W Las Vegas: New Downtown Hotel Ups the Cool Quotient

Some major companies are rocking their respective industries by either announcing a move to Vegas or launching their brand there in 2017. The NFL is shipping the Raiders to the desert, a new NHL franchise drops the puck in the fall, and on the edge of downtown Las Vegas, a big W perched high in the sky means there’s a new option for luxury travelers who want a cooler, more intimate option when they are in town. The W has finally arrived in Vegas, which means not only has the cool quotient been amped up considerably in the hospitality industry in this exciting city, but W fans no longer have to wait forever for Whatever/Whenever service.

After years of seeking out site locations, researching potential pairing partners, and preparing for this much-anticipated entry into Vegas nightlife and hospitality, W Las Vegas is here. “We were looking for the right pairing, and we found the right one,” General Manager Mark Eberwein tells me during their recent grand opening bash. “We definitely had options to be a stand-alone, but ultimately W always wants to be a more micro boutique, chic hotel. So to be a monster, 3,000-room hotel doesn’t fit who we are. We’ve got to be able to engage, and react and create an experience for our guests.”

And unlike some of the palaces on the Strip, the biggest, best, and most lavish suites at W Las Vegas are rooms you can actually reserve. “One thing that is unique about us, is the large and spectacular suites are actually available,” Eberwein says. “At the big casinos out here, the biggest and best suites are only reserved for people that spend $100K at the tables. Still, regardless of how opulent your room is, after a day of lounging, shopping, golfing, or gaming, the legendary W signature bed — replete with a plush, pillow-top mattress, goose-down pillows and duvet, and 300-thread-count cotton-blend sheets — always makes the end of your day blissful.

The reason it took so long for a W to finally appear in the Nevada desert is that W Hotels Worldwide was patiently waiting for the right spot. They didn’t roll the dice on their own space by building it from the ground up, instead, the hotel went with what they thought would be more of a sure bet, partnering with SLS Las Vegas, so the W is literally a hotel-within-a-hotel, occupying their own tower, check-in area, and valet location on the North End of the Vegas Strip inside the SLS.

The partnership with SLS means that the cool crowd that flock to Vegas regularly from LA, Scottsdale/Phoenix, the Bay Area, and San Diego who are already are familiar have a new go-to place to stay in the fastest-emerging part of Downtown Las Vegas. The north area of the Strip is currently undergoing a tremendous transformation — not unlike what has been going on in Brooklyn the past few years — and because of the energy of the W and SLS, and the chic and vibrant crowd it organically attracts, there’s a very distinct and unique buzz you feel when you are on the property.

One thing I particularly appreciated and I know Jetset readers will as well, is that you don’t feel like your ran an ultra-marathon or went through a boot camp class with the check-in process. Guest what? It’s swift, breezy, and effortless at the W. You’re not checking into a hotel that resembles Grand Central Station at 5:30 PM on a weekday. The intimate setting means more personal service, less stress, and the potential for an epic stay.

“Ultimately for us, this is an opportunity for you to come out here and have a chic, adult view of Las Vegas,” Eberwein explained. “If you want the madness, you just walk down the street, it’s all day for you. When you come to the Living Room, there’s energy and excitement going on, but it’s not overwhelming. It’s not exhausting. You don’t have to listen to slot machines going off 24 hours to really enjoy yourself. And the WET Deck [pool area] has great energy, but you can relax up there.”

SLS does have a casino, so if you want to gamble when you are staying at W Las Vegas you have that option readily available. SLS is also already renowned for their extraordinary food and beverage. Their restaurants are outstanding, and what W management has learned is that their guests value great dining and nightlife as high as anything in Vegas, so the options for a great meal are tremendous. The property has seven primary eateries, including on-site coffee shop, The Perq; Northside Café & Chinese Kitchen, which is available 24 hours a day; Bazaar Meat by José Andrés; Katsuya; Cleo; 800 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria; and Umami Burger. It’s a veritable cornucopia for passionate gourmands.

