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Robert De Niro and Chef Nobu Matsuhisa Give Details on the First-Ever Nobu Hotel

Due to open in Vegas in fall 2012, the hotel -- just 180 rooms (with an 11,000-square-foot Nobu restaurant, of course) -- will offer an uncommon commodity on the Strip: boutique luxury.
De Niro and Matsuhisa in a completed room at the Nobu Hotel, Las Vegas.
Photo Courtesy of Caesars Palace

Despite the seemingly endless roll call of celeb chefs and their dining establishments, Nobu stands apart as a temple of gastronomy that has also become a global brand name. Indeed, Chef Nobu Matsuhisa's culinary gospel has spread from New York to London to Beijing to Moscow and beyond, with twenty-five restaurants in total. The only thing surprising about the announcement of a Nobu Hotel, then, is that it actually took them this long.

On Sunday evening, June 10th at the original Nobu in Manhattan's Tribeca, the principals behind the coming hotel offered a sneak peak of what they hope is the start of the next high-profile hospitality empire. The first Nobu Hotel is scheduled to open this October 1st at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas (there is already a Nobu restaurant at Vegas’ Hard Rock Hotel and Casino).

Caesars president Gary Selesner took to the podium to elucidate on the partnership. "The chance to work with Chef Nobu is an amazing opportunity," he said. He insisted that the brands fit so well together because both represent, “an over the top approach to living life.”

The hotel is being fitted into the existing Centurion Tower, with just 180 luxury rooms planned -- which for Vegas, is about as boutique as it gets. Some of the specific stylistic details are still under wraps, but superstar designer David Rockwell (W Hotels, the Monkey Bar, The Oscars) showed Japanese-inspired room images that were equally sexy and serene, with graphic carpets, contemporary artworks, and "custom lanterns inspired by origami." Plus, Nobu brand sake in the minibar. He conveyed that the debut Nobu Hotel will be "a marriage of Asian rigor and Western hospitality," with an aesthetic characterized by "extraordinary craftsmanship."

The chef himself was keen to remind everyone that, "cooking is my life." And on site, naturally, will be an epic, 11,000-square-foot new Nobu restaurant. Expect several teppenyaki tables, a private dining area, and a 327-seat lounge and bar. Safely assume that it will also attract an endless parade of very famous faces.

Nobu Hospitality CEO Trevor Horwell revealed that several more hotels are in the works, to be opened in gateway cities over the next few years.

But partner Robert De Niro, who tends to save his best speeches for the big screen, was succinct. "I think it's going to be great," he grinned. "It's that simple."

What do you think?

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