CityCenter Lights Up the Strip

Meet the new all-in-one hotspot in Las Vegas that’s upping the ante on a Vegas vacation.

Not even Howard Hughes could have imagined something as grandiose as Vegas’ new CityCenter—an almost city-within-a-city concept that has blown everything else on the Strip out of the water, at least temporarily. In this one-stop, latest-generation hospitality, lifestyle and entertainment hub, some of the biggest names in hotels and restaurants have found a place in which to shine, sometimes literally. Set on 67 acres between the Bellagio and Monte Carlo resorts, CityCenter is being touted as a “community” where art blooms, stunning architecture sparkles in the desert sun, and money talks in the luxury stores.

Its walkways, works of art (CityCenter has a public Fine Arts Collection) and engaging architecture have already inspired comparisons to actual cities such as San Francisco, while its push for environmental preservation—it’s one of the largest sustainable developments in the world—is receiving wide acclaim. It’s already incorporated hundreds of cutting-edge alternatives into design, construction and operational aspects of the development. Guests will find everything from the first-ever fleet of stretch limos powered by clean-burning compressed natural gas, to slot machines that serve as floor A/C units so there’s no energy wasted on cooling empty space above their heads. Exclusive features in guestrooms allow clients to “green their stay” and all employees receive LEED training. This and so many other eco-conscious initiatives have been implemented and used since the very beginnings of the development. CityCenter also has people movers that provide transportation between Monte Carlo, Crystals and Bellagio.

There would be no CityCenter without the Crystals retail and entertainment district, which holds top retail and dining options for clients. Crystals glitters like its name, with a multi-faceted glass canopy welcoming lots of natural light, a 3-story sculptural “tree house” and changeable works of art including hanging gardens and flower carpets. Guests will have access to luxury standards such as Christian Dior and Hermes, as well as to first-in-Las-Vegas shops from Tom Ford, Miu Miu and others. Dining options include Desperate Housewives’ Eva Longoria Parker’s BESO and two upcoming concepts by Wolfgang Puck.

staying in the “city” Last December saw the opening of three of CityCenter’s hotels: ARIA Resort & Casino, Vdara Hotel and Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas. ARIA has 4,004 rooms and suites that feature floor-to-ceiling windows showing off the sparkle of Las Vegas. Guests are welcomed in a 3-story lobby with lots of open spaces around, while the technologically advanced guestrooms are housed in two jaw-dropping steel and glass towers and have lights that turn on and curtains that open when a guest first steps inside; clients can wake up through preferred music or TV channels.

One of CityCenter’s most exciting attractions is ARIA’s “Viva Elvis” by Cirque du Soleil, which celebrates the timeless sounds, moves and legacy of Elvis Presley in a permanent production of acrobatics, dance, amazing special effects and live music. The resort will also be home to artist Maya Lin’s 84-ft. silver cast of the Colorado River, as well as sculptures by Tony Craggs and works by other artists.

ARIA’s huge spa has 62 treatment rooms and an advanced fitness center, as well as Las Vegas’ first co-ed spa balconies with an outdoor therapy pool. It also has a great salt meditation room (complete with a wall of illuminated salt bricks) to help heal respiratory ailments and skin irritations, as well as Japanese black mineral stone beds for better circulation and elimination of toxins. The main pool deck is an official meeting point, with three pools and several hot tubs, all enveloped in a haven of palm, pine and acacia trees.

ARIA also has 10 bars and lounges, including Haze Nightclub, where the main dance floor sits by a wide wall of interactive projection screens and a stage where artists will regularly show up to perform. Then there’s its casino, which, unlike others in the area, is flooded with natural light and provides gamers, whether they’re dollar-slot fans or high-stakes table game aficionados, with a more intimate experience.