GGB is committed to providing updated news and analysis on our weekly news site, GGBNews.com.

A Beautiful Gamble

Jeffrey Soffer, Chairman and CEO, Fontainebleau Development

A Beautiful Gamble

For Jeffrey Soffer, becoming a developer was a family affair.

“My father is a developer with incredible vision and a deep understanding of the real estate industry,” he says. “Those early chapters of my life, a convergence of family heritage and a genuine passion for development is what shaped everything that came after. I’ve dedicated my life to the real estate and hospitality business. A notable standout in our portfolio is Fontainebleau Miami Beach, which we acquired in 2005 with a commitment to restoring and elevating the resort to a new standard of global luxury.

“Beyond Miami, we’ve left our mark in South Florida, Nashville and now Las Vegas, as we look to open Fontainebleau Las Vegas on the Strip. Our company is rooted in a commitment to reshaping spaces and creating environments that resonate with people, and with every project we want to raise the standard. We want to create experiences that no one has had before, that feel exclusive but not out of reach, that are striking to people on an individual level. That’s a tremendous part of the Fontainebleau legacy, and you’ll see it at Fontainebleau Las Vegas.”

The iconic property in Miami was just the start.

“Our goal was to restore the prestige of the iconic resort along the Miami beachfront for future generations. The result was a transformed resort boasting an expanded 1,504 rooms, two new suite towers, 12 restaurants and lounges, a 40,000-square-foot spa, and an impressive oceanfront poolscape.”

That legacy is what inspired the Las Vegas property, says Soffer.

“We’re fortunate in that our legacy serves as our foundation,” he explains. “Classic beauty, unparalleled service, and forward-thinking design. Our roots run deep—nearly 70 years—and Fontainebleau Las Vegas successfully incorporates those time-tested elements with the modern tenets of luxury hospitality.

“Those are the intangibles. As for what guests will see and experience, they can expect world-class amenities and experiences, from our dining collection to our entertainment lineup. Morris Lapidus’ (the original designer of Fontainebleau Miami) architecture is a key component to the Fontainebleau legacy, and throughout the property, guests will recognize design elements that serve as a nod to Fontainebleau Miami Beach’s design language.”

While some newer Las Vegas properties have struggled during their early years, Soffer believes the Fontainebleau will hit the ground running.

“Las Vegas has grown into a global destination city in terms of luxury travel, entertainment, culinary, sports and more,” he says. “This is where Fontainebleau Las Vegas comes in. The Fontainebleau brand itself has been a leader and trendsetter in luxury hospitality for nearly 70 years. Our legacy sets us apart and appeals to the tastemakers traveling to Las Vegas in search of once-in-a-lifetime experiences. They come to Las Vegas for these iconic events, and we will provide them with a luxury experience to supplement their stay and make their trip unforgettable.”

Even though the Fontainebleau Las Vegas is defining itself as “luxury,” Soffer believes it will appeal to a wide range of customers.

“We believe that all demographics will find something to love within Fontainebleau Las Vegas. Something they connect to, something they have longed to experience but haven’t been able to because it wasn’t in this market,” says Soffer.

“We are a luxury brand, and people want to experience that. However, whether they are dining with us, seeing a show, spending a day at our spa, or coming to us as part of a convention or conference, there is something for every taste at Fontainebleau Las Vegas.”

As with all casino resorts, the property can be stunning—as is the Fontainebleau—but customer service, attention to detail and committed team members are the keys to success. Soffer says he kept that in mind while building the group that will run the property.

“It was a thoughtful and deliberate process,” he explains, “because we were looking for individuals with a tapestry of experience across the hospitality industry. We are incredibly fortunate to have assembled a team that not only brings unparalleled expertise in their respective roles, but they also embody the character and values integral to defining the culture of Fontainebleau Las Vegas. Our emphasis was on individuals who share a commitment to exceptional service, a passion for hospitality, and a drive for excellence at every level. They are the backbone of Fontainebleau Las Vegas, ensuring that our guests experience the highest standards of luxury and personalized service that define our unique brand culture.”

As for his own commitment to Las Vegas as he continues to expand his empire, which includes more than a dozen hotel properties and luxury residences, Soffer says he’s all in.

“This has been a dream of mine for more than 20 years. Fontainebleau Las Vegas has been an important part of my journey, and I am fully committed to ensuring the resort is a success. I believe in an old-school, hands-on approach. I plan on being in Las Vegas as much as possible, to be present and a part of the conversation—with our own team and with our guests.”

Roger Gros is publisher of Global Gaming Business, the industry's leading gaming trade publication, and all its related publications. Prior to joining Global Gaming Business, Gros was president of Inlet Communications, an independent consulting firm. He was vice president of Casino Journal Publishing Group from 1984-2000, and held virtually every editorial title during his tenure. Gros was editor of Casino Journal, the National Gaming Summary and the Atlantic City Insider, and was the founding editor of Casino Player magazine. He was a co-founder of the American Gaming Summit and the Southern Gaming Summit conferences and trade shows. He is the author of the best-selling book, How to Win at Casino Gambling (Carlton Books, 1995), now in its fourth edition. Gros was named "Businessman of the Year" for 1998 by the Greater Atlantic City Chamber of Commerce, and received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Gaming Association in 2012.