Experienced and sophisticated travelers know there is a different vibe at W Hotels. The boutique feel is intimate, the music pumping throughout is so true to the brand that it’s actually referred to as “W Hotel Music” by many people. (At least that’s what I call it.) But if you’re going to compete with the big boys in Vegas, you have to offer the same type of luxury, pampering, and over-the-top service that this city is known for. W Las Vegas seems keenly aware of this, and they do luxury while also remaining authentic. The spa is not a palatial, mega-complex like others in Vegas. This one is more irreverent, with low-key music. The philosophy here is the idea that a spa should be a place to revitalize yourself and get ready for the night. A typical W guest going a spa service is thinking more along the lines of “game on” after a treatment as opposed to “lights out.”

“We are presenting a new angle on luxury,” Eberwein explains. “I think people for the first time they come to Vegas want to go to the amusement park [large hotels and casinos], but those who are grown up really know exactly what they want. And they want to come into a relaxed environment, and then go out to the party. That’s who we are looking for.” You’ll find no shortage of those type of people in the pool area, or “WET Deck” as it is known in W lingo. This pool is more European-style and is adults only. It will be an incredible place to be on a hot Vegas summer day no doubt, and like other Vegas pools, it could double as a casting call for beautiful, tan, and fit young people.

In my opinion and experience, no matter how much planning and patience a hotel chain shows and goes through — or how many millions they spend on construction, collaboration, design, and decor — once the doors actually open, a world-class hotel always relies on the people that work there to make the magic happen. Casting is critical, especially in a destination like Las Vegas where there are no second chances on first impressions. The competition is too great and the phenomenal options are too plentiful. W Las Vegas comes up all aces in this department.

You’ll find no shortage of those type of people in the pool area, or “WET Deck” as it is known in W lingo. This pool is more European style and is adults only. It will be an incredible place to be on a hot Vegas summer day no doubt, and like other Vegas pools, it could double as a casting call for beautiful, tan and fit young people.T

In my opinion and experience, no matter how much planning and patience a hotel chain shows and goes through, or how many multi-millions they spend on construction, collaboration, design, and decor, once the doors actually open, a world-class hotel always relies on their people that work there to make the magic happen. Casting is critical, especially in a city and destination like Las Vegas where there are no second chances on first impressions. The competition is too great and the phenomenal options are too plenty. W Las Vegas comes up all aces in this department.

GM Mark Eberwein has years of experience with the brand, successfully running W Hotels in Los Angeles and San Francisco, as well as the St. Regis in Deer Valley. He has a laid back and cool demeanor coupled with a confident, inviting and always in control vibe about him that sets the tone for a very well-cast staff that is there to make sure you are getting that Whatever/Whenever service from the moment you touch their carpet. “Las Vegas has such an amazing culture of hospitality out here,” Eberwein explained. “The more I learned about it, the more I was impressed by what everyone else does. It’s an incredible family out here. We’re just really honored to be part of it.”

Welcome to Vegas, W Hotel. You were worth the wait.

W Las Vegas
2535 Las Vegas Blvd. South.
www.wlasvegas.com
877-822-0000

About The Author

Tom Zenner

Tom Zenner is a magazine editor, writer, television host, media personality, author and book publisher based in Los Angeles. He also contributes regular sports commentary on sports shows, including NBC 4 in Los Angeles. For 15 years Tom was a primary television sports anchor in Chicago (NBC 5), Boston (Fox 25) and Phoenix (ABC 15 & NBC 12). For two seasons Tom was the host and emcee for the Phoenix Suns of the NBA, and he currently hosts and produces health, nutrition and fitness lifestyle content for major health club chains. On the print and publishing side, Tom is the writer of the top-selling commemorative sports books in the nation, authoring over 45 championship books that have sold over a million copies. He was a Contributing Editor for Maxim Magazine and Details Magazine, and is currently the Executive Editor for Jetset Magazine.

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