SLS Las Vegas is at 2535 Las Vegas Blvd. S. (just s. of Sahara Ave.). Built on the bones of the legendary Sahara hotel and opened in 2014, this North Strip resort ditches the old cheesy-fabulous Moroccan theme in favor of a contempo aesthetic aimed at a trendy, young crowd. At the Strip-front porte cochere you're greeted by a bizarre, 32-foot-high, silver Gumby-like statue (often compared to Patrick Star from “SpongeBob SquarePants”) that's meant to be a caricature of SLS hotel chain founder, Sam Nazarian. Way cool? Or way hideous? Your call.
The 60,000-square-foot casino space is less cluttered, more streamlined than the Sahara days. Overhead, exposed AC ducts and track lighting give the ceiling a warehouse-hip feel. Suspended above the Center Bar, a rectangular LED screen shows mind-warping 3-D videos of geometric shapes, jellyfish and a floating human face that'll have you convinced someone spiked your drink.
Nearby, a hybrid sports book/burger restaurant/beer garden has Strip-side patio seating. Retail choices include the “Goods” shop (alpaca-hair blanket, anyone?). Throughout the hotel you'll notice a prevalent monkey motif: chimps, gorillas and apes featured in everything from artworks and sculptures to the backs of the casino dealer vests. Why the primate theme? SLS (“Style, Luxury, Service”) doesn't explain, but the monkey business may have something to do with those dreaded 6:5 blackjack payouts. A handful of excellent eateries and party spots round out the resort directory.