Being whispered around town and beyond – go and have a look at this hotel, I was going, to stay. Just ahead of the appointed hour, April Ann, from Singapore, in a scarlet damask top and black skirt, arrived in a sleek black Mercedes to pick me up. Would I like a refreshing towel, and water? I was given a brochure to CityCenter art, including pieces by Gormley, Moore, Rauschenberg and Stella.
The drive, all of 5 minutes, brought us via a 3D road system to the 392r hotel that is a necessary part of CityCenter. It turns out that MGM’s visionary president, Jim Murren, realised the need for a sophisticated urban core to balance the last-century mass appeal of much of Las Vegas. Hence, thanks to $9.2bn-worth of investment by 50-50 owners Dubai World and MGM Mirage, you now have, connected by grey-coloured fly-overs/unders and raised/lowered walkways, the 4,004r Aria, 1,405r no-gaming Vdara, Crystals retail and Veer Towers condos, plus Mandarin Oriental (thankfully no gaming). Why did they choose Mandarin Oriental? Well, says gm Rajesh Jhingon confidently, Murren and co checked out Mandarins around the world, and competitors, and they settled for the best. And when Edouard Ettedgui invited Jhingon to relocate from Singapore to Vegas, way back in December 2007, 2 years ahead of opening, he leapt at the chance.
The sleek, 60-floor silver structure, part of architect Kohn Pedersen Fox’s CityCenter masterplan, was already in place, and Adam Tihany knew what he was going to do for the interiors – but Jhingon seems to have had a hand in supplies, uniforms and so on. Floors 24 up are 225 residences, reserved at $2-10m in 3 days, and Jhingon and his team have regular residents’ meetings (Edouard Ettedgui, who says the biggest risk for the industry is over-capacity, is a great believer in integrated mixed-use developments, which offer better return).
Here, you soar up to the 23rd floor hotel lobby in darkened bronze elevators that have scarlet velvet benches, diverted from bed-feet. The lobby has a 14m-high wall of 1,516 mock-gold bars, for Vegas’ luck (Tihany) and it is manned by really charming young professionals, beautifully dressed in Jhingon uniforms. He also, by the way, supervised the hiring process, which saw 49,980 applicants, lured by the aspiration and sense of occasion of Mandarin, for 316 jobs. (I was invited to MoJos, the chic red, black and white staff restaurant, where the free, cooked-here food always includes a carved-to-order beef or another roast, soup, salads, plus Mexican, vegetarian and made-up sandwiches, with unlimited fruit.)
We took another elevator down to floor 20, and walked along a honey-walled, open-L-shaped corridor with striking dull-red and brown cloud-patterned carpet. Pressure pads activate both elevators and room doors. 2027, a 139 sq m Dynasty Suite, has hints of the orient, but not too much (Tihany has put a print of a Chinese robe over the main sitting area, hotel information is in Jhingon-designed silk-covered books in a holding case, but toiletries are Aromatherapy and the plentiful supply of real reading includes Jan Morris’ Hong Kong, Karel van Wolferen’s Enigma of Japanese Power and Paul Klee (the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s collection loaned by the Berggruen of that eponymous hotel group). So, enter the suite, half bath on left, open bar also on left, sitting area ahead: turn right to desk/office station, with a whole line of sockets (and masses of adaptors all ready) and good wifi, and gold-embossed Conqueror stationery in a matching gold-lined silk box. Behind you as you work are a rectangular table, 6 leather-covered seats and a crystal-fall chandelier over (in front of you, as you work, is the full pantry, with a Nespresso Cube coffee maker, and 375ml Veuve Clicquots).
Continue right from the main entrance and you come to the walk-through closet, the bedroom on your left, the bathroom on your right. Floors are dark parquet, beige-brown carpeting or grey-flecked white marble. Walls are mushroom linen-look, or mid-brown wood. You have a 106.7cm Phillips LCD screen facing the salon. Wall-set panels, backed by a PDA console in the bedroom, control lights, sheer and heavy old-gold curtains. Amazingly thoughtfully, as well as normal pillows I have a towel neatly folded in another pillowcase (how did they know?) and, I suspect specially, a pack of razors and shaving foam: general toiletry supplies are in a Jhingon-designed box, with each inner container showing, with a simple cartoon, what it holds.
from the Gostelow Report – article exclusive online to CPP-LUXURY.COM
Mary Gostelow www.girlahead.com
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