Design evolution in Vegas

Green Tea and Plum King Room at BellagioThe Bellagio unveils an innovative room concept – with triple success!

By Renée LiButti

Wonder what the hotel room of the future looks like? It doesn’t involve robots or UFO-like pods. What lies ahead is a contemporary, yet comfortable room that feels more like home – but better.

The talented design team at MGM Resorts International knows this. That’s what they have unveiled at the Bellagio, which recently underwent a $70 million room remodeling project in the main tower.

“It was actually a very seamless project for us. It was 2,568 rooms and took six months. We started the project in June and ended in December,” said Michael Downs, the vice president of hotel operations. “We had three floors out at a time, and we worked on the floor in the middle so there would be no disruption to our guests.”

This remodeled double queen room features the amber and butterscotch color palette.

This remodeled double queen room features the amber and butterscotch color palette.

The resulting rooms are sophisticated in character – as is appropriate for the AAA Five Diamond Award-winning resort – while also merging a fresh design concept and modern conveniences with the warmth of home.

“Our guests are so loyal to us and have been coming here for 13 years. We were scared to do this, but the response has been incredible,” said Downs. “They love them, and now the rooms are attracting a new generation as well.”

In order to appeal to the diverse sensibilities of visitors, the project involved the creation of three distinct room designs. Each one utilizes a different color palette as well as different textures, patterns, artwork and furnishings. For example, the indigo and silver combination is masculine and charms casino guests, while the green tea and plum pairing is more feminine. It’s often preferred by international guests. Warm and inviting, the amber and butterscotch motif wins everyone over.

“Since many visitors come to Las Vegas two to three times a year, they often want more than one experience,” said Downs. “It would have been simpler to roll out one room type, but three color palettes were important to us. It’s not the easy way to redesign and not many hotels would do this.”

Along with the design team, the project engaged all the different departments from engineering to housekeeping and public communications.

Indigo and Silver King Room at Bellagio

The indigo and silver combination shown in this new king room has a masculine appeal along with vintage stylings.

“You have to set the tone from the very beginning of what the rooms are going to look like,” said Downs. “We took pictures of everything to communicate to all the different team members exactly what our expectations were – like where the lamp should be and where items in the minibar should be.”

Dedicated to providing an excellent room product that is superior in every way, guests can expect a perfect night’s sleep. The mattresses are exclusive to Bellagio and were specially designed for the rooms through a partnership with Serta.

“We had everyone in the hotel testing them. They are the Rolls-Royces of mattresses,” said Downs with a laugh.

Guests can even buy the custom, high-end mattresses in the Bellagio at Home store. They retail for nearly $2,000.

Evolving the technology of the rooms was also a top priority in the redesign project. Guests can now enjoy watching a mounted 40-inch, flat-screen, high-definition TV. To stay connected, there is an internet hub located beneath it that handles all types of mobile devices. The work desk offers internet capabilities as well. Electrical connections in the bedside lamps allow you to charge your phone conveniently at night. Plus, there is a laptop-size safe in the top drawer of the nightstand.

The updated bathrooms at the Bellagio feature LED lighting and double towel racks in keeping with the resort's commitment to sustainability.

In keeping with the Bellagio

“Becoming a better citizen to the Earth is something we take very seriously here at Bellagio,” said Downs, while highlighting the new sustainable elements in the rooms. “We’ve changed all of the lighting. We’ve been able to reduce the consumption while actually increasing the output.”

Other changes have included adding an extra rack in the bathroom to encourage guests to reuse towels rather than drop them on the floor. The thermostat has been adapted in such a way that it modifies the temperature as you come and go. Thanks to input from the hotel’s engineering team, the ventilation grills were also transformed to improve circulation. Now the air covers the entire circumference of the room, making it cooler and more comfortable – especially in summertime.

With all of these different things layered into the redesign project, there are still some items being finalized, like the amenities. Downs described the lengthy process of trying out shampoos, conditioners, soaps and lotions. Getting a consensus was arduous.

“You don’t want to be too bold or too soft with the scent, so it was a process,” said Downs, who expects the new bath amenities to arrive in May. “We’ve decided on a citrus scent. It’s more contemporary and fresh, but still warm and luxurious. I think that’s what the Bellagio embodies.”

Bellagio exterior at night

The Bellagio is setting a higher standard in accommodations with the 2,568 newly redesigned guest rooms in the main tower.

Because of the overwhelming success of the remodeled rooms, plans are in the works to modify the Bellagio’s Spa Tower. All of the design elements, from the color palettes to the furnishings, will be carried over from the main tower. Renovations are scheduled to start in the middle of August and be completed in December. At that time, every room in the Bellagio will have been updated.

With the arrival of Hyde Bellagio, the resort’s trendy new nightspot, and the opening of the chic Lily Bar & Lounge just around the corner, the hotel’s image is changing. Redesigning the rooms allows the Bellagio to engage younger visitors as well as maintain enduring market segments.

“As our demographics and offerings evolve, we have to keep ourselves current. We want to be in the leading position not only in Las Vegas, but also on a global front,” said Downs. “The Bellagio is an international hotel. We have to contend with other markets – New York and Los Angeles – and ensure that we are competitive with those destinations. As guests from London or Dubai are deciding where they want to visit, we want to make sure we have a competitive product and offerings so they’ll choose to come here.”

Ultimately, hotel rooms change at an evolutionary pace instead of a radical one. But remodeling projects, like this one at the Bellagio, are certain to bring about a profound transition and set new standards in the industry.


I’m a Las Vegas native. By profession, I write at Mostly about the city’s hotels, but on other topics – gaming and transportation – too. I really love staying at hotels. And the ones here are among the biggest and best in the world. Some key things I’ve learned: Resort fees are inescapable (frustrating but true), a friendly attitude at the front desk may score you a great view and over-the-top room amenities – bath butlers, Japanese tea service, menus with “intimate” items – do exist. What else should you know about me? Well, I’m comfortable at a blackjack table. And I like eating late-night pancakes in hotel coffee shops. A lot. Follow Renee on Google+.