Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog

May 19, 2008

Details on "ARIA" - City Center's Anchor Hotel

Posted by Hunter

As speculated, the name 'ARIA' is official.

MGM Mirage's press release had a bit more info than I've seen published elsewhere. I don't usually just publish these things but I think this is of interest so continue reading after the jump.


The contemporary architecture of the ARIA tower will be complemented by the resort's lavish accommodations. ARIA's 4,004 guest rooms, including 568 suites, will incorporate integrated technologies never before used in the hospitality industry. Guest room corridors streaming with natural light will open to areas of enclosed glass, delivering spectacular city or mountain views. Guests also can enjoy these breathtaking panoramas from the privacy of their rooms; all will feature expansive floor-to-ceiling windows. ARIA's modern tower is uniquely designed to deliver corner-window views from every guest room.

ARIA's rooms and suites will imbue a melodic composition of dramatic color tones, expressive artwork and a lyrical balance of textures and materials that convey calm and elegance. Each room will be complemented by dark woods, impeccable décor and sumptuous amenities.


As the entertainment centerpiece of ARIA, the visionary team at Cirque du Soleil has partnered with CKX, Inc. and its subsidiary Elvis Presley Enterprises to create a permanent production celebrating the timeless musical legacy of Elvis Presley. The show will bring Elvis back to Las Vegas for millions of his existing fans and create a buzz that will enable the persona of Elvis to attract untold numbers of new followers. The creative combination of live musicians and singers, projections, dance and the latest in multimedia sound and lighting technology will aim to create an emotional bond with the audience.

Meetings & Convention Facilities

ARIA will provide a premium meeting experience with a unique blend of modern architecture, distinctive décor, and 300,000 square feet of technologically advanced meeting and convention space. Four ballrooms will offer the flexibility to accommodate gatherings of all sizes from 10 to 5,000 attendees, and three will feature fully functioning theatrical stages.

The facility will encompass three levels and deliver a total of 38 meeting rooms ranging from 800 to 2,000 square feet. The north façade will feature a spectacular glass curtain wall that overlooks ARIA's beautiful pool providing a lush, landscaped backdrop and the warmth of natural light.

Fine Art

Throughout CityCenter's grounds, visitors will enjoy access to an extensive $40 million public Fine Art Program encompassing a multitude of styles and media - ranging from sculptures and paintings to large-scale installations - engaging visitors on both a visual and intellectual level. The CityCenter Fine Art Program is designed to become a benchmark for enlightened corporate involvement with the arts on a global level and will be one of the world's largest and most ambitious corporate art programs.

One of the program's highlights will be featured within ARIA's reception area. Famed artist Maya Lin is creating an approximately 133-foot silver cast of the Colorado River, which will be her first work of art displayed in Las Vegas. Lin is incorporating reclaimed silver in the spirit of CityCenter's commitment to sustainability and in light of Nevada's standing as the "Silver State."

The work of Jenny Holzer will be on display as guests approach the resort's north valet, where they will be welcomed by one of the artist's insightful LED signs spanning more than 250 feet.

Additional artists represented in the Fine Art Program will include Nancy Rubins, Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, Frank Stella, Henry Moore and Richard Long, among others.

Retail at CityCenter

Just outside ARIA's lobby doors, The Crystals, CityCenter's retail and entertainment district, will house more than 500,000 square feet of sophisticated retail and deliver exclusive offerings from the world's most celebrated brands.

Sustainability at CityCenter

Currently, CityCenter is the largest privately financed development in the history of North America. Charting a new course for responsible growth in Las Vegas, CityCenter is pursuing the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. As planned, the 18-million-square foot, multi-use project will become one of the world's largest environmentally sustainable urban communities.

The resort casino's design incorporates sustainable features including the extensive use of natural light, dramatically reducing lighting power requirements in guest rooms and water-saving fixtures throughout.


Read archived comments (11 so far)
May 19, 2008 6:43 PM Posted by Dave

Some quick hits:

The natural light aspect sounds like it will put the building in its own class. There should be some striking views of the mountains to the west, and the rest of the Strip in the other directions.

I was initially skeptical about an Elvis-themed Cirque show, but the description seems intriguing. And they used the magic words "live musicians and singers." I'm still not convinced that an Elvis show is as forward-looking as you'd want to see in a building like this, but I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.

I've read about the fine art program elsewhere, and I think this is one of the ways that PCC truly is looking forward. A while ago I was quoted in the RJ as being optimistic about the future of art on the Strip post-Guggenheim, and I think that this really bears that out. MGM Mirage should be applauded for having the vision to invest in public art at such a level.

Did I read that right? "engaging visitors...on an intellectual level?" I'm impressed. If I catch the casino hosts having passionate debates with their customers about the flaws inherent in Kant's Critique of Pure Reason, I'll be convinced. I'm guessing that their definition of intellectual engagement might be a little different from mine. I've got trouble getting my students to engage intellectually, and I'm not asking them to play negative expectation games.

