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Five things to know about the new SLS Las Vegas

Like why your favorite place may be the parking garage

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Photo: Adam Shane

It’s old, yet totally new. Why did SBE decide to keep the Sahara structure instead of pulling a Vegas and imploding, then starting from scratch? Well, adaptive reuse of existing properties is kind of SBE’s thing (see: SLS South Beach’s original 1939 building). Plus, as Senior Vice President of Development Joe Faust said when they bought the iconic casino, “It’s got really good bones. I think we got a great box. We can totally transform this property.”

Though you might recognize the general outline of the Sahara in SLS’ silhouette, inside it’s decisively fresh (and you’ll never guess which swank space used to house the NASCAR Cafe).

Your favorite place may be the parking garage. Or rather the façade of the parking garage that overlooks Foxtail Pool Club, which will serve hotel guests during the week and transition to a daylife destination on summer weekends. Poolside frolicking surrounded by cement wasn’t cutting it, so the casino commissioned KT Corporation to create a massive LED projection that transforms the garage into a captivating, pulsating art installation. Prepare for a million Facebook videos.

Weekly's First Look at SLS

Philippe Starck loves soundproofing material, hates slot toppers. Walk into Foxtail, SLS cool club lounge, and you’ll notice the walls look a bit like dried spaghetti. That’s soundproofing material, says Faust. “When Starck saw the material he said, ‘What is this? I absolutely love it. I want to finish the whole space with it.’” Blanketed in calligraphic graffiti by French/Moroccan artist Tarek Benaoum, it totally works. What didn’t work for über-designer Starck? Vegas’ “hideous” traditional slot toppers. He created a handful of his own sculptural works, turning the casino-floor moneymakers into something a little more ... artistic.

Tarek Benaoum is the artist behind Foxtail's engrossing calligraphy decor.

You will love the details. Of course, we’re still getting to know this new kid on the block, but so far, our favorite elements are sort of hidden in plain view: the elevator bank decked in mirrors and lit by dozens of dangling filament bulbs that feels like a sexy funhouse; the Monkey Bar’s portraits of serious-faced apes in old-timey attire; the lacey crystal chandeliers inside Mediterranean restaurant Cleo, where a brick oven rises to the ceiling and a photo of SBE CEO Sam Nazarian’s girlfriend as Cleopatra guards the door.

The Strip-facing entrance is a chandelier—sort of. Instead of placing an epic lighting fixture above the entrance, Starck decided to place guests inside one, covering the walls and ceiling in mirrored tiles above a glass-paneled floor that illuminates with a mutating colorful display. Walk into the SLS at night, and everything will seem to glow—including you.

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Sarah Feldberg is the editor of Las Vegas Weekly magazine. A veteran journalist, Feldberg previously worked as the Weekly's web ...

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