SLS Las Vegas: A Look Inside the Strip’s Newest Resort

When the Sahara closed, we felt like we’d lost an old friend. Thankfully, we’re getting a new one: SLS Las Vegas. The Strip’s newest resort opens August 23, 2014 (or more accurately, the evening of August 22, at midnight, complete with fireworks), and we can’t wait to put SLS through her paces. Yes, SLS is a her. Because we said so.

We’ve got a look inside this much-anticipated resort, including a slew of restaurants, nightlife venues and other shiny Vegas newness.

SLS Las Vegas
Just inside the main entrance of SLS. It’s enough to make a Las Vegas blog’s heart sing. Which is weird, given hearts don’t tend to have vocal cords or even mouths.

Here’s the entrance you come through to see that view of the casino.

SLS Las Vegas
Wave “goodbye” to the outdoors. You’re in Las Vegas!

Where should we begin? If you read this blog on a regular basis, you already know that’s a rhetorical question. To the bar!

Before we hit the bar, however, we have to check out the fancy new felt on the table games.

SLS Las Vegas
We would like to roll around naked here, although a pit boss might have an issue with that.

Who cares about how a new car smells? We love us the smell of a new craps table.

Sorry, roulette, we didn’t mean to neglect you.

SLS roulette
The tables aren’t really tilted like this. All the chips would slide off.

Onward to Center Bar, located in the (wait for it) center of the casino.

There are a few video poker machines, but the real eye-popper (not literally, that would be cause for legal action) is the video display over the bar. A still photo really doesn’t do it justice, but we are a blog, not a videographer.

SLS Center Bar
This will be a convenient place to meet friends. Saying, “Meet you at the bar with the big-ass video screen over it” should do the trick.

The casino isn’t sprawling (about 60,000-square-feet), so there’s no risk of getting lost.

Fans of Sahara will feel right at home, as the casino is laid out roughly as it was back in the day.

SLS Las Vegas
This is what our den would look like if we were a computer hacker and we all lived in “The Matrix.”

There are quirky surprises throughout the casino, and the entire hotel, really. Many of them involve monkeys. In other cases, there’s just interesting art.

SLS Las Vegas
This artwork looks like someone took a photo of a firefly using a really long exposure time. By the way, people who grew up in Las Vegas have no idea whatsoever what a firefly is.

We’re not going to leave you in suspense. Here are some of the aforementioned monkeys.

SLS monkeys
Our first SLS progressive awaits.

Easily one of the sexiest parts of the casino is the high limit salon. It’s so pretty, in fact, we’re thinking of learning a marketable skill so we can afford to play there.

SLS Las Vegas
Wait. Marketable skill? That sounds hard. A wealthy relative keeling over sounds much more appealing at this juncture.

But a resort does not live by its casino alone. SLS Las Vegas boasts no fewer than nine dining options. Many small towns in North America do not boast nine dining options. “Let’s take a peek at a couple, already,” you nagged in that certain way you have sometimes.

First up is Cleo.

SLS Las Vegas
We know two things about Cleo. First, it serves Mediterranean food. Second, the woman in that Cleopatra artwork is the supermodel girlfriend of one of the casino’s owners, Sam Nazarian.

We don’t mean to sling restaurant jargon around, but Cleo is distinctive in that is has a big stone thingy. Oh, just look at the photo.

The cool thing about the restaurants at SLS Las Vegas is they’ve all been successes in other cities, thus avoiding this blog being a guinea pig.

Katsuya is a Japanese restaurant. “Katsuya” in Japanese means, “We are very happy there are things on the menu other than sushi because we are definitely not a sushi person.”

Katsuya has a bar. And Wagyu beef. So, we’re good.

No time to dawdle.

Next up, there’s an 800 Degrees Pizza. There’s already one at Monte Carlo Las Vegas, but you can never have too many pizza places if you ask us.

SLS Las Vegas
We predict this place is going to make a ton of dough.

There’s also a bigtime steakhouse at SLS, Bazaar Meat. This restaurant is brought to us by José Andrés, a chef so famous, he was given two accent marks in his name, possibly by a Spanish monarch.

Yes, these adorn Bazaar Meat. We’re 91% sure this kind of meat is not served there.

There’s also Ku Noodle, which we’re fairly sure is a play on the word “canoodle,” but whenever we ask people at the hotel if that’s true, they look at us like we’re nuts.

We saw a guy practicing noodle-making, old school. Just like at Beijing Noodle No. 9 at Caesars Palace, we’re putting that in the “free entertainment” category.

There are a number of other restaurants, but our hands are starting to cramp up from all this typing, so we’re going to skip to the SLS buffet.

SLS Las Vegas
It feels like a mountain lodge, but with much more belt-loosening.

Rounding out the dining are Umami Burger, the Griddle Cafe and The Perq.

All this exploring is making us parched. Let’s hit the Monkey Bar.

We’ve heard the name of this bar for weeks now, and only this second remembered “monkey bars” are also a playground thing. Clearly, we should not blog while drunk. Or possibly ever, hand crampwise.

This leads us, somewhat ineptly, to a major component of what is expected to be a major draw for SLS Las Vegas: Nightlife.

Get your back up off the wall, or whatever people say in nightclubs these days.

SLS Las Vegas has several nightlife venues, including its main Life nightclub (pictured above), Foxtail (sort of another nightclub), the Foxtail Pool Club (more of a daylife thing, but we’re not sure that’s a word, so we’re sticking with nightlife) and Sayers Club (with a focus on live music).

Oh, great. A pool club. Now, we have no choice but to do a sit-up.

Life is a huge nightclub that occupies the space where the Sahara showroom used to be. This is one of three bars inside this new Las Vegas nightlife party spot.

Tip: The bartenders won’t be able to hear your order, so we recommend learning how to say “rum and Coke” in sign language.

We’re sure there are things we’re forgetting. While not a huge resort, there’s plenty of ground to cover when you visit.

The hotel rooms pretty much look exactly like the renderings, so that’s handled.

In case you wondered, SLS doesn’t have a bingo room, poker room or keno parlor. Those are typically not big money-makers for casinos, and SLS had to try and do a lot with relatively little space.

And, never fear, there are plenty of nods to the Sahara throughout SLS. That’s a class move in our book.

SLS Las Vegas
Gone but not forgotten.

Another item we can’t share until SLS opens is the Philippe Starck-designed statue in the hotel’s valet area. We guarantee this will get people talking, and we look forward to hearing what you think when it’s unveiled.

SLS Las Vegas
No, it’s not being fumigated. It’s called building suspense!

Oh, crap, we almost forgot the scratch-and-sniff wall.

It’s more of a sniff thing than a scratch thing, but do what you need to do.

Special thanks to the folks at SLS Las Vegas for their hospitality and patience with all our photo-taking, especially our significant other who personally gave us our tour (she does the social media for SLS) and only sighed 12-15 times when we kept asking if the liquor guns at the hotel bars were operating yet.

SLS Las Vegas is shaking things up at the north end of The Strip, and is a great beginning to what is shaping up to be a true revitalization of the area. Coming up are a City of Rock open-air concert venue (2015), the Asian-themed Resorts World hotel (2016) and another project slated for the former site of the Frontier (2018).

SLS stands for “Style, Luxury and Service.” In reality, though, Sam Nazarian saw a Mercedes Benz SLS and just liked how the SLS looked.

Find out more about SLS Las Vegas at its official site.

Enjoy a few more photos in our exclusive gallery, and come back and share your thoughts if you check out SLS Las Vegas. You’ll find us at the bar with the big-ass video screen over it. Told you that would end up being a thing.

Inside SLS Las Vegas