I can't wait to get a tour of this as the opening gets near--I get the feeling that this really could be as original as the hype suggests.

May 19, 2008 6:49 PM Posted by Hunter

You should convince MGM Mirage it is in their best interest to have me tag along on pre-opening tours!

May 20, 2008 8:03 AM Posted by Brian Fey

I like the idea of having natural light in the hotel corridors. I know this is done in other cities, but I've never seen it done in Vegas. I'm suprised considering Steve Wynn's love of natural light, that he has not done this.

As far as the Elvis show, I'll say this. When I heard about a Beatles based show by CDS at Mirage, I was not excited in the least. I was not a Beatles fan, and I didn't listen to their music. I went to see the show, because I'll go see any CDS show, they are an amazing company, and they always do great things, so I always give them the benefit of the doubt. I saw Love, and I was blow away. The show left me smiling from the beginning to the end. I will admit, I like Elvis even less than I liked the Beatles, but its a CDS show, and I will go see it with a open mind.

May 20, 2008 11:44 AM Posted by detroit1051

How do they get the natural light into the corridors? From the end-caps? I can't imagine them using space which could be revenue producing rooms for access to exterior light?
Someone please enlighten me.

May 20, 2008 1:01 PM Posted by Joe

couldnt they build city center and cosmopolitian somewhere els! Its wrecking the bueaty of Bellagio

May 20, 2008 6:26 PM Posted by Brian Fey

Yes, it is from the ends. And depending on how the building in designed, it may or may not, cut down on potential revenue and the room size and configuration.

May 21, 2008 2:22 AM Posted by Mike E

For some reason, when it's written in caps, ARIA seems to make a lot more sense and fits better with the entire naming scheme of the complex. With what I've read here and everywhere else, I guess I'm in the extreme minority being the only one that actually likes the name (then again, I might be the only one that actually likes opera, too). The shape of the tower is as fluid as a melismatic, Bellini bel canto solo (that was for you, Chuckmonster). Music lingo aside, if they really are striving to engage visitors on an intellectual level, ARIA is a great name.

As for "Guest room corridors streaming with natural light," I can't imagine windows at the end of the hallways giving that much radiance to justify that claim. For all we know, it could just be typical flowery-talk regarding windows in the elevator foyers (of which I'm sure we've all seen countless times in Vegas). Lounges at each floor with floor to ceiling windows lighting up the corridors--now that would be something.

In any case, it's great to see MGM Mirage give some real details on the main hotel with less focus on the condo units. I've been, admittedly, not as excited as I should be for this project, but that's all changed over the course of the last few days.

May 21, 2008 5:26 PM Posted by Sam

I am still unenthusiastic about CityCenter. As someone who works in a glass-and-steel office building and lives in a high-rise apartment complex, ARIA doesn't sound like a very appealing vacation. That has nothing to do with size, just originality. The architects are heavy-hitters, but will it fundamentally feel different from a typical big-city tower? (Other than that it'll have a casino.)

Elvis sounds out of place. Light in the halls sounds cool, but not if it's just from the ends of the halls. For the whole time, this whole project has just sounded very sterile to me.

May 23, 2008 12:00 PM Posted by jshane

Reply to Sam "... the architects are heavy-hitters, but will it fundamentally feel different from a typical big-city tower?"

Some of the projects that the group of architects involved with PCC have worked on are quite a bit more than just big-city towers. They've worked on museums, concert halls, libraries, univerisity buildings, train stations and airports. I think after the dust settles ( literally ), Las Vegas will be getting quite a bit of press in 2009 with so many world class structures. It's going to be quite a leap from the shopping mall and giant parking structure design of the themed 90's casinos. They are trying to woo customers from places like Hong Kong and Dubai with these condos. In the minds of this type of customer, everything has to be the newest and designed by the best architects money can buy.

Cesar Pelli designed tower additions to train stations in Boston and Philadelphia. The look of the buildings are definitely modern and there's a lot of steel and glass but they've come a long way from the glass and steel edifaces that would be typefied what you saw built in the 50's and 60's on New York's 6th Ave.

Speaking of windows and views, one of the PPC architects, Rafael Vinoly ( Vdara ), is known for his projects that make use of sweeping views from expansive glass walled sides and vaults. Vinoly designed the new Jazz Center for Lincoln Center, which has beautiful views of Central Park. His Kimmel Center in Philadelphia was partly inspired by the Crystal Palace in London.

May 26, 2008 11:57 AM Posted by Andy S

Still not very excited about this project and most of the current developments. I dont have any interest in the condo hotels and another shopping mall.

I appreiate it has been designed by top architects, but it still looks like a nice office block to me.

A lot will depend on how they finish it internally and if it has any character.

Guess we will find out next year!


June 24, 2009 1:47 PM Posted by Brian Quinn

Really looking forward to the Cirque 'Elvis' Show. This will be the most successful one yet. Elvis WAS Las Vegas. The Beatles were NOT Las Vegas and personally I have never found their music exciting.

Bring THE KING back soon!!