Friday, Feb. 11, 2011 | 2:05 a.m.
- Former Ritz-Carlton to reopen next month as Ravella at Lake Las Vegas (1-6-2011)
- Search begins for 125 workers at former Lake Las Vegas Ritz-Carlton (12-1-2010)
- Company plans to rebrand closed Ritz-Carlton at Lake Las Vegas (9-21-2010)
- Lake Las Vegas, 350 workers say goodbye to Ritz-Carlton (5-2-2010)
- Part of MonteLago Village Resort at Lake Las Vegas gets new owner (4-16-2010)
- Bankrupt Lake Las Vegas targeting former investors (4-12-2010)
- Residents of Lake Las Vegas told recovery on the way (4-9-2010)
- Wide-open fairways at Lake Las Vegas (3-31-2010)
- Casino’s closure brings mixed outlooks on Lake Las Vegas (3-15-2010)
- Lake Las Vegas: A shining lakeside oasis loses its luster (3-1-2010)
- Population dearth doomed Casino MonteLago at Lake Las Vegas (3-1-2010)
- Casino MonteLago at Lake Las Vegas to close next month (2-16-2010)
- Ritz-Carlton Lake Las Vegas to close in May (2-8-2010)
- Lake Las Vegas proposes bankruptcy plan (9-5-2009)
- Judge approves bankruptcy for Lake Las Vegas golf course (6-29-2009)
- Another golf course to close at struggling Lake Las Vegas (6-25-2009)
- Residents of bankrupt Lake Las Vegas face uncertainty (3-23-2009)
When guests start checking into the new Ravella hotel today, they’ll find much of the Italian-inspired décor of the old Ritz-Carlton but with some more contemporary flourishes.
The shuttered resort — the Ritz-Carlton closed in May — has been given a second chance, and the opening of Ravella at Lake Las Vegas is bringing new life to a development that’s been badly battered by the recession.
Luckily for the hotel’s management company, New Jersey-based Dolce Hotels & Resorts, the AAA Five Diamond-rated hotel left little to be desired, except for a few updates throughout the property. The resort is operated by Dolce, but owned by Village Hospitality LLC, which is an arm of Deutsche Bank.
“The owners of the property and the former operator left us some great physical bones to work with,” Dolce Corporate Director of Operations Stephen Bello said. “With the lobby, our goal was to make it a little more comfortable and casual and add some color to the bland olive color tones. We just felt it look dated.”
Bold blue pillows dot the neutral furnishings in hotel lobby, and antique-looking tapestries have been replaced with bright artwork. The lobby’s ornate chandelier has been covered with a drum shade for a more modern feel.
The lobby area has been divided into three sections — a restaurant where breakfast, lunch and tapas are served; a sitting area in the center; and business section with TVs and tables with connectivity ports.
Upstairs, the hotel’s 349 rooms and their Old World style remain untouched, including the hotel’s two 2,400-square-foot presidential suites.
Dolce has revamped the hotel’s three-meal restaurant, Medici Café, into a market-style restaurant, which Bello said is more reflective of the company’s core customer — the business traveler.
Rather than building a “destination restaurant” for guests looking for something more traditional, Bello said, Ravella is partnering with MonteLago Village so guests can bill their dining back to their room.
The hotel has also partnered with the SouthShore golf course, a private Jack Nicklaus-designed course in Lake Las Vegas’ most expensive neighborhood. The partnership is exclusive to Ravella and Loews Lake Las Vegas, the development’s other resort.
Lake Las Vegas’ two public golf courses that were foreclosed on in 2009 remain closed, an issue Ritz-Carlton executives said hindered the resort from drawing guests to a resort 20 miles from the Strip.
While seclusion has been one of Lake Las Vegas’ downfalls during the recession, Ravella is embracing it. Bello said Dolce typically specializes in hotels on the outskirts of large cities, eliminating distractions for meeting and convention guests.
“We allow you to bring your staff out here and reflect and just focus,” Bello said. “The Strip, there is a lot going on. There are a lot of distractions on the Strip to keep people from focusing on business.”
Ravella’s estimated 110 employees are committed providing service revolving around meetings, Bello said.
The Ravella staff is less than a third the size of the 350-person workforce the Ritz-Carlton maintained, but Dolce operates on a smaller model. The company manages 27 properties worldwide, whereas the Ritz-Carlton brand, owned by Marriott International, operates 73 hotels in 31 countries.
But some wonder if an upscale, well-known brand like Ritz-Carlton couldn’t make it at Lake Las Vegas, how can anyone else?
“Ritz-Carlton is a great company, but they are a big company,” Bello said. “I think the good thing about Dolce is we are a great company, but a small company. We can devote all or most of our resources to developing group business. We also don’t have the same operating cost that Ritz-Carlton has.”
Dolce is also scrapping Ritz-Cartlon’s pricey room rates, which were about 30 percent more than Ravella’s, Bello said. Rates will range between $89 and $119 for Nevada residents, and $120 to $200 for non-residents, he said.
There have been concerns about Dolce downgrading the hotel from its Five Diamond status, but most of the Ritz-Carlton’s award-winning amenities are all still there, including the spa, lakeside location and white-sand beach.
“The difference is how you make people feel,” Bello said. “Dolce prides itself on making people feel great -- regardless of the price of their car parked out front.”