Brian Jones/Las Vegas News Bureau
Thursday, Dec. 3, 2009 | 8:26 a.m.
The opening day for Crystals, the palatial promenade at CityCenter, starts with “Breakfast at Tiffany” and ends with Desperate Housewives star Eva Longoria Parker launching her Beso restaurant and Eve nightclub.
The world’s largest retail shopping district at a staggering 500,000 square feet is jaw-dropping. It’s 100 times more eye-popping than televangelist Robert Schuller’s Crystal Cathedral on his Hour of Power in Garden Grove, Calif. It’s so large that air traffic control at McCarran could route a tourist flight to the Grand Canyon right through its airspace!
We’ll be there checking everything out from 11:30 a.m. today and during the shopping preview that is a charity fundraiser for the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health and the Nevada Cancer Institute. Then the first shoppers from the public will enter at 5 p.m.
MGM executives at CityCenter had hoped that all 60 tenants would be in place, but the economy has staggered those plans. Instead, 23 shops and restaurants will be open tonight, with another nine stores opening in tandem with the Aria casino resort on Dec. 16.
Our five-part series on CityCenter includes an early tour of Crystals. The stores themselves are massive, most of them larger than any other retail outlet they have in the United States or Canada. Louis Vuitton alone is a 2 1/2-story mega-tribute to the world of fashion and accessories -- its largest store in North America. Fifteen of the stores are premiering in Las Vegas at Crystals.
When you walk into the “open to the sky” environment, you’ll feel as if you are in a park with trees, carpets of flowers and hanging gardens. Images of leaves are even projected onto ceilings. There’s a three-story tree house that shades the outdoor dining of Mastro’s Ocean Club steak and seafood eatery.
You will wonder if we have already entered the distant future when you look at the unique shells of celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck’s new The Pods cafe. Wolf also will have a second restaurant in the unique space designed by Daniel Libeskind, who is the master plan architect for the World Trade Center, with interiors at Crystals by David Rockwell, who has been responsible for numerous, successful local design projects and this year’s Academy Awards.
You will stand fascinated at the two water attractions that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. One resembles a massive spiral tornado of water lit by different colors, and the other is an ever-changing series of sculptures formed by ice shot inside a cylinder that melts when it reaches the ceiling and starts the process all over again. They’ve been built by WET Technology, who created the original Bellagio fountains and the new Mirage volcano attraction.
“Breakfast at Tiffany” kicks it all off in the company’s two-level, 10,000-square-foot store with its 85-foot-high glass facade shaped as a diamond and a spiral steel and glass staircase upward to the curved, multilayered ceiling. It’s the third Tiffany store in Las Vegas.
You don’t have to be rich and famous to shop here because through Jan. 3, there’s a sterling silver Las Vegas charm for $150. But if you want to really splurge, there’s a $15,000 diamond pave key on a $300 platinum pendant chain!
Eva crowns the night with the first look at her Beso Steakhouse with star chef Todd English. We interviewed Eva about the project and her New Year’s Eve plans here. Check out the custom crystal chandeliers that were made from the 2009 Oscar Swarovski curtains! Eva insisted that she be allowed to buy them for Beso.
Follow our live reports from Crystals on Twitter, and we’ll have our full photo coverage updated here at Vegas DeLuxe over the next 24-hour cycle.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground. Read more of Robin's stories at VegasDeLuxe.com.
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