Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun
Published Friday, Dec. 4, 2009 | 8:47 a.m.
Updated Friday, Dec. 4, 2009 | 3:34 p.m.
One of the world’s most prestigious hotel brands made its Las Vegas debut today when the 47-story Mandarin Oriental opened at the $8.5 billion CityCenter.
It was the third building of this week’s phased opening at MGM Mirage’s Strip resort campus and sets the stage for the Dec. 16 launch of Aria, the 4,000-room hotel-casino centerpiece of CityCenter.
The property is positioned to be a magnet to the international guest familiar with the high standards the company holds.
How good is the service? Left-handed MGM Mirage Chairman Jim Murren joked about struggling with his oversized scissors made for right-handers at the ribbon cutting at Vdara Tuesday. When Murren participated in today’s ribbon-cutting, he was given left-handed oversized scissors by the hotel staff for the ceremony.
Today’s opening included presentations by Murren, Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas general manager Rajesh Jhingon and Rep. Dean Heller, R-Nev.
“This is a stimulus package I can support,” Heller said of CityCenter in brief welcoming remarks.
Murren said MGM Mirage executives had to make many difficult decisions about partners when designing CityCenter.
“But one of the easiest choices was to reach out to Mandarin Oriental” as a high-end resort hotel on the CityCenter campus.
With the hotel staff circling around the nearly 200 VIPs and media representatives on a brisk morning, guests were welcomed by drummers and Tibetan chime players in a feng shui harmonizing ceremony that included a traditional lion dance.
Top-hatted doormen then escorted guests to the 23rd floor to the hotel’s Sky Lobby, a public area that separates the hotel rooms below from the residential units above it.
The Sky Lobby also is the home of world-renowned chef Pierre Gagnaire’s Twist restaurant – his first in the United States – and a tea lounge.
The Sky Lobby offers views through panoramic windows up and down the Las Vegas Strip.
The Las Vegas Mandarin Oriental has 392 rooms and suites as well as 227 apartments and condominiums with a separate entrance from the hotel.
A two-level, 27,000-square-foot spa includes 17 treatment rooms, including seven suites for couples. The property also has 12,000 square feet of meeting space, including a 7,650-square-foot configurable ballroom with high-tech audiovisual and lighting systems.
The Mandarin Oriental is connected by a pedestrian bridge to Crystals, CityCenter’s luxury retail and entertainment district that opened Thursday. It’s the second nongaming hotel of the complex to open, with MGM Mirage executives cutting the ribbon for Vdara on Tuesday.
The Hong Kong-based Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, which is incorporated in Bermuda, has 41 hotels open or under development in 25 countries worldwide, including properties in New York, San Francisco, Miami, Boston and Washington, D.C.
The group opened its flagship Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong in 1963 when it was known as The Mandarin. With a plan to expand throughout Asia with a high level of service associated with its Hong Kong property, the company in 1974 acquired an interest in the Oriental Hotel in Bangkok built in 1876. The holding companies of the Mandarin and the Oriental merged in 1985 and two years later was listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange.
In addition to expanding in Asia, the group grew worldwide, building in London, Munich, Geneva and Prague. Its newest hotel in Barcelona opened last month.
The group’s 17 properties in Asia include developments in Tokyo, Singapore, Macau and Hainan, its first on mainland China.