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Hotel Woes / Hoteliers / Hot Hotelier News / Hotel News / Sam Nazarian / Viva Vegas / SLS Hotels / → All Tags
Last August was undeniably the peak of hotelier Sam Nazarian's career. After a few years of stagnancy followed by some fast and furious renovations, the worn down Sahara Las Vegas casino and hotel was set free from its Rat Pack history days and transformed into the modern, design-forward, and frankly, thrilling SLS Las Vegas.
We attended the opening (you can read that coverage here) and even though we knew Nazarian didn't single-handedly breathe new life into a rather depressing end of the Las Vegas Strip, he was the visionary behind everything that is now in place at the resort--from Chef Jose Andres Bazaar Meat restaurant to Philippe Starck's stylish guest rooms, Umami Burger, LiFE Nightclub, Griddle Cafe and a handful of retail boutiques from Fred Segal.
Making the opening night of the SLS more meaningful for Sam was that he and his dad rang in the SLS opening bell in a ballroom where Frank Sinatra and other legends once performed.
But now, those legendary moments are over. At least for Nazarian in Las Vegas.
Stockbridge Capital, the company that owns 90 percent of the SLS Las Vegas to Nazarian's SBE's 10 percent, announced yesterday that Nazarian will no longer be involved in the management of the SLS Las Vegas.
Hotel Openings / Hotel Opening Dates / SLS Hotels / New York Hotels / Park Avenue Hotels / NoMad Hotels / → All Tags
For us, hotel opening dates are very much like blind dates--we have very low expectations of them turning out to be good and most times, we don't even expect them to show up. So we're taking the new opening date of the SLS New York very casually.
But there's a little part of us that is hopeful the hotel will be the man of our dreams, er, open in February as planned.
The website for the Park Avenue hotel in the NoMad nabe is still listing "2015" as the their opening date but a recent lodging report has it pegged for February. The hotel will have 190 rooms, designed by Philippe Starck, along with different restaurant and lounge concepts from other SLS hotels and a rooftop "experience." The timing could be great too, since the New York Edition will open in April.
We peeped at the hotel's exterior and signage last Fall and there wasn't much to report, but we're keeping the faith that the hotel is further along in the process a year later. After all, we've been waiting for this hotel since 2012 when they promised a 2013 opening date. So, you know, it's kinda like they owe us to open in February now.
[Rendering via SLS New York]
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At long last, SBE, parent company of nightclubs, restaurants and SLS Hotels has FINALLY introduced its new loyalty program. And boy, is this long overdue. We've been waiting for this since July 2011 when the existing program, SBE Preferred, stopped taking new members.
Called THE CODE, the program was actually introduced first as the players club program at the new SLS Las Vegas. When we inquired at SLS casino about signing up, we asked if The Code worked for all SBE properties across the U.S. We were told that it didn't at the time but that eventually it would. Now the program is open for all SBE venues but The Code heavily favors SLS Las Vegas in terms of perks and benefits.
Here's what The Code promises (FWIW, we do dig that name.)
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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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.
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Something lovely starts today.
SLS Las Vegas has officially completed its $400 million renovation of the iconic Sahara casino and will be opening their doors at midnight tonight to excited and skeptical guests alike.
Currently, we're in the "excited" group because it's been a hell of a ride to watch SLS grow from one boutique hotel in Los Angeles to a full-fledged casino resort in Las Vegas, with a property in South Beach opening along the way, and several more to come.
We toured the SLS back in May and even though the rooms were not ready and the casino floor was just beginning to get its finishing touches, we could envision the sort of fun playground it will be, with big names and brands installed at the restaurants, nightclubs and retail that surround the casino floor.
Yet aside from a few touches that honor the old Sahara resort, made famous by the Rat Pack, the SLS has done away with anything old and replaced it with everything new. Folks still clinging onto memories of the Sahara may enter SLS with skepticism (or perhaps, it's bitterness) but we'll go in excited--you know how we love new things--and hopefully, we'll come out excited too.
Below are our on-the-scene observations. Be sure to follow us on Twitter for some other live coverage. For even more dedicated coverage on the SLS Las Vegas, head on over to VegasChatter's own live blog.
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Yet the humble bell-ringing ceremony that we witnessed at the opening of the very first SLS Hotel in Los Angeles, at the start of a recession, has given way to a bacchanal celebration fit only for a town like Vegas.
SLS has cultivated "a guest list of over 3,000 VIPs, celebs, political figures, media and influencers" who will experience the jaw-dropping $400 million overhaul of the former Sahara casino this Friday night. The invited will sample gourmet cuisine, sip on specialty libations and scope out the guest rooms. Some folks may even decide to gamble!
Capping it all off will be a performance from Iggy Azalea, the hit maker of the summer, thanks to her song, "Fancy." Iggy Igz will perform at The Foxtail Pool stage with a special featured guest. Please dear God/Sam Nazarian, we hope it's Rita Ora.
The special grand opening concert is being put on in partnership with Pepsi. SBE, SLS Hotels parent company, hinted at future headliner events such as this, saying:
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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]
Baha Mar just announced the switcheroo this morning of SLS taking over the operations of a 300-room property at Baha Mar which Mondrian was previously set to run.
Renowned for its high concept design aesthetic that fosters social engagement, SLS Hotels is the brand that introduced the idea of the hotel as a social experience. SLS at Baha Mar will feature 300 distinctively styled rooms that continue the brand's tradition of celebrating creativity, culture, fashion and art as part of the pursuit of our guests' passions.
Indeed, the Mondrian has been wiped from the website and the entryway of the SLS at Beverly Hills has been slotted in on the SLS page instead.
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When we told you what to expect at the SLS Las Vegas last week, we mentioned the three different room towers at the property--World, Story and Lux. Well, now it turns out SLS LUX isn't just a room tower in Vegas but a new brand within a brand from SLS Hotels.
SLS LUX will be an all-suite and residential experience for guests with upgraded amenities and personalized VIP services. The first SLS LUX will obviously open in Vegas over Labor Day Weekend but SLS is also planning another SLS LUX in Miami (pictured above) in 2016 to complement the upcoming SLS Brickell Hotel & Residences, which will open next year.
This new LUX will have 450 residences, 85 luxury suites, a tennis and fitness center, rooftop pool, wine cellar, cigar room and two restaurants, Katsuya and SBar. Yabu Pushelberg will do the interiors while works from Colombian sculptor Fernando Botero will adorn the entrance. So in case you were ever disappointed with the basic-ness of an SLS room, the LUX room should have whatever you're looking for. We hope.
SLS says additional LUX locations are already in development in the U.S. Meanwhile, SLS Park Avenue won't be opening this year but in 2015 instead.
[Rendering: SLS LUX]
Last week, we got to the tour the most ambitious SLS Hotel project yet--the SLS Las Vegas Hotel and Casino at the far end of the Las Vegas Strip, where the old Sahara casino used to be.
For "old" Vegas fans, there's not much of the original Sahara left, aside from the bones of the room towers and casino building. But if you want a thrilling new way to do up Vegas, baby, Vegas, the SLS will satisfy little and large spenders alike. Sorry, we got carried away with SLS-speak. What we meant to say is, there will be something for everyone here. You may not need to leave the SLS at all.
As we mentioned on Friday, there will be three different room towers, each with a different category of rooms inside.
The World Tower will feature SLS "lite" sort of rooms. These rooms are no bigger than 400-sq.ft. (with the exception of a suite) and they are more fun and functional rather than over-the-top luxurious.
Rob Oseland, president and COO of SLS Las Vegas told us these rooms were designed by Philippe Starck to be "cost effective chic."
There's an exclusive SLS bed (called Sleep Lying Still from Beauty Rest by Simmons Hospitality), 300-thread count bedding, down pillows and a comfy little couch at the foot of the bed. There's also the SLS-branded Saints & Sinners minibar goodies as well as a desk and rolling chair and a flat-screen TV.
And instead of putting in a lot of luxury layers where room technology is concerned, Oseland said SLS will simply boost the cell reception and install a fast WiFi network, which at the end of the day, is really what guests want from their hotel rooms. The World Tower rooms are the starting room rate at $149 a night on August 25. Yet if you want some luxurious settings, you should upgrade up to the Lux Tower.
Yeah. That's all we got. BUT we did get to tour some model rooms and the rest of the property. We'll have a bigger breakdown for you on Monday but here's what you need to know:
· The room types are spread out amongst three towers. The World Tower has the biggest but most basic rooms. The Story Tower has the smallest but funnest rooms while the Luxe Tower has the plushest rooms with the full SLS experience (mirrors on the ceiling, peek-a-boo showers, pops of pink.)
· The casino floor will have plenty of gaming but surrounding the gaming floor is an SBE-wonderland of sorts with restaurants from Katsuya, Umami, 800 Degrees and Cleo, along with several retail stores from Fred Segal.
· The Bazaar restaurant from Chef Jose Andres isn't just a restaurant. The space will have 10 gaming tables, a MEAT room (yes, it's what you think it is) and a Bar Centro.
· The Life nightclub, which was created out of the old Sahara theater space, is going to be off the chain. Make no mistake--this is a massive nightclub but if you're into that, it will blow you away with massive LED screens and aerial performers.
We'll have more from inside the SLS on Monday but if you want to get all caught up with the latest, head on over to VegasChatter to get up to speed.