Las Vegas for Every Budget
Las Vegas for Every Budget
How to be a high roller—or pinch pennies—at Vegas’ sparkly CityCenter
Written Anna Nordberg, Photographs by Andrea Gómez Romero
Save or splurge at the new CityCenter
You’ve probably seen pictures of CityCenter, the gazillion-dollar development with three glittering hotels, a mammoth shopping center, and an art collection with enough stars for a MoMA road show. But amid the hoopla and big names (Daniel Libeskind was one of the architects; Maya Lin among the artists), there are bargains to be found—as well as totally worth-it splurges.
Part of the appeal of CityCenter lies in its un-Vegas-like restraint, as much as a 67-acre complex right on the Strip can be restrained: There’s no flashing neon, only one casino, and buildings are connected by walking promenades—definitely a novelty on the Strip. Get ready; it’s big. But whatever your budget, we’ve got you covered.
On the Strip but blissfully quiet, the casino-free Mandarin Oriental feels like an oasis. Many rooms have wraparound glass bathrooms and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Strip—the yoga mat in the closet is also a nice touch.
Rooms start at $295 (book online with code “Sunset”; 2-night minimum), though if you pony up more for executive digs, you get better views.
The modern, sleek rooms at Aria start at $149, but to avoid sticker shock, factor in the daily resort fee of $30, which grants you access to a dazzling gym and lush spa. Guests can also get deep discounts and seat upgrades at Aria’s Cirque du Soleil show, Viva Elvis.
Splurge: Things to do
The Libeskind studio–designed Crystals shopping center has all the usual high-end suspects—Vuitton, Cartier, Tiffany—but some real originals too: Nanette Lepore for mouthwatering dresses, Assouline for lush coffee-table books, and the cult lingerie shop Kiki de Montparnasse.
Save: Things to do
The 17 pieces of public art scattered throughout CityCenter (pick up a map at any building there) make up an all-star collection, with works by Julian Schnabel, Henry Moore, and Claes Oldenberg and Coosje van Bruggen.
Nancy Rubins’s crazy/wonderful canoe sculpture (pictured) and a rainbow Frank Stella canvas lift any mood. Don’t miss Peter Wegner’s brilliant two-story artwork in the Vdara Hotel’s lobby.
The spa at Mandarin Oriental (888/881-9530) is totally transporting, with terry lounge beds overlooking the Strip and attendants appearing at your elbow with tiny cups of tea. It’s open to nonguests for a $60 day-use fee, but treatments are spendy—massages start at $200.
Sundays through Thursdays, nonguests can use Aria’s spa (877/312-2742) for the $30 resort fee. There’s the expected sauna and steam bath, but the ultra-cool salt room and hot-stone beds make you feel like a VIP without having to pay for a treatment.
At Vdara (pictured; 702/590-2474), $50 gets you into the spa and pool, but the better deal is to get a treatment (say, a $30 manicure), which comes with access.
For total over-the-topness, check out the restaurants in Aria, where you can pack in a meal from practically every boldface chef in town—Michael Mina, Masayoshi Takayama, Jean-Georges Vongerichten.
Silk Road (702/590-2030), in CityCenter’s Vdara Hotel, does a no-holds-barred breakfast (about $50 for 2) with a brioche French toast that is—and we’re not overstating matters—transcendent (we think it’s the cornflakes added for crunch).
Now this is mall food: Try the wood-fired pizzas (about $15 each) at Wolfgang Puck Pizzeria & Cucina (702/238-1000) in Crystals. You can go hog wild with artisanal toppings like squash blossoms, burrata cheese, or pork soppressata.
Or make a meal out of the exquisite tapas (about $12 each) at Aria’s Julian Serrano(877/230-2742). Order the grilled white anchovies and tempura with wasabi foam, or skip the small plates and split a paella (about $60 for 2 with wine).
Getting to CityCenter
CityCenter is located on Las Vegas Boulevard ("The Strip"), between W. Harmon and E. Tropicana Avenues.