Las Vegas Renewed: CityCenter Prepares to Open


The rising buildings of CityCenter

The rising buildings of CityCenter are transforming the Las Vegas Strip


It’s been amazing to watch Las VegasCityCenter transpire. A series of massive skyscrapers in the heart of the Strip, the new project has advanced dramatically with each passing month, and by all accounts looks as if it will be ready to open on schedule in early December.

While CityCenter has been in the news all year, many still don’t know exactly what it is. For that reason, we’ve prepared this 101 for you, so you’ll be able to brief your clients with that knowing look you like to give them when you’re on to something good.


CityCenter's Mandarin Oriental hotel, whose 23rd-floor lobby is pictured in a rendering above, marks the brand’s debut in the Las Vegas market

Keep in mind as you read this that the opening of CityCenter will be on par with the several sea changes that have occurred in Las Vegas since The Mirage opened 20 years ago and the city began debuting a new mega resort regularly for several years in a row.

Everyone will be talking about CityCenter and so it’s important you know what it is.

Comprised of three hotels (a fourth, The Harmon, will open late next year), condos and a luxury shopping complex, CityCenter will also be home to an amazing array of fine art in indoor and outdoor spaces.

Where Is It?

CityCenter sits on 67 acres between Bellagio and Monte Carlo. Where they managed to find all this space on one of the most heavily trafficked parts of the city, we’ll never know, but they did and they’ve used every inch of it.

Also good to know: The project is a joint venture between MGM Mirage and Infinity World Development Corp., a subsidiary of Dubai World.

First, the Hotels…

Vdara will be the first to open, on December 1. With nearly 1,500 rooms, this would be considered a large property in most cities, but for Vegas it’s a boutique hotel. The spa will also be large by most measurements, but for Vegas, it’s cozy, at 18,000 square feet with 11 treatment rooms. The theme will be holistic health.

Guest rooms will be a robust size, starting at 500 square feet and going all the way up to 1,650 square feet. Vdara has been designed as a non-gaming condo-hotel, which means all rooms will have kitchens. We say this is the place for someone who wants the quieter side of Las Vegas, but with all of the exciting attractions literally outside their door. Rates will range from $159 to $2,000.

Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas will be the next hotel to open, on December 4.  This property will be ultra-luxe, with a contemporary design. Marking the brand’s first move into the Las Vegas market, the non-gaming hotel will have 392 guest rooms and 227 residences. The lobby is on the 23rd floor (there are 47 stories in all). Three presidential suites on the top floor measure more than 3,200 square feet each. The bi-level spa will have 17 treatment rooms and you can expect Mandarin’s artful mixing of modern and Eastern traditions.

Opening rates are $545 per night, but there’s already an opening “We Fan Vegas” offer: Pay for two nights and receive the third night free, valid through February 28, 2010.

Aria, opening December 16, could be considered the jewel in the crown for CityCenter, with perhaps the most dramatic architecture of all the new buildings. The hotel will have a much more contemporary, sparse design than its sister property, Bellagio, and will be positioned above that luxury icon. With more than 4,000 rooms and a huge casino, Aria is considered the core of CityCenter.

Cirque du Soleil will have a musical production based on Elvis Presley’s life at the resort and the two-level spa will have 62 treatment rooms (yes, 62) and three spa suites (great for bachelorette parties). Expect the technology at Aria to surpass anything you’ve ever experienced in a hotel.

Another fact: Aria and Vdara have achieved Gold LEED certification, which is quite impressive. What this means is they’ve made just about every effort possible to create buildings that are environmentally friendly. They’re as green as they come.


You didn’t expect a skimpy retail experience at CityCenter, I’m sure, so you won’t be surprised to hear that its retail complex Crystals will have more than 500,000 square feet of shopping and dining venues. Watch out for Luis Vuitton, Hermes, Prada, Christian Dior and Bulgari (you know, all those brands that are just bursting out of your closet) to be at Crystals, which opens on December 3.

There is much more to CityCenter, but this will get you through the basics.

Suggested Articles:

Spanning the globe from Iceland to Ireland, Japan to Chile, each program offers small-group, immersive experiences. Get the details here.

The company and its partners are donating close to $60,000 in travel experiences to benefit the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management.

The U.S. State Department warns that travelers should not rely on repatriation flights as an option for U.S. citizens under risk of quarantine.