The Mandarin Oriental in Las Vegas — a AAA Five Diamond Award and Forbes Triple Five-Star casino-less property — will become the Waldorf Astoria come August.
The Mandarin Oriental has for years vied with the chichi Four Seasons for the city’s most luxurious non-gaming hotel. Now, it will be “reimagined and renovated” in a $50 million makeover, according to a press release from Hilton, which owns the Waldorf brand.
It will be the first kingpin property under the Hilton high-end umbrella in Las Vegas, as the brand continues its march westwards. Last year, Hilton opened its first in Beverly Hills, California. It’s also planning to unveil a hotel in San Francisco — to open within the next three years — one of 20 new Waldorf properties in the offing.
Can It Stay on Top?
The Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas opened in 2009 in MGM’s CityCenter complex, which also houses the Aria Resort and Casino and Crystals retail and entertainment offerings.
CityCenter, a joint venture between MGM Resorts International and the UAE’s Dubai World investment company, announced in April that the 47-story property would be sold to a mystery buyer for $214 million. Mandarin Oriental operates the hotel on behalf of CityCenter and will hand over the reins to Hilton come August 30.
Martin Rinck, global head of Hilton’s Luxury and Lifestyle Group, said Las Vegas was one of the “most exciting and luxurious cities in the world,” full of people seeking the kind of “highly covetable, unforgettable experiences” that he believes the Waldorf Astoria brand provides.
As one of only six hotels in the US to hold the AAA Five Diamond Award and Forbes Triple Five-Star designation (granted for top hotel, restaurant, and spa), the Mandarin Oriental’s transition will need to be flawless to continue to hold on to those coveted stamps.
The hotel is not the only property in the area in the midst of an expensive makeover. Last week, the Monte Carlo Resort and Casino reopened as Park MGM, although its $550 million renovation is far from complete.
By the time it fully opens, MGM will have “literally changed every square inch of the property, while keeping it open,” CEO Jim Murren said of the ParkMGM transformation. “We completely underestimated the financial impact that that would cause,” he admitted during a recent earnings call.
But its full unveiling — which will happen shortly after that of the Waldorf Astoria — will complete MGM’s years-long neighborhood development of the central Strip, which began with CityCenter and now includes “The Park” outdoor recreation space and the new Park Theater, which is presenting baby boomer perennial celebrity favorites like Cher, Ricky Martin, and Bruno Mars this summer.