Fontainebleau Las Vegas Looks Set to Impress

Skift Take

Fontainebleau opened its doors last December after nearly 20 years of financial maneuvering and changes in ownership. Does the luxury property deliver on its promise of an elevated experience?

Arriving at the Fontainebleau Las Vegas Resort and Casino is a unique experience for Vegas. Friendly valets – who will never let you open a door – staff the driveway and main entrance. The entire scene lacks the clamor of shouts and honking horns that typically greet guests at the resort’s contemporaries on The Strip.

For those of you who have owned a new car – entering the new $3.7 billion, 3,644-room property is something like that. The shimmering decor lacks any signs of wear and tear. The atmosphere is without any trace of the stench of cigarette smoke, with the smooth crooning of Frank Sinatra piped in at every corner.

Checking In

A separate VIP check-in is beside the main lobby, held down by overly courteous staff. After graciously taking and returning the guest’s credit card with both hands, the front desk associate comes around to provide guidance all the way to the elevator with instructions on how to get to the reserved guest room.

Luxurious touches make the difference, even the more basic rooms. Cozy slippers atop bath mats are waiting on either side of the bed. The bed itself feels like sinking through a cloud, providing a restful experience with the standard issue blackout curtains.

Image of Fontainebleau guest room.

Lighting in Vegas hotel rooms can, at times, be very annoying, resulting in a frustrating experience of figuring out which switch controls what and fumbling around in the light of a flatscreen TV. Fontainebleau Las Vegas has equipped each room with panels at the door and on either side of the bed that allows guests to easily turn all lights on and off with an option to dim the lights and remotely open and close the curtains. 

There are no open design of showers here that soak the bath mat and the entire bathroom floor. You can actually close the glass door of the shower stall and enjoy the robust showerhead or relax in the massive soaking tub across from it. 

All rooms also come equipped with a minibar and a small selection of snacks, such as different nuts and candy. Taking something from a hotel minibar in Vegas, in most cases, requires a small loan to pay for it. This is not the case at Fontainebleau, with minibar items reasonably priced.  

Standard room rates start at $300 a night, with group rates open to negotiation when booking.

A World Apart

It’s easy to forget about the rest of Vegas while staying at the Fontainebleau Las Vegas. With a total of 36 different dining options, guests can eat somewhere different for every meal during their stay. 

Ducking into the dim and elegant atmosphere of Don’s Prime feels like stepping into a glamorous scene from the 1950s. The space evokes a sense of excitement and anticipation with a menu stacked with tantalizing cuts of steak, and a wine and cocktail list fit for any pallet.

Image of the dining room at Don's Prime steakhouse.
Don’s Prime, photo credit: Fontainebleau Las Vegas

Fontainebleau Las Vegas also has several low-key dining options in the property’s food hall-style Promenade. Guests can grab a cup of coffee from the Promenade’s café Break – which is essential considering the resort doesn’t offer any sort of coffee service in guest rooms – probably the most noticeable flaw in the resort’s in-room amenities.

Other dining options within the Promenade include Capon’s Burgers, Miami Slice, and Roadside Taco. 

Guests also don’t need to venture far to enjoy bar hopping and nightlife. At the agave-driven bar and lounge Azul, guests sit in a cozy interior as if nestled in an old tequila bottle. Collins offers guests a more classic setting with a dizzying array of mixology-driven cocktails and emphasis on champagnes and sparklings. 

The committed gym rats in your group of attendees can burn it all off the next day at the 14,000-square-foot fitness center with every modern piece of gym equipment imaginable, including a large turf area with various sleds and dumbbells that exceed 50 lbs (they go up 100).

Designed with Meetings in Mind 

The property spans 24.5 acres and sits adjacent to the West Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center. Architect Carlos Zapata designed the exterior of the building, while David Collins Studio is responsible for the interiors. The iconic bowtie logo features in what seems like every square inch of the hotel.

There is no denying that the Fontainebleau Las Vegas is ideal for meetings and groups, with 550,000 square feet of flexible meeting space. The rubber hit the road during Preview Las Vegas 2024, hosted in the 105,264-square-foot Royal Ballroom.

“It is pretty cool to be here at the Fontainebleau, right? I’m glad they got the doors open,” said Nevada Governor Joe Lombardo. “Tides raise all ships, and the fact that we have another mega-resort open in the Las Vegas Valley is going to be a benefit for us across the state,” he said. “I can’t be more proud or happier that Fontainebleau was able to pull it off.”

High-profile speakers, including Peter O’Reilly from the NFL and A’s owner John Fisher, spoke during the event. They were later whisked away to a room sectioned off behind the main stage, where they spoke before a cluster of reporters and news crews. This setup demonstrated the versatility of the massive space.

Additionally, loading and unloading for events is made convenient with six “megavators,” along with six loading docks, according to Vice President of Sales Carmen M. Rubino. “Customers are thrilled to hear that because they’re thinking about the overtime required along with having to reserve a loading dock and the overall ease of loading and unloading for an exhibition,” he explained. “It’s a meeting planner’s dream.” 

A Long Journey

The new property is the dreamchild of Fontainebleau Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Soffer who sought to bring the same iconic flare of the Fontainebleau Miami to Vegas in 2005 after obtaining a $2 billion dollar loan. The 2008 recession put a halt to the development of the Vegas location. 

“The bank reneged on the construction loan missing with 75% of the resort built and forced the owner into bankruptcy,” said Rubino. “And there she stood in all her glory in this big, beautiful, sexy building for years.”

The property remained in a sort of purgatory from 2009 to 2017, Rubino explained, until it was purchased by Marriott in 2018. The pandemic ended that project once again in 2020. Soffer reemerged into the equation and acquired the property in foreclosure. He then got the property across the finish line thanks to a $2.2 billion construction loan. 

Rubino was with Marriott as the executive director of sales while the company was in possession of the property but left to join Fontainebleau. “I thought it was so compelling for me personally in my hotel journey with Marriott that I actually left Marriott after 30 years to join this property and to finish what I started back from 2018 to 2021,” he said.