12. Redesign the entire floor so that the original room does not exist in its current form anymore.
    U can put the club lounge there. Or make 2 suites by halving the original room, and adjoining it with the 2 rooms besides it. Re-number it and take out the previous room number.

  13. Airlines change flight numbers after disasters. They should close down the suite and not rent iout anymore. Although anyone out there willing to pay top dollar to say they stayed in this suite? Could be a tourist attraction.

  14. My general opinion is that they should block off that room with a wall like it was never there..or even integrate it into a bigger area/suite where the specific outline of the old room would be difficult to identify. Maybe even knock the floor out and make it a part of a “sky suite” so the room itself (floor, ceiling..everything) is nonexistent.

    The others are right..most people will not remember the exact location of the original room. Also if they make it into a mega-suite, only high rollers will be able to afford it, so access will be limited.

    On the other hand, I recently stayed in a hotel where a knew that a really bloody/tragic suicide occurred and I made sure that I was not in that room. So while I say one thing, I practice another..

  15. The whole thing is so sad and surreal. While reading this post, I was thinking about the John Cusack movie “1408” based on the Stephen King short story about the room that kills whoever stays in it so the hotel refuses to rent it. Hard to believe we’re talking about a room in real life that has such evil vibes that it may be walled off now–gives me the chills.

  16. I strongly believe that a “business as usual” attitude must be taken.

    Turning the suite into a memorial for the victims would be akin to turning it into a shrine for the shooter. Just restore the room and put it back into inventory. As others have mentioned, Americans have a severe, collective case of attention deficit disorder; soon enough, this whole episode in Vegas will be nothing more than some foggy recollection in the back of our minds.

    Let’s face it: mass shootings in the US are now just an ordinary fact of life, much like car crashes and wild fires. Collectively, Americans have no sincere interest to stymie gun violence. So let us please just accept it, move on and stop this faux soul searching & hand wringing.

  17. I appreciate you don’t turn your blog into a travel tabloid. I come to these blogs to read about travel and get tips. I don’t come to them for somebody’s political viewpoints or opinion on the news of the day that does not have really direct bearing on travel (e.g., flight crews gone wild etc)

  18. If only Mommy Points has read your second paragraph before firing off her two cents the day after. I respect your discretion and integrity to not step outside the perview of your blog.

  19. They will probably renovate, renumber and reuse. I read somewhere they will need to renovate the entire wing on that floor due to the damage down the hallway. They just finished a full renovation a couple years ago. The floors where the Vista Suites occur have fewer standard rooms and more suites per floor, they are only out 35 rooms within that wing on that floor for now.

    For reference, the buildings with loss of life in the 1980 MGM Grand fire (Bally’s) and 1981 Las Vegas Hilton fire (Westgate) are still used today. However, those two events did spur a national discussion and new rules about hotel fire safety…

  20. This is obviously a sensitive topic for many but despite the horrible tragedy
    MGM Group with all its warm words in the press and emails (Stay Strong Las Vegas)
    is all about the money and people second.Its who they are
    And no doubt it will be business as usual for the most part.
    Even if they do something politically correct with the shooters former accommodations
    The suite is famous now and I am sure there will be some actually want to stay in the suite
    On the other hand
    I’ve stopped staying with all MGM family of hotels more recently before the sad event occurred.
    I’m a Hyatt Globalist/ Platinum M life selfishly speaking for a moment
    which has little to no benefit and soon yet to be an even lower tier not that it will matter.
    Every time I walk into their hotels they try and sell me some type late check out fee upgrade fee breathing fee etc.Resort fees are a horrible rip off and MGM hotels lead the way

    They don’t even pick up their phones when I’m a guest in house consistently if at all
    They rarely employ enough people in their larger operations
    for proper customer service in their hotels
    Its no wonder security was somewhat lax
    It was reported in the media that some guest on the same floor of the active shooter tried to report the problem first but nobody picked up the phone @ The Mandalay Bay.
    They had to call someone outside the hotel for help.Wasn’t a surprise to me
    I’ve complained before as a guest and asked what if it were an emergency?
    I fear staying in their hotels in case one day I have a health issue and pass on due to their negligence and under-staffing and lack of follow-up.
    In Aria as a simple other example with 4000 rooms and M life check in there was one check in agent for ALL M LIFE customers with outrageous lines for their so called valued customers?
    I pulled a manager over and said how do you consider this acceptable in a hotel of this size?
    Of course the answer is Upper management corporate

    Sadly I see MGM as greedy and self serving as much as I like their hotels
    but now choose to stay elsewhere.When Wynn owned some of their properties they were better managed properties .Bellagio,Mirage etc

    Never did I hear MGM group state this should have never happened in one of our hotels
    That it is a tragic unacceptable situation and better staffing and security/training might have reduced the possibility or eliminate this kind of scenario now and going forward
    Hate to beat them when they are down but its my opinion they need to remember that customers are not human ATM machines
    Monetizing parking after 40 years of previously no casino charging isn’t the most customer friendly move either by valuing profits over people/customers consistently

    They do have some marvelous people working in their hotels but they are poisoned by upper management and its truly time to change the culture of who they are and how they manage their business from security to the customer experience/customer relationship management
    I’m no longer a fan of anything MGM yet at the end of the day I empathize with any company or individual that didn’t deserve anything like this to happen and especially the beautiful loving kind innocent lives that were lost just trying to enjoy life happily as they should have

  21. In most hotels they would remodel by changing the carpet, doors, curtains, etc, they may change the layout or furniture but unlikely. My husband works in a major hotel chain and I used to and I promise whatever they do it will be fast and a way to bring in money. They will not want an off market room for very long as it costs them money. Besides I think anyone who asks not to be put in that room would be accommodated unless the hotel were booked. This may not be decided by the Mandalay Bay, as this room was (from my understanding) leased to Four Seasons.

