Monday, October 19, 2009

Planet Hollywood Towers: A Special Preview

Because Planet Hollywood (@phVegas) actually understands the significance of New Media, Hunter Hillegas of RateVegas.Com and I got to take a first-look tour of the Planet Hollywood Towers by Westgate today along with a group of lucky attendees of Saturday's Vegas Podcast-a-Palooza at the Palms. Vegas Bill (@VegasBill), who keeps tabs on all sorts of Vegasy goings-on on Twitter and his site, was one of those attendees as well.

This building, it must be said, is a very odd place. I'm not sure if I mean that in a good or bad way; it will take on a different life when it opens in December. But P-Ho-To is a different animal isasmuch as it is a fractional-ownership condo-hotel with 1,201 units. That means some people buy shares in it, others buy them outright and others just book on Travelocity or wherever.

It starts out well with the front desk...

...and a nice swimming pool just off the naturally-lit lobby:

But, strangely, they're saying only guests of the tower get to use this pool. I say that's strange because I asked P-Ho owner Robert Earl once whether he planned to renovate the hideous pool areas he inherited from the idiot Aladdin developers and he said that it wasn't really doable but that the new towers would have better pools. I'll have to dig up the quote, but I'm sure he was saying that guests of both P-Ho and P-Ho-To would get to use them. Hard to imagine it now because the pool at P-Ho-To was nice but not really big enough to accommodate thousands of guests.

Anyhow, the fun of a first-look tour is seeing stuff still underwraps. This is the lobby...

...the escalator from P-Ho-To's valet entrance...

...the elevator faceplate...

...the 10,000-square-foot ballroom (dunno what this mound of furniture's for)...

...and the hallway.

On the 30-something floor, we visited a 1-bdr suite and an attached (if you want it that way) studio. The 1-bdrs have these beautiful kitchens:

The whole kitchen thing led to a discussion amongst us tourists (tourers?) about whether people staying at, say, Trump or Signature actually use those kitchens. Hunter says yes. I'm dubious beyond maybe the fridge and microwave. Where do they shop? (Soon, P-Ho-To will have Whole Foods at The Crystals at CityCenter, tis true.)

Here's the bathroom -- that's a shower to the left, a WC to the right:

And here's the living room area:

One of the coolest features I'd never heard of before is that these suites will have blackout curtains for the windows upon which the TV can be projected if guests so desire. They'll watch movies or TV or whatever. That's pretty clever.

You know a British guy owns the place when the trash chutes are labeled thusly, huh?:

Next we went to the 55th floor (right, guys?) and saw the 2-bedroom suites. Before I show that, though, I ought to show an exterior of the building. Note below the pink pointy tip jutting out?
Well, this is what that pink part looks like from the inside:

It's a pink zone! Here's what it looks like with people in it...

...and this is what CityCenter looks like:

I came really close to titling this post "Planet Hollywood Towers by Barbie." I mean, wow. And, yes, it was a bit warm in that space, too. It's just...strange. Elle Woods would be thrilled.

I didn't take particularly good photos of the furnishings, much of which weren't in the suite anyhow. I'm sure that Hunter has some great stuff that he'll undoubtedly post on the blog of RateVegas.Com. He's already posted several on @Hunter Twitter feed.

But, as I am wont to do, a few more oddball observations. First, this is the view of the Marriott Grand Chateau and Polo Towers.

You may not be able to see it, but I did not know that both have rooftop pools. Why don't more of the Vegas resorts do this, I wonder. Seems pretty awesome to me.

Second, this is the carpet in the hallway on the higher floor we visited:

It's getting trashed by bits of construction crud and movers and such. Wouldn't it make sense to lay the carpeting last, after all the hard work is done so it doesn't look hagged out before you even open?

I just loved VegasBill's Blackberry case...

Summation: I dunno. The views are terrific, the furnishings seem modern and sleek, the kitchens looked fabulous and...I don't know who's coming. Or what they're eating, since the building will only have one restaurant and they're not even sure if (a) it'll be open when P-Ho-To opens or (b) what sort of fare it will offer.

Since they're not going to be able to sell many fractionals for quite a while, it's essentially another 1,200 hotel rooms added to the oversupply at the same time as thousands more open across the street. If CityCenter really drives in new Vegas tourism, then P-Ho-To is in a great position to be the more affordable new experience with great access to the other one. Time will tell and five years from now I suspect both skeptics and optimists will see evidence that they were right.


Michael said...

Nice write-up all I could think of when seeing the Pink encasing for everyone in that area, was the Seinfeld episode when Kenny Roger's chicken opened next to Kramer's apartment, and how the glowing red light affected him and then Jerry.

James Taylor said...

That pink zone doesn't do it for me. I hope every floor of that prominence (to borrow a term from mountaineering) isn't like that. It compromises what would otherwise be a fantastic 270-degree view. It's a novel idea, but wouldn't it be better confined to one room, or a few window panes? Or maybe a "pink suite" (or, even catchier, "Suite Pink")?

atdnext said...

Dammit, another condo-tel?! Hopefully the buyers aren't stupid and the sellers aren't using the same false gimmicks (Instant return on investment! Condo will pay for itself! 64 floors!) used at MGM Grand Signature and Trump Las Vegas. With banks leery of lending anything condo-tel related and buyers afraid of being suckered into another lemon, PHo will REALLY need to prove that its Westgate towers are what they're advertising them to be.