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It's A Very Small World In The SLS World Tower

Where: 2535 Las Vegas Blvd. S. [map], 89109
August 29, 2014 at 7:26 PM | by | Comments (17)

The Sahara was one of the first Vegas hotels that this writer (and my other half) ever stayed in. After visiting many times, both alone and with pals, Sahara felt like an old friend. Unfortunately, our relationship faltered when the property and level of service fell into decay. After a particularly unpleasant experience in 2009, I vowed not to return as a guest. And, I kept that promise… until last weekend when it was reborn as SLS Las Vegas.

As soon as an opening date for SLS was announced, I was able to book a two-night stay in a World Tower accommodation (360 sq. ft.) for that weekend. The World Tower is, by SLS’ own description, the "functional” arm of its three towers, with the Story Tower rooms (325 sq. ft.) intended for partiers, and Lux Tower rooms (465 sq. ft.) designed for those with luxury tastes.

My partner and I absolutely loved what they’d done to the casino, clubs and restaurants... everything seemed so much bigger than I remembered. But, as with any opening, you can expect a number of bugs. The first bit us in the Paradise-side parking garage, where only one elevator car was functioning. We gave up waiting after ten minutes (and three failed attempts to shove ourselves into the working, but overly crowded car.) So, down five flights of crowded stairs we went, with our four pieces of luggage and dozens of anxious visitors struggling to get around us.

Fortunately, the reservation desk was just inside the Paradise entrance, exactly where it had been during the Sahara days. Not so great was the fact that it wasn’t marked with any visible signage or queuing stanchions. Just a bunch of pretty people positioned in front of a spectacular video screen with images of the Sahara in its heyday (nice touch) and monkeys, too.

Check-in was super fast. Perhaps too fast, though, as we received no information on the resort fee or what it included, no instructions on how to operate the Jedi-style touchless keys, no map of the property and nothing in the way of a fun book or guide. Just a finger (not that one) towards the World Tower elevators and a smile.

A elevator lobby and the interior of an elevator car at SLS.

The swanky elevator lobby was bright and hip, and that attitude continued into the neatly-decorated cars that whisked us to the eighth floor. When the doors opened... whoa! Cue the theme music from Vertigo! Crazy carpeting and wall coverings induced an instant feeling of dizziness. The uneven floor had us tripping, too, and not because of the prior night’s cocktails.

When we arrived at our room, our next surprise was waiting. Another guest was already inside. (Pro tip: always keep the deadbolt secured in your hotel room.) Luckily, nobody was interrupted in flagrante delicto so it was back downstairs to get things straightened out. The agent was quite apologetic and promised us an upgrade to a higher floor which turned out to be an additional 17 floors up.

Let’s put this out front right now before you even say it -- yes, the rooms are the same size as they were before the renovation; but, as any show on HGTV will tell you, the illusion of size can be created with color, styling and layout. And, let me remind you, that I’ve stayed here many times before. Yet, despite the familiar dimensions, the room felt absolutely tiny... and very bland.

If you’ve ever stayed in Downtown's El Cortez Cabana Suites, use their Jr. Suite (middle tier) as a comparison to a World Tower room at SLS. Similar layout, similar amenities, same functionality. Just switch out a muted version of the hallway’s funhouse wallpaper for the infamous green Cabana Suites paint job and you may as well be in a downtown hotel.

A guest room hallway at SLS.

Upon crossing the threshold, the bathroom is on the right and on the left is an open closet, stocked with an iron, ironing board and luggage rack. A minibar/fridge combo follows that sports a safe hidden in a drawer. Beyond that is the room proper, offering one king bed with a plush loveseat at the foot. (Rooms with two doubles also are available.) A matching easy chair is in one corner, with a reading lamp and a painted tree stump... errr, coffee table. There was no dresser or clothing storage of any kind, aside from the closet rod and a few hangers.

A World Tower accommodation at SLS.

The bed is flush to the exterior wall and topped with a padded headboard that extends beyond the frame and becomes part of the wall itself. Dual nightstands were highlighted by wall-mounted light fixtures controlled by switches on easily reached cords. One nightstand had a power strip for charging phones and other electronics. On the opposite side, an iHome clock radio with an additional USB charging/connection port was a nice touch. Its bluetooth connection to my Windows smartphone was effortless. Neither my partner nor I, however, could figure out how to correct the time. If you know the secret, share it in the comments, as the housekeepers shrugged when asked.

