My first impression of SLS Las Vegas is positive but not perfect. Nothing is perfect as far as I’m concerned. I’ve already detailed some of the flaws from the first few days of business in a separate post.
1. The Setup
The pre-opening moniker SLS Las Vegas used to describe the property was “affordable luxury”. That set up for the hotel to be fancy on a budget. For example there’s no way to make Ikea furniture feel luxurious but it can look nice. With that in mind I went in with limited expectations.
2. Casino Layout
I care more about the casino than most of SLS Las Vegas. The floor plan is only 60,000 square feet. If you ever visited Sahara this is 20,000 square feet less. The floor plan is small, which is fine but there are choke points that make it almost impossible to go to certain parts of the casino. The high traffic walkway by table area near the players club and The Griddle is tight and will always be busy. There are similar choke points on the slot floor that will be impossible to walk through because machines are packed so closely. Just scope out areas before sitting down at a table or machine.
Layout aside there are ample 3:2 blackjack games for $5 and $10. Craps has $10 minimums. There is decent video poker and all new slot machines. I dig all of this and wouldn’t mind gambling here. US Poker has a breakdown of most of the games.
Parts of the casino floor seem dark and that can make the tight casino feel almost claustrophobic on busy nights. This feels like a casino I’d visit during the day more than at night.
3. Umami Burger – Sportsbook – Beer Garden
Umami Burger a sports bar/restaurant with a patio and a place to bet on sports. Burger prices are between $12 and $15. Not too bad for the Vegas Strip. Draft beers are around $9-10 and bottles start at $5. There are no drink tickets from William Hill for sports bets as of opening but I think that will change. If you drink/eat at the video poker bar your drinks will be comp’d while you have money in play.
I really like this as a restaurant. Like I said in Vegas Chatter this is a good sports bar/restaurant but it’s not a traditional sportsbook. It should be packed with sports fans for big events but expect to see kids and families in the mix on other days. Even thought it’s not a traditional sportsbook this is my favorite spot at SLS Las Vegas.
Note, you can still sit and watch games without spending any money. However, if there are paying customers for Umami Burger you’ll politely be asked to leave if you’re not spending money.
4. Dining and High Priced Drinks
Most of the food at the restaurants are fairly priced for the Vegas Strip. They’re not cheap and they’re not out-of-bounds. Early reviews are positive and my Umami Burger was great (more detail soon, I can only write so much).
Be aware that most of the drinks are expensive compared to the food prices. My Umami burger was $12 and my Rogue Dead Guy would have been $9 if I wasn’t playing video poker. Cocktails at Cleo and other restaurants are in the $14-$15 range.
If I’m out for a night on the Vegas Strip these priced won’t bother me much but some will be/have been upset about this.
5. Rooms Are Pretty But Small
There’s only so much design can do to mask that most of the rooms are 300-500 square feet. For comparison the bathroom at The Palazzo is about 300 square feet. The rooms look nice and they’ve been designed to maximize the small size. Don’t be surprised by this.
6. Vibe – Day
SLS is being marketed to two customers and you can see that with the vibe during the day and at night. During the day you’ll see more older, low-key, gambling customers. The vibe will be a mix of older locals, tourists and weekend visitors from LA just waking up or going to sleep. The locals marketing should make SLS one of the top strip hotels for locals. This is when I’ll be visiting most often.
7. Vibe – Night
Things change when the sun goes down. There are 3 nightclubs so you can expect younger crowds. This crowd generally doesn’t know how to gamble and can be loud and obnoxious (#GOML). Since the casino is so tight the mix of testosterone, booze and drugs seems like a toxic mix for disaster. Hopefully security keeps things under control. Chances are you’ll never see me at SLS on a weekend night.
Self park is easy to navigate and the garage has wide lanes. This is rare for an older parking garage. I will self park at SLS until I hear of problems with crime in the garage. I valet when the self park isn’t convenient to the casino (like Planet Hollywood) but prefer to park myself. I dig this.
My overall impression of SLS Las Vegas is positive. I’d probably give SLS Las Vegas a B grade. It passes what I like in a casino but it’s not perfect. There’s good gambling, a good burger joint, nice area to drink outside, seemingly good restaurants at fair prices and an independent coffee roaster.
On the flip side the casino can feel claustrophobic, the rooms are small and there’s potential for an explosion of personalities on the weekend.
I look forward to exploring SLS Las Vegas more often as time goes by to see if it’s better or worse than my first impression.
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