The location of Vdara on the CityCenter property says a lot about the hotel. The extravagantly luxurious Mandarin Oriental and audaciously designed Crystals mall sit right up front along The Strip. Aria, the centerpiece, sits literally in the center of the acreage CityCenter takes up. But Vdara... well, it's tucked away in the back with a separate driveway, elevated off of Harmon Avenue and across a wide expanse from the rest of complex.
What that says, intentionally or not, is that Vdara is different from the rest of CityCenter. That's true in a variety of ways.
It is a condominium hotel, the only of it's kind on the property. What that means is that people can buy the units and either live in them or use them as investment units by putting them in a rental pool for the public to stay in like they would stay in any other hotel room. As a result perhaps, Vdara feels separate, removed, and reserved from the excess that is CityCenter.
The entire building is subtle by comparison to pretty much anything else in Vegas. The public spaces are simple, the units done in muted, grown-up décor schemes, and the amenities list is not much beyond what you'd find at a luxury apartment building.
The ground floor has a sedate check-in desk, an indoor/outdoor lounge, and a small grocery store/market where you can pick up some noshes to take back to your room. It's all done in modern, sleek terms that say "Hey, we're elegant! Take your Vegas shenanigans elsewhere." Not saying that's a bad thing, just saying.
On the second level is a nice spa, salon, and fitness center and a smallish (again, by comparison) pool deck above the main entrance. They call the latter a Sky Pool but that's being a bit grandiose. It's not like they slapped the thing on the 40th floor, it's more like the 4th. It's also overlooked by one of the CityCenter parking structures but that's a valet only facility so you'll just have employees watching you sunbathe instead of tourists.
And yes, this is the place that got a lot of press for the infamous "Death Ray," a strange thing that happened during the summer when the sun bounced off the mirrored exterior of the building and reportedly melted some plastic and singed some hair. The whole thing was completely overblow (DEATH RAY!!) and they have already taken steps to correct the problem.
Going back to the parking for a moment, it's worth noting that there is no self-parking here - valet only.
That's it in terms of things to do inside the building. The good news is that the rest of CityCenter is a short walk away and there's a (very long) hallway/walkway that leads to Bellagio. That's also where you can catch the tram that will take you to the heart of CityCenter or to Monte Carlo if you so choose.
There are several different floorplans available in the 1,500 unit building. The simplest are the Deluxe Suites and at about 600 square feet these studios are not much bigger than your average Vegas hotel room. There is a small kitchenette and two-person dining table, a couch and chair, a desk, an entertainment unit, and a bed. There is more of the muted design scheme here with browns, blacks, and greys being offset by the occasional splash of color on the throw pillows. It's tasteful.
Bathrooms are moderately sized but full equipped.
Stepping up from that are the Vdara Suites, one bedroom units with a more extensive kitchenette, a 4-person dining table, a washer and dryer, a living room, a proper bedroom, and a much bigger bathroom.
Things go up from there with corner suites, two bedroom units, and even grand two-story penthouses.
All the units come with high-speed and wireless Internet, a media hub for your MP3 player or DVD player, safes, robes, irons and boards, mini-bars, and some form of a refrigerator, sink, and cooking appliance.
Rates for the standard studio suites start at around $129 during the week and $169 on the weekends although the more common prices will probably be about $50-60 higher than that. Note that this is before the mandatory $44.22 per night resort fee that includes things like Internet and gym access.
And don't forget about the fees for parking that were instituted in 2016. It costs $25 per day for valet for hotel guests and non-guests alike. The only way to get out of it is if Gold or above level. There is no self parking at Vdara although you could park at the structure next door at Aria and walk a long ways, but it's still going to cost you $10 per day to do that unless you have a Pearl or above players' club card.
Service at the property was as buttoned down as the building itself, with a crisp, polite, and efficient staff that didn't exactly exude warmth.
And that's the thing about Vdara - it feels a bit cold, especially in comparison to the rest of CityCenter and Vegas as a whole. It's not exactly cold but it certainly isn't warm. The word I kept coming back to was stark.
I liked Vdara and I definitely would stay there if I was in town on business or with a family or had an extended visit that would make the kitchens very handy. But if I was in town for the fun and thrills that Vegas has to offer, I'd be a bit disappointed to find out that I wasn't going to find them at Vdara.