|By Howard Stutz, Las Vegas
Review-JournalMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Jul. 11, 2009--Guests checking into the Mandarin Oriental at CityCenter will actually go down to their rooms.
The check-in lobby inside the boutique-size nongaming hotel is on the building's 23rd floor, offering customers a panoramic view of the Strip and the rest of the $8.5 billion CityCenter through floor-to-ceiling windows inside the property's Sky Lobby.
"The position of the Mandarin Oriental, literally at the entrance of CityCenter, allowed our architects to capitalize on a broad canvas and take advantage of our spectacular views," said Rajesh Jhingon, the property's general manager.
"The Sky Lobby has worked well for us in New York and Tokyo and allows us to offer our guests two dramatic moments; once when they are greeted and escorted up to the lobby and the second when they get off the elevator and are enthralled by the view," Jhingon said.
After years of planning, Hong Kong-based Mandarin Oriental is removing the wrapping from the company's first luxury resort in Las Vegas. The company operates 41 hotels in 25 countries. In the United States, Mandarin Oriental has hotels in New York, Boston, Washington, D.C., Miami and San Francisco.
The 47-story Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas has 392 rooms and suites, ranging in size from 600 square feet to 3,000 square feet. The building also has 227 residences, which will be accessed by a separate entrance and elevator from the hotel side.
Hotel rooms will offer numerous technological enhancements including keyless door locks and automated control panels that allow guests to manage the lighting, room temperature and entertainment systems. Mandarin Oriental will have a 27,000-square-foot spa and fitness center and several restaurants and bars.
"Owners and residents can enjoy all our amenities," Jhingon said.
The Sky Lobby serves as a sort of buffer zone. The floors beneath the lobby are for hotel guests and the 24 floors above house the residential units. The 23rd floor is also home to The Mandarin Bar, the Tea Lounge, and the property's signature restaurant, the first U.S. offering from celebrity chef Pierre Gagnaire.
One thing Mandarin Oriental lacks is a casino.
Gaming at CityCenter will be exclusive to Aria, the centerpiece 4,004-room hotel-casino operated by MGM Mirage. That shouldn't concern Mandarin Oriental's guests, said Jhingon, who spent five years as the general manager of the Mandarin Oriental in Singapore.
"We're in walking distance to all the activities at CityCenter," he said. "Our guests come here for our personalized service and experience."
The Mandarin Oriental is scheduled to open Dec. 4. The property will begin accepting hotel room reservations on Aug. 17. Room rates have yet to be established, but Jhingon said the luxury property will set prices at levels that will be considered reasonable in a market that has seen hotel room prices decline to their lowest levels in over two decades because of the sour economy.
"I believe it's the perfect time for us to open," Jhingon said. "We're a boutique hotel by Las Vegas standards and we're very visible. I believe we will be a choice for a lot of people from Day One."
Contact reporter Howard Stutz at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-477-3871.
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