Starwood Launches W Brand on the Las Vegas Strip
Over the past few years we have seen several of the major international hotel brands make moves to affiliate with properties in Las Vegas. The Venetian and Palazzo are Intercontinental Alliance Resorts, the Tropicana is a Hilton affiliate, the Cosmopolitan partners with Marriott, Hyatt has their Mlife partnership and Starwood even partners with Caesar’s entertainment. There is no shortage of ways to use points on the Strip, although many aren’t a good value.
What truly is missing though is a national flagship brand on the Strip (Mandarin Oriental & Four Seasons. don’t count in my opinion.) Fortunately it seems like that is coming. SPG announced today that they have partnered with the SLS to bring the W brand to the Las Vegas Strip. Located on Las Vegas Boulevard North and Sahara Ave., the SLS which formerly was the Sahara has really struggled.
Splitting Hotels & Branding
As part of the renovations to open as SLS, the property’s three towers were renovated. As I understand it, the Lux tower contains the highest end rooms which were remodeled to the best standard. The other two towers are sort of mid-range and contain the property’s “World” and more budget “Story” rooms. Today’s announcement will essentially split the SLS into two separate hotels.
The fancier Lux tower will be re-branded as the W Las Vegas following a renovation that will go on through 2016. The W Las Vegas will have 289 rooms and will also feature the brand’s signature “Living Room” lobby concept, a dedicated entrance for W guests, 14,500 square feet of W branded meeting space along with a Spa, fitness center and pool deck.
As part of this re-branding, the other 1,324 rooms will continue to be operated as the SLS Las Vegas, but will align with Starwood’s Tribute Portfolio. The SLS property will continue to be operated as an independent hotel, while the W hotel will be managed by Starwood. This addition will increase Starwood’s total number of guestrooms by .5% worldwide.
About the SLS
From the press release:
“Everything is bigger in Vegas, and SLS Las Vegas is no exception,” said Kreeger. “With more than 1,600 guestrooms, numerous bars, restaurants and nightlife venues, a world-class casino, and 80,000 square feet of meeting and event space, SLS Las Vegas is a standout property. We look forward to partnering with Starwood to soon debut the W brand, a terrific complement to the SLS and a fabulous addition to the Las Vegas Strip.”
Designed by Gensler in consultation with Philippe Starck, SLS Las Vegas offers:
1,613 guestrooms, including 120 suite, Eight restaurants, such as Bazaar Meat by José Andrés and Katsuya by Starck, Three nightlife and entertainment venues, Two pools, 80,000 square-feet of flexible indoor and outdoor meeting space, 54,000-square-foot casino, including a William Hill sports book.
As a Las Vegas local I find this story very interesting. SLS aligned with Hilton’s Curio Collection last year, which is similar to the Tribute Collection at Starwood. Since the other two towers along with the casino will be operated in the same way, I don’t really see that as news. To me, the noteworthy thing about this is the addition of the W brand to the North Strip.
At first glance that might not seem like a big deal, but I think it is. The W brand really fits in well with the SLS brand, so they will compliment each other. Additionally, this will be the first Strip property managed by a major hotel corporation with national branding. I think if anything will save this struggling property this will.
The loss of the Riviera along with a number of stalled developments on the Northern side of the Las Vegas Strip has made it a tough go for the struggling SLS. By splitting the hotel and partnering with Starwood, I think the owners have given the property its best chance of survival until other projects in the area are completed. Right now they get very limited foot traffic, so this will help to bring brand recognition and more importantly guests to the hotel.
You can find the full press release here.