  22. @ Lucky. I am rarely negative about content here, Lucky. It’s your blog and your direction. And yes, I can choose not to read. It’s fine and I mostly always find your content to be, at the least, intriguing and fun. I do feel though that this is “too soon.” It’s almost morbid. Perhaps a discussion in time – certainly not now and in such a direct manner. We are a bit over a week since this nightmarish evening and people are healing. It strikes me a a bit of grandstanding with your post and a tragedy in which any conversation at this point that does not include gun control and empathy at this point is asking for trouble. I guess if I was your publicist this is what I would tell you. But I am not. So I will just have my two cents instead.

  23. Rebranding is important, but MGM is very huge so maybe not doable. My mom will always remember a hotel where a murder/suicide took place in the 80s and mentions if every time we walk near the place. Yeah, I know, mom!

  24. They should just close it off and not use it. I just left Las Vegas, and even going on the bus driving by people were gawking at the windows where he shot from, as they are now a different color (probably from being boarded up). But the Welcome to Las Vegas sign area has become a shrine, with 60(?) crosses set up behind it and people leaving flowers and cards around the crosses and the Welcome sign itself. In addition, about a block north, there was a mini-shrine set up at an intersection.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the owners completely rebranded the hotel. It’s no longer where you can see sharks, it’s where the crazy guy killed everyone. People go to Vegas to drink and gamble and have fun not to reflect on mortality.

  25. If my memory serves me correctly, the Grand Hyatt in Taipei, which is rumored to be haunted, has a room that they won’t rent out to any guest. I’ve stayed at that hotel twice and never noticed anything unusual, although I’m a pretty big skeptic.
    So I would vote for them simply walling off the room and removing the door, but I suspect they will just renovate.

  26. Former MGM employee here. This is what I think is likely to happen:

    First, hotels are under constant renovation and redesign. No doubt they’ll start their next initiative on that floor. It’s possible they’ll effectively remove all rooms on that floor from inventory for a period of time. That is actually quite common while redesigns are underway.

    Second, I think it’s likely they knock down some walls and turn part of it into a normal room while trying to isolate the crime area. That’s likely to become some sort of storage / housekeeping area.

    They can pick a few other rooms to consolidate to a suite, or simply skip the suite on that floor. The suites are quite important for whales and other high rollers, not to mention the bachelor party and other events that pays rack rate for the suite.

    Room numbering isn’t likely across the whole floor, but shooter’s room number (32135) will simply disappear. It’s an end unit and will be easier to make it disappear.

    Only time will tell what they’ll actually do.

  27. “what should they do with the room that was occupied by the shooter who killed 58 people and injured more than 500?”

    Who, at this moment, is even remotely interested in happens to the hotel room? Surely there are very, very, very much more important issues surrounding this horrendous crime?

    What kind of mind thinks the question is of the remotest importance?

  28. I live here in Las Vegas & with my experience working in hospitality in another city I have an idea. Take off the entrance door & all doors but the bathrooms. Which it being a corner suite, turn the suite into a floor access concierge hospitality room. Set up drink stations like speciality coffee, teas etc. have the floor staff stock the suite with different foods. Apps, snacks at different times of the day. Make it a lounge for clients who are staying on that specific floor. Take out wall parts of the rooms to expand different sitting areas. The Brown hotel in Louisville Kentucky has a room like this in their hotel. You only get access with certain room reservations.

  29. I stayed at the Beverly Hilton a year after Whitney Houston’s death. I went to the fourth floor to see what they did with the room where she died. The hotel decided just to take the room number down. Not sure if it’s back in inventory now.

  30. I stayed in the suite Whitney Houston died in a few times prior to her passing
    It wasn’t one of their most luxurious suites as nice as it was
    My understanding the room was completely refreshed renovated /redone and put back into service

  31. @ Andrea Thank you. I have been truly flabbergasted at not only this post but that the fact no one seems to care how insensitive the comments are. I am far from being the overly sensitive type but if this is all we can talk about?

  32. I mean, honestly, Lucky. What have we become? Is next up, “Best Hotel Rooms to Avoid or Book To See the War in Syria!”

  33. Agree with Stuart. This post — at this time — is simply inappropriate. Next you’ll be adding a post — replete with hyperlinks to affiliated credit cards — promoting award trips to the memorial erected in the victims’ honor. Very disappointed, Lucky.

