Dec162010

CityCenter Las Vegas – Art, Architecture and Space

CityCenter at night, photo courtesy of Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas

City Center Las Vegas shows Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas on left, Aria center background with lighted rooftop and Vdara right background is the skyscraper of tiered curvilinear rectangular prisms. Crystals CityCenter is front center. Colored buildings are Veer Towers residential units in the center of the complex. Front right is The Harmon which was planned as a shared hotel-residences, however, construction issues have left the building empty and currently in litigation with the general contractor. A demolition of the Harmon building, possibly in 2013, appears to be the future of this hotel project located directly across Harmon Avenue from the newly opened Cosmopolitan Hotel and Casino.

CityCenter Hotels

Aria Resort and Casino is the only casino hotel in the CityCenter complex. Vdara and Mandarin Oriental are just hotels.

Aria Resort places you in the center of the action for CityCenter with easy access to more than a dozen restaurants, casino, Elvis theater, numerous bars and Crystals, a luxury brands shopping center.

Aria Resort and Casino Las Vegas at dawn

Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas is truly a luxury hotel with the finest basic category room of the three CityCenter hotels including all the high-tech features found in Aria with added touches of higher quality room furnishings. Mandarin Oriental has two restaurants, Mandarin Bar and the Spa. The hotel is a five minute walk from Aria Resort and Casino and the CityCenter tram.

Mandarin Oriental as seen from Aria Resort entrance

The 47-floor Mandarin Oriental only has guest rooms up to floor 22. The hotel’s main lobby and bar are Floor 23 and higher floors are residences. Guests entering the hotel at ground level must take the elevator to the Floor 23 lobby and then change to a different set of elevators and go back down to room floors.

Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas in morning light

Vdara is a condominium-style hotel with cooking facilities, dining area and bed-couch in each room. There is only one bar. Major advantage of Vdara is indoor corridor access to Bellagio and CityCenter tram.

Vdara Hotel at CityCenter Las Vegas

Vdara building view from pool deck reveals curvilinear form.

CityCenter Tram

An electric tram operates from 8am to 4am everyday to carry passengers along a near half-mile elevated track running from the Bellagio Resort north of Vdara through the CityCenter complex to the Monte Carlo Resort Casino south of Aria Resort with a center stop at Crystals retail area.

CityCenter tram passing over Harmon Avenue Las Vegas

Roundtrip from Bellagio to Monte Carlo takes six minutes and 15 seconds to cover the 2,187-foot track at a speed of 13.5 miles per hour. Two 95-foot long trains have four cars each and carry up to 33 passengers per car.

View of Aria Resort Lumia Fountain and Hotel Entrance from CityCenter Tram tinted windows.

The Harmon Tower

The lower floors of The Harmon Hotel were being papered over with CityCenter advertisements during the week I was in Las Vegas.  Construction issues and a lawsuit with the hotel project’s general contractor have left the building sitting unused and plans for demolition in the next couple of years.

Architect Norman Foster, designer of the Reichstag New German Parliament building, designed the Harmon as a tower with 47 stories like the Mandarin Oriental, however, construction stopped when improperly installed rebar, the reinforcement metal bars used in concrete,  was discovered on several floors. The hotel building has been called the world’s most expensive billboard.

Workers placing large ads on Harmon Building windows CityCenter Las Vegas in December 2010.

Veer Towers

Two 37-floor residential towers in the center of City Center were designed by Helmut Jahn and lean in opposite directions 4.6 degrees from vertical center.

Veer Towers, CityCenter Las Vegas

Veer Towers at night, CityCenter Las Vegas

Crystals Retail Space

Just off the Aria Hotel lobby and on the CityCenter tram line is Crystals retail area where you will find high-end luxury brands like Dior, Bulgari, Tiffany, Louis Vuitton, Fendi among others.

Crystals Retail Center, CityCenter Las Vegas

Crystals retail space, CityCenter Las Vegas

Louis Vuitton luggage display at Crystals

CityCenter Art

CityCenter Las Vegas prides itself on a fine art collection and provides tourists and hotel guests with a CityCenter “Fine Art Collection Map” to highlight 20 pieces of art around the 67-acre property.

One of the largest corporate collections of publicly displayed art in the world is present in CityCenter. Many large scale installations make CityCenter art worth seeking out. Here are a few of the pieces I noticed around the complex among the twenty listed on the CityCenter Las Vegas Fine Art Collection map.

Silver River, Artist Maya Lin

Reclining Connected Forms – Artist Henry Moore

Cactus Life – Living with the earth, Artist Masatoshi Izumi

Typewriter Eraser – Scale X, Artists Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen

There is a large electronic message display in the lower level of Aria in the street outside the Haze nightclub. Vegas has some uplifting and some dark content passing along the walls.

Vegas – Artist Jenny Holzer

Biomorph forms, artist Tony Cragg located at Aria tram/self-park lobby

Big Edge, Artist Nancy Rubins is a large installation built from canoes between Aria and Vdara hotels

Related Posts:

Betting on Expedia.ca for a Vegas Suite Deal (Nov 20, 2010) [This post tells how I bought my flight to Las Vegas and an upgraded room at the Mandarin Oriental for $12.]

CityCenter Las Vegas – Art, Architecture and Space (Dec 16, 2010)

Hotel Detail – Aria Resort and Casino Las Vegas in HD (Dec 11, 2010)

Aria Resort Las Vegas – Pools, Spa and Dining (Dec 12, 2010)

Aria Resort Corner Suite and SkySuites (Dec 18, 2010)

Aria Resort Las Vegas SkyVilla 19 (Dec 19, 2010)

Vdara Hotel, CityCenter Las Vegas (Dec 19, 2010)

Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas (Dec 23, 2010)

The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas (Dec 21, 2010) (The Cosmopolitan is next to Vdara Hotel, but not part of CityCenter complex. The Cosmopolitan is a Marriott Autograph Collection Hotel.)

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

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