“We probably should have launched the first Dream Hotel in Vegas and then build the brand out from there,” Jay Stein, CEO of Dream Hotel Group, tells Yogonet. “The culture of what our brand really is and what the city of Las Vegas stands for has always been a perfect match from day one, in terms of a great style product with lots of high energy; ability for daytime and nighttime entertainment with a youthful exuberance; and incorporating the indoors and the outdoor elements when appropriate for the hotel so the boundaries can expand more than just the building itself.”
Some 30 years later, the hotel brand and management company is ready to make its Vegas debut. It will be through Dream Las Vegas, an upcoming 20-story hotel and casino on the south end of the Strip expected to cost about $550 million. For the project, which broke ground in July and is expected to complete by the end of 2024, Dream partnered with developers Shopoff Realty Investments and Contour. Early plans call for a 500-plus room lifestyle venue with experiential dining and nightlife venues, about 12,000 square feet of meeting and event space, and about 20,000 square feet of gaming, potentially serving as the company’s flagship location.
A Vegas expansion has long been in Dream’s plans, and Stein admits the company looked at “probably a dozen different sites” over the last 15 years before settling on the current project. But what changed now? “It was a natural fit from day one when we started the discussions with Contour and Shopoff Realty,” he notes. But most importantly, the company was thrilled about the type of venue proposed.
Rendering for Dream Las Vegas
“When they do get to Las Vegas, many lifestyle hotels end up inside other bigger projects,” Stein claims. No one’s ever done it in the right way For a standalone great version of the lifestyle hotel that our core guests are used to, whether it be New York, Miami, San Francisco or LA” In that sense, while a 500-plus rooms hotel might sound small by Vegas standards, Dream’s CEO says it would be a substantial property in any other market – but it might be what Vegas also needs.
For Stein, it never “made sense” to be 3,000 rooms large in Las Vegas with a project that wouldn’t carry the essence of what the type of Dream hotel is. “I think ours will be the first one to do it,” he says of the so-called “boutique hotel” experience. “It’s the style of hotel that’s probably the most in-demand in the world these days,” he adds.
Sitting along the emerging South Las Vegas Blvd., the hotel’s presence is expected to support the local community and the 32 million tourists that visit Las Vegas each year, adding another facet to the south end of the Strip. “I think we will add a lot,” Stein says of the expected impact of the property in the area. “The part of the strip that we’re in has been maybe a bit underdeveloped, but Las Vegas just keeps spreading out.”
The boutique hotel is set to give growing residential and business communities a new option to visit. Stein firmly believes that the notion that there isn’t much of a community in Las Vegas and that it’s all tourists “visiting for a few days and then leaving” is not true. “Las Vegas is truly a city these days with great schools and a great place to live,” he notes. “It’s still a whole city to itself, as big as many other cities and bigger than that.” And Dream Las Vegas is ready to take advantage of that, at a growing spot full of opportunities.
Groundbreaking took place in July
“Being next to Allegiant Stadium, and another stadium that’s coming next to Mandalay Bay, which has tremendous amounts of large conferences… A guest could say: ‘Well, I could stay in the Dream and walk across the street to Mandalay to do my work and then come back,” Stein provides as an example. “I think we are in a really good situation.”
The executive believes the hotel could cater to that local person that lives and works in Las Vegas, becoming part “of the fabric of the way they want to live.” But while some may argue the area isn’t particularly known for its foot traffic, he isn’t worried about that. “Nothing is closed, even though it looks so,” he claims. “I don’t think anybody really relies much on foot traffic per se. And if we’re going anything as close to special as we think we are, people are going to want to see it. Whether they get in a ten-minute Uber ride to go to MGM Grand, or they go to the Dream or they go to Wynn – it’s the same thing.
When asked to describe the upcoming hotel, Stein says it will be “the smaller version of a great Las Vegas hotel, and finally, one that truly has all the elements that people love when staying in lifestyle hotels in many great cities.” To that end, the property will offer its guests restaurants, dayclubs and nightclubs, bar and lounge concepts on the gaming floor, among other amenities. Earlier plans also call for a lobby bar, craft coffee cafe and gelateria on the street level, as well as a sporting club and 24-hour diner on the third floor. “We’re going to try to activate one of our pools even during the winter outdoors with a nice, heated element to it,” adds Stein. “We don’t want to give away all of our ideas just yet, but we’re also very excited there will be a theater.”
Of course, gambling is set to play its role in this experience. Casino and gaming operations will be led by Peninsula Pacific Entertainment (P2E), and while much is yet to be determined, Stein says the hotel plans to take great advantage of football, and that sports betting “will be a big part” of the venue . And given its proximity to Allegiant Stadium, the executive sees an opportunity in tailgating parties. “We plan to host them and make them a real event and not happen just organically, but also feed into every element,” he states, noting the amount of fans that arrive earlier to games.
“We’re just starting to have some meetings now. We truly want to differentiate the gaming aspect from the typical, whether it is through design, which is always important; Whether it is through tech, lighting elements, uniforms and appearance,” Stein says about gaming. “We want to move away from your polyester, boring-looking type, croupier type environment and even the type of games that we offer.” The companies have also looked at other places that do gaming, like Monaco, where gaming is done in black tie “and it’s very quiet and subdued.”
While it is not yet sure Dream Las Vegas will do any of those ideas, what Stein is sure about is that the project will come up with a new version of what the core guest that stays at Dream would spend money on. “We want to create another element of their stay. It may not make it the most profitable casino per square foot in the market, but the guests will enjoy what they do there so much that it brings them back,” he explains. “We don’t care about each restaurant, we don’t care about each game. We care about the total experience for the guests.”
Reflecting on the opportunities and challenges Vegas has in store for the Dream brand, Stein says that while the company has a lot to learn yet and a long way to be successful in this new market, he likes their chances “because we’re doing something different.” The attention to contemporary design is also part of the secret: the 20-story luxury hotel tower will feature a diverse mix of venues distributed vertically throughout the composition of roof decks and terraces of the hotel design. It will feature a glass and metal façade, with details such as radiused corners, spacious double-height terraces, oversized windows and an aerodynamic character influenced by its context. McCarthy Building Companies is the design-builder contractor for the project.
With rising visitor numbers and more business relocations in recent history, Las Vegas is experiencing unparalleled growth and record wealth creation. But despite concerns about a potential recession that could bring an end to this streak and the sometimes unpredictable conditions of markets, Stein doesn’t worry much about it. “When we open and Las Vegas will be in its ebbs and flows. We may open in an over time, but we’re not opening for the first year or two,” he states. “We’re opening for a long run.”