  34. “People come to Las Vegas…”

    I assume you were not physically present in Las Vegas when you wrote this. If that’s the case, then a correction is needed. It should be, “People go to Las Vegas…”

    If you’re unsure, just remember this simple rule: “Come here. Go there. Bring here. Take there.”

  35. I would expect, Vegas being Vegas, that this will move forward the rebranding of this property. Truth is, the floors above the shooter’s room were already part of the Four Seasons operation, so the precedent is already set that multiple brands are operating within the tower. This is an opportunity to simply rebrand the 32nd floor as part of another operation. Suddenly the Mandalay Bay hotel doesn’t have a 32nd floor or that room number. And if you think people won’t be fooled, remember there are people who don’t know that Audi and VW are made by the same company, that Sprite is made by Coca-Cola, and that not everything on TV is true.

  36. Considering this was the biggest mass shooting in recent history in this country, they will probably keep it closed for a while. Not easy to forget the murderer was in that floor, in that particular wing. The hotel has more than 3000 rooms, but potentially only 129 Vista suits, considering all 3 wings, considering they have one of those per wing per floor. Also, they have only 43 suites with that a particular view, which is in the best wing. Good hotels start to make money after 80% occupancy. That suite is a big loss. Paddock himself waited for 2 or 3 days before it was available. He only moved into it on Saturday. In my modest opinion they will keep it closed for years to come. I also think MGM will eventually rename Mandalay Bay and run a marketing campaign with a new name, new concept, and a new concert venue across the street, an arena where security will be manageable.

  37. People will definitely remember th room number you guys…. this is the largest mass shooting in modern history. No ones going to get a room there and not check to make sure it’s not the same room. I wouldn’t even want to be anywhere near that view, especially while drinking amen trying to have a good time. I’ll probaky never stay at that hotel.

  38. Great question and very relevant!
    I would prefer if they made it into a memorial room or space.
    What happened in that room is unfortunately too significant for business to continue as usual.

  39. Regarding the comments of the Beverly Hilton and the room in which Whitney Houston died – they did renovate the room and put the room back in service. However, the hotel did a total re-numbering of rooms on that particular floor.

  40. I read your blog regularly and didn’t realize you had so many pansies in your audience. This article is timely and relevant to the industry in which you blog. Tell Stuart, Brian and the others complaining to go elsewhere if they can’t handle an article on “what will the Mandalay Bay do with the room” topic. It is an interesting topic to discuss and learn of what others predict.

  41. Jen: You must be a troglodyte. The issue is not about newsworthiness or interest, but about poor timing and bad taste. Lucky (who is a good guy) probably overlooked those considerations in the daily hubbub of posting. What’s your excuse?

  42. NRA hired the room already for a year and put advertisement in there. Let people realise that you have to wear semi-automatic guns with you all the time.

  43. @Jen In fact I am far from sensitive (hell, I still watch Airplane and laugh my ass off). As @Brian said it’s about timing. It’s an interesting topic for sure and clearly people reacted to it in general conversation. And a conversation in private might be acceptable. This is not private. Respecting basic principles of decorum is perhaps the root of the problem in our country. It may be fine for you. But for a survivor or relative of a member who was injured or killed to stumble on this and read such things as “will it become a museum” is just using poor judgement and inviting a wound to hurt that much harder. Common sense. And, as I said, I don’t think Lucky meant any malice – but our conscience should guide us a bit in that this is not a private conversation. This is a public website. There is a responsibility to allow a bit of dignity to human beings who are suffering – lest we all fall deeper into the discourteous nature of the inter webs. And no, as much as you like to say, “don’t read it”, the reality of search engines, feeds, and reposts – and how the internet works today – is not so easy. This will, I am sure, appear in a number of feeds and news cycles. Lucky knows that. His profession relies on that. This is a story for everyone to see. And no one can simply turn the page given that the headline alone is cringe worthy.

  44. @Lucky Perhaps the guiding principle should be: Would you stand up at a public appearance a week after this incident and address your audience of a few hundred with the question…”What will Mandalay Bay do With the Shooters Hotel Room?”

  45. The room will probably be walled off and removed from inventory. We had to do the same at the Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai, after 26/11 where one guest was killed in his room, and the room was then set on fire due to the terrorists grenades.
    If they do want to take this room back into sellable inventory it should happen after a decent period of time, eg, one or two years has passed before doing the same.
    I think a memorial would not be put up by the hotel, as the deaths did not happen on the hotel property. A memorial would probably just put negative images in potential guests minds.

  46. Yikes, Dan. To say ” Demolition of the school and rebuilding it years later was a ludicrous waste of money that could have been better spent on mental health than pandering to the superstitions and sensitivities of a select people.” is rather insensitive. I wouldn’t call demolishing the school “pandering superstitions and sensitivities of select people.” I mean, those were innocent CHILDREN that were killed. My son now goes to a school where there was a shooting and 3 kids died. You have no idea how much the thought of that runs through my head as a parent and how unsatisfying the thoughts that come with knowing someone shot innocent lives in that very school are. It was the right decision to demolish Sandy Hook. I couldn’t fathom being comfortable as a parent having my kids walk in the same spots little kids lost their lives. No thank you.

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