Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Born in Saitama, Japan, Nobuyuki “Nobu” Matsuhisa always showed a passion for food while working at various kitchens in Japan, Peru and Los Angeles. With the opening his own restaurant on La Cienega Boulevard in 1987, Matsuhisa quickly became the hot spot, frequented by many celebrities—including Robert DeNiro, who invited Nobu to open in New York as a partner. NOBU opened in Tribeca with abundant fanfare in 1993, followed by NOBU and Matsuhisa outposts in London, Milan, Greece, Tokyo, Moscow, Honolulu, Dubai, Aspen, Miami, Budapest . . . well, you get the picture. Fast-forward to February 4, 2013, and the first celebrity chef-branded hotel opened in Las Vegas—NOBU HOTEL.
From the trio of Robert DeNiro, Chef Nobu Matsuhisa and Hollywood producer Meir Teper, NOBU HOTEL is a 181-room boutique hotel within a massively large hotel—taking over the 14-story Centurion Tower at Caesar’s Palace that was built in 1970. I recall staying in the Centurion Tower and preferred the original room design to the modern rooms of the recently added towers. The rooms appeared a bit smaller, but certainly excelled in character.
Designed by David Rockwell, who created the impressive looks for Chambers Hotel in New York, the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Vegas, and, more importantly, the first NOBU Restaurant in Tribeca, NOBU Hotel features natural elements blended with cherry blossoms and origami. Up-and-coming Japanese artists are featured in a mix of traditional prints and expressionist designs. NOBU Hotel has no lobby—guests are escorted to their rooms by iPad-wielding staff members for a personalized check-in experience.
The bathrooms have teak fittings, stone tile and sleek modern fixtures. The over-sized walk-in shower is made with traditional black Umi tiles and offers multiple showerheads and a teak bathing stool, a fixture of traditional Japanese bathhouses. The overall experience is the fusion of Japanese and Asian traditions with Western accompaniments—all presented with Vegas flair designed to convey an extension of the fun and energetic Nobu lifestyle.
Be sure to check out NOBU Restaurant within NOBU Hotel. At a whopping 12,775 square feet with seating for 327, this is the largest NOBU Restaurant worldwide . . . and there are many. The design is based on the Japanese notion of wabi sabi, a “design aesthetic of simplicity, evocative transience and beauty in unexpected and natural rawness.” The cuisine is all Nobu. You can eve have room service deliver a NOBU breakfast for you and your companion?
With all the frenetic energy of the The Strip—specifically Caesar’s Palace, who, it seems, has lured ever celebrity chef to their family of restaurants—NOBU Hotel is a quiet respite housed in its own tower, one of the few “boutique” hotels in Las Vegas . . . and, as you may have surmised, here at IN CLASSIC STYLE we prefer boutique over mega when it comes to favorite destinations.