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Best Hotel Opening: The Risky Gamble of CityCenter

December 30, 2009 at 9:45 AM | by | ()

It's what you've been waiting all year for--The 2009 HotelChatter Awards! We'll be bringing you the best and worst of the year (and the decade) all day today and part of tomorrow. Agree or disagree with our picks? Air your thoughts in comments below.


While 2009 was a brutal year financially for everyone, ironically it was the year that hotels conceived in the boom years began to come to fruition. The biggest hotel project dreamed up (that almost didn't make it because of money troubles) was the massive CityCenter complex in the heart of the Las Vegas Strip.

After just five years of construction, CityCenter finally began to open on December 1st with the first of its three hotels--Vdara. Soon after that, followed The Mandarin Oriental and two weeks later, the piece de resistance that is called Aria opened with a sparkling new casino, high-tech guestrooms, the Viva Elvis Cirque du Soleil show, a plethora of nightlife options and an orgy of restaurants from top chefs like Jean-Georges, Michael Mina and Julian Serrano.

Keep reading for more on CityCenter, videos of the hotel rooms and the runner-ups for the Best Hotel Opening award.

While there's plenty to do in each hotel on its own, (both the Vdara and the Mandarin have incredible spas) the hotels are all within walking or tram distance to CityCenter's luxury shopping mall, The Crystals, a very modern, futuristic building--both inside and out--filled with the poshest designer stores on The Strip. (So what if everyone's just window-shopping?) And we haven't even begun to touch on CityCenter's art collection and water features. (We'll do that in 2010, we promise.)

Now, it is quite possible that nothing like this will ever be seen again in Las Vegas. CityCenter is the biggest thing to happen to Vegas since...well, Vegas and we were on hand to witness it all. Take a peek at our video diary.


Mandarin Oriental (Warning: this one has its own soundtrack)


The Crystals

Runners Up
1. W South Beach: We waited forever for the W South Beach to open and it did not disappoint. Those rooms might be some of the best ones we've seen all year. We'll even forgive the hotel's "Entourage" bungalow poolside too.

2. Standard NYC: We also waited a long time for the Standard NYC and although it technically opend in December 2008, this year was the year it really took off. Whether it was the 360-degree views, the hot doormen, the dorm room decor, the exclusive door policy of the Boom Boom room, the dishes at the Standard Grill or the naked people in the windows, we constantly found ourselves talking about this hotel. Now, you see why we get so anxious for hotels to open?

Archived Comments:

And we can't forget...

The Harmon Hotel in CityCenter is opening in late 2010 (so they say...)