Friday, Dec. 18, 2009 | 4:53 p.m.
The first 20 timeshare owners of Planet Hollywood’s PH Towers by Westgate checked in Friday morning, marking the first of several residential tower openings over the next few months.
As the first phase of the project, the non-gaming, 52-story residential and hotel tower will include more than 1,200 suites to be used as vacation homes and traditional hotel rooms. The top five stories of the tower consist of 40 luxury penthouse units ranging in size from 4,000 to 12,000 square feet. Those will be used as residential units.
Westgate Resorts Chief Operating Officer Mark Waltrip said the tower is open this week for the 200 timeshare owners who purchased for the last two weeks of 2009. An estimated 500 units will be open by Christmas with the rest of the tower open by Jan. 1, Waltrip said.
About 80 percent of the tower will be used as hotel rooms and will welcome guests Dec. 28 and officially celebrate the tower’s grand opening in early January. Waltrip said rates will range from the low $100s to $600s. Guests will have direct access to Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino and Miracle Mile Shops.
Upon completion, the two towers will house more than 2,700 units. A date for completion hasn't been announced.
The opening of the PH Towers will be followed by closings on residences at CityCenter’s Veer Towers next month, then Mandarin Oriental in February and Vdara in March. But Waltrip said Westgate isn’t concerned about the competition.
“Our business model is completely different from theirs,” Waltrip said.
Waltrip said they have already done $300 million in timeshare sales and are expecting to do an additional $100 million in 2010.
The condo-hotel project is a partnership between Planet Hollywood and Orlando-based resort company Westgate Resorts. Westgate is the owner of the property while Planet Hollywood is the marketing and operating partner.
Pending the sale of Planet Hollywood to Harrah’s Entertainment, Harrah’s would become the new marketing and operating partner. The name would still remain the PH Towers at Westgate, Waltrip said.
“Harrah’s is without a doubt the best operator and marketing machine in the Las Vegas market,” Waltrip said. “Having Planet Hollywood as a partner has been great but I think Harrah’s would take it to a whole other level.”
Catering to the young and modern crowd, Planet Hollywood is a one-stop shop for entertainment with its massive shopping mall, slew of restaurants, spacious casino and clubs.
The ambiance of the casino is retro-chic meets high-tech with black granite floors throughout and colorful LED lights throughout the space. The theme carries into the 100,000 square-foot casino with 250 flat screens topping off slot machines. The casino is also home to 87 tables, a sports book and a poker room.
There's also the Miracle Mile Shops, one Vegas' largest malls, with 140 stores including BCBG Max Azaria, bebe, Urban Outfitters and The Discovery Channel Store.
Following an afternoon of shopping, guests can satisfy their appetites at one of the gourmet restaurants in Planet Hollywood, like the non-traditional approach to steakhouses at Strip House or check out the exotic Far East motif at KOI restaurant and lounge. And if guests are still looking for more, they can spend the after hours at Privé, Triq or Krave nightclubs.
Perhaps one of the resorts biggest attractions came in March with the addition of "Peepshow." The naughty twist on the story of Little Bo Peep is modern-day spin on the run-of-the-mill Vegas topless review. The "Peepshow" stage has seen visiting celebs like Scary Spice Mel B, "Dancing with the Stars" Kelly Monaco and Playboy's Holly Madison.