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In Las Vegas, it used to be that the cocktail waitresses were the only employees in a casino, save for the headliners, who got to wear shiny, sparkly uniforms. But in case you haven't noticed, Las Vegas, isn't quite the same city it used to be and at the forefront of the town's modernization is the SLS Las Vegas with its vast array of nightlife options, encircling a rather small casino floor. Well, small for Vegas anyways.
Indeed, the slot machines and poker tables can be seen as nuisances obstructing your path to Katsuya's decadent sushi rolls, Umami's juicy burgers, Jose Andres' bizarre Bazaar meat presentations and the pulsing beats coming from the LiFE nightclub.
Upstairs, the rooms are compact but chic with playful Philippe Starck touches like a silver tree stump, a tilted desktop and giant mirrors. And if you've forgotten to pack something, you won't have to settle for a strange name label since LA's own Fred Segal stores have seven different shops downstairs.
With all these trendy "New Vegas" concepts inside the SLS, it's no wonder the employee uniforms are just as stylish. And we're not only talking about the cocktail waitresses.
SLS tapped Las Vegas designer, Barbara Bell of Bell Uniform Design, to custom-make the everyday look of SLS employees. Bell has been the preferred designer for new establishments in Vegas, including Hakkasan nightclub at MGM Grand, the Holstein's restaurant at The Cosmpolitan and the Aria Resort & Casino. Now, here's a look at some of the uniforms Bell and her team created for SLS:
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Morgans Hotels are rather infamous for their gift shop offerings such as the kinky vending machine at the Mondrian South Beach called "Automat" which once sold (or maybe still does) 24-karat gold handcuffs from Kiki de Montparnasse. The automat also sold rentals for premium luxury cars like a Rolls Royce or a Benz.
When the machine made its debut at the Hudson Hotel in New York, it sold an $8,000 photo shoot with photographer Ben Watkins and a rental of a red Ferrari 599 GTB.
However, the gift shop offerings at the Essence shop at the new Delano Las Vegas aren't quite that risqué, although they are still rather expensive. You can get a small discount on the items if you're a member of the M Life rewards program but for the most part, be prepared to spend.
Here's what we found while admiring the wares at Essence the other week.
All eyes were on the grand opening of the SLS Las Vegas last weekend, but now the spotlight is heading down The Strip to The Delano Las Vegas at Mandalay Bay, which will officially open on Tuesday, September 2.
Back in May, we admired the "different yet still designer" look of the Vegas version of the Delano Hotel in South Beach, one of the original boutique hotels created by master hotelier But this is by no means a literal translation of the South Beach hotel. If anything, the Delano Las Vegas actually feels more luxurious and warmer than the original. Sure, there is all-white furniture in the bedroom but out in the sitting room, there's furniture that you can actually sit on and feel comfortable doing so. Little but important luxury touches in the rooms include a robe and slippers, Malin + Goetz bath amenities, flat-screen TVs, a well-stocked bar, plug panels at the desks and this most excellent phone on the nightstand. Downstairs, there will be more of Delano to experience. See how!
But this is by no means a literal translation of the South Beach hotel. If anything, the Delano Las Vegas actually feels more luxurious and warmer than the original. Sure, there is all-white furniture in the bedroom but out in the sitting room, there's furniture that you can actually sit on and feel comfortable doing so.
Little but important luxury touches in the rooms include a robe and slippers, Malin + Goetz bath amenities, flat-screen TVs, a well-stocked bar, plug panels at the desks and this most excellent phone on the nightstand.
Downstairs, there will be more of Delano to experience. See how!
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We've just taken you inside a World Tower room at the SLS Las Vegas but the beauty of this casino, and all casinos in Vegas really, is that you don't need to stay the night to take it all in. Here are 10 ways to see, like and savor the SLS Las Vegas without spending the night.
1. Werk Your Arrival: The grand entrance to the SLS is rather spectacular. After admiring the Philippe Starck-designed sculpture/caricature of SLS Hotels CEO Sam Nazarian out front, you walk through simple glass doors into an entryway that features a mirrored ceiling (perfect for #selfies!) and light-up floor squares which make you feel a little like Michael Jackson in the "Billie Jean" video. This "stage" of sorts then gives way to the casino floor. Overall, it just gives you a baller sense of arrival.
