Las Vegas Sun

May 3, 2015

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Vdara ‘death ray’ captures imagination of world’s media

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The pool deck at Vdara.

On warm days, Vdara’s glass-sheathed curve focuses the sun into an intense beam capable of melting plastic and burning skin.

MGM Resorts is examining the CityCenter hotel’s architectural flaw. Company executives call what it causes a “solar convergence phenomenon.”

The news media, however, prefer “death ray” — the term used by hotel employees — conjuring 1950s sci-fi and hysterical masses running for their lives. Death Ray ... Las Vegas ... It has proved too tempting for the world’s media. And the media can resist anything but temptation.

News organizations by the scores and across the spectrum have weighed in since the R-J first reported the story last week — from USA Today to travel bloggers to the Weekly World News, the news-parody tabloid that gave the world Bat Boy. You could say the media have focused on the Vdara story like a, well, you know.

When architecture attacks: The Las Vegas death ray

ABC News

Forget sunscreen. At one Las Vegas pool, you might want to consider full-body armor to protect you from the sun’s powerful rays.

USA Today

Talk about a hunka, hunka burning solar love. This is one of the most bizarre hotel stories ever.

While the (Vdara) pool area might be an unwise place to try and tan or relax, it might be a perfect place to set up a few solar panels.

The Register

Poolside guests at a newly opened Las Vegas hotel have been enjoying the complex’s quick-tan facility — a solar “death ray” with the power to burn flesh and melt plastic.

Vdara Hotel “death ray” not even in the Top 10 worst things that can happen to you in Las Vegas.

Weekly World News

There are rumors that the death rays are merely sun rays that are being reflected off the glass of the Vdara Hotel, but WWN has learned the truth from our FBI sources: Aliens are attacking Las Vegas.

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  1. I think I can explain the Vdara Death Ray.

    The architect of Vdara is that nefarious villain, Ming the Merciless. He's out to subjugate the Planet Earth. And he's starting out going after tourists here in Las Vegas!

    Where is Flash Gordon when we need him?

  2. What does Vdara actually mean? Isn't it easier to call it for future reference simply the....Viagra Hotel? :)

    I haven't heard anything like this, but in order to avoid potential lawsuits, the hotel management is probably better of rebuilding the poolside or putting some shade roof across the pool area where the visitors have their sunbeds.

    From Switzerland

  3. Gives the phrase 'I got burned in Vegas' a new meaning!

  4. @Boris*:
    Good one... :)

    Basic strategy in this case, I'd recommend to


    From Banana Republic

  5. Good CSI episode. Art Bell should come out of retirement to investigate. How to we know space aliens aren't behind this.

  6. Where were the City Code Inspectors when this was being built. Spectacular sure enough and more...
    was the builder and the prof trying to prove their ideology of the relativity of sunlight and the reflection of the rays off of an artifical source. How many camels did they see while building this building?

  7. R-J first reported the story last week.. right, try finding it. i saw the dribble in Fridays paper for the first time. It was more of an update to the main story. i couldn't find the main story. there was no link. i cant find it in the archives. so now, more dribble, and still no link to the main story.. wheres the beef!!!! give us a link to the whole story, not just the dribble.
    and hell no,, the sun wants my home address, my birth date "which they now have" my phone no., to be a trusted identity.. who are these people?

  8. cliff -- here is the link to the original "death ray" story from last Saturday's R-J:

  9. Sounds like a great place for airweare to set up his solar cooker. :)

  10. Actually, BushDepression, if you go there, you'll probably be disappointed.

    Me and my friend were at City Center today and just for the heck of it, we went to Vdara and stopped by the pool area.

    People were all over the place having fun without a care about any death ray.

    And the people who worked there said they never seen no death ray, and that it's just overhyped and made up.

    My friend and I just came up with the notion the staff were probably told to downplay it by their bosses and don't say crap to scare tourists.

    We both laughed. Because here we went there hoping to see some kind of leftover set from a cheap zombie movie, complete with burned to a crisp bodies floating face down in the pool, people running around screaming in mass panic and serious carnage, death and destruction.

    And there were no disintegrated tourists at all!

    Actually, we were happy to be disappointed and proved wrong from our vision.

  11. @ Colin

    Do you imply that the existence of the Death Ray is merely Las Vegas legend, designed to drum up visitor count at City Center?

    That couldn't happen in Vegas, could it?

  12. For those who have been around long enough to see the rise and fall of many Vegas resorts, flaws seem to be the rule not the exception. It simply would not be Las Vegas if there were not lots of odd and terrible things going on with the construction and circumstances of the resorts.

    I'm sure we don't know half the stories but as each one trickles out it sure seems that despite all the money and big deals these people seem to be, they sure make more than their fair share of errors. And thank goodness, what would the media have to talk about other than unemployment.

  13. @Rob Curley: Aren't you afraid of getting sued by Righthaven?

  14. skerlahdee: I am now.
    What the hey ... let's roll the dice and see what happens.

  15. In mid sept,we stayed at The Vdara for 3 nights.We were too busy at the Casinos to make it to the Vdara Pool but we too had our share of the Death Rays when we walked out from Vdara to go to the Casino in Aria , a distance of about 50 yards .It was so bright that I had to close my eyes while walking and so hot that we called it the Death walk experience.

  16. In the 1990's it was the Luxor beam of light that was going to blind pilots (who happened to bank sharply and look straight down into it at night).
    There were a lot of laser lights around town then too, (one at LV Hilton, One at AZ Charlies on Decatur, etc.) green and white ones. They seem to have gone due to "safety" issues.
    Maybe they should have built the pool on the roof, to avoid the glare. How about if they put some kind of picture or graphics over the glass, like the Donny and Marie signs on the Flamingo or other similar ones. Those should cut down the reflection.

  17. Its always been there, we knew it during construction, and it affects the pool at the Aria not at the Vdarra. The light shines off the Vdarra and projects down to the Aria pool. There were times of day where we could not work because you would be injured from the intensity of the heat.

    This is one of two engineering flaws...the second is the main sewer tie in being 50 feet from the outside air intake for the whole Aria casino...they fixed that by pumping vanilla flavored chemicals into the air supply terrible engineering on that job..much praise to all the hard working men and women who pulled it off regardless of the insensible engineering of the now infamous F&K

  18. That fool of a Chicago lawyer who went running to the Review Journal should be ashamed of himself. What an idiot! Every time we've ever been in Vegas sunning by a pool it's always hotter than sin, whether it's the heat of the concrete from having the sun glaring down on it all day, just the heat of the damn sun, or a "death ray" coming at you reflecting off a building. Get over it!

    I get that it's a possible engineering flaw, what with all that reflective glass, curvitures of the buildings etc, but give a break. MOVE from the spot! Maybe someone can just sue planet earth for her gravitational pull/rotation!