Las Vegas’ first luxury non-gambling, non-smoking hotel opened yesterday (December 1) in the US’ biggest private development, CityCenter.
The 57-storey Vdara Hotel & Spa (pictured) will have 1,500 rooms and forms one of the key parts of the $8.5bn project.
CityCenter is co-owned by the Las Vegas-based MGM Mirage and Dubai World.
When news of Dubai World’s debt crisis surfaced MGM officials were forced to deny it would have an impact on the gambling empire, and asserted that CityCenter is on track to open this year.
“CityCenter is fully funded, on schedule and ready to begin welcoming guests starting next week,” said an MGM spokesman.
At the opening ceremony MGM chief executive Jim Murren said: “I will promise you that next year will be better than this year.”
Most of the 67-acre CityCenter project is being opened in phases this month.
The Crystals retail shopping mall and the 392-room Mandarin Oriental are due to open this week.
The centerpiece Aria Resort & Casino opens in two weeks time’, adding 4,004 hotel rooms to the saturated Las Vegas market.
Two condominium towers will open in January, and a 400-room boutique hotel has been delayed until at least late next year.
CityCenter has been designed to provide something different from the relentless pace of the Las Vegas Strip, and is aimed more towards families and shoppers than specifically gamblers.
Developers hope the new hotel – which will be connected to the Bellagio – will kick-start tourism to the city, which has experienced two years of decline.
However critics are concerned that the extra rooms could depress hotel rates even further in a market where many hotel-casinos have had to slash prices to keep their beds filled.
Tourism chiefs also hope that British Airways’ first direct daily service from London to Las Vegas which launched in October will boost tourism numbers to the city.City Center Las Vegas Project Overview