Is SLS Las Vegas The Cheapest Starwood Property?

In early November I first wrote about the SLS Las Vegas joining Starwood as a Tribute Portfolio property by the end of the year. Tribute Portfolio is Starwood’s collection of independent hotels, which I’m really excited about. This was huge news for Starwood, as it represented their single largest addition of hotel rooms in North America post-recession.

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Interestingly the SLS Las Vegas was previously a Hilton Curio collection property, so it was a big loss for Hilton and a big gain for Starwood.

The transition has happened with the anticipated timeline, and as of this week the SLS Las Vegas is a Tribute Portfolio property. As a Starwood loyalist I’m especially excited about this addition because it’s the first actually “decent” option in Las Vegas. Yes, they had a Westin, Four Points, and Element, but those weren’t exactly properties you’d consider staying at if they didn’t have the SPG affiliation. While the location of the SLS isn’t ideal (at least for where I want to be on the Strip), it’s still a great option to have.

Furthermore, while Starwood has a partnership with Caesars, it doesn’t offer the full “SPG experience” in terms of elite benefits, qualifying for promotions, etc.

So it’s exciting to have a Strip property which is fully integrated into SPG. With that in mind, I think it’s also especially exciting that rates at this property are ridiculously low on weekdays, as you might expect. Weekday rates at the SLS Las Vegas start at just $33 per night, making it the cheapest Starwood property I’ve ever seen.

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The catch is that there’s a daily resort fee of $29, which includes airport shuttle service, in-room internet access, local and toll-free phone calls, and access to the pool and fitness center. So while that puts the rate over $60, it’s still a fantastic option if you’re looking for cheap Starwood stay credits.

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The SLS Las Vegas is an SPG Category 5 property, making a free night 12,000 Starpoints per night. Personally I think the hotel is in too high of a category. Weekend rates tend to be around $100-130, while the highest rate I could find for any date was $199. That seems a bit aggressive, especially given how heavily discounted Las Vegas hotels are beyond the published rates (meaning so many people are booking through discounted third party sites).

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Bottom line

It’s exciting to finally have a “real” Starwood option on the Vegas Strip. While Starwood does have a partnership with Caesars, it’s not the same experience as staying at an actual Starwood property. I’m excited to check out the SLS Las Vegas the next time I’m in Vegas. I am a bit puzzled by it being a Category 5 property, though.

Do you plan on staying at the SLS Las Vegas now that it’s fully integrated into Starwood?

Comments

  1. I stayed here while it was Hilton property. Rates were higher. We didn’t really care for the property. If the dates you are desiring are expensive, because of a convention, etc. This hotel at least gives a strip room at decent price.
    Finding a strip hotel without a resort fee is almost impossible. Having an airport shuttle as part of the fee eases the sting. I don’t know of any strip hotel that offers an airport shuttle as part of the resort fee. Whales are picked up by hotel limo wherever they are, but that’s a different story.

  2. It was Hilton Cat 7 when it was a Hilton, which led to some amusing, laugh out loud-worthy award prices:

    60,000 points, 24,000 points and $100… or $49.

    Yeah. What a bargain for your Hilton points!

    In my opinion, markets like Vegas or Bangkok are places where you should pay cash, never points (with some very limited exceptions- in Bangkok some low-end SPGs can be OK value on C&P and sometimes IHG deals on cheap points can make Venetian/Palazzo an OK redemption), and ones where the hotel loyalty game is best not played in preference for free agency.

    I mean, really, you can buy a decent Vegas breakfast buffet for $20 or less, and cheap booze is everywhere, so it’s not like the usual “hey, I get free breakfast in the executive lounge! what’s the spread like? Oh, and there’s cocktails later too…” benefit is all THAT compelling.

  3. As for SLS Las Vegas itself… it’s pretty decent value at cheap rates (I stayed there on Super Bowl weekend last year for rates much less than any other Strip property), but they are taking a bath at those rates. There are times where SLS is cheaper than some lower-middle end downtown Las Vegas properties, which is basically an admission that they can’t fill their rooms at Strip prices and they will take what they can get.

    The standard room size for a lot of the property is pretty small compared to the upper-mid tier Vegas resorts (Mandalay Bay, MGM, Mirage, Paris, Planet Hollywood), which is what they theoretically are trying to aim for with their market. The rooms are nicely enough refurbished, but not really “wow”, and I would expect that if they continue losing money like they have been since they opened you’re going to see the usual cutbacks on maintenance and amenities that you see with struggling properties. They’ve already closed the buffet and changed who operates the coffee shop. I see the Hilton to SPG change as a certain amount of flailing, trying to find a formula that works.

