Renovation at SLS Las Vegas Progresses with Casino Upgrades and New Mexican Dining Concept

SLS Las Vegas lifted the curtain on a $100 million makeover at a special event held Tuesday at The Sayers Club

Updates to the gaming floor, hotel rooms, and a new fast-casual Mexican restaurant concept will all be part of the ongoing $100 million renovation at the hotel and casino resort, it became clear yesterday.

SLS Las Vegas originally opened doors in 1952 as Sahara Hotel and Casino. The property was the sixth resort to be launched on the legendary Las Vegas Strip. It quickly became a popular hotspot for the Rat Pack of Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr, and Dean Martin. It operated under the Sahara name until 2011 when it was shuttered by its then owner Stockbridge Capital Group for a $400-million renovation.

The resort reopened in 2014 as the boutique SLS Las Vegas but never earned a profit. The hotel and casino resort located right “at the start of the Strip” was purchased last April by entrepreneur Alex Meruelo and his privately owned Meruelo Group. The businessman announced back then that he would invest more than $100 million to renovate and upgrade the property.

News also emerged last summer that the resort would be rebranded as renovation progressed. There were suggestions that the property would be renamed Grand Sahara Resort as its new owner wanted to pay homage to its glorious past.

Grand Sahara Resort also sounds similar to Grand Sierra Resort and Casino, a Reno-based complex that is owned by Mr. Meruelo’s company. The new owner of SLS Las Vegas explained that the name suggested was only a working name that was used in county filings seeking permission for the start of the renovation from Clark County officials. The actual renovation commenced in October and is expected to take place over several years.

Details about the SLS Las Vegas Makeover

During a special event held yesterday at The Sayers Club, SLS Las Vegas President and General Manager Paul Hobson, Vice President of Food and Beverage Anthony Olheiser, and Innovativo Design Founder and Chief Creating Officer Nancy Paolino provided details about the ongoing renovation at the property. Ms. Paolino and her team are leading the redesign at SLS Las Vegas and previously worked with Mr. Meruelo at his Grand Sierra Resort property.

As recently revealed, the SLS Las Vegas’ 60,000-square-foot casino floor would be updated to feature “a bright modern atmosphere with glamorous finishes including a new layout for the slot and table pits.” The Meruelo Group also plans to add a new high limit gaming salon at the existing gambling facility.

In addition, work is set to begin soon on “an all-new ultra-lounge” that will replace the Foxtail club. The lounge will be the centerpiece of the casino floor with its whimsical design and modern art installation.

Enhancements to the guest service are also expected to be added later this year. Those will include updates to the hotel lobby and guest check-in. Property officials said yesterday that the ongoing redesign of the Story and World Towers as well as upgrades to the Grand Tower are nearing completion.

The resort’s Grand Tower accommodates a former W Hotels-branded hotel, of which SLS Las Vegas assumed ownership back in August. The hotel features 289 rooms and suites and those are, too, undergoing certain updates, as announced by property officials.

All in all, SLS Las Vegas features 1,615 rooms and suites, nearly 100,000 square feet of flexible meeting space, and a collection of acclaimed food and beverage facilities, and entertainment venues.

Property officials revealed yesterday a new culinary concept that would be added to its list of food and beverage facilities – the fast-casual Mexican dining facility Uno Mas. It is slated to open in March and to offer authentic, traditional Mexican dishes with a modern twist.

Mr. Meruelo has previously said that SLS Las Vegas will look to cater to the “underserved” Hispanic market and the new dining concept at the property is certainly part of that strategy.

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