A Photo Tour of CityCenter Las Vegas
After years of chronicling the shaky fortunes of the CityCenter project in Las Vegas it was finely time to see it for myself. In some ways the massive collection of retail space, residences, hotels and casinos lives up to the hype, it is like nothing Las Vegas has ever seen before. However whether or not it is what Las Vegas needs right now remains to be seen.
Las Vegas always seems to be running from its past. What began as a gangster's paradise evolved into the city of deeply discounted sin before revamping as a family-friendly cavalcade of wonders. Mostly recently it reinvented itself as the city of ultimate luxury with a focus on fine dining, luxury spas and elegantly subtle hotel suites. It's all a far cry from jangling casinos and mirror-ceilinged dens of iniquity. But the recent economic turmoil has hit Vegas with a double punch. First the real estate crash flattened the burgeoning Las Vegas condo market, then the drop in tourism sharply reversed the trend of rising hotel prices. It was nearly enough to make Vegas hotels long for the days of nickel slots and cheap steak dinners.
But Las Vegas is still betting on luxe for the long haul and to know that you need only look at the picture of Crystals mall above showcasing a couple of luxury brands. The entire CityCenter project is symbolic of the new Vegas. The shopping is high-end, the dining is expensive and the entire experience is designed to project class and calm. Old Vegas often sought to rev up the guests with flashing lights, bright colors and fantasy themes. New Vegas as shown at CityCenter is muted and tasteful. If it weren't for a casino or two you might just forget you were in Las Vegas at all. Let's have a look...
Tiffany is just one of the many luxury brands inside Crystals.
This shot of the interior of Crystals mall shows the plethora of luxury brands, there is a huge Louis Vuitton flagship, Prada, Dior, Mikimoto and more.
A striking window display at Van Cleef & Arpels.
Adjacent to Van Cleef & Arpels you'll find the large Cartier store.
Crystals has a variety of dining options.
The Aria hotel is next to Crystals
The reception desk of Aria features a sculpture by artist Maya Lin. The metallic ribbon mimics the path of the Colorado river.
One of the most striking features of Aria's lobby is the natural light and airy spaciousness. The use of natural light is a signature feature in the Aria hotel. It is in direct contrast to older Las Vegas hotels which eschewed windows in order to create a timeless environment.
Hotel rooms at Aria all have a glass corner that adds just a little bit more of a panoramic view. Rates start around $150.
Basic suites at Aria offer a powder room and living room in addition to a bedroom and bathroom. Suites start around $250.
The promenade level features the Sweet Chill ice cream store and the Terrene boutique.
Natural stone and lit fountains create a soothing aura on the walk to the spa.
Aria has three different pools.
The spa has a large waiting room area.
The entrance to the salon features these large wood trunks.
Sirio Ristorante serves Italian cuisine.
The atrium before the entrance to JeanGeorges steakhouse.
The bar at Jean-Georges.
The interior of American Fish.
Aria features the Viva Elvis show and has a store full of Elvis themed merchandise.
The entire CityCenter project is LEED certified Gold.
The Veer towers offer condo residences.
The lower lobby of the Mandarin Oriental. Aria has gaming but the Mandarin Oriental does not and it has a very understated, non-Vegas feel.
A standard room at the Mandarin Oriental. Rates here are around $350 a night.
At the Mandarin Oriental guests are checked in on the 23rd floor which features a dramatic view of the Strip. The hotel takes up half of the building and there are also residences above.