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SLS LAS VEGAS

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North Strip

2535 Las Vegas Blvd. S.

North Las Vegas, NV 89109

855-761-7757

website

1,600 Rooms

$159 and up double

Avg. $200-300

$25 per night plus tax

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AT A GLANCE

What is it?

a top to bottom revamp of the old Sahara hotel.

Where is it?

On the North Strip, at the corner of The Strip and Sahara Avenue.

What will be included?

More than 1,600 rooms, a new casino, restaurants, nightclubs, shopping, and more.

When will it open?

August 25 with a grand opening party Labor Day Weekend 2014 (August 29-September 1).

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PREVIEW

More than three years after it closed, the former Sahara hotel will get a new lease on life this August as the SLS Las Vegas makes its debut and you could be among the first guests. The hotel has started taking reservations with the first bookings available for August 25, 2014.

The Sahara opened in 1952 and was one of the city's premiere resorts for decades but it declined over the years to become a second (or even third) tier property, mostly famous for its cheap rooms and $1 blackjack tables. It was purchased in 2007 by SBE, a hotel, nightlife, and restaurant company based in Los Angeles headed by Sam Nazarian. He closed the hotel in May of 2011 to begin preparations for turning it into a sibling to the company's SLS branded properties in Miami and Beverly Hills.

More than $300 million has being thrown at the hotel to modernize, expand, and renovate every part of it, with most of the buildings being gutted and rebuilt. Two of the existing hotel towers were stripped down to the concrete and are getting all new interiors and exteriors, a third tower is being rehabbed on the inside, and a fourth, low-rise building was torn down. The SLS will have about 1,600 rooms when it is complete, several hundred fewer than when it was The Sahara.

The new rooms are going to try to do a lot with relatively little space. The Story Tower rooms will be 325 square feet, about half the size of the standard accommodations at places like The Venetian, and less than the average of modern hotels that run in the 400-500 square-foot range. They will come with one king bed or two double beds and will feature plush mattresses, high thread count linens, 55-ince HDTVs, wireless Internet, and high-end bath amenities.

The World Tower rooms are a bit larger at 360 square feet and will add a work desk and a couch at the foot of the bed plus a bigger bathroom.

The top of the heap Lux Tower rooms are 425 square feet and have a French boudoir design scheme complete with mirrors above the bed and a long couch under the windows.

The rest of the building is getting a similar extreme makeover. The roller coaster and NASCAR related attractions are gone and the casino, lobby, pool, and other public areas will be completely redone not only with a swank, modern decor but with a revised layout.

The casino will be 60,000 square-feet, about the same size as it used to be when it was the Sahara, but new from the ground up with around 800 slot machines and 70 table games. By way of comparison, that's about half the size of The Venetian's casino so it will definitely be more intimate. There will be a race and sports book and a high limit lounge.

The dining offerings will definitely be up a few runs on the epicurean ladder. Restaurants will include a branch of The Bazaar, a Beverly Hills restaurant from James Beard Award winning chef Jose Andres, whose China Poblano at The Cosmopolitan has garnered major attention. Other dining will include popular LA favorites Umami Burger, Griddle Café, and Cleo; Katsuya, which is a Japanese/sushi restaurant with eight locations in California, Texas, and Florida; and an 800 Degrees pizzeria.

Nightlife will include a 20,000 square-foot dance club called Life that will open on to its own rooftop pool that will host daytime parties called, naturally, Daylife. There will be an ultralounge space adjacent to the main pool called Foxtail that will turn into a nightclub late nights and offer a day club experience while the sun is shining.

Furthering the LA resort feeling will be a series of boutiques from famed Tinseltown retailer Fred Segal, plus a high end spa and a fitness center.

Those looking for a blast-from-the-past version of The Sahara will most likely be disappointed. There is virtually nothing left of the old hotel except the walls. Everything else was sold at auction after the hotel closed.

The hotel is currently slated to have its grand opening over Labor Day Weekend 2014, which occurs August 29 through September 1, but as mentioned above, reservations are now being accepted for as early as August 25.

Room rates are starting at around $150 during the week and around $230 on the weekend for the smallest Story Tower rooms. Add about $20-$50 for the World Tower and another $100 for the Lux tower rooms. There will be a $25 per night resort fee that covers the usual amenities like Internet and gym access.

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