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Diana Bitting | Photo: Courtesy Images | April 9, 2013
A master chef, film producer and Oscar-winning actor create a fantastic universe of wabi-sabi design aesthetics on the Vegas Strip.
An indulgent new addition to the Vegas scene is giving visitors new reason to sin. Nobu Hotel recently opened inside Caesars Palace (yes, a hotel within a hotel), joined by the 12,000-square-foot Nobu restaurant and lounge, and it just might be the best of both worlds. Designed and built by David Rockwell and his eponymous firm, the boutique property is an atypical, oasislike concept set in the center of the Strip, allowing guests to take breaks from the sights, sounds and overstimulation whenever they please.
It’s the very first hotel project for the Nobu brand—a partnership between chef Nobu Matsuhisa, actor Robert De Niro and film producer Meir Teper—but judging by the public frenzy, it won’t be the last. (There will be future Nobu hotels in Saudi Arabia and Qatar by the end of this year.) The lobby, elevator bank and 181 rooms that make up the space (a former Caesars tower that underwent a total gut renovation) were all designed by the Rockwell Group—as was the restaurant, of course—to convey Nobu’s signature Japanese elegance. “That sense of curation that you get at Nobu restaurants is present,” explains Rockwell. “You are coming here, you are trying food you’ve never tried, you are having an exchange with an amazing group of chefs and having an experience that is memorable.”
The delicate restraint of the restaurant’s dishes is evident in the interiors, with an edited palette of materials (stone, wood and metal) based on the wabi-sabi principles of simplicity, evocative transience and beauty in the unexpected and natural. In the lobby, various sizes of wood block panels of hemlock, fir and oak are placed side by side in a puzzle-type pattern to add texture, while the high-gloss black lacquer reception desk in an abstract boulder shape and custom antique bronze elevator doors add just the right amount of flash.
In terms of sleeping quarters, patrons can choose between a queen, king or suite room. Inside, neutral wall tones are calming, while injected hues of terra-cotta orange and purple (in the form of framed artworks and decorative pillows) add interest. Lanternlike fixtures offer soft, ambient lighting, and nature makes its way inside with the organic sand motif floor carpeting and Japanese-inspired rice paper and bamboo cloth wallcovering.. “It’s about informal luxury,” Rockwell continues, “and that sense of ‘welcome’ greets you here at the hotel.” 3570 Las Vegas Blvd. S., 702.785.6677, nobucaesarspalace.com