The king-sized bed itself was firm yet comfortable. Linens were high-end as were the oversized pillows (we would have preferred more than two, though.) The comforter had a bizarre plastic inner liner that crackled with every shift. It also became unbearably warm. Try sleeping under a shower curtain or tarp and you’ll understand why we wanted to toss it out the window.

The center position of the bed actually made it almost impossible to see outside the window, unless you knelt on the pillows and peered through the slats of aluminum mini-blinds. I cut my finger while capturing the photo below. A whimsical retracting shade, adorned with groupies, was quickly lowered. It stayed down most of our stay as the sunlight easily overpowered the room’s air conditioning.

On the cool side, large, illuminated mirrors on both walls were awesome. Just awesome. They did, however, have the unfortunate side effect of bouncing reflections in such a way that a clear view of the shower and toilet were visible from nearly any position, including when the sliding bathroom door was shut (watch out for that wide crack… in the door frame, that is.) Aside from a sizeable flat-screen TV with a slick menu and a channel for McCarran Airport flight times, the room was devoid of upscale technology (like remote-controlled lighting or climate touchpads, or electronic drapes.)

The rooms in the World Tower are designed with business travelers in mind. The combination desk/media center should meet most needs, but just barely. A two-layer desktop is tilted at an angle that could prove a problem for the left-handed. We tried to pivot it in the other direction, but it seemed fixed. Power outlets (including USB), the house phone, and a reading lamp were the basic equipment, along with a small notepad and sleek chrome pen. The small, armless chair was unpadded and quickly became uncomfortable. Wi-Fi, included in the resort fee, was fast and flawless.

The desk space offered in a World Tower room at SLS.

There's not much to say about the bathroom. Small, white, functional. A glass shower enclosure with white tile and rain showerhead. The single-bowl sink is wide, narrow and shallow. It's also positioned too close to a shelf, making it impossible to shave or wash your face without bumping your head. The countertop was wide with room for plenty of personal items, and a unique two-piece mirror benefitted from bright yet soft lighting.

The bathroom of a World Tower accommodation at SLS.

Towels were thick, thirsty and plentiful; although, being new, left us covered in white lint. If you enjoy higher-quality toiletries, you’ll enjoy the Ciel-branded ones offered in generous tubes. They’re provided by the Ciel Spa, located on the second floor of the Story Lux Tower where you'll also find the nicely appointed fitness center. (We made that discovery on our own after receiving shrugs from two security staffers.)

Now, about those rates. I compared the arbitrary dates of Sept 12-15 (three nights, two guests) at SLS (again, the World room) against a Wynn Deluxe Resort (similar location) and a El Cortez Cabana Jr. Suite (similar size and amenities). Wynn came in at $399, Cabana Suites at $95, and SLS was $339 (all plus applicable resort fees and taxes). The Wynn is infinitely superior, much more spacious (640 sq. ft.), and well worth an additional $60 per night. For the thrifty, a full weekend at the Cabanas (400 sq. ft.) is cheaper than one night at SLS.

So, is the SLS World Tower a good choice for the business traveler? Maybe, maybe not, but the easy access to the Las Vegas Monorail and nearby Convention Center make it a decent contender. As for myself, certainly not until the prices come way down. But, if you're planning on hitting the SLS venues and want to crash upstairs, go right ahead. Just beware of those crazy hallways, especially if you've had a few too many.

My actual in-room checkout screen.

(PHOTOS: VegasChatter)

Comments (17)

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Ciel Spa

Just to correct something written, The Ciel Spa is located on the 2nd floor of the LUX Tower not the 2nd floor of the Story Tower indicated in this article.

Good luck

Getting that kind of money for those rooms.  Dont see why someone would venture out of there way for this hotel

The desk

I agree that the rooms are smaller than what you will find elsewhere in Vegas but since I don't need much room, other than the bed to pass out in and a decent bathroom to get ready in, I didn't mind the size. I did however love the purposely crooked desk topper (oh Philippe Starck, you silly little Frenchman designer) which has an illustrated map of Las Vegas on it. I also liked how the in-room compendium was ditched and everything  about the property put on the TV screen. I wasn't thrilled about the festival goers featured on the window shade but I did like the white leather couch, the fancy glasses at the minibar, the charger strip in the nightstand and the seriously sexy mirrors. Overall, I thought it was a really fun room.

Ermm...

Wow, NOT digging it based on those pics. Maybe the in-room experience is better, but what the Cromwell seems to have gotten right in a small room the SLS looks like it doesn't.

