That depends on how you define “new.” Do you mean a brand new, completely fresh building from the ground up? Because in recession-weary Las Vegas, that hasn’t happened in awhile.
There is hope however, as preliminary ground work has begun on the $4 billion Resorts World mega-resort to-be-built across from the Wynn on the site of the old Stardust. Its scheduled opening is for an undisclosed date in 2016. Owners have even obtained gaming and construction approvals for this red-colored Asian-themed complex.
So if by “newest” hotel in Las Vegas, you mean a newly refurbished, rebuilt casino with a new name, then there are several new incarnations of Las Vegas hotels. Some are older casinos that have changed hands but have otherwise stayed nearly the same, (other than their name), while others have been gutted, renovated, and offer guests a completely new look and feel similar to brand new, newly constructed resorts.
So in that vein, the newest casino in Las Vegas is the SLS Hotel & Casino, which opened in August of 2014.
You’ll recognize the SLS Hotel and Casino Las Vegas as being the former home of the iconic Sahara Hotel and Casino on the far north end of the Las Vegas Strip. But other than sharing the same location, you won’t recognize any trace of the old Sahara at the new SLS. That’s because SLS ownership poured $415 million into renovating the resort into what they hope is a hip casino/shopping/nightlife destination frequented by wealthy young Southern Californians and other visitors to Sin City.
The shiny, new modern SLS contrasts sharply with its Sahara past, even as the new resort’s marketing efforts appeal to the glamour of the Sahara’s former days of glory. The SLS website points out that Sahara guests and performers included the likes of Sammy Davis Jr., Frank Sinatra, and the Beatles.
The new hotel boasts 1,600 rooms, two pools, and a 60,000 square foot casino with 80 table games, 800 slot machines, and a William Hill computer-operated sports book.
On the shopping front, the resort has seven (yes seven) boutiques from trendy LA based retailer Fred Segal.
The SLS Hotel and Casino is owned by the SBE Corporation, which owns many successful nightclubs and restaurants – many of which are in Southern California. The SLS Las Vegas has eight restaurants and a coffee stand.
Its signature night club is Sayers Club, with the usual expensive drinks, rich interior decor, and not so usual patio with views of the Strip.
Other newer hotels and casinos in Las Vegas (we’re just counting the Strip and downtown resorts), include the following:
(Here’s some news footage of opening day at The Cromwell)
October 2014 – The Linq Hotel and Casino
Formerly the long-standing Imperial Palace, this resort could technically be called the newest hotel and casino in Las Vegas (because of its Fall 2014 opening), if not for the fact that the casino was remodeled and re-opened as the Quad Resort and Casino in December of 2012. My theory is you can’t be the newest hotel casino in Las Vegas every year.
Nonetheless, the new Linq Hotel and Casino has remodeled every room in the hotel, and is changing the look and facade of the entire building from the dated, Asian-themed Imperial Palace into a more contemporary-looking resort.
April 2014 – The Cromwell
Another Caesars Entertainment property, The Cromwell Las Vegas Hotel and Casino, opened on April 21st, 2014, after a $185 million dollar renovation of what was previously Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall and Saloon, next door to the Flamingo.
As a “boutique hotel,” it’s now much fancier (and expensive) than its prior version as Bill’s, yet the layout and floor plan of the casino essentially remains the same.
The Cromwell is home to a hot new popular restaurant, Giada – The Restaurant (from TV’s Food Network fame), as well as the 65,000 square foot Drai’s Beach Club nightclub on the roof of the resort.
October 2013 – Downtown Grand
Formerly the Lady Luck Casino (where I loved their variation of blackjack in which the dealer showed you both of her cards), this downtown Las Vegas hotel sat as a vacant eyesore for years before millions were put into its elaborate renovations. The Downtown Grand has 650 rooms and sets just a block off of the busy Fremont Street.
April 2013 – Nobu
I’m not sure it this counts, since it’s actually a hotel inside Caesars Palace (which is not new).
Nobu is, however, part of the new hotel-within-a-hotel trend. At just 181 rooms, this visually-pleasing boutique hotel is entirely within Caesars Palace, and makes the notoriously-pricey Caesars’s rooms seem cheap by comparison.
October 2012 – The D Las Vegas
The D Las Vegas Casino and Hotel, situated on Fremont Street in old downtown Las Vegas, sits on the corner of Fremont Street and 3rd Street, at the east end and start of the Fremont Street Experience canopy. It opened in October of 2012, after a $20 million complete renovation of what had been previously Fitzgeralds.
In July of 2014, the iconic casino formerly known as the LVH, and more famously as the Las Vegas Hilton, changed owners and changed their name to the Westgate Las Vegas. The owner, David Siegel, made famous from the hit documentary, “Queen of Versailles,” has initiated room and casino renovations. However we’re not counting this as the newest casino, considering the resort has not changed significantly in aesthetics.
So until the new Resorts World opens in 2016, the honor of being the newest, completely brand new casino in Las Vegas belongs to the Cosmopolitan on the Las Vegas Strip.
Construction on the Cosmopolitan began in 2005. It suffered many financial obstacles along the way, as the Las Vegas economy nose-dived in the late 2000’s. The Cosmopolitan eventually opened to the general public on December 15, 2010, after a controversial, widely-panned (be me at least) odd television advertising campaign. It opened almost exactly one year after the it’s neighbor, The Aria, which opened on December 16, 2009.
Other major casino projects, like the mostly-built Fontainebleau north of the Wynn, remain in limbo. (Photo courtesy of Kennejima via Flickr).