Bellagio’s new Spa Tower adds nearly 1,000 rooms to resort

Thu, Dec 23, 2004 (11:12 a.m.)

More people than ever will stay at MGM Mirage's high-end Bellagio tonight with today's opening of the 928-room Bellagio Spa Tower.

The $375 million tower already has four sell-outs booked in the last eight days of 2004.

"It's an incredible achievement," said Randy Morton, vice president of hotel operations at the Bellagio, during a tour of the building Wednesday.

Construction workers were putting the finishing touches on the addition Wednesday afternoon and every room has withstood the scrutiny of employees who overnighted there prior to today's opening.

The salon, expanded from 6,500 to 10,000 square feet, the 57-room spa, which more than doubled its size to 55,000 square feet and a new restaurant, Sensi, are on line.

Unlike rival resort Mandalay Bay, which opened its The Hotel tower as a separate, new product, Morton seeks to make the Spa Tower an extension of the Bellagio product.

"It's all one Bellagio," Morton said of the expansion. "People will arrive at the Bellagio front desk and check in to either the main tower or the new Spa Tower, but the a treatments in the rooms are all the same."

In an effort to develop that continuity, resort officials have worked to improve flow and access throughout the property, developing a circular circulation pattern around the resort's swimming pool area.

A staircase off the south end of the conservatory has been replaced with an open hallway to the new amenities, which include three retail outlets, the Gardenia garden store, the Jean Philippe Patisserie and the Essentials logo wear store.

The hallway leads to Sensi, a restaurant by Chef Martin Heierling that serves Italian and Asian food and has a central glass-walled kitchen surrounded by tables and dining stations.

The hall extends past the Spa Tower elevators to an expanded convention center, which has grown from 130,000 square feet to 200,000 square feet. The convention area also features the Tuscany kitchen, a food preparation demonstration center with state-of-the-art studio amenities for presentations for groups or broadcasts.

Morton said convention and meeting bookings for early 2005 already are up 35 percent over the previous year.

The new rooms at the Bellagio will sell at the same rate as the original 3,005 rooms, between $159 and $599 a night depending upon demand. Normally, rooms go for about $200 to $300 and the property has an occupancy rate of more than 90 percent.

Rooms facing the resort's signature fountain show on an 8.5-acre lake fronting the property command a premium of between $25 and $50 extra a night.

The resort has hired 1,100 new full-time and 300 part-time workers to bring the total number of employees to 10,000.

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