That decor looks like it's going to be dated REAL quick, and the whole effect looks kinda cheap to me. And TINY.

swampguy62

too much money for a tiny room like that----vegas rooms are way overpriced unless your a decent player

swampguy62

planet Hollywood.....much nicer-bigger-cheaper---not really fond of properties north of mirage

not bad

I think they did the best they could using what they had to work with. I am not a fan of the all-white design and as another poster mentioned it could quickly look dingy if housekeeping doesn't stay on top of it. My other observation is that desk chair looks incredibly uncomfortable a stool older people use in their showers. If I am paying those rates I expect something more substantial.

Not too bad

First off thank's for the review it's a good run down on what's going on with the room.. I think the room is decent but I'm going to agree with other's it could look dated fast. It really is what it for the money they invested into the place and using a hotel design that is way dated in size etc.. If the price is right I'd check it out.

Blocked Windows

I will never understand the concept of completely blocking access to the only window in a hotel room. Just because guests don't sit and stare out of windows doesn't mean they don't want look outside occasionally.

I guess SLS is never planning on cleaning the windows, either. The only way to safely do that would be to move the bed. I guarantee that won't be happening every time a guest departs.

Meh

@ FYMYAWF Yeah, the room looks really tiny, claustrophobic tiny.
@sammasseur Off topic but in the pic of the view from your window, that is they empty lot where City of Rock will be, correct?
If so, why hasn't construction started yet? Isn't it supposed to open in May?

Update: Rock In Rio

Pre-construction is ramping up on the Rock In Rio site to the direct West of SLS.  During this past week a construction sign appeared on the North side of the lot and the fencing there was moved out toward the perimeter.  Office trailers have been moved onto the West side of the lot along with a couple of port-a-potties.

@ute

We all know the project has started when the porta potties show up.  

I wish them success!

The Sahara had become a dump so this is a vast improvement.  Very weird bed placement.  Staying in hotels 240 nights or so per year I can't recall a single hotel room in the past 20 years where I didn't have a window to look out where I had to kneel on the bed.

Anyway, not a hotel for me but hopefully this is successful and re-energizes the North end of the strip.  Now if they could only do something about that big blue middle finger...

Sharp edges everywhere!

I'm pleased they upgraded the old Sahara, but what were they thinking with an all white room (one toddler and that room is toast!) with all sharp edges on the each piece of furniture!!!  And, the bed up against the window...never mind having to clean it, what about a cold Las Vegas winter night (yes, it does get cold in LV). We were in the casino on Sunday (on two occasions), played a few new machines, and ate in the Cafe/Grill/Bar room.  The portions were huge, but the place was so noisy (with amplified rock music) that we could not carry on a conversation and finally left earlier than normal (without dessert) in order to get our hearing back. The casino floor is lovely, bright and clean and it's always fun to play brand new machines before they get grimy and worn out. The creature dancing in the porte cochere was an enigma to us, but the valet parking on the back side of SLS was a nice surprise...no wait.  May not go back, as nothing was unique enough to take out of town guests there for dinner and off the main part of the strip.  Nice try, SLS, but no cigar!

It looks great to me.

I don't need a big room because I spend very little time in it to begin with.  I'm not going to pay extra for space I don't use to begin with.  But, to each their own I guess.

Location, Location, Location

This hotel is caught in no man's land. If I can get a 5 Star on Priceline for $175, why would I pay more for less out in sketchville next to the Riv. I'd maybe consider visiting if you offered 10x odds craps,  but no thanks.

I hope for the best, but my money is on the don't pass SLS.

Price point pressure....

Firstly, I think your comparing the World Tower rooms to the El Cortez Cabana Suites, as regards sizing & spec, is spot on - it's not an obvious comparison, but given the difference price points of both locations, it's worth consideration if your travel budget is constricted.

Having stayed in the World & Story towers at SLS during opening week, & taken advantage of discounted rates in doing so, I have to say that I probably wouldn't pay more than what I paid this time to stay there again - in other words, more discounts or a price cut would be necessary to tempt me back.

That's not to knock the quality of the fit & finish - very nice, very niche, & very different across the two towers I tried - it's just that there are bigger, more "luxurious" rooms, more centrally or optimally located, both on the Strip & off of it, to be had for at or around the same price point as SLS appears to be leaning toward this upcoming Fall season.

What is going to be interesting, is how they respond to this, if they do....& how timely there response will be. You can only bask in the light on new-ness for so long. And SLS, I think, deserves a chance to show us how it can shine, into the future.

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