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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.
Hotel Openings / Hotel Opening Parties / SLS Las Vegas / Viva Vegas / Hotel News / SLS Hotels / Sam Nazarian / → All Tags
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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sbe, the nightlife and hospitality company behind SLS Hotels, has given their website a complete makeover, at last consolidating all their entertainment and hotel sites together in one spot, and throwing in some bonus blog content too.
Looking a lot like the recent redo of the Raleigh Hotel website, the new sbe site is heavy on the visuals but is still easy to navigate, thanks to helpful pop-up boxes. It's also blessedly free of annoying music.
The home page is anchored by a giant photo (a male model fully clothed in a pool and biting on a stiletto heel) with a "Learn More" button hyping the arrival of the SLS Las Vegas on Labor Day Weekend. Below that is a grid of photos and quotes. When you linger over one of the squares, a pop-up box tells you what that particular photo or quote is about. If you'd rather not bother with this grid, send your cursor to the left side of the page for a more traditional website menu.
Scrolling down the website, you'll see ways to find/follow the sbe collection on social media, as well as learn more about the company, and our personal favorite, check the calendar to see what events are happening at what venues. The site, of course, has been "device optimized" meaning it works just as seamlessly on a mobile and table device as it does on your computer.
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While we were still sobbing into our colorful patterned knitwear over the apparent death of the Missoni hotel brand, came news of another fashion house getting onto the designer hotel bandwagon. Our brief flicker of excitement was extinguished somewhat, however, when we found out it's Tommy Hilfiger.
Actually, the king of prep has been sniffing around the hotel industry for quite a while, though nothing has as yet come out of his hotel opening plans. He even tried to buy the former MetLife clocktower at 5 Madison Avenue (future site of the New York City Edition Hotel) a few years back, but that didn't work out for him.
It's been nearly three years since the legendary Sahara Hotel closed down in Las Vegas and we've been stalking the property's transformation into the SLS Las Vegas ever since. And now, thanks to our super SLS stalker sibling, VegasChatter, we've got an opening date--Labor Day Weekend.
Hotelier Sam Nazarian announced the date on the SLS blog simply saying:
Hello Vegas! It’s been an incredible journey these past few years and I’m proud and humbled by some big news – SLS Las Vegas is officially opening Labor Day Weekend 2014. Looking forward to toasting The Strip’s next chapter with you! We are “back” indeed!
No word on when the room reservations will open or how much they will cost but given that Labor Day weekend is a big weekend in Vegas and this is a much-hyped new hotel and casino, we bet it will be a pretty penny. But we'll do our best to get in there on opening day.
Still interested in attending opening weekend? You can always book the SLS 5th Anniversary Package which includes two tickets to the SLS Las Vegas opening. For "only" $10,000!
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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...
It was pretty clear from the start of 2013 that Sam Nazarian would win the Hotelier of the Year for the second year in a row.
When we gave Nazarian this distinction in 2012, we hinted that 2013 would be an even bigger year for him. And he didn't wait long.
In February, SLS Hotels not only announced the SLS Las Vegas would open in fall 2014 but they also announced a new SLS Hotel for Seattle. Then in March, SLS released plans for a second hotel for Miami in the Brickell neighborhood (this hotel would also have SLS-branded residences attached.) The company laid low for a few months but then put forth some major expansion plans in July by announcing their intent to take the SLS brand to China by 2015.
Yet things really heated up at the end of the year. SLS and its parent company, sbe (also founded by Nazarian) opened their second Redbury Hotel in Miami Beach, just in time for Art Basel. (Remember, they also run The Raleigh in Miami Beach too.) Then the day before Thanksgiving, they dropped the news that they would be spinning off their Hyde nightclub into a hotel brand called Hyde Hotels. Two locations are already in the works in South Florida. And lastly, just a few weeks ago, the SLS International Hotel in Philadelphia was officially announced.
Amidst all this, the original SLS Hotel in Los Angeles celebrated its 5th birthday.
2014 will obviously be a hugely important year for Nazarian (and SLS and Hyde and Redbury) as many of these announcements and developments finally come to fruition (VEGAS BABY.) But will there be even more up Nazarian's sleeve in 2014? We kinda think it must be getting crowded up there but we guess, make hay while the sun shines. This hotel boom clearly won't last forever.
More importantly, will we see a three-peat next year? Possibly, but if Sir Richard Branson and his Virgin Hotels finally gets going and if Ian Schrager ramps up the Public Hotels expansion, that could make this race interesting.
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Something lovely's starting in Philadelphia--an SLS Hotel.
We first heard mention that hotelier Sam Nazarian's SLS brand would open in Philadelphia over the summer when SLS announced expansion plans in China and subtly dropped a list of future U.S. locations that included Philly. Today, the company is going public with the plans, partnering with Dranoff Properties to open the 47-story SLS International Hotel and Reisdences at the intersection of Broad and Spruce Streets in Center City, directly across from the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts.
(Apparently, there's already an SLS Philadelphia, a Spanish Language School, but Carl Dranoff told the Philadelphia Inquirer the International name is also an homage to the Philadelphia International Records building, home to the birthplace of Philadelphia Sound and the site of the new SLS hotel.)
When we stumbled across the trademark for Hyde Hotels earlier this month, we had no idea if this would actually happen. Or maybe we were just trying not to get our hopes up. But this morning, we've learned that Hyde Hotels, Resorts & Residences are real and they are really happening--in Midtown Miami and Hollywood Beach, Florida. sbe has partnered up with developer Jorge Perez and his company, The Related Group, a prolific builder of luxury condominiums and multi-family residences, to get the brand going.
