At the beginning of 2023, we told you that Las Vegas was about to have a banner year, and on three trips to Las Vegas this year, I saw that happen with my own eyes.
Sin City is in full swing with preparations for the highly anticipated Las Vegas Grand Prix, a first-of-its-kind race around the Strip, later in November; it is also preparing to host Super Bowl LVIII next year.
The larger-than-life Sphere has finally turned on its groundbreaking screen and will open later this month with a series of ultra-immersive concerts from U2. And now the Fontainebleau—a tumultuous hotel project nearly two decades in the making—has an official opening date: December 13.
Here’s a quick overview of the project, its complex history, and what we’re most excited about when the doors open (hopefully) right before the holidays.
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The History of Fontainebleau Las Vegas
If you’ve been to Las Vegas in the past dozen years, you’ve probably seen the bones of Fontainebleau Las Vegas, a gigantic blue skyscraper that rises more than 60 stories from the ground at the north end of the strip between the Wynn and the Stratosphere.
The building broke ground in 2007, but fell victim to the 2008 financial crisis and other setbacks over the years. It bounced back and forth between various parties until it fell back into the hands of its original owner – Jeffrey Soffer of Florida-based Fontainebleau Development – along with Koch Industries’ real estate division for an undisclosed sum.
With that latest sale, failed plans for a Marriott takeover of the building (to house the Las Vegas Edition and JW Marriott, plus another project) were halted and the rebirth of Fontainebleau Las Vegas became imminent. Now, 16 years later, it looks like it’s finally happening.
What to expect from the Fontainebleau Las Vegas
It’s safe to say that people around the world are absolutely thrilled to see this sad project finally come to life. It is also equally safe to say that people have very high expectations. When the doors open on December 13 – barring regulatory permissions that could delay this, along with other unexpected delays that come with opening a new hotel (especially after 2020) – there’s a lot to look forward to.
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For starters, the 67-story building (the tallest occupied building in Nevada) will offer a whopping 3,644 rooms and suites, with an overall aesthetic from the in-house design team that combines the glamor of Las Vegas with the Florida roots of the Fontainebleau brand ( think: floor-to-ceiling windows with views of the Strip, water and coral tones plus plenty of Las Vegas-centric accents that we’ll have to see for ourselves).
Besides the rooms, there is more to enjoy. A 55,000-square-foot Lapis Spa from Lissoni & Partners offers 44 treatment rooms, a salt cave, infrared saunas, hydrotherapy lounges and mixed sensory rooms. There will also be a 14,000-square-foot fitness center, a 96,500-square-foot luxury retail area, more than 500,000 square feet of meeting space and, of course, lots of gaming space (because it’s Vegas, baby).
Entertainment options we know of so far include a three-story theater that will play host to highly anticipated (but not yet announced) shows, which makes you wonder what kind of residencies might call it home. There will also be a 15-acre pool complex, as well as Las Vegas outposts of Miami hospitality magnate David Grutman’s club LIV and a new LIV Beach.
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Speaking of the Las Vegas dining scene, big names in the hospitality industry are bringing dining concepts to the Strip in the coming months. Some newcomers include Grutman’s Papi Steak, the first outside Miami; Evan Funke’s Italian restaurant, Mother Wolf; an omakase restaurant called Ito, by chefs Masa Ito and Kevin Kim; and more. This will result in the opening of a total of 36 bars and restaurants by 2024.
And that’s exactly what was announced. Expect the unexpected in Las Vegas, and there are sure to be many more exciting announcements leading up to the December 13 opening date. But in a similar vein, we’ve seen many major, highly anticipated properties postpone their opening dates time and time again, both before the pandemic and especially in the years since. So we’ll believe it when we see it – and believe me, we really want to see it.
How do you book the Fontainebleau Las Vegas?
If you’re hoping to be one of the first in on Las Vegas’ most-watched hotel project in recent years, you can make your reservations now. You can book directly via the hotel website. Currently it appears that rooms cannot be booked for the night of December 13th. Prices start at $500 per night on December 14, but drop to $200 per night the following week through January.
It is unclear if or when the hotel will join a program like Amex Fine Hotels + Resorts, but we will continue to monitor the hotel’s progress on and after opening day.