2. Gamble In Style: The casino is smaller than most Vegas casinos, but it's filled with shiny, new things like flat-screen TVs in the gambling pits and funky Starck-inspired figures atop some of the slot machines. There's also a throwback slot machine for the Sahara in the center of the casino if you're missing the good old days.
Now open! Say hello to this caricature of Sam Nazarian, designed by Philippe Starck.
If you followed our live-blog on Friday, then you were privy to one of the first images from inside a room at the SLS Las Vegas, which officially opened at midnight to the public. Today, we're showing you all around that room.
This here is a superior room in The World Tower, which is standard SLS fare in terms of design and amenities. The Story Tower has smaller, budget-type rooms with bright yellow-tiled bathrooms, while the Lux Tower has larger plusher rooms and suites, with more of designer Philippe Starck's ethereal elements like mirrors on the ceilings, peekaboo bathrooms and illustrated draperies.
The decor in the World Tower is simple but with alternating soft and bold touches like a white sofa at the foot of the also white and extremely comfortable king bed, an armchair with a silver tree stump table next to it, baby pink and black wallpaper design, and giant mirrors on three walls, including one which lights up.
The minibar amenities offer up SLS Saints and Sinners goodies (including SLS's Culinary Director Jose Andres' brand of potato chips!) along with fancy cocktail glasses to use. In the bathroom are SLS's Ciel Spa toiletries which are thankfully gentle on your skin and hair. There's an open closet and an open shelf for storing your clothes as well as an ironing board and iron to crisp up for a night out.
Our favorite part, however, was the desk.
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As Week 1 of HotelChatter Cocktail Week(s) wraps up, here's a run-down of some of the nifty things we see going on in the world of hotel bars and bevvies. What do you see goin’ on out there? Let us know in the comments below!
There’s so Much More to Syrup Than Maple –
If you’re into cocktails there’s a pretty good chance you’ve made your own simple syrup but these hotels are going beyond the norm and creating some pretty exotic specialty syrups.
At Fifteen Beacon’s Mooo (a Preferred Hotel) they make all of their syrup’s in-house, but we particularly liked the sound of the House made Celery Lemongrass Syrup that they use in their Celery 75 cocktail, made with Berkshire Greylock gin, Prosecco, strawberry, and the syrup, of course.
Cost to imbibe: $14
Cost to stay at the hotel 'cause you've imbibed: Starts at $479
And here’s an exotic beauty from the W Bangkok: the Chor Muang cocktail. You have absolutely no hope of making this drink at home since it’s made with Butterfly Pea Flower House Made Syrup – a flower that has become so rare that it’s difficult to find it in Thai markets. This elusive ingredient, however, makes it popular with guests who want something authentically Thai, and with locals who want the same. Other ingredients in this cocktail include Butterfly Flower-infused raspberry vodka, lime juice, and it’s garnished with – here we go – a 24-carat gold dust-dipped Butterfly Flower.
Cost to imbibe: THB $275 ($9)
Cost to stay at the hotel 'cause you've imbibed: Starts at THB 4,788 ($150)
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Hotel delays don't faze us. But hotels that open earlier than expected do, which is why today we're doing a little happy dance after hearing that the SLS Las Vegas will open at midnight on August 23, and not August 25 as we last heard and not September 1 as was originally planned.
The casino resort put out a press release, stating something completely unheard of in the hotel world: "construction on The Strip’s newest resort is wrapping ahead of schedule." Translation: SLS Las Vegas is a unicorn.
According to the release, rooms will be open for reservations on August 23 yet all we're seeing on the website is availability for August 25. We also couldn't pull up a room rate as the site was having issues. Perhaps too many people trying to ride the unicorn? However, last we checked room rates for that date we found a World Tower room for $149 a night. You can also book a room through HHonors, thanks to SLS's new partnership with Hilton Hotels' Curio Collection. All the restaurants will also be open on August 23, including Bazaar Meat by José Andrés, Cleo, Katsuya, Ku Noodle and The Griddle Cafe.
[Photo: Greg Clarke/VegasChatter]
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We thought Bitcoin, the open-source internet currency, was over…as far as using it to pay for hotel stays. Indeed, the Howard Johnson hotel in Fullerton, Calif. that we spoke to back in 2011 stopped using it after the Bitcoin market crashed.
But today Bitcoin is back and is now accepted in the one city where money talks--Las Vegas.