  4. And before someone says “but I’m SPG Platinum, I’ll get upgraded to a suite on a $70 room, what do I care about the standard rooms?”… the problem is that SLS Las Vegas isn’t going to be making much money on giving away suites at $70. If your competitors can get $200-300 on average weekends and you’re struggling to get half of that, in part because of location and the physical plant isn’t quite as good, and you paid a lot of money to redo the property… that is a problem. If your property is trying to be upscale with Jose Andrés restaurants and the obligatory nightclub and has prices the same as Hooters or other low-roller joints, that’s a problem.

    Enjoy the low prices and the nice suites while you can. Either they’re going to go up or that property is going to go downhill.

  5. I’ve always struggled to get this hotel. It’s sls in name only and has no connection to the sls in Beverly Hills. It seems to want to cater to an audience that it can’t get in part because it’s pricing model is flawed, and actively puts it’s desired clientele off. There’s no wow factor here pool, bars, clubs. .. anything. I like the la influenced stores and eateries within the hotel but that’s hardly a draw to stay at the property. It’s cheap enough, but how long will / can it remain at the current standard when rates are so low?

  6. I am certain that part of the ownership consideration was the ability to join SPG for the regular SLS hotel to change things up…but also to convert its one tower into a future W Las Vegas. The W hotel tower will definitely attract more to the property in the future. Part of the overall property challenge is that the area around it hasn’t been developed as quickly as they expected, partly due to the recession and crash in property values in Vegas. The scale back in development left the SLS in an island area with little nearby. As that improves with the recovering economy, the SLS will fare better. SPG (and now Marriott) will be happy to have the additional large presence in Vegas and can wait that out. The question will be whether or not the current ownership can wait it out. Having a future W hotel will definitely help, though.

  7. Ben, I’m curious. I know you’re primarily “loyal” to both SPG and Hyatt. However, in the absence of some of the collateral earning and transferring benefits/opportunities of SPG would that still be the case? What would be your hotel loyalty strictly on the basis of the INTRA-program benefit, earning, and redemption opportunities/perks along with a dose of “I just like to stay at their properties”? Best regards – and happy holidays!!

  8. How sleazy. The unadvertised mandatory fee is almost as high as the advertised rates. Why isn’t someone in jail for this?

    And fees don’t earn SPG points just to slap you in the face twice.

  9. I stayed there 3 weeks ago in anticipation of the SPG affiliation. It was really underwhelming. The bones on the 50 year old Sahara (which that property used to be) still shine through. And on a $70 rate they gave us a horrible room on the 3rd floor. Can’t even imagine where they put you for 30 bucks.

  10. Yeah, the standard rooms are small and dark, since they kept the Sahara bones for two of the towers (the World and Story towers). The suites in the Lux tower are large and nicer, but underwhelming compared to so many of the luxurious strip hotels that have much better furnishings and finishes. They’re already showing wear and lack of maintenance.

  11. I actually stay/have stayed at the SLS a lot, mainly because of the dirt cheap price and, for me, nice design of the (smallish) rooms. I always have a car so staying at the isolated property is not a negative for me, plus I enjoy Bazaar Meat.

    Even though I like the place, I knew it was headed for disaster/change of hands.

    If you follow SBE in general, one worries about the future of the company based on the massive mistakes made in the past 2 years. Mr Nazarian moved himself and his empire there, bought a huge place in Vegas and named himself “ambassador for the North end of the strip”. He was then denied full gaming license due to drug use and being blackmailed, the SLS gets bad reviews on yelp, SLS lays off staff, hotel closes buffet and restaurants, SLS hemorrhages money every quarter, Mr Nazarian sells house in Vegas and leaves city. No matter how you try to spin this its bad.

    This on top of the 99% built but never to open SLS Baha Mar in Bahamas, the sale of Katsuya and Cleo nixed at the last minute by The One Group, the failed merger with Morgans denied by Morgans board, getting kicked out of the L.A. Live hotel project, losing several other management contracts, and the layoff of corporate staff in WeHo.

  12. In Vegas, pay cash (or get comped) at the hotel of your choice (Wynn, Mandarin Oriental, Cosmopolitan, whatever). Don’t bother with points

  13. For mattress run it seems pricey @ $62/nt + tax – I can sometimes find local 4Ps near that rate and I don’t have to travel to Vegas.

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