One of the most storied hotel companies in the United States is inching closer to a brand new, $3.7-billion resort in Las Vegas — a resort 23 years in the making.
Fontainebleau Las Vegas will be the sister property of Fontainebleau Miami Beach, a sprawling and now iconic landmark that opened in 1954 and is widely regarded as America’s first destination resort.
The Las Vegas outpost is set to open December 13 on 25 acres at the north end of the Las Vegas Strip, essentially between the West Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center and the Sahara. Its shimmering monolithic façade will be visible from the northernmost turns on the course of the Formula One car race that will rumble around Sin City next month.
In a city that prides itself on show-stoppers, the debut of this particular hotel is a big deal — Fontainebleau brings major name recognition and is the first new resort on the Strip since Resorts World opened in 2021.
The 3,644-room resort also represents the culmination of a 23-year journey that started for Jeffrey Soffer, Fontainebleau Development’s chairman and CEO, when he purchased the land back in 2000.
Construction on the hotel began in 2007, but construction stopped the following year due to the Great Recession. The building sat there, 70% finished, for 12 years — a giant steel punchline to jokes about overdevelopment. Finally, a flurry of deals rekindled the project just before the pandemic. Soffer and Fontainebleau Development, in partnership with Koch Real Estate Investments, reacquired the property in 2021 and charged forward with plans to finish what they had started.
Posh suites for high-rollers
While every resort in Las Vegas offers high-end suites for the biggest gamblers, the high-end suites at Fontainebleau Las Vegas promise to unlock a new level of elegance, according to an exclusive recently obtained by CNN Travel.
These 76 suites — collectively branded as Fontainebleau Fleur de Lis — will occupy the top five floors of the 67-story tower. Considering Fontainebleau Las Vegas is the tallest occupiable building in the state (the Strat Tower is taller but it’s technically not an occupiable building), the suites will offer commanding views of the Strip and the entire Las Vegas Valley.
Other notable features in some of the suites include billiards tables, wellness rooms and custom Italian bedding.
Fontainebleau Development president Brett Mufson said the Fleur de Lis collection offers a “six-star experience” tailored to individual preferences, creating a home-away-from-home feel for every guest.
“We are proud to say Fleur de Lis is a masterpiece, with meaning behind every detail and design choice, and we cannot wait for guests to discover what we’ve created for them,” he told CNN last week.
Fleur de Lis suites range in size from 1,000 square feet to the pinnacle of luxury: the 10,000-square-foot penthouse. Designed by the London-based David Collins Studio, these spaces feature high ceilings, as well as several design nods to the original mid-century modern Fontainebleau Miami Beach.
For example, all suites — and a host of other spaces around the resort — boast the bowtie shape that original architect Morris Lapidus designed for the Florida property.
“As we approached this project, we recognized that the design needed to be a nod to the original location, with aspects incorporated throughout the property, but we needed to create something entirely new and unexpected to meet the moment,” said Simon Rawlings, chief creative officer at the David Collins Studio. “The history is in the details with icons and symbols effortlessly incorporated into the design that represent the history and authentic personality [of the brand].”
Mufson added that Fleur de Lis guests have access to personal valet and concierge service for arranging tickets and dinner reservations, as well as butlers who can help find the perfect pillows, draw baths and more.
Published rates for Fleur de Lis suites start at $5,000 per night, while regular rooms start at $300 per night.
Redefining food and beverage
Fontainebleau Las Vegas also is taking an unconventional approach to its 36 restaurants and bars.
The resort has partnered with Groot Hospitality to bring Fontainebleau Miami Beach’s nightclub LIV and homegrown restaurants Komodo and Papi Steak to the desert (in perfect-for-Vegas larger formats). Other concepts in the resort’s collection feature all-stars including Michelin-starred chefs Masa Ito and Kevin Kim, Chef Evan Funke and restaurateurs Alan Yau and David Rodolitz, to name a few.
Perhaps most notably, Cantina Contramar, a restaurant opening in 2024, will unite for the first time in the United States three of the most recognized and celebrated women in the Mexican culinary and creative communities: chef Gabriela Cámara, architect Frida Escobedo, and Tequila Casa Dragones founder and the first maestra tequilera, Bertha González Nieves. In a Las Vegas first, the cantina will have a Casa Dragones tasting room.
This out-of-the-box food and beverage plan certainly is turning heads. Al Mancini, creator of Neon Feast, a restaurant guide and app, said the Fontainebleau model could be a “game-changer” for the local food scene.
“We haven’t tasted any food yet, but it’s especially interesting when a brand-new operator wants to partner with people who aren’t entrenched [in the Vegas dining scene],” said Mancini, who worked as a local food writer for 20 years before launching Neon Feast in 2022. “At the very minimum, [Fontainebleau] will bring high-end dining to the north end of the Strip, which will benefit everyone.”
There will be other standout elements of Fontainebleau Las Vegas as well.
One example: the 55,000-square-foot Lapis Spa designed by Milan-based Lissoni & Partners. Inspired by the Lapis Spa at Fontainebleau Miami Beach, the Las Vegas iteration will comprise 44 treatment rooms, a purifying salt cave, a healing infrared sauna, men’s and women’s hydrotherapy lounges and a co-ed sensory room with communal healing waters.
Spa lighting also is programmed to mimic the lighting outside; it waxes and wanes depending on the time of day.
Fontainebleau Las Vegas also has grabbed headlines for some of its entertainment bookings; earlier this month the resort announced Post Malone would open the 3,800-seat BleauLive Theater with shows on December 30 and 31.
Mufson said Fontainebleau likely will ink other artists to smaller, limited-engagement runs of anywhere from two to eight shows at a time — a notable departure from the trend of Las Vegas resorts signing performers to long-term residencies, and a throwback to the days when the Rat Pack or Elvis would come to Fontainebleau Miami Beach for one or two shows at a time.
This might be the greatest asset of Fontainebleau Las Vegas: It’s a new hotel with lots of history. In a town that celebrates fire and flash, the pairing of sophistication and substance should be quite a win.
Matt Villano is a writer and editor in Northern California. He has covered Las Vegas since 2003.
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