Solar Death Ray Broils Las Vegas Hotel Guests

Guests at the Vdara hotel in Las Vegas are complaining about getting cooked to a crisp. The hotel is a glass skyscraper, and the way it reflects the sun magnifies the rays, raising temps on areas it hits by as much as 20 to 30 degrees. The result can cause plastic cups and plastic newspaper bags to melt, and it’s definitely not comfortable to have it on you sizzling you up. The hotel is aware of the problem and is trying to deal with it, namely by putting out more umbrellas. Definitely a good reason to check out the online reviews before booking a hotel.

Vegas Hotel Pool ‘Death Ray’ Burns Tourists [ABC] (Thanks to Alice!)


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  1. El_Fez says:

    “No, Mister Bond – I expect you to DIE!”

  2. Holybalheadedchrist! says:

    Maybe they planned it.

    “Vdara–we bring the Sizzle to the Strip!” says junior marketing copywriter.

  3. mrsam says:

    I’d like to have myself done medium-rare, please, with a pickle on the side.

  4. MercuryPDX says:


  5. Paintmann says:

    Guess the architect and the engineers never thought about that one…

    • Yankees368 says:

      “He added that designers foresaw the issue and thought they had solved it by installing a high-tech film on the hotel’s glass windows to reduce the effect.”

    • Minj says:

      Considering that the reflection is aimed at the pool, I’d say it is a good design.

  6. Razor512 says:

    cant they just put a filter on the glass windows, there are some that are designed reduce the amount of light that goes through with out tones and color temperature too much.

    • Yankees368 says:

      “He added that designers foresaw the issue and thought they had solved it by installing a high-tech film on the hotel’s glass windows to reduce the effect.”

      • shepd says:

        “He added that designers foresaw the issue and thought they had solved it by installing a high-tech film on the hotel’s glass windows to reduce the effect.”

        • Razor512 says:

          The user above me posted the same thing and I was posting in response to that, you posting the same thing doesn’t really change much.

          The common “high tech” film that is used is solar film, which attempts to reduce the heat by blocking some of the higher energy but not so visible rays from coming in.

          Considering what the product is designed to do, you would think that it would fix this problem (it is hard to test this unless you actually build the building first so through lack of information, they did not know fur sure if it would work)

          A more advanced solution (though not as common is the use of a special kind of glass which is able to control the amount of light that goes through blocking up to 99% of the light which will be almost completely dark. These windows are expensive but I am sure the hotels can afford them with how much hotels rip people off.

          • edman007 says:

            The problem is nobody makes windows designed to block that much light, we are talking 2-3 times stronger (a guess) than the sun in a desert, very few windows can take that, and the active ones would heat up and I can easily see them failing under the heat (does the glass operate at 150′ degrees?). A better solution is probably just some external blinds on the windows which many buildings have, though it will be an expensive retrofit to the building if you want it to not look too ugly.

      • Razor512 says:

        yep but what I had in mind were the kind you find as addons for camera lenses :)

        or the more modern ones that can get dark when power is run through them (so with a light sensor, they can get increasingly dark as the amount of light increases.

        The standard film is used on most buildings and they barely do a good enough job handling normal light, they wont handle an excessive amount of light.

  7. Platypi {Redacted} says:

    Just add solar collectors! Can’t anything be turned into energy yet?

  8. TheGreySpectre says:

    So it’s a big concave mirror and they are surprised they are having problems… apparently these guys are not familiar with the concept of a dish antenna. They also never had a physics teacher who would light things on fire with a mirror only 1 foot in diameter.

    • outoftheblew says:

      “He added that designers foresaw the issue and thought they had solved it by installing a high-tech film on the hotel’s glass windows to reduce the effect.”

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        Responding with that quote whenever someone criticizes the engineer and architect doesn’t change the fact both of them utterly failed at this aspect of the design. They didn’t both to test or reach out to someone knowledgeable in physics to determine if it would be a factor. They just threw something on and hoped.

        • pawnblue says:

          People never realize that engineers do this sort of thing on purpose. We all wanted to make death rays, but instead we spend our days calculating out minimum steel and concrete sizes. Every so often, we get the opportunity to build something like this. Worst case, a post on consumerist.

          Actually, I’m sure the engineer brought the issue up. I’m sure of it. Then the architect said something like, “curves are pretty, so just make my design work”. The developer sided with pretty because engineers don’t know anything about aesthetics. The engineer cashed his check and moved on to the next project.

  9. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    Makes you feel kind of like the ant on the other side of the magnifying glass, right?

