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NOBU HOTEL CAESARS PALACE

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Caesar Palace

3570 Las Vegas Blvd. S.

Las Vegas, NV 89109

866-227-5938

website

181 Rooms

$149 and up double

$150-$250 per night

$35 per night plus tax

83

AT A GLANCE

Highs

Beautiful rooms; Zen ambience; Nobu amenities.

Lows

Cost.

Location: 10

In the middle of all of the Caesars action.

Price: 6

Very expensive.

Value: 8

Might be worth it, especially if you are a fan of the brand.

Rooms: 9

All the comforts and more.

Casino: 8

Caesars casino is right downstairs.

Amenities: 10

Nobu approved amenities give the rooms a special touch.

Facilities: 10

Everything Caesars has to offer.

Service: 10

Very attentitive.

Fun: 6

More about relaxing and retreating than fun.

Bonus: 6

Gotta take a few off for the cost.

Total: 83

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FULL REVIEW

Back in the good old days - you know, when Las Vegas casinos had money to burn (or at least acted like they did) - old hotel towers didn't fade away, they were imploded, often in a shower of crowd-pleasing pyrotechnics.

In today's more austere times that sees Vegas companies saddled with all the debt they racked up in the good old days, old hotel towers neither fade away or implode in, they get reborn, remodeled, and revamped into something more contemporary and competitive with the increasingly demanding market.

Such is the case with the old Centurion Tower at Caesars Palace, now the sparkly "new" Nobu Hotel Las Vegas. Originally constructed in 1971, the Centurion was one of Caesars first major expansions coming online only 5 years after the hotel first opened. It aged, as things do, and was eclipsed by the newer, bigger, and fancier towers like Palace, Augustus, and Octavius that followed it, leaving the Centurion to be the relative "cheap seats" in the otherwise high-class joint that is Caesars.

The new version is a partnership between Caesars and Chef Nobu Matsuhisa, of the Nobu Japanese restaurant fame. Chef, along with investors like Robert DeNiro and designer David Rockwell (who did the eye-popping Cosmopolitan), helped set the direction for the boutique hotel-within-a-hotel concept that involved a top-to-bottom remodel. Rooms, bathrooms, hallways, elevators; everything is brand new. While there are some things that are inescapable when updating an old building such as lower than modern-day standard ceilings, it is amazing what $30 million can do to erase pretty much every trace of what was there before.

The entry to the hotel is along what is now called Nobu Way, in between the Colosseum casino area and the main domed gaming pit. For those intimately familiar with the hotel, it's right next door to Cleopatra's Barge, the nightclub/showroom where Matt Goss performs regularly.

The lobby is more of a wide elevator bay hall but it is lovely, with intricately carved wood on the walls and ceiling, plus lots of amber lighting and glass accents. It has a Zen minimalist spa feeling to it, setting a tone that is distinctly different than the visual overload that is most of the rest of Caesars Palace.

The trouble here is that there really isn't enough room for people to check in and out. They were offering in-room check-in but the last time I stayed that was not available so you were fighting for staff attention amidst a sea of people and baggage.

The rooms seem bigger than they actually are in terms of square footage. While they may not be as big as those in more modern Vegas buildings like Venetian or Wynn, they are still plenty big for most. They come with a king or two queens, a big leather sofa capable of seating 6, a built in desk and entertainment center, a massive flat panel TV, a closet, and all of the usual conveniences like an iron and board, safe, robes and slippers, and the like. Above and beyond the usual include items such as Nobu approved mini-bar selections (Japanese popcorn and chilled sake? Yes, please!), turndown service with pillow and bath options, Nobu-scented sleep oils, an iPad docking station, and soft Italian sheets among other goodies.

The design scheme extends the Zen Asian theme that incorporates nature inspired artwork, hand-painted murals, and lots of sleek, modern furnishings. The color-scheme is a little muted for my taste - all slate grey and subtle browns - and it feels a little spare compared to other, more elaborately designed properties, but the end results is undeniably lovely.

Don't forget the bathrooms, easily the most unique on The Strip. While everyone else goes for marble and expanse, these use their relatively compact footprint and heavy use of Asian inspired design to create a beautiful retreat. Teak fittings, stone tiles, and a deep bowl shaped basin are modern yet comfortable. An oversized walk-in shower comprised of traditional black Umi tiles offers multiple shower heads and a teak bathing stool, a commodity seen in traditional Japanese bathhouses. Bath amenities include a selection of products by Natura Bisse in a signature rosemary and white tea scent designed exclusively for Nobu Hotel.

Guests of Nobu have access to all of the Caesars Palace amenities including pool, spa, casino, restaurants, entertainment and more. One of the extras you get for staying here is room service items from the big Nobu restaurant at the base of the tower.

The other is the stellar service. The staff here tries to treat the hotel as an island apart from the Caesars insanity, calling guests by name and offering extra attention even when you don't think of it. They called to offer to print my airline boarding pass. We'll just leave out the part where I wondered how they knew I had checked in for my flight via my phone from an entirely differently hotel.

Unsurprisingly, it is not cheap to stay here. Figure in the $200-$300 per night range during the week and $300 and up on the weekends. As usual those prices will flex with demand so you might seem them lower and you might see them a lot higher. Nobu also charges a $35 per night resort fee that includes Internet service, access to the Caesars Palace fitness center, and local calls.

Those costs might not be out of line if this truly was the boutique hotel experience they are trying to create here, but let's be honest: once you step out of the elevators you are thrust right back into the mega-resort madness of Caesars Palace with its crowds, noise, and roughly seven thousand mile trek to the garage, the valet, or The Strip.

Fans of the brand should absolutely give it a shot. You get a gorgeous, peaceful room with the Nobu touch plus all that Caesars has to offer. For everyone else I think it should depend on prevailing rates. A quick check showed that these rooms are usually even more expensive than the Octavius rooms at Caesars Palace, which are bigger, have better views and higher ceilings, and more traditionally plush furnishings.

Nobu Hotel Las Vegas is a success from a design, service, and atmosphere perspective but I think there are probably better overall options for hotel rooms in this price range.

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