Dolce Hotels and Resorts found a way to enter the Las Vegas market without breaking the bank.
The international boutique lodging chain will open the 349-room Ravella at Lake Las Vegas this morning, roughly five months after taking over operation of the site that had been the Ritz-Carlton.
Dolce, which is based in Rockleigh, N.J., and operates 27 boutique hotels in North America and Europe, saw Lake Las Vegas as a perfect location and a natural fit for the company's portfolio.
"I don't know of a hotel company on the planet that doesn't have an interest in Las Vegas," Dolce CEO Steve Rudnitsky said. "It's a key market for any hotel company whose core business is in the meetings and conference market."
Rudnitsky said the company explored Las Vegas before settling on the former Ritz-Carlton at the center of the 3,600-acre master-planned community in Henderson. Instead of spending millions of dollars to build a new hotel, Dolce leased the location from Village Hospitality LLC and spent the past several months rebranding the 15-acre facility as Ravella.
The property has 39,000 square feet of meeting and banquet space and a 30,000-square-foot spa and fitness center, which are expected to help attract Dolce's database of corporate business clients.
"This location provided a natural way for us to establish ourselves in the market," Rudnitsky said.
The Ritz-Carlton opened in 2003 and the property didn't need much renovation. The lobby area was redone to include a cafe, a light snack area and technology center. Other areas of the building were upgraded and remodeled.
Ravella is situated some 14 miles east of the Strip, but that also fits into Dolce's business model. Similar resorts the company operates in Napa Valley, Calif., and Aspen, Colo., are outside main urban corridors.
"If Ravella's guests want to visit the Strip for what it has to offer, Ravella will accommodate their transportation needs," Rudnitsky said.
The goal, however, is to give Lake Las Vegas a shot in the arm.
The community has been besieged with bad news for two years. The development filed for bankruptcy in 2008, two of the community's three championship golf courses have closed and Casino MonteLago shut down last March. The Ritz-Carlton closed in May.
Dolce reached out to the six restaurants in the adjacent MonteLago Village, developing a system that gives Ravella guests preferred dining reservations and the ability to charge meals to their rooms.
Rudnitsky said the food and beverage program could help the village and Ravella.
"It really makes the restaurants an extension of the hotel," he said. "We want to be as collaborative as possible. By working closely, we all do well."
Lake Las Vegas has two other lodging options, the 493-room Loews Lake Las Vegas and condominiums at the Aston MonteLago Village Resort. Even the competition is welcoming Dolce to the neighborhood.
Loews general manager Brian Johnson said the reopening by Dolce gives the market renewed hope.
"This is a big day for the Lake Las Vegas community," Johnson said. "We have confidence that the addition of Ravella will enhance the overall travel experience at Lake Las Vegas and provide additional support to the unique shops and restaurants in the Village."
Ravella hired 125 workers for the opening. Rudnitsky said he expects the property to eventually have 150 full-time employees.
Contact reporter Howard Stutz at email@example.com or 702-477-3871.