LAS VEGAS — Los Angeles-based SBE Entertainment brought so much of its transportation-centric hometown to the new SLS Las Vegas that the idea of its guests having to commute to the heart of the Strip is actually pitched as a positive attribute. And this Angeleno is buying that argument.
Reopened on the northern end of the Strip at what was formerly the Sahara, the 1,631-room SLS Las Vegas greets visitors coming through its parking lot side entrance with a dozen or so retail and food and beverage options under brands that have already been established 270 miles to the southwest of Sin City.
Ringing the hotel’s 60,000 square feet of gaming space are outposts for L.A.-based nouveau-burger emporium Umami, Mediterranean restaurant Cleo, breakfast spot Griddle Cafe, nightclub the Sayers Club, Japanese restaurant Katsuya, pizza joint 800 Degrees and no fewer than six mini-outlets for clothing retailer Fred Segal.
Upstairs, the SLS continues to reflect Los Angeles’ varied design approach, offering a handful of schemes from primary architect Philippe Starck along with a few suites designed by singer-songwriter Lenny Kravitz.
The property’s original Story Tower features a modern, masculine look, with backlit bed frames and couches; exposed concrete walls; and bright yellow tile in the bathrooms.
The Lux Tower is true to its name, with rooms that take a softer, more feminine angle featuring pastels, garish wallpaper and white leather couches.
The World Tower, the largest of three, takes the most businesslike approach (by Vegas standards), with a rectangular room orientation and its beds’ white leather headboards framing window views. All of the rooms make allowances for the modern traveler by being well-wired for connectivity.
SBE and money partner Stockbridge Real Estate spent $415 million rebuilding a property whose history dates to 1952, when real estate magnate Del Webb opened the first of the Sahara’s three towers. And much of the emphasis was on bringing in a vibrant food and beverage program that includes 11 restaurants and lounges.
Cleo, whose original eatery is in SBE’s Redbury property in Hollywood, showcases its small-plate emphasis with items such as kibbeh nayyeh (lamb tartare), Brussels sprouts (a star on the menu here, being fried and mixed with capers, almonds and a vinaigrette) and wagyu beef skewers (the beef is marinated in brown sugar and Pepsi).
The Griddle Cafe also stays true to its Hollywood original by serving its Frisbee-size pancake double-stacks with whipped cream against a blues soundtrack.
The idea, of course, is to allow guests a full entertainment experience with a little less of the madness associated with the heart of the Strip about two miles south. That said, guests can hop the Las Vegas Monorail at the station behind the property and join the masses with a five-minute ride.
Of course, there are plenty of only-in-Vegas touches as well as nods to the property’s half-century history.
Umami has been reimagined as a sports bar, complete with a sports book for betting. The 20,000-square-foot nightclub Life includes a zipline as well as aerialists who pour shots.
A ground-floor carpet/tapestry features depictions of Vegas legends such as Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra.
Early October weekend rates at the SLS Las Vegas, which is also part of Hilton Worldwide’s new Curio collection, start at about $250 a night.
Follow Danny King on Twitter @dktravelweekly.