Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog

November 20, 2009

Vegas Gang #40 - November 20, 2009

Posted by Hunter

This time on the show:

* Hunter Tours CityCenter
* Fontainebleau
* Global Gaming Expo 2009

I believe we'll have someone from MGM Mirage Design Group on a future episode, not too far away. Feel free to submit questions here.


Read archived comments (15 so far)
November 20, 2009 3:46 PM Posted by parchedearth

Interesting view that our focus shouldn't be on the casino, but on the overall project. I guess I am disappointed that they aren't shooting for anything new with the casino.

We will find out soon, but I predict some traffic (vehicular and pedestrian) flow problems in and around CC. E.g. how do taxis get to the front door of the MO? how to walk from MO to Aria?

Interesting points about CC that:
Vdara connects internally with Bellagio, but there is not an easy/direct internal connection to Aria;
There are a number of elevation changes between buildings which require stairs/ramps;
Vdara is a nonsmoking property;
Marble floors can be really noisy (and they will be endlessly buffing them);
Vdara's public spaces are too small for a hotel (because it was designed as condos);

November 20, 2009 3:49 PM Posted by Hunter

Yeah, some potential traffic issues - cabbies will have to learn the ropes - it's like an airport.

The walking traffic isn't bad - there are walkways all over and it's pretty simple to figure out.

Yes, Vdara is totally non-smoking.

I remembered a few other things from my tour which I will include in a blog post I'm working on.

November 20, 2009 5:32 PM Posted by John

I have been cautiously optimistic about the traffic situation for a while. Gensler was in charge of the ins and outs of the project. They have a pretty good track record. For now, until I actually experience December's mess, I will try (very, very hard) to reserve judgement.

But yeah, those signs look like airport signage. Blegh.

November 21, 2009 9:19 AM Posted by Mike P.

I got a nicely packaged invitation to Aria's opening celebration in the mail yesterday. It came in a cloth covered box wrapped in a silvery mesh fabric. Inside was the invitation ("suggested attire: urban chic") and a miniature coffee table style book titled "THE ARTISTRY OF ARIA". The book has 50 pages or so of photos, sketches, and short quotes from various designers and artists involved in the development. Some of the photos appear to be actual interior shots. There's not a single picture of a slot machine or gaming table though, or anything else to even suggest there's a casino on the property.

All in all it's very artfully done. This is actually the first casino hotel opening I wish I could attend, but it's not to be unfortunately.

November 21, 2009 9:29 AM Posted by Hunter

That sounds like what they sent to me as well - it's a very impressive invite.

November 21, 2009 5:04 PM Posted by John

I'll take that invite off your hands, Mike.

November 22, 2009 4:54 AM Posted by detroit1051

Good insights on Aria's public areas, but I heard a few warning signals in Hunter's description. I wonder whether the two levels will take away from the cohesiveness of the property. The separation between the main and promenade levels may be off-putting to visitors especially with lots of stairs and escalators. Although Bellagio requires a lot of walking, I see advantages to having all public areas on the same level, with restaurants on the perimeter of the casino.
Also, Hunter said visitors coming to see a spectacular casino at Aria may be disappointed. Aria needs a hook to bring middle-America tourists all the way in from the Strip. I'm not sure urban architecture will do it. Once they get into Aria, will they say, "Is that all there is" and head to a more traditional casino hotel?
Finally, I was surprised to hear that one has to walk outside to go between Vdara and Aria and between Aria and MO.
Anxiously awaiting Hunter's blog report on his tour.

November 22, 2009 5:44 AM Posted by charlie

I was wondering if the Aria Sky Suites registration was in the back of the property (Harmon Circle?) and one level higher on the Promenade Level? Does the Promenade Level connect to Vdara, via an outdoor bridge?

November 22, 2009 6:20 AM Posted by detroit1051

Aria has a job posting for a Villa manager. Are the high roller villas on the penthouse floor with the Sky Suites, or is it a totally separate area?

November 22, 2009 10:23 AM Posted by Hunter

The Sky Suites registration is back on the Harmon side, yes, but on the casino level.

The casino level connects to Vdara via an outdoor, uncovered walkway.

November 22, 2009 10:47 AM Posted by Hunter

Good question. I'm not sure.

There are 'presidential suites' on the top floor that are multi-level.

November 22, 2009 12:04 PM Posted by worldpool

so hunter if i want to enjoy a new casino will aria be the one to go to

November 22, 2009 12:11 PM Posted by Hunter

Well, it's the only new casino opening in the foreseeable future so...

Seriously though, I am working on a post now that hopefully may answer some of that.

November 22, 2009 12:45 PM Posted by worldpool

cool cant wait

November 22, 2009 3:13 PM Posted by Phil

I agree with Detroit's comments on the question of if the lackluster design of the casino will be a problem for the potential of repeat customers. Hunter's comments I take to heart and trust his opinion. I think all of us on this board love to explore every nook and cranny of these places and know them like the back of our hand, but I don't think the average Vegas visitor does that. Caesars Palace has been around for 45 years and I feel very confident that many repeat visitors haven't seen all the resort due to its series of additions. When I walk through Caesars, my knowledge of that place is like a cab driver in NYC, I know how to get everywhere in the shortest period of time. Aladdin when it opened a few years back had a bunch of high line restaurants on the upper level and that area was always a ghost town. Venetian when it opened put its restaurants down that hallway and nobody knew Delmonico even existed outside of conventioneers that used that hall to enter the Sands Convo, that hallway was a ghost town until they put the showrooms there and even still I've been the only guy walking around that hall at night. Personally I like the "secret places", but from a business perspective in these times, I hope people do explore all of what City Center has to offer to spur a turn around in our beloved city.