SLS Las Vegas opens to fireworks fanfare - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

SLS Las Vegas opens to fireworks fanfare

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Hotel company, sbe, prepares to open the SLS Las Vegas on the former Sahara hotel-casino space on Aug. 23, 2014. (FOX5) Hotel company, sbe, prepares to open the SLS Las Vegas on the former Sahara hotel-casino space on Aug. 23, 2014. (FOX5)
For the SLS Las Vegas, a three-year renovation meant ridding the Sahara's familiar designs. The Sahara stayed open for 59 years before closing for renovations in 2011. (FOX5) For the SLS Las Vegas, a three-year renovation meant ridding the Sahara's familiar designs. The Sahara stayed open for 59 years before closing for renovations in 2011. (FOX5)
There is hope the revamped, boutique-style offering will be part of a rebirth of the north end of the Las Vegas Strip. (FOX5) There is hope the revamped, boutique-style offering will be part of a rebirth of the north end of the Las Vegas Strip. (FOX5)
LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -

When the clock struck 12, the north Las Vegas Strip property once home to the Rat Pack and Elvis Presley completed its modern metamorphosis as the SLS Las Vegas.

On Friday night, the hotel-casino property held a grand opening celebration to mark the completion of a $415 million renovation of the former Sahara resort.

The property's owner, Los Angeles-based sbe, closed the Sahara in June 2011 to begin renovations of the then-59-year-old casino. Since the closure, work was being done to revamp its more than 1,600 rooms in three towers. In addition, the SLS Las Vegas planned to revamp its 60,000-square-foot casino floor, add a 10,000-square-foot shopping area anchored by Fred Segal, and create a number of dining concepts as well as day and nightlife offerings.

Groundbreaking for the start of the renovations took place in February 2013. In actuality, the grand opening was moved up a week because construction was finished early.

Leading up to the midnight opening, president of sbe, Sam Bakhshanandepour, has taken charge in checking and double-checking the details of the redesigned Strip space.

On a recent visit to the property, Bakhshanandepour pointed out cooks were already in the kitchen, nightlife personnel were testing the sound system and the gaming managers were checking out the casino floor.

Though the SLS Las Vegas appears to have everything contained in other Strip properties, Bakhshanandepour contends there is a distinction in the redone space with a tip of the cap to traditional hotels.

"We are not looking to copy what anyone else does" the sbe president said. "[But to] bring our new and innovative brand by learning from all the masters of the past, what they did so well and adding and sprinkling our own pixie dust and our touch to it."

The SLS Las Vegas also plans to carry on the tradition and legacy of the Sahara. Pictures of the Rat Pack are sprinkled throughout the property, for example.

All of this, Bakhshanandepour hopes, lead to memories held by the SLS Las Vegas' customers down the road.

"A decade, two decades from now, our customer base will look back fondly and say, ‘I was there on August 23 when the doors opened at midnight.'"

The hotel-casino directed those planning to be at the SLS Las Vegas for the midnight opening to park in the lot just south of the property, which is accessible by Paradise Road. Police plan to help direct traffic that night. 

The SLS Las Vegas also suggested guests to use the Las Vegas Monorail directly to the property.

FOX5 reporter Karl Man contributed to this report.

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