Thursday, February 25, 2010

CityCenter... Revisited

I'm sure y'all remember what happened last year when I shared my honest opinions on CityCenter. So have things changed? What's happening so far in 2010?

Well, it looks like MGM Mirage is surviving with it so far. The company's overall losses are dropping, and there seems to be a viable plan for Aria to turn a profit (scroll down to see the comments at this link to see the Aria profit talk).

So how's it really faring? Well, I did a little "investigative reporting" (hehe) when I did a grand tour of CityCenter with Hunter @ RateVegas see for myself. Here's the "evidence" (with some Bellagio pics thrown in for the heck of it).

And the verdict? I'm still amazed by the architecture. I'm fascinated by the very "un-Vegas-y" minimalist design.

However, there are still some clear problems popping up that MGM Mirage needs to fix ASAP for CityCenter to reach its full potential. For one, why isn't it easier to reach Aria from The Strip? And if all the tourists heading to Aria must be funneled through Crystals, then why aren't there more stores that cater to more of them? (Not all tourists can afford a Louis Vuitton handbag, and not all of them are interested in buying that or a Hermes scarf... Seriously, no Disney Store? No Vegas souvenir store?)

Also, why is Vdara still such a hot mess? Here's a news flash for MGM Mirage: The "condo-tel" concept hasn't really worked in Vegas, and this is even less likely to work since the standard "suites" are way too damned small (550 sq. ft.) to function as real "homes". Oh, and at this point (nearly 4 months since opening!) there's no good excuse for bad layout, malfunctioning items, and uneven service!

Clearly, CityCenter is still suffering from some serious growing pains. And seriously, MGM Mirage still has plenty of work to do in fixing them and making CityCenter (especially the main Aria/Crystals/Vdara component of it) work. I'm hoping they'll succeed, since it's in the best interest of Las Vegas and Nevada for CityCenter and MGM Mirage to succeed. It's just that CityCenter still needs a little more reworking to really work out for everyone's benefit.

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