Alex Meruelo and The Meruelo Group will soon become the sole operator at the SLS Las Vegas, as hotel partner W Las Vegas departs the resort on July 20, ahead of huge changes for the 1,616-room, three-tower, north Strip resort.
First shared by the BoardingArea blog, the SLS will “no longer be affiliated with the W brand,” ending less than two years in control of the 289-room LUX Tower.
The departure enables Meruelo to fully implement his vision for the SLS, expected to include a re-branding as the Grand Sahara Resort. While yet to confirm the long-rumored name change, interior remodeling paperwork filed earlier this month officially and publicly uses the Grand Sahara label for the first time. The Meruelo Group has owned the similarly dubbed Grand Sierra Resort & Casino in Reno since 2006.
The Meruelo Group allocated an estimated construction budget of $3.5 million, part of a promised $100 million overhaul. The initial yet-to-be specified improvements address mechanical, electrical, and sprinkler upgrades, which may include covering over the exposed casino floor ceiling, a design move SLS general manager Paul Hobson cited as a priority to The Los Angeles Times back in April.
Within the same article, Meruelo revealed he is also interested in curating an untapped customer base, explaining “in my opinion, the Hispanic market has been under-served in Vegas and Reno” and qualifying ”that doesn’t mean I’m only going to focus on the Hispanic market,” But he again affirmed, “I am Hispanic and I’m very proud of that, but that’s just one more under-served market we plan to go after.”
Meruelo began his hospitality career creating the La Pizza Loca chain in Southern California. The current roster of restaurants at the resort includes the remaining local pizza outpost for California-based 800 Degrees. Alongside Bazaar Meat by José Andrés, Cleo, Katsuya, and Umami Burger, all the casino floor dining options should be considered vulnerable to possible future changes or replacement.
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