First Look Reveals Swankier SLS Las Vegas Amid Ongoing $100 Million Renovations

The SLS Las Vegas hit the scene with a bang a little more than four years ago, replacing the vintage Sahara Hotel & Casino on the northern end of the Las Vegas Strip. This week the iconic property unveiled a brighter casino, chic rooms and suites, and a new addition to its award-winning culinary program.

The sweeping $100 million in resort-wide upgrades follow the purchase of SLS Las Vegas by Meruelo Group founder Alex Meruelo last April. Meruelo, who also owns the luxury property, Grand Sierra Resort and Casino (GSR) in Reno, has since 2011 transformed GSR into one of Northern Nevada’s swankier resort-casinos.

Now Meruelo brings his magic touch to one of the world’s most magical boulevards.

Photo Credit: Rendering courtesy SLS Las Vegas

He’s “a visionary,” according to Nancy Paolino, founder and chief creative officer for Innovativo Design Inc.—the team behind the SLS Las Vegas transformation as well as GSR.

“The guest experience is very important to him and those considerations are absolutely reflected in our design,” she says. “It is a privilege to have the opportunity to reinvigorate such an iconic resort destination and draw inspiration from the wealth of rich history that happened here.”

So what will this $100 million investment mean for SLS Las Vegas? So far, we’ve had a peek at the revitalized casino floor and a vibrant room design as construction continues on the resort’s hotel towers, including the AAA-Four Diamond Grand Tower (previously operated by W Hotel).

During an event inside the Sayer’s Club Tuesday, the resort also revealed the March opening of a new Mexican restaurant, Uno Mas. A new ultra-lounge is soon set to replace the former Foxtail nightclub. Improvements to the hotel lobby and guest check-in are expected in the coming months.

Oh, and lest we forget, the SLS name will stay (for now).

The SLS Las Vegas casino undergoes a major renovation.

Photo Credit: SLS Las Vegas

Only the sixth property to open on the Las Vegas Strip, Sahara Hotel & Casino was born during the rise of Sin City in 1952. Over its 59 years in operation, the hotel-casino welcomed musical legends like Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Judy Garland, George Carlin, Barbra Streisand and Sonny & Cher. The 1960 version of the film Ocean’s 11 was filmed at the Sahara and famed rock band The Beatles stayed there at the height of Beatlemania.

The new design gives a nod to the glamorous past of Vegas while delivering a unique and modern look that speaks to today’s traveler.

“We are excited about the physical transformation of the resort and how those improvements impact the guest experience,” says SLS Las Vegas President and General Manager Paul Hobson. “We want to bring back the type of personal touch and service that made travelers fall in love with Las Vegas so many decades ago. Our boutique size allows us to focus on the individual guest and deliver a unique, personalized experience.”

Here’s a first look at Meruelo Group’s new and improving SLS Las Vegas:

New Ultra-Lounge

Photo Credit: Rendering Courtesy SLS Las Vegas

SLS bid adieu to Foxtail nightclub last year in order to make room for a swanky ultra-lounge. The new lounge will serve as a centerpiece to the casino floor and the catalyst for a reinvigorated mixology program. Design elements will include a modern art installation with Italian glass mosaic sculptures, floor-to-ceiling mosaic tiles and gas fireplaces.

Uno Mas

Along with the addition of a new Vice President of Food and Beverage, Anthony Olheiser, SLS Las Vegas will open its first new dining venue since becoming SLS in 2014. Slated to open in March, Uno Mas will serve traditional Mexican dishes with a modern twist along with margaritas, mezcals, sangrias and Mexican beers. The restaurant boasts live music and a variety of seating options for guests and groups. Existing dining venues like Umami Burger and Beer Garden, 800 Degrees Pizzeria and Northside Café and Chinese Kitchen are now serving upgraded menus.

Redesigned Casino

Photo Credit: SLS Las Vegas

The 60,000 square foot casino floor is completely redone with a new layout for the slot and table game pits, a spectacular ceiling, posh lighting and modern carpeting. The progress continues with construction on a new high limit gaming salon.

Flight Unknown

Award-winning Bazaar Meat by Jose Andrés isn’t going anywhere, but Tuesday’s announcement did bring word of a new menu item. The restaurant recently launched a cocktail flight, “Flight Unknown” at Bar Centro. The new offering promises to transport your taste buds on a journey through the fresh flavors and creative backstories of five unexpected craft cocktails.

Redesigned Rooms and Suites

The newly reimagined Grand Sahara Mega Suite.

Photo Credit: Rendering Courtesy SLS Las Vegas

A redesign of all the hotel towers is near completion and incorporate the elevator lobbies and room corridors. Updates to the Grand Towers include a room redesign and enhanced spa experience. Grand Tower guests will remain privy to a private hotel entrance.