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First Impressions Of SLS Las Vegas

Where: 2535 Las Vegas Blvd. South [map], 89109
August 20, 2014 at 3:52 PM | by | ()

[Ed. Note: Our sneak peek was actually part of the SLS Las Vegas invite-only "Play Days" which serve as a dress rehearsal of sorts for the SLS service team. Stay tuned for further impressions of the resort when it officially opens to the media and the public on Friday.]

Given the fun billboard ads showing the transition between the “old Vegas” vibe of Sahara and the changing of the guard to the hip and trendy SLS Las Vegas, you might expect the entire resort to be a little more retro or at least a hybrid of the eras. After a sneak peek of SLS Las Vegas last night, there weren't as many old school elements hearkening back to the old Sahara as we may have all anticipated but this writer, at least, certainly wasn’t let down by what I saw.

The renovated property has all the upscale hipster-ish feel of the Cosmo in a more easy to navigate package. And, that new casino smell is downright delicious. If body glitter had a scent and you mixed it with the aroma of a fruity tropical drink, that’s how I would describe the first whiff. It was sweet smelling and new, with a dash of seductive optimism.

While the Sayers Club found inside definitely walks the old-school-is-the-new-cool line, the club spaces LiFE and Foxtail are firmly in the current era, along with the unique Umami Burger that includes a beer garden and sportsbook. Of course, nightclubs in general didn’t exist in their current form when the Sahara opened in 1952. It’s apples and oranges, for sure, but I was expecting a majority of the spaces to have the throwback vibe present in Sayers Club and Monkey Bar.

The fun mirrors in the main SLS entry make you feel a bit voyeuristic.

After touring the casino floor and certain venues including Sayers Club, Foxtail, LiFE, the various Fred Segal stores, Umami Burger, Monkey Bar and the pool area, optimism seems the appropriate word for SLS Las Vegas. A LOT is riding on this $415 million revamp, but from the first look, the potential is there.

LiFE nightclub featured impressive aerialists (both in costume and skill level) and an exciting feel akin to the heyday of the old Rain nightclub at Palms, due to the concentric levels leading to the central dance floor. The décor was decidedly modern and it felt like other Vegas nightclubs of a similar (medium, I would say) size.

Foxtail was another surprisingly modern venue. The comfortable booths at the tables coupled with the exuberant cocktail waitresses’ pleas to sit up on the backs of them for a better view were welcome additions to a sometimes uncomfortable booth experience. Most people who buy a table at a club either spent a good deal for it or are being comped because they gamble heavily. Either way, it can be pricey and the comfortable atmosphere isn't always guaranteed. Granted, this was a preview so the staff could get accustomed to service; things may go differently once the doors officially open to the entire property at midnight, August 23.

Foxtail opens out to one of the property’s pool venues, like Surrender opens to Encore Beach Club or Marquee and sister pool Marquee Dayclub. This LuckyDucky was pretty stoked about the rubber ducky icons on the doors and entry way to the pool, leading in from the casino side (Foxtail has its own separate pool access).

Umami Burger has great food plus Mexican Pepsi in glass bottles, if you're into that.

With so many tempting dining options, I almost didn’t know where to start but having heard about Umami Burger from LA burger snob friends, I knew what I wanted. After sampling starters and sides including the “boring salad” (looked like it lived up to its name), smashed potatoes, truffles fries and “secret menu cheesy tots” (they were all tasty but, duh!.. get the secret tots), my table tried the “Manly Burger” with beer-cheddar cheese, bacon lardons, smoked-salt onion strings, Umami house ketchup and mustard spread. I also nibbled on the “Truffle Especiale,” featuring Parmesan frico, fried egg, truffle butter and truffled arugula. Both get high marks, with the truffle burger being my first burger experience with a runny egg. Not sure why I’ve feared that for so long because I now wish to move in to Umami Burger, especially for the upcoming football season since the venue doubles as the SLS sportsbook. As a burger lover and ardent fan of the now closed LBS at Red Rock, I feel there is finally a successor in the flavorful meat department. Other burger places have tasty topping and unique creations, but Umami Burger has some killer meat to begin with.

