First look at Fontainebleau Las Vegas

Fontainebleau Las Vegas, the 3,644-room resort and casino, officially opened last week on the northern end of the famed Las Vegas Strip, adding new accommodations and bringing a nearly 19-year saga to an end.

The property was first announced in 2005 as a planned sister resort to the Fontainebleau Miami Beach hotel in Florida. Construction began two years later, and the hotel tower was topped off in 2008. But when the project went over budget, the supporting banks cut off funding and the development went into Chapter 11 bankruptcy in June 2009, four months before the scheduled opening.  

Billionaire investor Carl Icahn purchased the project out of bankruptcy in 2010 and announced five years later that he would put it up for sale. In 2017, a partnership led by New York developer Steven Witkoff bought the long-abandoned resort for $600 million. A year later, Witkoff partnered with Marriott International to turn the property into the Drew Las Vegas, which would include the first Edition in the city and the first JW Marriott on The Strip. The Drew was, at the time of the announcement, slated to open in late 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic halted the conversion, and Soffer was able to buy the property back in February.

At last week’s opening gala, Fontainebleau Development Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Soffer joined Clark County Commissioner Tick Segerblom on stage to receive the Key to the Strip, as December 13 was declared “Fontainebleau Las Vegas Day.” As he handed Mr. Soffer the ceremonial Key, the commissioner hailed Fontainebleau Development’s significant contribution to the growth and prestige of the Strip, as well as the strengthening of ties between Fontainebleau and the Las Vegas community. Additionally, Fontainebleau Development and Fontainebleau Las Vegas were honored with the Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition from U.S. Sen. Jacky Rosen, a Certificate of Special Congressional Commendation from U.S. Rep. Dina Titus and an official proclamation from Assemblyman Howard Watts III.

Design Team

Fontainebleau Las Vegas takes up nearly 25 acres adjacent to the Las Vegas Convention Center District West Hall. (It also has 550,000 square feet of meeting and convention space designed by Jeffrey Beers International in its own right.) To evoke the Miami original, Fontainebleau Development hired David Collins Studio, led by the design firm’s Chief Creative Officer Simon Rawlings, and Peter Arnell Design, led by Chief Brand and Innovation Officer Peter Arnell.

Architectural Designer Carlos Zapata was tapped to develop all exterior architecture. Rockwell Group designed the food and beverage concepts, nightclub, dayclub, sportsbook and tavern, gaming area and fitness center. Lissoni New York, the North American office and interior design practice of architect and designer Piero Lissoni (and an extension of Milan-based interdisciplinary studio Lissoni & Partners) designed the spa, while Lifescapes International created the landscape environment (entire exterior, porte cochere, pool areas and several interior environments). Jeffrey Beers International also designed the outdoor pool area, which covers six acres with seven pools, five bars, two restaurants, and an approximately 2,300-square-foot gaming area.

The Look

The rooms and suites, designed by John Rawlins in collaboration with the resort’s in-house design team, have a color palette of blue and silver water tones with dashes of coral-pink accented by mercury-glass mirrors and brass details. Silver-grey wood veneer, silver-leaf details, pearlescent shagreen inlaid surfaces, and Arabescato marble define the casegoods and other hard surfaces, while custom brass bowtie-shaped drawer-pulls represent both exquisite attention to detail and a nod to Fontainebleau’s history. The rooms also have custom carpeting in a linear, art-deco pattern of dove grey and shades of blue, which establish a geometric foundation for the assorted furniture selections.

The resort has 36 new-to-market restaurants and bars. Original restaurants at the resort include Don’s Prime, Bleau Bar, Nowhere, Azul and Collins as well as Groot Hospitality’s Papi Steak and Komodo, Chef Evan Funke’s Mother Wolf and Asian-inspired hotspot KYU. Beyond Funke, other chefs and restaurateurs include Gabriela Cámara, David Grutman, David Rodolitz, Alan Yau and Josh Capon.

Fontainebleau Development extended its partnership with hospitality entrepreneur David Grutman of Groot Hospitality to bring the LIV nightlife venue to Las Vegas. The partners will open the new LIV BEACH in spring 2024. 

The property also has an extensive art collection that highlights photography from Fontainebleau Development Chief Brand and Design Officer Peter Arnell. Other featured artists include Julian Lorber, Jean Alexander Frater, Kate Blacklock, Eric Moore, Jessie Bloom, Nicholas Biddle, Lynn Dunham, Zoe Pawlak, Jonathan Todryk, Jessica Poundstone, Sebastiaan Knot, Greg Minah, Anna Sidi Yacoub, Alyson Fox, Michael Banks, Rica Belna, Alexandra Lyon, Cassie Suche, and renowned glass and lighting artists Barovier&Toso. 

Wellness facilities include the 55,000-square-foot Lapis Spa & Wellness and the Fitness Center. The casino covers more than 150,000 square feet, with 42-foot ceilings, 1,300 slot machines and 128 table games. 

Photos courtesy Jon Kopaloff/Vivien Killilea/David Becker/Getty Images for Fontainebleau Las Vegas