It’s the 50-yard line of the Las Vegas Strip, and with its new hotel, Caesars Entertainment is trying to forge a new identity for an older hotel.
From the Barbary Coast to Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall to Gansevoort to Cromwell. That’s the lineage of the new boutique hotel Caesars will open in May on the corner of Flamingo Road and the Las Vegas Strip. While the last change (from Gansevoort to Cromwell) was not anticipated, the brand will become clear when guests experience the Cromwell service.
“Regardless of what name it is under, we’ve had the same vision all along, and that’s providing the first stand-alone luxury boutique offering in Las Vegas. So, I find it to be an advantage,” says Karie Hall, the general manager of the Cromwell.
Hall, who has seven years of experience working Caesars’ properties on the east side of the Las Vegas Strip, says the Cromwell’s 188 rooms and suites put it squarely into the “boutique” category, but that carries the responsibility of great customer service, as well.
“In many larger properties, your best guests get the best experience,” she says. “In our property, every guest will get that experience. So, it’s not for a selective few; it’s really for anyone who wants to stay at the Cromwell. It’s warm and friendly personalized service, but at a very high level, and it’s not stuffy. But it certainly is luxury. I think that’s the biggest difference for us.”
The small size of the property is also an advantage, says Hall.
“You get that as you step out of your transportation to the property, whether it’s limo or car or taxi, and you walk in, you’re steps away from the reception area, and then steps away from the elevator,” she explains. “So you’re not wandering through these large mega-resorts; it’s really very intimate and personalized.”
One of the main features of the Cromwell will be Drai’s nightclub/dayclub, operated by the legendary Victor Drai, who launched Las Vegas’ first nightclub in the same spot when the property was the Barbary Coast. Hall expects Drai to regain his edge at the Cromwell, and expects the club to be a game-changer.
“He thinks about the experience from the moment you walk in, what is your first look, what are the first things you see, how is it visually stimulating. If you’re not at the property, but maybe you’re staying at Caesars, or you’re staying down the Strip, you’ll be able to see what’s going on here, and want to be a part of that. So he really thinks about it all, and we’re very lucky to have him as a partner. And he challenges us as well, in our space, to do that.”
Eileen Moore, who oversees most of the Caesars properties on this side of the Strip, says Drai’s is all about visibility.
“The space is one of the best spaces that’s available in the market,” she says. “And then to have it on the rooftop and be so expansive—unlike many other clubs, where only a few private VIP tables have the best view, Victor is truly a visionary and designed this club so that the massive amount of people that will go through it will all get access to that view and that experience.”
The other noted amenity at the Cromwell will be the first restaurant designed by Food Network star Giada De Laurentiis. Because it’s her first restaurant, Hall says the celebrity chef is paying attention to every little detail.
“Giada is amazing,” says Hall, “and she’s been a great partner for us. And since it’s her first restaurant, she’s really looked to us as well, to give her some guidance. She’s heavily involved, obviously; but even more than that, she really cares about her brand and the experience that she provides. When you walk into the restaurant, she wants it to feel as if you’re walking into her home, and not just a very sterile restaurant environment. So we have a wood-burning stove as you walk in. Her cuisine is obviously Italian, with a California twist on it.”
Upscale on the Eastside
The target audience for the Cromwell is more affluent than the rest of the east-side resorts, more like the Caesars Palace customer. With room rates in the mid-$200s, service will be the key. Hall says she’s met with each and every employee hired by the Cromwell, and stresses personal service.
“Some properties want their employees to be a part of the party with the guests, but we’re here to provide a great environment, to provide that party, and that nightlife, and that great energy, but we’re here to serve,” she says. “It’s a hospitality mentality, and it’s to serve at the very highest level, to exceed expectations, to anticipate need, and to make sure that our employees have that ingrained within them.
“It’s a pretty arduous process, but it’s well worth it. If you can create the right culture from the beginning, it makes it so much easier to maintain that and to really build upon it in the future.”