At celebrity chef and television personality Giada De Laurentiis’ first restaurant, family-style Italian dishes, including vegan and gluten-free offerings, are served. // © 2014 Caesars Entertainment
Feature image (above): Following a $185 million renovation of the former Bill’s Gamblin' Hall & Saloon, The Cromwell, on the bustling corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Flamingo Road, had its celebratory ribbon cutting on May 21, 2014. // © 2014 Caesars Entertainment
Just as most of Las Vegas is going big, the Strip’s newest boutique hotel called The Cromwell is going small — well, sort of. With 188 rooms (including 19 suites), this swanky and sophisticated resort may be relatively small in stature, but it’s big in detail.
Formerly Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall & Saloon, the property has undergone an exhaustive transformation. Towering red chandeliers hang over the casino floor, casting a sultry glow over the 66 table games and 434 slot machines. Reminiscent of a London supper club, an inviting library-style lobby welcomes guests at check-in. Full-size refrigerators in the hotel’s suites can be pre-stocked by request — another hospitable touch.
To further add to the Cromwell’s credibility, Food Network star Giada De Laurentiis selected the boutique hotel as the spot to open her first restaurant aptly named Giada. Meanwhile, former movie producer turned Sin City nightlife impresario, Victor Drai, brings his latest project of Drai’s Beach Club Nightclub to new heights: the rooftop, to be exact. Last but not least, Salvatore Calabrese — one of the world’s most renowned bartenders — created the rooftop club’s menu, in addition to running the refined Bound lounge.
“We’re the ‘3 Musketeers,’” Calabrese joked at the opening of Bound.
Rooms at The Cromwell are styled to resemble those belonging to a chic Parisian loft apartment. The residential feel starts underfoot with distressed hardwood floors. Vintage luggage and trunk-style furnishings combined with upholstered wall panels give the room a homey feel, while custom photographs by Deborah Anderson and cheeky English-French phrases adorning the shower walls play to a sensual side.
The Cromwell’s 19 suites range in size from a 723-square-foot one-bedroom Parlour Suite to the 2,550-square-foot, six-bedroom Cromwell Suite. All have steam showers, deep soaking tubs, game tables or pinball machines and views of the Strip.
It’s opening night at Drai’s Beach Club Nightclub when all eyes suddenly turn to the sky as fireworks explode from the roof of the 65,000-square-foot venue.
This, however, is not a one-time occurrence, but an experience available for purchase. The venue sells various fireworks packages, starting with the 30-second “Rocket Man” bundle for $20,000, up to a two-minute package called “The Big Bang” for $100,000 — bottles of Dom Perignon included, of course.
“People come to Vegas to party,” the Moroccan-born Drai said. “I always imagined how amazing a rooftop nightclub would be in Las Vegas. It’s a dream come true. We created the next frontier.”
Giada’s First Course
De Laurentiis chose The Cromwell as the location for Giada because of the stunning second-story view through floor-to-ceiling windows. From their seats, guests at the restaurant can enjoy fine Italian dishes while they watch the Fountains of Bellagio dance.
“The location was number one,” De Laurentiis explained. “I was getting to build a restaurant from scratch on one of the most famous intersections in the world. I would have been a dummy to pass it up.”
In creating the space, De Laurentiis said she wanted it to feel as if you were coming over to a dinner party at her home. As for the menu, the chef follows her own philosophy on eating and serving family-style dishes.
“I eat a little bit of everything and not a lot of anything,” she said. “I’m trying to teach people that concept.”