It's 'in with the new' as the Sahara becomes an L.A.-inspired SLS

After years of conceptualizing, planning and construction to the tune of $415 million -- not to mention a Vegas-worthy countdown on an 88-by-47-foot marquee -- SLS Las Vegas Hotel & Casino threw open its doors to guests in August.

Set on the iconic grounds of the Sahara Hotel & Casino, SLS Las Vegas is massive in scale and concept, with 1,613 sleek guest rooms designed by Philippe Starck. The resort includes opulent 3,300-square-foot penthouse suites, 16 chic restaurants and clubs, and a 60,000-square-foot casino. The aesthetic is all about function-meets-pleasure, while the atmosphere is hip, edgy and fast.

SLS is the brainchild of Sam Nazarian, founder and CEO of the Los Angeles-based SBE, which owns and operates a host of celebrity-favored hotels, restaurants and clubs around the world (including Hype Lounge in Vegas). SLS takes its restaurants and nightlife venues from SBE's roster, many of which L.A. residents will find familiar. They include Katsuya by Starck, Umami Burger, 800 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria, the Griddle Cafe and the Sayers Club.

Transforming the Rat Pack-era Strip resort was no easy feat, and the result is definitely new and different -- which is exactly the point. "We want people to know that this is not just a renovation. This is a whole new hotel," Nazarian noted. The three hotel towers were totally renovated, and each has its own unique style and vibe.

Other than the outline of the towers, there isn't much left of the old Sahara. Some who knew the old gal well might feel a hint of melancholy upon entering the new resort. But for most, the SLS will have you thinking "Sahara who?"

SLS Hotel & Casino Las Vegas
2535 Las Vegas Blvd. South

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