Some people love the Las Vegas onslaught. I don’t. Elope in Vegas? Already did. Noisy casinos, bright lights, and crowds aren’t my thing. Luxury is. And I am not alone.
French interior designer Jacques Garcia was given a tour of what would become The NoMad Las Vegas, a boutique hotel within Park MGM Resort & Casino, and the subject of our second installment of our twice-monthly feature on attention-grabbing new hotels, The New Room with a View. “We took him out to the pool,” said Andrew Zobler, founder of Sydell Group, owners of The NoMad Hotels. Garcia looked around and said, “These are not really my people.”
When Garcia created the luxe interiors of NoMad New York, the design team had a specific character in mind: a young French woman of noble birth who moved to New York with “only one dress... but it was a really good dress,” recalled Zobler. The hotel was designed with her in mind: stylish European sensibilities in a building with decadent rooms and restaurants she'd enjoy.
So, the problem was how to integrate the NoMad sensibility into the Vegas landscape. “There’s not really a Vegas style of architecture or design, so it does feel probably a little more like NoMad New York,” Zobler said. “But we tried to make it feel, in a way, more fun.”
Jim Murren, CEO and chairman of MGM and a frequent guest at NoMad New York, had wanted a NoMad in Las Vegas, but Zobler couldn’t envision a version in isolation. The concept is “very much about being part of a neighborhood, building on a neighborhood,” Zobler said. “They don’t sit as abstractions in and of themselves.” The Vegas Strip isn’t a neighborhood. “There was less to work with in Las Vegas in terms of a particular aesthetic.” The solution is a collaboration between the two companies. Sydell Group curated the design and five-star hotel experience, and MGM handled the gaming and resort components.
MGM and Sydell Group did a fine job of incorporating the NY-Parisian refinements into the Vegas NoMad, which opened in October 2018. La belle epoque Manhattan! Floor to ceiling marble, a la Grand Central Terminal, the New York Public Library, or 5th Avenue’s Beaux-Arts mansions.
Crowning the 2,993 rooms and suites at Park MGM are four floors with 293 NoMad luxury guest rooms. NoMad has a separate entrance, check-in, elevator, and appointed common areas apart from the bustle of Park MGM.
Opulent jewel tones—garnet, sapphire, amethyst, and emerald—enliven the tufted velvet pieces set against subdued gold-flecked architectural glass, charcoal, aubergine, and black paint, or dark floral wallpaper. Here, the French woman can relax without ever having to see a casino. But if she’s ready to gamble, the NoMad’s high-limit gambling room resembles something in Monaco with its surprisingly masculine hexagonal room, almost entirely lit by the five-point Louis Tiffany topaz stained glass ceiling—a place where a man of discernment retires to gamble his discreet millions. He knows not to use the word “classy,” and so the French woman leaves with him.
The NoMad feels remarkably homey, down to the green-marble thresholds and dark-paneled doors that open into airy rooms with hardwood floors, original art on the walls, and all the signature finishes that differentiate NoMad: nailhead trim, ABC carpets, velvet chesterfield couches (housekeeping says they’re easy to clean!), and lots of layering detail—books, lamps, barware. “We try to make the guest rooms feel collected,” said Zobler. And should the French Woman want to bathe and socialize, or prefer a romantic bubble bath with a view, pedestal tubs are one step from the Bellino linen-topped beds. (There are also mosaic-tiled marble showers in the bathrooms for a quick rinse after a fling on the couch.)
NoMad knows its customers like a doorman knows a condo’s residents. Treats and notes left in rooms exhibit knowledge of each individual guest—a book, a record, a scented candle.
Unfortunately, the French woman can only have one really good dress with her, because there are two drawers the size of small end tables in the closet. She’ll need to use the safe for her lingerie! And there are no coffee makers in the rooms. In a city where cocktails are easier to grab than coffee, the French woman is screwed. She has to call room service—even room service designated for only NoMad has a lag time.. The NoMad will need to make room for the more transient visitors who enjoy Las Vegas.
NoMad’s restaurant, parlor, and salon are secreted gems behind marble until the main dining room opens each evening, revealing an over-the-top fantasy-scape with a triple height ceiling painted Atlantic blue. A library of 25,000 books (some from the late David Rockefeller’s estate) are shelved on all four walls with a narrow walkway dividing the two tiers of arched, dark-stained stacks. The glamorous ’60s European and American casino vibe mixes high and low ceilings in a theatrical catacomb of rooms. Sheer velvet tie-back theater panels frame the bar’s sparkling spirits where cocktails are staged. Here is where the anachronistic romance of Las Vegas deviates from the boutique script. A trapeze or a swing wouldn’t be out of place.
Talented NoMad mainstays—Chef Daniel Humm, Restaurateur Will Guidara, and Bar Director Leo Robitschek, who led the NoMad to win Top bar in North America in 2018—are serving up modern classics, like Humm’s signature roast chicken, along with some new flavors. And, of course, we have not seen the last of Jacques Garcia!
The Nomad Bar serves breakfast, lunch, dinner, and small shareable plates. Furnished with club chairs upholstered in scarlet, claret, and oxblood velvet and warm-toned leather, the bar is a gorgeous space that is flooded with light during the day until blackout draperies are drawn, ushering the space into shadowy intimacy when the Steinway piano is put to use and the lounge is in full swing.
In addition to the NoMad Restaurant and Bar, the MGM resort offers Eataly Italian Market, Primrose, Best Friend (Korean fusion from Roi Choi), La La Noodle, and Bavettes Steakhouse (a cool dark haunt) for dining inside the casino proper.
NoMad and Park MGM guests share full-service the casino and its pool (Jacques goes Moroccan), spa, and workout facility. And yoga!
For more fun, T-Mobile Arena has fights—and probably other stuff—across the street, and Lady Gaga is in residence for two years at the 5200 capacity Park Theater (she delivers all the hits!). And….
Nightlife impresarios Mark and Jonnie Houston expanded their exclusive LA club roster to Park MGM with On the Record, their first venture in Las Vegas—a nightclub featuring resident DJs, karaoke rooms, drink lockers with padlocks, a double-decker bus out back, a boombox wall, and a hidden Billy Idol cassette tape that opens a secret door to the den-like parlor where you order your favorite song and end up with a drink.
“Instead of ordering cocktails, like ‘Hey, I want it sweet or, you know, refreshing,’ why not order a song. Order ‘Pretty in Pink’ by Psychedelic Furs or ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ or whatever you feel like that evening,” said Mark Houston.
“I want you to taste this cocktail,” he said. “Close your eyes for a second and listen to the song. Really taste what the song means to her, and hopefully, to you.” I don’t drink so I ordered a virgin “Johnnie Hit & Run Pauline” by X. It was citrusy.