Las Vegas restaurant and nightclub virtuoso Hakkasan Group plans to expand into the boutique hotel industry, but its vision doesn’t include the city in which it’s grown its bottle service. Nor does it encompass a future in gaming.
Despite controlling half of the high-end nightlife and day clubs on the Strip, the group told the Las Vegas Review-Journal this week that the expense of property on Las Vegas Boulevard makes a standalone hotel economically impractical.
“We are taking our time to figure out what is the right entry, who are the right partners and what are the right locations,” Hakkasan CEO Nick McCabe told the R-J’s Todd Prince.
McCabe said it would roll out a Hakkasan-branded boutique hotel as early as 2020 with more to follow. He told Prince that the hotels would feature a mix of luxury restaurants, lounges, and clubs.
Redefining Las Vegas
In just over 17 years, Hakkasan has grown from a single Chinese restaurant in London’s West End into a burgeoning Las Vegas-based empire, encompassing venues across the US, Asia, and the Middle East.
Hakkasan expanded into the nightlife business in Sin City through its partnership and then acquisition of Angel Management Group, which began opening nightclubs at the height of the economic slump. This was a time when operators were desperate to diversify, as gamblers, squeezed by the recession, stayed away from casino floors.
With big-ticket events, superstar DJs, and the obligatory high-end bottle service, Hakkasan helped redefine Las Vegas as a clubbing mecca for the millennial generation, a demographic with seemingly little interest in gambling.
Today, its portfolio includes Oak at the Mirage, ALIBI Ultra Lounge and Jewel at Aria, The Bank at the Bellagio, Omnia at Caesars Palace, and its eponymous mega-club at the MGM Grand.
Macau a Bad Bet
Meanwhile, Hakkasan is planning further expansion across the globe, McCabe told Prince, with a particular eye on China and Japan. One place it won’t be bringing its nightlife or restaurants to is Macau, because unlike Las Vegas in 2008, people are just way too into the gambling.
“There is so little interest in anything apart from the gaming floor, which is just mammoth” McCabe told the R-J. “You are more likely to see someone order a bowl of noodles to the table and keep gambling than you are to see them go off to a fine-dining establishment.”