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Best of Howard Stutz

Gaming Guru

Howard Stutz

East, West to flavor Nobu Hotel at Caesars Palace

13 June 2012

David Rockwell says the beauty of Las Vegas is its constant reinvention.

He would know.

Rockwell and his New York-based Rockwell Group had a hand in creating the interiors at several Strip resorts, most recently The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas and Crystals at CityCenter.

On Monday, the architect described the Nobu Hotel at Caesars Palace as a "distinctly Japanese experience with a Western sense of luxury," all tucked within the Roman Empire-themed resort.

The Nobu Hotel allows Rockwell and his team to take their 20-year relationship with Nobu, the restaurant operator with 25 locations on five continents, and bring that sensibility to a Strip hotel.

"We went back to the early thoughts of the restaurants and what sets them apart," Rockwell said. "Nobu is known for its extraordinary ingredients and we're sticking with that same idea with the hotel."

Caesars in March 2011 announced plans to turn the 180-room Centurion Tower, one of the property's oldest structures, over to Nobu Hospitality to create a boutique hotel within the confines of Caesars Palace at a cost of $30 million.

The hotel will start taking reservations on Oct. 1 for occupancy later this year.

The base room rate is expected to start at around $300 per night, said Caesars Palace President Gary Selesner.

"It's really a different style for Caesars Palace and is a truly unique room experience," Selesner said.

On Sunday in New York City, Caesars and Nobu jointly unveiled designs for the rooms and the tower, as well as other features, including a 12,775-square-foot Nobu restaurant that will be company's largest at 327 seats.

The hotel at Caesars Palace will be the first for Nobu Hospitality, with five more Nobu hotels within two years at a value of roughly $600 million.

Nobu Hospitality is a privately held company owned by Chef Nobu Matsuhisa, actor Robert De Niro and businessman Meir Teper.

The Nobu Hotel at Caesars will have a 9,500-square-foot entrance near the Appian Way retail area. The arrival experience will include personalized service with in-room iPad registration and a traditional hot tea welcome amenity.

Caesars Palace, which is owned by Caesars Entertainment Corp., has nearly 4,000 rooms, including the 660-room Octavius Tower, which opened in January.

Selesner hopes the revamped tower will become a draw to customers loyal to Nobu's restaurants, which attract 3 million customers annually.

"This gives us access to a great market segment that tends to be younger and more affluent," Selesner said.

Some of the style designs for the guest rooms include custom art by up-and-coming Japanese artists that feature a mix of traditional prints and expressionist designs.

The main focal point of the room will be the feature wall that displays a custom calligraphy.

The bathrooms will have teak fittings, stone tile and sleek modern fixtures. The oversized walk-in shower is made with traditional black Umi tiles and offers multiple showerheads and a teak bathing stool, a fixture of traditional Japanese bathhouses.

Rockwell said the idea is to blend Japanese and Asian traditions with Western accompaniments, such as leather sofas with handcrafted pillows with Japanese symbols.

"[Chef] Nobu is a very creative personality and we believe that in the landscape of luxury hotels, this will be personality driven," Rockwell said.

The in-room minibar will have such selections as organic Wild Poppy blood orange chili juice, chocolate-dipped Pocky pretzels, Japanese beer and Nobu's signature brands of chilled sake and Genmai-Cha brown rice green tea.

Nobu Hotel guests will have private access to the restaurant and lounge with priority seating and 24-hour access to Nobu cuisine through a specialized in-room dining menu, which includes sushi, and a selection of bento boxes for a customary Japanese breakfast.

"It's a little different," Selesner said. "You'll still be able to get a club sandwich or a hamburger. The menu is really coming from Chef Nobu's mind."