Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019 | 3 p.m.
If you don’t recognize your surroundings when you enter SLS Las Vegas from the Las Vegas Boulevard main entrance, that’s the idea. An extravagant renovation of that portion of the casino floor was recently unveiled, featuring an overall brighter and warmer design with a lower ceiling dressed with curvy decorative elements and golden desert tones with pops of red and purple.
It’s a striking difference from the darker, more industrial feel that dominated the property when SBE Entertainment opened SLS in 2014, and it’s just the beginning of a $100 million update that started in October after businessman Alex Meruelo acquired it in April.
Other renovation details were unveiled at an event today inside the Sayers Club featuring SLS Las Vegas president and general manager Paul Hobson, new vice president of food and beverage Anthony Olheiser and Innovito Design Inc. founder and chief creative officer Nancy Paolino, who also worked with Meruelo on his Reno hotel and casino, the Grand Sierra Resort.
“Mr. Meruelo is a true visionary in every sense and he’s taken the [Grand Sierra] property to levels no one had ever seen before,” said Paolino. “We want to achieve the same vision here at SLS. As Vegas has grown, it’s been more and more difficult for the average visitor to receive the personalized service Vegas had been known for. We hope to recapture that at SLS and we really want to pay homage to the best of Las Vegas’ past, wrapped in a modern design.”
In describing those design changes to the casino floor, the hotel rooms and corridors, the elevator lobbies, the spa and the lobby — some recently completed and others in progress — Paolino drew a distinct line from the look and feel of the original SLS and the new, more conventional direction.
“The Story Tower rooms’ new design is very bright and whimsical. We found that the unconventional nature of the previous design was not very functional for our guests,” she said.
About four floors worth of the 200 rooms in that tower have been renovated and the others should be completed in May. The corridors and elevator landings in the World Tower are halfway finished and should be done in late April or early May, and the Grand Tower, which was previously operated as the W Las Vegas, is home to a the new spa experience.
Later this year, the lobby and registration area and its adjacent lounge and coffee shop will be reorganized. The Foxtail Nightclub space is currently under construction and will be converted to a new ultra lounge concept that will service the casino floor with a progressive mixology program; the former center bar in the casino is gone.
A new premium gaming area will soon replace the Japanese restaurant Katsuya and that transition should be complete in May, but first, in March, new original Mexican restaurant concept Uno Mas will open next door to the Northside Café, a casual destination serving small, shareable plates and street tacos.
When SLS first opened, that space was home to chef José Andrés’ Ku Noodle restaurant. Andrés’ popular Bazaar Meat, on the other end of the north Strip resort, isn’t going anywhere, Hobson said.
“We do great restaurants and that will continue to be a point of emphasis for us going forward,” Hobson said. “We love José Andrés and Bazaar Meat and that is going to be a flagship for us as we harmonize the rest of the restaurant and food offerings over the course of the next few years.”
Hobson, who previously served as general manager of the Stratosphere and has held various positions at other local gaming properties, also spoke about capitalizing on the “human scale” of SLS by focusing on the guest experience by solidifying service standards.
“Our scale allows us to focus on personalized service, something that maybe has been absent in this town for a little while now,” he said. “I was very happy to find a great bunch of people when I got here, and a lot of them have been here since the start of the SLS era. It’s inspiring to be around them and see their earnestness in wanting to see this property succeed and thrive.”