The California Bucket List: Your daily guide to the best adventures and experiences in the Golden State

SLS Las Vegas, the newest Strip resort, opens its doors

SLS Las Vegas resort opens on the footprint of the old Sahara hotel

Prepare to be impressed at the Strip’s newest resort, the 1,600-room SLS Las Vegas, which welcomed its first guests during the weekend.

Southland residents  may feel as though they never left home.

Aug. 26, 3:12 p.m.: An earlier version of this post misspelled the last name of the president and chief operating officer of the SLS Las Vegas. It is Rob Oseland, not Oselund. 

SLS is the result of a $415-million renovation of the old Sahara resort, which opened in 1952 and closed in 2011. In homage to the original hotel, the new carpeting just inside the valet entrance features the Sahara’s iconic logo. But beyond the old parking garage, most of the property has been gutted and rebuilt.

Owing to smaller size of early resorts, the SLS Las Vegas is about half the size of many newer properties. That alleviates the seemingly endless hikes you have to make at other resorts. All of the restaurants and clubs are on the edges of the casino, and it, too, is smaller.

“With urban spaces, people are trying to take advantage of small footprints and create energy in small spaces,” said Rob Oseland, SLS president and chief operating officer. “Bringing a collection of those together, I think we’ve accomplished that here.”

Southern Californians will recognize many of the resort’s  venues: The resort is part of Los Angeles-based sbe, known for its collection of hotels, nightclubs and restaurants. Familiar places such as the Sayers Club and Griddle Café have outposts at the Las Vegas property.

“That familiarity is a huge advantage for us,” Oseland said.

SLS has three hotel towers. The LUX Tower features 300 suites; the World Tower has 1,100 rooms geared to business, tech-savvy travelers. The 200-room Story Tower is intended to appeal to people planning shorter stays.

“Rather than just trying to be just another small, standard room within the market, we tried to have some fun with that (Story Tower) room,” Oseland said. “We took a studio apartment approach.”

The architectural team, lead by French designer Philippe Starck, maximized the space by eliminating the traditional, separate bathroom. Instead, the shower and toilet are hidden behind sliding, mirrored doors just behind the bed. 

Like its competitors, SLS has room rates that will vary considerably based on day of the week and occupancy, but generally start around $170.

SLS is at Las Vegas Boulevard and Sahara Avenue, two miles north of Bellagio and Caesars Palace and just a couple of minutes east of an Interstate 15 exit. The hotel is home to the northernmost stop along the Las Vegas Monorail.

“It (SLS) doesn’t have the walk-in traffic and the lookie-loos, as we would say, that typically frequent a property. But we also don’t see that as our customer,” said Oseland, who worked for resort guru Steve Wynn for many years.

Oseland expects SLS to attract a younger crowd than many other resorts.

“The market typically is up in the upper 40s and we see ourselves maybe 10 years younger,” he said. “(But) it’s not intended to just appeal to a young, hip audience.

“If this can be a place where older people feel younger, that would be a big success for us.”


Copyright © 2017, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World