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Photos: Nobu Matsuhisa, Robert De Niro and Ed Sheeran celebrate Nobu Caesars Palace Hotel


Tom Donoghue/

Robert De Niro, David Blaine, Ed Sheeran, Nobu Matsuhisa and Meir Teper attend the Nobu Caesars Palace Hotel grand-opening celebration Sunday, April 28, 2013.

Nobu Caesars Palace Hotel Grand Opening: 4/28/13

Robert De Niro, Ed Sheeran and Nobu Masuhisa attend the Nobu Caesars Palace Hotel grand-opening celebration Sunday, April 28, 2013. Launch slideshow »

Nobu Caesars Palace Hotel Sake Ceremony, David Blaine Filming

The Nobu Caesars Palace Hotel grand-opening celebration sake ceremony and David Blaine filming Sunday, April 28, 2013. Launch slideshow »

Nobu Hotel Caesars Palace grand opening

With Oscar-winning actor Robert De Niro, celebrity chef Nobu Matsuhisa and Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran, it was a night of glamour to kick off the pool season at Caesars Palace on Sunday night. Even magic master David Blaine turned up to dazzle with outrageous trickery that was filmed for his upcoming TV special.

The sake flowed, the music rocked and the illusions baffled as the well-heeled crowd marked the completion and introduction of the 18 luxury suites of the 181-room Nobu Hotel, the first of its kind, at Caesars. Nobu Caesars Palace has already been named one of the hottest new hotels of 2013 by CNN Travel and has garnered praise by travel industry publications for its originality, distinctive design and attention to service.

The festivities began with Caesars President Gary Selesner welcoming celebrities and kicking off a traditional Japanese sake ceremony to ensure “good harmony” in the hotel. Nobu and Robert used wooden hammers to crack open the wooden barrels of rice wine, which was then served to guests in tiny, square cedar boxes.

Before the stars went out to the main party in the Garden of the Gods pool oasis where the new Nobu Tower was lit up in purple, David had a surprise. He’s filming his new TV special of mind-bending, original illusions performed for stars in different settings. I was invited to watch filming as he drank 12 bottles of water and one can of lighter fluid to set fire to decks of cards stacked inside a small silver attache case.

The pyrotechnics worked perfectly — loud, large and fiery — just inches from my face. Nobu and Robert were open mouthed as David set fire by using the water and fluid he’d just swallowed but managed to regurgitate. As if that wasn’t enough, the illusionist also swallowed a quarter of an aquarium tank of colored tropical fish, and then brought them all up, too — totally unharmed, BTW. And not on Nobu’s sushi menu!

The stunts won great applause from the stars and small group wedged into one of Nobu’s dining rooms. Robert and Nobu told me that they were blown away at how David swallowed the fish, kept them alive and then had them swim out of his mouth into a white vase for cameras. “Amazing,” Robert told me. “I’ve never seen anything like that,” Nobu told me.

Then it was onto the lavish party poolside, which had been decorated with floating Japanese lanterns. Naturally, it was a champagne wishes and caviar dreams kind of night, with Nobu’s menu, as well. Joining in the fun of a beautiful, warm evening: former and current “Peepshow” stars Holly Madison and Coco Austin, respectively; singers Taylor Hicks and Matt Goss; and Randi Zuckerberg, sister of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

There was a show of Nobu-inspired fashions, plus, Taiko drummers. Our thanks to videographer Richard Corey for his video coverage and contributing photographers Tom Donoghue and Erik Kabik for their galleries.

British-born, ginger-haired singer Ed told me he was on a four-day break from his opening-act duties with Taylor Swift’s tour. “I’ve fallen in love with Las Vegas, and, instead of just flying in and out, I’m going to spend my entire break here before going back on the road.” He had the crowd singing along with him on his hits “The A Team” and “Lego House.”

“It’s a great day today as they have fulfilled their dream of opening the first Nobu Hotel, and, with Caesars Palace as our partners, we have the perfect fit of people, location and brand for this first Nobu Hotel,” said Trevor Horwell, Nobu Hospitality chief exec. “We offer something different in Las Vegas in that we are truly at the heart of the entertainment on the Strip with spectacularly designed facilities and luxury.”

Robert told me: “The next Nobu Hotel will be in Riyadh, the capital city of Saudi Arabia. The success of this first one in Las Vegas means that we can expand and move forward with our plans for several of them around the world in the years to come. We had to be sure the concept worked here in Caesars Palace, and it has already proven a great success story.”

The actor said since his last visit here in February for the opening of the world’s largest Nobu restaurant at Caesars, he had wrapped his boxing film with Sylvester Stallone. “I haven’t decided what the next movie will be — but I’m taking the summer off, and we’ll look at more hotel openings.”

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

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