The Sahara hotel- casino was once the place that hosted Jerry Lewis and the Labor Day Muscular Dystrophy Telethon. Come next Labor Day weekend, it opens as The SLS Las Vegas. The initials stand for Style, Luxury and Service.
After purchasing the Sahara in 2011, closing it and gutting it, SBE Entertainment CEO Sam Nazarian sank close to $400 million into the place. Choosing to remodel the property rather than demolish it all.
The nice thing is that Sam is a newbie when it comes to Las Vegas and the Strip casino business. So it’s like a breath of fresh air. No Cirq’s show. No regurgitated art museum or third-party, leased-out-every-corner of the property type of a resort. He’s going old school and keeping everything in-house. SLS will own/manage all the shops, shows and clubs.
He’s not a newbie when it comes to entertaining the dot-com/trust fund babies like himself. That’s where he made his mark. His SLS stable of high-end restaurants, hotels and clubs fill the social scenes in Los Angeles, New York and Miami. (think Paris Hilton and ilk)
The Big Blue Problem
As much as I love the fact that someone with a semi-original thought has finally made the Vegas Strip his home, Sam may have overlooked one key aspect of his marketing plan…. The repeat visitor. A staple of success in Las Vegas.
See, Sam figures he has a database of close to 5 million well-heeled socialites, and American Express Gold & Black card members to fill the boutique resort and they won’t blink an eye at dropping a few thousand dollars on a weekend Vegas getaway. After all, they are used to the finer things in life and Sam knows how to deliver them.
They will be wine’d, dined and limo’d to the hotel; They will check into a Vegas “Strip” hotel and start to enjoy paying top dollar for all the promised luxury the SLS brand is famous for. After a night of partying, they will head back for the night with their dates to that swanky hotel suite for some private time and kick back to enjoy the scenery of the famed neon Strip.
Only then will they realize they have no view of the famous strip. The only thing they will be seeing is a hulking big blue silo formerly known as The Fontainebleau. Looking the other way is no better. They will have a perfect seat to watch the activity in the area we loving call “Naked City”.
I’m figuring they won’t be too happy when they realize they paid top dollar to be on the Vegas Strip and ended up looking out a very expensive hotel room window to only see what equates to the Vegas hood…
Can You Imagine that TripAdvisor review??