The wife and I was in Las Vegas for a couple of days last week and we decided to stay at the Vdara. This is a Condo Hotel development in CityCenter - a 67-acre "city within a city" project on The Strip developed by MGM Mirage and completed in 2009.
Back in May of 2010, we had done a review of the various developments that made up CityCenter. The project had just completed and the developer was still selling units then. And ownership at the Vdara included the opportunity to participate in its managed nightly rental program - what this means is that your apartment will be rented out to tourists like us and you get a portion of the rental returns annually.
Units range from 500 to 1,650sqft and the development was previously marketed as primary or vacation residences.
Although the wife and I had been back to Vegas again between 2010 and last week, this is the first time we got up close and personal with Vdara, which started operation in December 2009.
It was definitely an impressive first impression when we arrived at the Vdara. Even before entering the Condo Hotel, we already loved what we see from the exterior.
Once inside, we were greeted by a beautifully furnished lobby. The lighting could have been a tad brighter (which explained the quality of the photo below) but there was really little else to criticize about.
The lift lobby and walkway along the apartments on each floor are designed around an earth tone and elude a sense of class that you will normally associate with 5-star hotels.
The apartment that we stayed in was a deluxe studio unit of about 500sqft. As we open the door of the apartment, we were hit by a sense of deja vu as the unit was an exact replica of the showflat we had seen at the Sales Gallery back in 2010.
The living room is comfortably sized for up to 4 people and comes with a small study desk. The sofa also double up as a bed if required.
The bedroom is located on the opposite side of the living room and comes with a king-size bed. You also get a great view of the city and bright lights from the set of windows that run across the living and bedroom. And should you require some privacy (as we did when we woke up one morning to find a gondola hanging outside our window), day and night blinds are available and electronically controlled.
The bathroom is huge and equals those of luxury hotels in terms of design and furnishing. It comes with both standing shower and bath-tub, which is something that the wife and I always preferred - we are no fan of bath-tub and hate having to climb into one (thereby risking lives and limbs in case we slip) just to take a shower.
And in case your wondering about the view, below are some photos we took from the inside of our 50th-storey apartment.
Views from the apartment
Facilities wise, once can expect Vdara to come with the usual "bells and whistles" associated with a serviced apartment/hotel - café, bar, swimming pool, gym and even a spa! However, it will set up back 60 bucks for a 15-minute shoulder/back massage so definitely not for the faint-hearted (or budget conscious).
Given the Vdara is part of the MGM group, the Condo Hotel provides direct access (via a sheltered walkway) to the Bellagio next door. So despite the lack of a casino within the development, gambling action is just a mere 10-minutes' walk away.
And for those of you who think that 10 minutes is too exhausting a walk and don't mind braving the outdoor, Vdara is also linked to the Aria Casino & Hotel (another MGM development) located opposite via an external walkway - this will cut your access time to the casino to 5 minutes.
Our parting shot:
- The wife and I definitely liked the quality of furnishing and fitting at the Vdara, both within and outside of the apartment. We recalled making the same comment after we seeing the showflat back in 2010 and the developer has certainly delivered on this aspect.
- The one "complaint" we have is that the development (both common areas and within the apartment) can be better lit. This may be deliberate to create the sort of ambience the developer wanted but we do find the lighting especially within the apartment somewhat lacking.
- There is a lack of storage space within the studio apartment - all you get is a wardrobe that is hardly large enough for more than two weeks' worth of clothing for 1 person. So if one owns the apartment for primary (as opposed to vacation) residence, you either have to be very frugal with your belongings or heavily dependent on external storage.
- The room rate that we paid for our stay was about $150 per night and we understand this fluctuates between $120 - $200 depending on whether it being the "high" or "low" occupation period. If one had bought the studio apartment for $450K back in 2010 and assuming an average of $150 per night with occupancy rate of about 80% (i.e. 290 out of 365 nights a year), the annual return comes up to be around 9.6%. Not too shabby for an investment but we are unsure how much of a cut on the $150 the developer will levy for their management fee.
Click on the links below to access our previous review of Vdara and other developments within the CityCenter in Las Vegas: