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Philippe Starck, developer Carl Dranoff and Sam Nazarian
The first SLS LUX Hotel is set to open shortly in the Bahamas but already work is underway on another one—this time in Philadelphia.
We told you about SLS coming to Philly in December 2013 but it looks like the plan has been upgraded to make the property an SLS Lux brand.
Going up at Broad and Spruce Streets, the SLS LUX Philadelphia will have 152 hotel rooms, along with 90 SLS International Residences, all developed by Dranoff Properties. All residents and hotel guests will share the SLS LUX amenities which include a landscaped sun deck, a 75-foot indoor pool, a full service spa, concierge services, 24-hour room service, and SLS F&B concepts, which have yet to be announced but could totally include Katsuya, Cleo and Umami restaurants.
SLS’s fave designer, Philippe Starck will design the hotel and residences which will be built on the site of the former home of Phildelphia International Records, which was responsible for putting forth “The Sound of Philadelphia” out in the world, as well as racking up 175 gold and platinum albums. Starck and sbe chairman Sam Nazarian both pledged to honor the history and importance of the PIR at an event announcing the project last week.
We're just a few weeks away from the first opening phase of the long-awaited Baha Mar Resort in the Bahamas. We've already told you what to expect rate-wise as well as given you the heads-up on the opening deal.
Now today, we're peeking at the public spaces of the SLS Lux at Baha Mar.
Here are a few renderings of the lobby, the pool and the pool terrace. This might be our favorite SLS yet. It's not too dark, it's not too weird or ornate, and it's not crowded, yet. We also love how the Bahamian pink gets incorporated here. (The entire exterior is swathed in this color.)
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We've already told you what to expect room rate-wise at the upcoming Baha Mar Resorts, the first of which will open on March 27, but today we have a closer look at, and a deal for the SLS Lux at Baha Mar.
In case you weren't sure, SLS Lux is what it is says--a luxer version of the usual, SLS Hotels. A room at the SLS Lux at Baha Mar starts at 358-sq.ft. and includes the "Sleep Lying Still" signature beds, 48-inch flat-screen TVs, Ciel spa toiletries and a Juliette balcony, among other amenities. But judging by this new rendering of the rooms, SLS Lux actually looks more simpler than the average SLS Hotel room. We do like that rug, though.
And these are rather small rooms for being "Lux" but the good news is that the opening rate on March 27 has dropped from $715 a night to $450 a night, with a $100 resort credit. There is still a $40 per night, plus tax resort fee to add-on.
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After building a mystery all spring, Archer Hotel New York opened at the end of May. But last week, we sent in an operative to reveal the secrets of Archer (and to find out just how sweet the nightly turndown service really is.)
New York’s mid-30s neighborhood used to be a warren of Garment District warehouses and tailor shops, a neighborhood you passed through on the way to Penn Station or Times Square. Lately, however, it’s become one of the city’s hottest hotel opening spots (the Refinery Hotel is just a few doors down from Archer) expanding the footprint of Midtown by a few blocks.
Speaking of blocks, the one on which you will find Archer (W. 38th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues) is quiet, but a quick walk to Bryant Park in one direction and Herald Square in the other. First-time visitors to the city can be at the Empire State Building in a matter of minutes, and the lights of Times Square and Broadway’s theaters are a leisurely 10-minute stroll away.
During construction and opening, the hotel cultivated an air of mystery around its namesake, Archer, a sort of character meant to conjure up the gallivanting jetsetter with an eye for bespoke knickknacks every traveler secretly hopes to be.
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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.
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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]