  10. Rachacha says:

    A similar problem on a much smaller scale is happening in my residental neighborhood. Certain homes are at just the right angle that the sun reflects off the glass, concentrates a bit and shines on the neighbor’s home next to it and is MELTING the vinyl siding.

    • meb says:

      I’m sure the HOA is on it!

      • Rachacha says:

        Actually they are! No one to my knowledge has figured out what is causing the problem, and it took me about 6 years before I happened to be at the right place at the right time of day to see the magnifying effect. The HOA has informed people that they need to fix their melted siding, when really the only way to fix it is to convince your neighbor to install a coating on the window or to switch to wood or concrete siding.

        • grebby says:

          Somehow I never associated vinyl siding with the kind of neighborhoods that have HOAs. Of course I now live in the Southwest where everything is stucco.

    • Captain Walker says:

      Reason number sixteen not to get vinyl siding

  11. nobomojo says:

    geez, people really need to understand and study optical physics before they start building things willy nilly. =P

    • outoftheblew says:

      “He added that designers foresaw the issue and thought they had solved it by installing a high-tech film on the hotel’s glass windows to reduce the effect.”

  12. RDSwords says:

    This type of problem was on the news in Raleigh, NC not long ago. Apparently some low-E windows they were putting on houses were focusing sunlight onto adjacent houses and actually melting the vinyl siding. It was a huge mystery until they realized that the reflections off the windows were causing the problems.

  13. mikeMD says:

    I wonder if there are ants in heaven, laughing.

  14. greg7079 says:

    I’m guessing that this architect is not going to be building any more of anything… the laws of physics are a bitch. In this case all concave mirrors have the foci in between the light source and mirror. Simple algebraic calculations with measurements from the site and the time of year will tell you where the foci will be positioned with relation to the mirror/building.

  15. HoJu says:

    “Vdara! Fastest tan on the strip!”

  16. Hoss says:

    The solution seems to be to replace the windows. It’s a huge and expensive undertaking, but that’s why there’s insurance. The tallest building in Boston had its windows replaced after a design flaw:

    • myCatCracksMeUp says:

      Wow – that was really interesting. I’d love to see video of one of the 4′ x 11′, 500-lb windowpanes falling hundreds of feet and crashing into the sidewalk.

  17. Alessar says:

    So the linked article says there’s already a film on the windows that reduces the sunlight by 70%. Can you imagine if they didn’t have that? It would not be a figurative death ray!

  18. daveinva says:

    It’s a shame, because I checked out the site… their rooms are *nice*, especially for the price.

    Well, *full* price. Sure, they’re cheaper than the equivalent at one of the nearby high-end casinos, but you A) don’t have a casino on the property and B) can’t earn comps to make future visits cheaper.

    So, actually… scratch everything I just said :-)

  19. outlulz says:

    This kind of happened with the Disney Music Center in downtown LA. It was originally shiny but after it got complaints about reflecting so much sunlight and heat they had to sandblast it to a matte finish.

  20. RogueWarrior65 says:

    It’s part of a conspiracy to get you out of the pool and back into the nice, cool, oxygenated…*cough*…I mean air-conditioned casino.

  21. ChuckECheese says:

    This story vindicates me in my claims (many of my friends claimed I was nuts for saying this), that the low-e windows across from my apt are reflecting and focusing the sun on my windows. The 2nd claim is similar, in that I’ve noticed that walking among the skyscrapers in Phoenix during the day is incredibly, insanely hot, even more than would be expected from being in a desert concrete and asphalt jungle. I suspected the sun was being reflected off the windows into the surrounding areas.

  22. TuxedoCartman says:

    I was laughing the whole time they were building it. The east side of the building is curved, and covered in mirror-like windows. Directly across the street is a Hawaiian market type place, with lots of kiosks covered with grass roofs. 1 + 1 = FOOOM!!!

    For once, someone DIDN’T spend enough time playing with a magnifying glass as a kid.

  23. Tongsy says:

    Looks like we need to call Mr Burns

  24. tahamaki says:

    Upon hearing this news, Rob Cockerham decides to move to Las Vegas to perform a mega “light sharpener” experiment.

  25. privax says:

    Not sure what’s more annoying — People trying to come up with their own ways to fix the problem without reading the article entirely — Or the few people who continue to copy and paste “He added that designers foresaw the issue and thought they had solved it by installing a high-tech film on the hotel’s glass windows to reduce the effect.”

  26. Mr.Grieves says:

    Man I can imagine how god awful this would be if you were driving in its direction and it had the light on it. Seems like a big safety hazard.