Las Vegas Opens First City Center Hotel

Las Vegas’ City Center Complex opened its first hotel on Tuesday. The hotel, called the Vdara Hotel and Spa opened its first 1500 rooms at a ribbon cutting ceremony. The hotel is part of a 67 acre $8.5 billion development aimed at boosting Las Vegas’ economy after two years of steady decline.

The City Center is co-owned by MGM Mirage, based in Las Vegas, and Dubai World, based in Dubai. In addition to the Vdara, the complex will also be home to the Crystals Retail Mall and the 392 room Mandarin Oriental Hotel, both of which will open this week. The centrepiece of the complex will be the Aria Resort and Casino, which is planned to open December 16. The Aria will offer 4004 hotel rooms. In January, two condominium towers will open at the City Center, and later next year a 400 room boutique hotel is scheduled for the complex.

The Vdara is a non gambling, non smoking condominium hotel that connects to the Bellagio. It is also home to a first class spa and salon. The 57 story hotel has been designed to compete with the plush Bellagio next door and includes a large Nancy Rubens sculpture outside its front doors.

Many analysts worry that the addition of even more rooms in an already saturated hotel market will cause all hotels along the Vegas strip to have to cut prices even further. Even before the addition of these new rooms, Las Vegas hotel prices were at a record low because of the slowed economy. But, analysts also predict 2010 to be a better economic year than 2009, and many expect that travel will rebound to some extent.

One of the City Center’s biggest investors is 92 year old Kirk Kerkorian, who has long been a big Las Vegas investor and who has twice built the largest hotels in the city.