With all that glimmers in the splendour of the Las Vegas Strip, the city known for its magnificent and often theme-oriented resort casinos, now prides itself with its most prominent addition, the ominous CityCenter. Architecturally stunning and ultra-modern in design, this urban community truly symbolizes the recent move toward the development of more elegant and sophisticated property. The complex itself boasts several striking towers including the Mandarin Oriental, Aria Resort & Casino, Vdara Hotel & Spa, Veer Towers and the world-class retail, dining and entertainment district Crystals.
With a quarter-mile Strip frontage poised between respective MGM Mirage properties Bellagio and Monte Carlo, CityCenter delivers an impressive 67 acre plot with over 16,797,000 square feet of mixed-use space. Estimated at an impressive $9.2 billion cost, the project ranks as the single most expensive privately funded project in the Western Hemisphere. Teamed with Dubai World, MGM Resorts International assembled a diverse collection of the globe’s most innovative architects to make this visionary project a reality. Gensler, the world’s largest architectural firm was chosen to oversee the 7 key architects, 90 interior designers and the hundreds of consultants who ushered CityCenter to unprecedented levels.
With global awareness incorporated in the blueprint to sustainable design, all 5 structures received gold LEED certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) for their advancement in site development, water and energy efficiency and material selection. Keys to receiving this recognition include The Strips first natural-gas powered central energy plant which assists in powering, cooling and providing hot water for the entire CityCenter. Also, well-hidden floor air-conditioning units located in slot machine bases, cool patrons from the ground up, rather than from the ceiling down, subsequently reducing unnecessary waste. Additionally, the reuse of more than 80 % of materials from the imploded Boardwalk Hotel & Casino which formerly occupied the site, resulted in the salvage of 260,000 tons of construction waste.
Expanding the boundaries of creativity further, the city’s first major collection of contemporary art incorporated into a community setting, has been strategically placed throughout each building. Including works from 15 internationally recognized artists, each piece was carefully paired with the unique structural design of the CityCenter as to complement one another. Such large-scale works as Maya Lin’s 84-foot depiction of the Colorado River, looms in recycled silver above the Aria’s main lobby. As well, with a leisurely stroll through Crystals, one is sure to stumble upon the mesmerizing “Halo” water sculpture conceived by WET Design (creators of the Bellagio Fountain display) where neon-lit tubes swirl water frantically about in a tornado effect.
Without discounting the Mandarin Oriental, a 47-story non-gaming hotel and condominium tower, and Veer, a strictly residential structure, the complex’s true shining stars are the Aria Resort & Casino and its sister property Vdara Hotel & Spa. Though both equally impressive, they differ mainly in amenities and purpose.
Aria, the center’s largest building, boasts of its 4,004 guestrooms including 568 suites, approximately 150,000 square feet of gaming and 300,000 square feet of meeting and convention space. Three picturesque pool areas, 50 cabanas and one adult-only pool allow patrons to enjoy the consistently warm and sunny climate. Its restaurants range from the high-class fine dining of Bar Masa featuring modern Japanese cuisine, to Skybox Sports Bar and Grill with its pub-style menu. A word of caution however while eating at Skybox. Their Firecracker Burger complete with India’s Bhut Jolokia chilli peppers requires signing a waiver. However, if your pallet can sustain the sting, a glass of draft beer is on the house.
With no shortage on nightlife entertainment, the resort offers a diverse collection of unique clubs and lounges. With their most significant venue Haze offering a hip-hop and techno-charged atmosphere, smaller clubs such as Bar Moderno, allow for more intimate and relaxing surroundings as soft piano music complement a masterfully crafted cocktail. On a grander scale, Cirque du Soleil’s “Viva Elvis” in the Elvis Theatre pays tribute to the king of rock & roll through a performance fusing dance and acrobatics together with live music.
Conversely, without the tag of resort & casino, Vdara Hotel & Spa is simply that. A more quaint and tranquil environment geared toward those seeking the excitement of Las Vegas with a haven to escape to at evening’s close. A non-gaming, smoke-free, suite-only hotel, its crescent-shaped design is a striking statement of its ultra-modern style. The chic boutique resort is dedicated to providing a unique spa experience with its dual-level wellness facility complete with 11 treatment rooms and 3 distinct relaxation lounges including co-ed meditation. Saunas, eucalyptus steam rooms, hot plunges and heated chaise lounges merge with the many organic and vegan product lines derived from herbs, flowers, fruits, vegetables and essential oils.
Without the trappings of typical resort casinos, dining and nightclub aficionados may opt for the nearby Aria or venture out a few steps further to the notorious Vegas Strip. Again, focusing on mind, body and spirit, Vdara supplies guests with a 2,100 square foot, full-service salon for both men and women which adjoins an equally-spacious fully-equipped fitness center with cardio, exercise machines and free weights. Here, consultations with registered dieticians and private or group sessions with personal trainers and yoga instructors truly cater to the dedicated and earnest health advocate. To complete your spa experience, a pass through their smoothie bar is guaranteed to send you back to your room with a smile!
So, whether your next trip to Las Vegas is for excitement or relaxation, a visit to the Mandarin Oriental, Aria Resort & Casino, Vdara Hotel & Spa, Veer Towers or the world-class Crystals is an event soon forgotten. Though what happens in Vegas may truly stay in Vegas, the CityCenter experience is certain to return home with you!
For more information on CityCenter visit www.citycenter.com.
Published on May 24, 2012