But the question on everyone's mind is now--how does one transform a nightclub brand into a hotel brand? By focusing on design, for starters. Hyde Hotels want to "strike a balance between innovation and functionality. Hyde will give guests everything they need, without the clutter of items they don’t." And as with all new hotels, technology will be a huge focus, allowing guest to customize everything from their interactions with hotel staff to personalized in-room and on-property amenities. Lastly, the hotel's nightclub roots will shine through with the brand's connections to the worlds of music, fashion, art and even, socializing.
Here's what Sam Nazarian, founder, chairman and CEO of sbe, has to say about his newest hotel brand:
“The Hyde brand has always been defined by its connectivity to music, fashion, art and socializing, where luxury is not about pretense or posturing, but rather authentic style with a commitment to facilitating distinct lifestyle experiences. Past collaborations with Related (ex. SLS Hotel & Residences Brickell) show that they understand how the Hyde Hotels, Resorts & Residences brand can fill a major void in the marketplace, and can adapt to an array of global communities.”
Hyde Hotel will also be given out special VIP perks to their hotel guests and residence owners such as exclusive access to the Hyde portfolio, including outposts at Los Angeles’ STAPLES Center, the Bellagio in Las Vegas, SLS South Beach and the American Airlines Arena, as well as the entire sbe hospitality platform which has over 80 properties in the hotel, restaurant and nightlife properties realm.
Keep reading for more info on Hyde Hotel & Residences Midtown Miami and Hyde Resort & Residences Hollywood Beach
Downtown LA is hot for boutique hotels. Or maybe boutique hotels are hot for Downtown LA. Either way, the once-forgotten district of the City of Angels is definitely having a comeback moment--as far as hip, design-forward, nightlife-oriented hotels are concerned.
Aside from the big brand hotels near the Staples Center, we've got an Ace Hotel coming in January, a Virgin Hotel coming sometime soon and whenever the owners get their act together, the Hotel Clark with its rooftop pool. Now hotelier Sam Nazarian is sniffing around the area for a possible site for an SLS Hotel.
GlobeSt.com reports that SBE Entertainment is looking at a development site near the Walt Disney Concert Hall in the Bunker Hill neighborhood. While this could definitely be for a new SLS Hotel, remember SBE is spinning off its Redbury Hotel (the one in Miami is currently in a soft opening for family and friends but should be ready to go before Art Basel) and we also uncovered a trademark for Hyde Hotels.
So there's a few ways this hotel could swing. Either way, Someone Likes Surprises and it's us so we'll take either an SLS, a Redbury or a Hyde.
We first heard about plans for an SLS Hotel in Seattle in February and now just seven months later, we've got a Super Secret Seattle Spy who sent in this snapshot of the construction site. The SLS will go in that hole, barely visible in the bottom left, with plans to annex that church next to it for a ballroom or other event space.
We know. It doesn't look like much right now but by 2016, it will turn into a 184-room hotel designed by Philippe Starck and of course, you can expect a Katsuya restaurant, a Jose Andres dining concept and some other nightlife component from SBE. The SLS hotel will actually be part of a mixed use building, set to be Seattle's tallest tower in 20 years. The hotel will be on floors 2-15 of the 43-story building.
Word is construction will start soon and hopefully by next year, we'll be able to see something rising out of the ground. Please, we can't handle another Seattle hole that never gets filled.
[Photo: HotelChatter Spy]
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We can hardly keep up with all the new SLS Hotels that have been announced. So far, we've got New York, Las Vegas, Chicago, Seattle and a second hotel in Miami in Brickell. And now we must add Shanghai, Beijing, Wuxi, and Kunming to the list. Oh yes, hotelier Sam Nazarian is taking his SLS brand to China.
The SLS hotels will launch in China by 2015 as part of a partnership with the Chinese company, Palace Hospitality, who have a proven track record for growing hospitality projects. Hence, the four planned hotels and not just one.
The SLS hotels in China probably won't look the same as the ones in the U.S. as they are being tailored for the Chinese market (at least from a design standpoint) but you can expect the SLS trademark combo of restaurants + nightclubs to remain. If all goes well, SLS could open in more additional Chinese markets after the initial four.
Meanwhile, in the China announcement, we noticed a bit on SLS Philadelphia which is expected to open within the next three years. Sheesh. We knew Sam Nazarian had grand plans for 2013 but we really weren't expecting all this. Now, we just need to wait for opening day. That should happen first in Las Vegas sometime next year.
SLS Hotels are really feeling Miami these days. Almost a year after opening the SLS South Beach and just a few months after snapping up The Raleigh, the boutique hotel chain from sbe and Sam Nazarian has just announced a third hotel for the area--SLS Brickell, an up and coming nabe in downtown. And this one is gonna have residences attached, thanks to a partnership with the Related Group development company.
Ground-breaking is expected to happen soon on the property and will yield 133 hotel rooms and suites, along with 450 SLS-branded condo residences. The spot will open sometime in 2015.
SLS usual design and food partners, Philippe Starck and Chef José Andrés, will also be on board to round out the retail, spa, and food and beverage concepts. In total, SLS Brickell will house over 20,000-sq.ft. of food and beverage outlets, all programmed by Andrés, mixed in with some of sbe's well-known concepts (Katsuya, Hyde) and a few new "experiences."