Stay tuned to VegasChatter and our social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for live coverage of the opening of SLS Las Vegas beginning Friday morning (PT). We'll bring you regular updates throughout the day and into the wee hours of the night. Or, as those of you who followed our live Sahara liquidation coverage may remember, as long as our smart phone batteries last. We promise to be armed with back-up juice and charger cords this time!

[Photo: VegasChatter]

Archived Comments:

I'm 3000 miles away and excited....

can't imagine how it feels being there!

I'm also 3000 miles away, and...

...I'll be there Saturday!

lucky friends

they are hitting it up opening day!

i have to wait til end of sept :(

Can't wait!

I will be there in November and am looking forward to checking it out!

Great preview article. can't wait to see the follow up after Friday's opening!

Bring It

I'll be there for the opening and I am looking forward to it.  My expectations are high - but I am confident SLS will meet them.

2500 miles away

Will check it out soon. Will not make it to the Grand Opening, but there during it's first week.


I thought it was a bit underwhelming and lacked a cohesive WOW factor! The two entrances will for sure be a cluster bomb. The hotel check in is clear on the other side of the property if you are entering from the main strip side. If you are valeting your vehicle nearest to the check in desk all I envision are traffic jams, because you have to enter off of Paradise and no one thought to construct a right turn lane.

That hotel check in lobby is a joke if I've ever seen one- guests are standing in a carpeted walk way waiting to check in.  Bellagio lobby comes to mind minus the Chihuly glass, minimal seating, vast open area and at last glance, a mirrored horse. I mention carpeted, because what interior designer would put carpet in one of the most heavily trafficked areas?

I got the feel of the Cosmopolitan, but on a budget. I suppose they are waiting for the slot machines to turn on before they invest in a little bling-bling.

One last note: those poor employees that have to wait at that light to cross Paradise. With that many employees crossing on a hourly basis it's an accident waiting to happen. Their is a monorail bridge, but the employee entrance is closest to the corner of Sahara and Paradise.

Not excited

Do we need another Cosmo? Why not just go to Cosmo?

So much excitement about this place and really for no good reason. I predict a busy first couple of months while people check it out for the first time, but then the poor location and lack of anything that can't be found elsewhere will turn it into a ghost town.

I'm so tired of hip and trendy.

Agree Vegas Observer

Hip and Trendy is only hip and trendy for awhile. I predict that too many will not take the hike  from the south strip up to SLS more than once.

It will be a hot party place for awhile but a property sitting alone like that with nothing around it is not going to reap the restaurant, casino and even club dollars consistantly that they will need to survive.

They will have the special clients that will pay big time for the cache and expensive booze, but the hard partiers that bounce from club to club on the south strip won't make the effort to get to SLS when they are sloppy drunk walking to the next party bar.

May Not Be Worth It

What's funny is that they are charging Cosmo prices for budget decor.
@VegasObserver I agree and disagree. Hip and Trendy is only hip and trendy for awhile, but if you charge good prices customers will come and stick around. Think of The Palms. The Palms is the one who start this whole lure in the young and chic crowd, but while The Palms targeted college kids and young 20 somethings, The Cosmo decided to target the late 20s early 30s crowd and put in a touch of sophistication.
The SLS's main problem like you said is its location. No one staying at another hotel is walking (or cabbing it) all the way to the other side of the strip just to check out a club, pool, or to gamble etc., especially since there is hardly anything of note between Desert Inn Rd. and Sahara Ave. I'm sure guests of the SLS won't mind taking a cab from one side of the strip the other, but with the rates they are charging you might as well stay at the Cosmo and be where all of the action is, or if you are looking for a hip and trendy hotel on a budget stay at The Palms.