Since launching his eponymous restaurant in Los Angeles back in 1987, Nobu Matsuhisa has become a household name while launching a culinary empire that spans the globe. With the opening of Nobu Hotel & Restaurant in Caesars Palace last week, he can now also claim the title of hotelier as he becomes the first celebrity chef with a branded hotel chain.
Unlike most new Las Vegas hotels, which are usually notable for their immense size and over-the-top decor, Nobu aims for refined understatement. Decor follows the concept of wabi sabi, a Japanese notion that beauty can be found in imperfection and transience, which is evidenced in the abstracted boulder shape of the reception desk and natural, unfinished surfaces throughout the lobby. In keeping with this notion, and bucking the Vegas trend to demolish and rebuild, the hotel is housed in Caesars' former Centurion Tower, which was built back in 1970.
Although the standard guest rooms are decidedly un-Vegas-like in size (a mere 350 square feet compared to the 460 of the Cosmopolitan, for example), they lack none of the Vegas-style amenities. Luxury bath products, turndown service that includes a scented pillow mist, and Nobu's own signature hot tea upon arrival are all part of the upscale package. And while tradition reigns, a few modern perks have made their way into the scene, most notably in-room registration via iPad.
Of course, it wouldn't be Nobu without a restaurant. At a whopping 12,775 square feet, the Vegas location is the chain's largest to date and has the ability to seat over 320. With that much room, it's no wonder they crammed in all manner of culinary accoutrements, including three teppanyaki tables (a first in the states for Nobu), brick ovens, private chef tables and dining areas, and, of course, a sushi bar. If the variety is too overwhelming, simply opt for omakase and the chef will create a menu especially for you.
Robert De Niro has partnered with Nobu since the 1980s, and the Hollywood star played a large role in bringing the hotel concept to fruition. The project marks the second time the two have worked together in Vegas. The first was when Nobu had a cameo in De Niro's 1995 crime drama 'Casino', directed by Martin Scorsese.
Visit some of Nobu Matsuhisa's other restaurants:
Matsuhisa Beverly Hills
Nobu Miami Beach
Nobu New York City
Jenna Rose Robbins is a freelance writer, book editor, and web consultant who specializes in travel and music.
New Nobu Hotel Opens in Las Vegas