Construction watch: All eyes are on SLS Las Vegas for 2014

One of the most highly anticipated new hotel developments in Las Vegas is taking shape on the north end of the Strip. Using the existing structure of the former Sahara Hotel & Casino, the SLS Las Vegas – which is blossoming thanks to $415 million in renovations – represents an evolution in the resort landscape.

Construction at SLS Las Vegas

A photo of construction at SLS Las Vegas taken Jan. 8, 2014 (courtesy of SBE from the SLS Hotels Daily Blog)

The luxury property that intends to be “all-encompassing” and “lifestyle-driven” is situated on the southeast corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Sahara Avenue. This area, which lies between the heart of the Strip and downtown Las Vegas, has been bereft of activity for nearly seven years.

Helmed by SBE, a leading nightlife, hospitality and entertainment company, ground was broken for SLS Las Vegas in February 2013. The new resort will house 1,622 stylish accommodations, ranging from chic 350-square-foot rooms to opulent 3,300-square-foot penthouse suites, in three distinct towers: the Society Tower, the Citizen Tower and the Sam Tower. It will also feature a 60,000-square-foot casino, a 3,000-square-foot race and sports book run in partnership with William Hill, and a 10,000-square-foot, seven-shop retail space curated by Fred Segal.

“Construction is moving along as scheduled, and the interior of the property is really beginning to take shape,” said Rob Oseland, president and COO of SLS Las Vegas, who confirmed that things are still on track for a fall 2014 debut. “It’s exciting to be able to see the footprint of the resort, and we look forward to the big reveal upon opening.”

SLS Las Vegas exterior rendering

A rendering of the exterior of SLS Las Vegas (courtesy of SBE)

Last month, it was announced that Daktronics and KT Corporation will work together to provide about $5 million worth of dynamic LED video signage for SLS Las Vegas. A 10,000-square-foot marquee will be installed in early 2014, with the full system consisting of both interior and exterior elements to be done during the summer. Upon completion, the video signage will both inform and entertain visitors while adding to the resort’s high-energy atmosphere.

“One of the biggest things that will make SLS Las Vegas unique is the overall guest experience,” said Oseland. “Once guests arrive at SLS Las Vegas, they’ll have access to the best of SBE dining, nightlife and hospitality all under one roof, which makes us different than any other property on the Strip.”

Speaking of SBE’s acclaimed collection of restaurant brands, you’ll be able to savor the culinary offerings of Katsuya, The Bazaar by José Andrés, Umami Burger, 800 Degrees and The Griddle Café in SLS Las Vegas. And SBE recently revealed that Cleo by chef Danny Elmaleh will join the mix, occupying a 4,000-square-foot space in the resort.

SLS Hotels Chefs (Danny Elmaleh, José Andrés and Katsuya Uechi)

From left: Danny Elmaleh is joining José Andrés and Katsuya Uechi in bringing their popular dining concepts to SLS Las Vegas (courtesy of SBE)

Named after the queen of ancient Egypt, one of the most famous female rulers of all time, Cleo at The Redbury in Hollywood is known for its exotic and sumptuous Middle Eastern dishes – things like homemade laffa breads, moussaka, meatball tagine and Brussels sprouts. In addition to those signature items, Elmaleh is developing new selections tailored to Sin City. Fresh-pressed juices and sophisticated cocktails will be part of Cleo’s splendid mixology program. Plus, there will be a special area in the restaurant for the ceremonial smashing of plates, a tradition that’s beloved by diners at his original location.

“Bringing the Cleo dining experience to SLS Las Vegas is something we’re all very excited about,” said Oseland in a statement. “Chef Elmaleh’s menu and dedication to seasonal cuisine has established Cleo as one of Hollywood’s most talked about restaurants and will only elevate what’s already shaping up to be an unparalleled collection of food and beverage offerings.”

SLS Las Vegas will also showcase some of SBE’s trendy nightlife entities including The Sayers Club, which is ranked among L.A.’s most exclusive live music venues. The other bars and nightclubs have yet to be revealed.

SLS Las Vegas casino rendering

A rendering of the casino at SLS Las Vegas (courtesy of SBE)

Although SLS Las Vegas will be different from SLS properties in other markets, according to Oseland, “the DNA of the SLS brand is always there.” In fact, the conversion of the Sahara Hotel & Casino into SLS Las Vegas centers around a function-meets-pleasure aesthetic masterminded by visionary designer Philippe Starck that follows in the footsteps of predecessors SLS Beverly Hills and SLS South Beach. The SBE family of existing hotels also includes The Raleigh in South Beach and the aforementioned Redbury. More SLS hotels are being developed in the U.S. as well as in the Middle East and Asia.

“This will be a big year for SLS and SBE,” said Oseland. “In addition to opening in Las Vegas, we’re excited to bring SLS to New York later this year with a property opening on Park Avenue. There will also be new SLS properties in the coming years in China, Seattle and Philadelphia.”

With planning and construction steadily progressing at SLS Las Vegas, energy has also begun to shift toward hiring. SLS Las Vegas is expected to employ 2,700 people in positions throughout the property.

“Our career center recently launched, we’re participating in job fairs, and we’ve already begun building a solid team,” said Oseland. “We have several management positions that will be available later this month, and we will begin hiring for front-line positions in April, offering job opportunities across departments property-wide including hotel and casino operations, security, food and beverage, retail and more.”

A rendering of the pool at SLS Las Vegas

A rendering of the pool at SLS Las Vegas (courtesy of SBE)

With tourism figures and the economy on the rebound in Las Vegas, SBE is poised and ready to capitalize on that growth as well as bring jobs and some much-needed glitz and glamour to the north end of the Strip. Advertising for SLS Las Vegas proclaims that “North…is the new South.” A revival of the once-busy Sahara Avenue intersection at Las Vegas Boulevard and of the property that was a legendary hangout for the Rat Pack will certainly be welcomed and bolster the city as a whole.

Oseland added that “2014 will be a pivotal year in the development of Las Vegas, and we’re just excited to be part of this next step in the future of the city.”

To keep up-to-date on the latest developments and to watch the construction progress for yourself, go to SLS Las Vegas’ blog and webcam.


I’m a Las Vegas native. By profession, I write at Mostly about the city’s hotels, but on other topics – gaming and transportation – too. I really love staying at hotels. And the ones here are among the biggest and best in the world. Some key things I’ve learned: Resort fees are inescapable (frustrating but true), a friendly attitude at the front desk may score you a great view and over-the-top room amenities – bath butlers, Japanese tea service, menus with “intimate” items – do exist. What else should you know about me? Well, I’m comfortable at a blackjack table. And I like eating late-night pancakes in hotel coffee shops. A lot. Follow Renee on Google+.