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Las Vegas, land of the 5,000-room megaresort and the Strip, is beginning to take a more intimate turn. As smaller independent hotels have become more popular—and non-branded hotels within hotels are sought for their higher levels of service—well-known boutique names are making appearances.
Nobu Hotel Caesars Palace arrived in the former Centurion Tower in April, joining the similarly exclusive SKYLOFTS at MGM Grand Hotel & Casino. And more are in the works. In 2014 the town will welcome the Delano Las Vegas, which will move into the space vacated by THEhotel at Mandalay Bay, and the new 188-room Gansevoort Las Vegas, a boutique renovation of Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall & Saloon, a remake courtesy of Caesars and the Gansevoort Hotel Group. Hospitality company SBE follows with its SLS mixed-use resort and casino in the former Sahara.
The boutique trend is a fortunate consequence of some unfortunate economic times. New construction stalled during the financial downturn, making renovations to existing properties—even on a grand scale—an attractive alternative. Nearly every hotel has scrambled to keep pace with improvements; the overall quality of rooms on the Strip has never been better. While gaming will always be an important part of the Las Vegas economy, the city’s fine-dining venues, which are a major draw among boutique hotels, are slowly eclipsing the gaming floor in popularity as visitors put more of their money toward shopping, dining and shows.
And while much will be made of the “boutiquification” of Las Vegas in the coming year, it is worth noting that the standard is somewhat different there. Several hotels, like Rumor Las Vegas, hold true to Sin City’s debaucherous reputation. And while Nobu and Gansevoort, each with fewer than 200 rooms, adhere more closely to a boutique strategy, SLS will have more than 1,600 rooms and the Delano will house 1,100 (still small compared with the better-known behemoths on the Strip). Consider the trend to be more an aesthetic than a size—this town doesn’t do diminutive.