Inside Rob Oseland
Hard Hat Touring The SLS Las Vegas
In Practical Practice
Oseland told me that they're working hard to make sure that the WiFi AND cell coverage throughout the property is top notch. If this works out, I'll give them a gold star for something that drives me batty elsewhere. Also, I noticed that the room designs featured a lot of electrical outlets. This is always one of my pet peeves as someone who travels with many things that need charging.
I asked about wear-and-tear on all of white furniture and fixtures - will everything look old six months after opening? According to Oseland, they've taken this into account ()"They tell me this stuff is washable") so hopefully it won't all look like a deleted scene from The Hangover after the first weekend.
Later on the tour while we examined the actual under-constructions rooms, I brought up the plumbing. I've heard nightmare stories about older buildings and endless problems. Oseland told me that they definitely had had to replace quite a bit but it varied - at least one Sahara tower was built as recently as 1991 and that required a lot less work than the stuff from the 50s and 60s.
What about noise? They're planning a pool-club concept called Foxtail that sits at the base of the hotel tower. How well will these rooms fare, never originally designed to keep the ooontz out? Oseland admits that they're not sure. He also saw the same thing first-hand at Encore and it sounds more like they see these as problems to be managed instead of solved (i.e. bring ear plugs... or better yet, go downstairs and join in the fun).
We exited the mock-rooms and headed to the actual site a few blocks away. Oseland drove us himself (sorry for getting the dirt on the mats Rob!) We entered via Paradise and what will be their VIP check-in area. Similar to Wynncore/Aria/etc... they have a dedicated tower (and thus check-in) for certain guests. We parked and headed inside the labyrinth.
The Old Sahara Is Gone
The main entry points haven't changed - Las Vegas Blvd. will be a large porte-cochere featuring 'Billy Jean'-esque light-up tiles on your way into the casino. There's the previously mentioned VIP entrance off Paradise plus the self-park and Monorail entry that dumps you out near the check-in desk. This is all similar to The Sahara's layout.
However, if you stand on the main casino floor, you can have a Cromwell-esque moment, imagining the old place as it was. The casino floor is reigned in a bit (60,000 square feet) but generally everything gaming-wise is in the same spot. Some sight lines are new: they removed many walls that weren't load-bearing. Again, you've seen renders so instead of re-narrating what you can get from an image, I'm going to try to describe what it felt like to be inside.
SLS is going for the unfinished warehouse look that is currently at Mandalay Bay and Downtown Grand (probably because it's cheap and lets them do higher ceilings). The floor plan is not all that surprising or unique - a centrally located casino with a bar, surrounded by restaurants and a little bit of retail scattered throughout. The eateries that open up to Las Vegas Blvd include outdoor dining, separated from The Strip by landscaping.
The casino floor was completely empty - the recently laid casino carpet is horrifically ugly and was definitely my least favorite thing about the place. Wires hung from conduits in the ceiling, where security cameras and were to be installed. Slot machines, table games and other gaming equipment should be showing up just about the time you're reading this.
I went looking for special moments.
There's a spot at Encore that I love. As you walk through the casino, past the lobby bar on your left and right before you hit the check-in desk, there's a glass wall that borders the pool. If you take the corner and walk towards the Eastside Bar, there are a few gaming tables there, basked in sunlight. I love that spot - it's one of those that always makes me smile.
I was somewhat surprised to find a similar spot at SLS (at least in my imagination - still lots of work to be done). As we rounded the corner near their check-in area, they've emphasized floor-to-ceiling windows that let in a ton of light from the pool and really made the place look great. If it continues to come together, it could be a really nice touch.
SLS will have two pools. One is on the ground floor where the original Sahara pool was (though it's layout is different - it's optimized for maximum sun). The other VIP pool is on the roof of the casino and integrates with the LIFE nightclub (think an EBC + Surrender or a Tao + Tao Beach sort of arrangement). Both will have a nightlife component.