What a $300 Massage Feels Like

VegasTripping’s report on the wallet-hurting spa at the new Mandarin Oriental in Vegas.

It was around 3pm. The concierge made a 4pm appointment for an 80-minute massage and informed the spa that I would be heading down (“down” to the 8th floor from the 23rd floor Sky Lobby). The elevator doors open and a young lady greets me with a deep bow: “Hello Mr. E. We’ve been expecting you. Welcome to the spa at Mandarin Oriental.”

They bow a lot here. And you instinctively start to bow back. And before you know it, the bowing gets out of control. It reminds me of that one Simpsons episode: “Now with 20% more bowing!”

I was seated in the gorgeous lobby and told to remove my shoes and hand them to my hostess as a “Chinese symbol of leaving all your cares behind when entering the spa.” She probably just made that part up. I was then given a brief form to fill out indicating health issues and specific areas I’d like my massage to focus on. Why other spas I’ve been to don’t do this, I have no idea. Having your therapist know exactly what you need beforehand so you can just lay at her mercy and melt away is nothing short of awesome.

My personal attendant arrives and greets me with delicious tea as I complete the form. He then takes me on a full tour of the facility. The locker area is a bit cramped, but you get a full toiletries bag (yours to keep) and an incredible, alpaca fur-lined robe. Amazing.

You’ll find the standard amenities of wet and dry saunas as well as a lanconium room (overheated dry sauna), experience showers, an “ice fountain” to rejuvenate between heated facilities, and finally, a hot tub with champagne bubbles.

Vegas Rex Reviews Aria

Vegas Rex tours the newly opened Aria resort/casino:

Anyway, this was the first day I arrived to Aria by private vehicle, and I felt as if I was being dropped off for a flight. Cab and drive-up approaches to Aria require navigating a ramp and/or tunnel, and the long sweeping driveway with large metal awnings reminds me of Dulles International Airport. Hell, the entire property outside of the casino proper reminds me of an airport terminal.

I’m seriously thinking of calling the place “Aria International Airport”.

CityCenter: Vegas 4.0

A long profile on CityCenter and MGM Mirage CEO, Jim Murren, who comes across in the article as not quite getting the whole casino part of the casino resort:

From the start, analogies to New York City were explicit. The acreage, a spokesman notes, was larger than Rockefeller Center, Times Square and SoHo combined. Among the first architects recruited was Libeskind, the then–World Trade Center reconstruction master planner, to design the Crystals shopping district.

And last month, Murren compared CityCenter to other structures along the Strip by bathing his remarks in New York references. The nearby Panorama Towers are “not Fifth Avenue. And Trump [International Tower] certainly is not Fifth Avenue, and it doesn’t have Central Park in front of it like CityCenter does.”

Central Park? In front of CityCenter? There are some trees and landscaping, and what’s being referred to as a “pocket park” — another NYC reference, natch — that features sitting areas around a classic Henry Moore sculpture of a woman and babe in repose.

But Central Park?

Last month at a symposium focused on Wynn’s lush new Encore Las Vegas resort, Wynn’s longtime interior designer, Roger Thomas, offered this backhanded slap: “I don’t think that when you have a panel about the design of CityCenter, you’ll have a landscape architect as part of it, as we do here today.”

Other observers aren’t convinced CityCenter is really a major departure for Las Vegas. “It’s the nice new casino resort in Las Vegas. Is it anything more than that? I don’t know yet,” says gaming stock analyst Robert LaFleur of the Susequehanna Financial Group.

Hillegas, of RateVegas.com, also plans to wait and see: “They like to say that CityCenter is unique, and you won’t find the word theme anywhere in their press material,” he offers. “But it’s city-themed.”