Two Downtown Vegas hotels--the D Las Vegas and the Golden Gate Hotel & Casino will begin taking Bitcoins starting tomorrow, including the front desk for each hotel and the D's gift shop. You can even use Bitcoin to pay for Coney Dogs at American Coney Island and steaks at Joe Vicari’s Andiamo Italian Steakhouse. Here's how it will work:
Bitcoin purchases at the casino hotels will be processed through BitPay, a service that streamlines transactions using tablet and mobile interfaces. Tablets programmed with BitPay will be installed at each cashier, allowing Bitcoin users to easily pay for services using their mobile wallets.
Derek Stevens, CEO of the D and Golden Gate, said the hotels began accepting Bitcoin due to "guest demand." Hmm…while we like how Stevens took initiative, guest demands sounds unlikely. After all, do you know someone using Bitcoin? Seriously, do you? Ok, maybe some of you do. But most of us just know about Bitcoin from its Wikipedia page.
Nonetheless, one Bitcoin equals roughly about $822 and considering that rooms at the D start at $22 tomorrow night, if you're in possession of just one Bitcoin, then you can go wild in Vegas.
It's that time of year again: the 2013 HotelChatter Awards! Today and tomorrow, we'll be showcasing the best (and worst) of hotels over the past year. But we couldn't do it without you! Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, or shoot us an email. And the Award goes to...
What's the next best thing after new hotels? Newly renovated hotels! And in 2013, we saw so many hotels getting drastic new looks. So many, it was kinda hard to choose one winner.
For instance, the Novotel Times Square which went from 80s decor to a super cool futuristic style. Across the pond in London, Rosewood Hotels transformed the old Chancery Court Hotel into a dazzling design hotel with an elegant Mirror Room where the ceiling is made entirely of mirrors. Down in Florida, the Loews Portofino Bay upgraded their look from an average-looking hotel room with depressing dark wood furniture to a posh neutral palette with luxe furnishings we'd like for our own home, especially the carpeting. (And how often do we say that about a hotel room?) You can even watch the transformation from dud to stud in a cool time-lapse video put out by the hotel.
But out in Vegas, we thought the transformation at Four Seasons (inside Mandalay Bay) was the most impressive (Just FYI: The renovations were completed in December 2012.) The rooms went from 80s gold-
digger lover with sparse furnishings to glamorous Art Deco habitations, each with dozens of decor accents like eye-catching artwork, giant wall mirrors, detailed patterns and plush seating. Don't believe us? This is how the rooms used to look. Egads!
Feel like getting lucky in Vegas at the Four Seasons? Rates start at $234 a night this weekend. And don't forget, the hottest hotel chef in the world is downstairs!
Not long after we wondered if anyone was still checking-out of hotels, we come across a sign in a hotel room offering a video check-out. "For your convenience."
On the bright side, the WiFi was included in the $18 (!) resort fee and it was blazing fast. So there's that. Needless to say, we didn't do a video check-out this morning.
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As the grand finale to cocktail week here's Part 2 of our round-up of some of the nifty things we see going on in the world of hotel bars and bevvies. Don't forget to let us know what’s going on in your section of the world!
Beer is the new wine: Before some of you get stressed out, we’re not saying that wine’s going away, but we have noticed that beer is getting more attention these days. Some hotel bars are making beer their “thing,” some are making their own and some are getting it made for them.
Most of us tend to only hang out at airport hotels when we’re going to and from a place, but the Four Points by Sheraton LAX has a 100-beer beererie called Brewster’s that includes an ever-changing tap list of craft and microbrews. They have an on-staff Director of Brewer Relations who ensures the beer list is fresh and filled with rare brews, monthly beer appreciation nights, beer pairings such as Smoked Stone Porter with smoked salmon, beer turndown service that includes a beer-stocked minibar, and a recently-launched Hoppily Ever After package that lets the happy couple-to-be create their very own custom, brewed-to-taste beer for their big day—isn’t that just so romantic?
This is what greeted us in the bathroom at Aria Las Vegas when we returned to the room in the afternoon--our toiletries, hairbrush and glass all lined up in perfect order. Gorgeous! It really is those little things that win us over.
This also made up for the fact that the next day, housekeeping busted in on us, while changing clothes, completely ignoring our calls of "no, please don't open the door." And as we were reaching desperately for the hotel robe, the housekeeper peeked her head around the door just to remind us that we had to check-out that day. It was only 9:15am and check-out was not until 11am. Alrighty then. At least our toiletries were easy to pack up.