Sunday, August 1, 2010 • Source: Luxury Vegas
Cindi R. Maciolek
When it comes to Las Vegas, one might think casinos are the only game in town. Not quite. There’s one player making a big impact on the city by playing his own game of change. And chances are you have probably already seen his name in lights.
Driving down the freeway, I’m sure you’ve noticed the name Siegel Suites alongside the road. With 17 location sin Nevada, the furnished apartments are most likely your first exposure to Stephen Siegel, the entrepreneur making a strong imprint on the Las Vegas Valley.
“They do really well in this town,” said Siegel. “They’re convenient for people who need a place to stay before they decide where they want to live. I wanted to create a brand for the apartments I was running in Vegas and market them, so that’s how Siegel Suites came to be. I love building brands that I believe in.”
Raised in West L.A., Siegel wasn’t always into real estate, but as a child, the entrepreneurial spirit definitely shone through. “I was always drawn to business. I started working at McDonald’s when I was 15. Then my mom bought me my first car for $800. I sold it, and started to fix up cars and scooters and sold them for a profit. I started with nothing. I was always hustling. My bank account was in my pocket.
“Then I got into car alarms, window tints and auto body shops. I still own one auto body facility in Los Angeles,” Siegel continued. “I love fixing businesses and products. At one point I took over a company that manufactured children’s upholstered furniture for Blues Clues, Barbie, and Pokemon. I turned that around and sold it.”
Siegel has an insatiable appetite for learning, eschewing a formal education for hands-on passions that get him out of bed with a smile on his face. And, while the apartments are a fine business, Siegel has spread his wings into the hospitality sector, but from a very different approach.
“I love doing business and I love challenges even more,” Siegel said. “I love hotels, especially the very unique ones. I thought that there was a missing sector of this special boutique hotel in Vegas and I wanted to capitalize on it.”
Siegel’s latest foray is bringing intimate, amenity-laden boutique hotels to a town known for themed resorts and hotels counts in the thousands, not hundreds or less. His first was the Gold Spike downtown, but now he also owns Artisan, the Resort on Mount Charleston, and Rumor, just across the street from the Hard Rock Hotel.
“I’m approaching Las Vegas from a very different way,” said Siegel. “In a city known for being grand in scale and the hospitality capital, all sorts of businesses come alive. People have lost sight of boutique travelers. Las Vegas is one of the only major cities in the country that doesn’t have boutique hotels. When you come to town, your options are pretty much limited to large resorts like MGM, or a chain line Courtyard by Marriott. We fit somewhere in between.”
According to Siegel, the the boutique traveler is typically young, artsy and hip or perhaps a businessperson who doesn’t want to stay at a typical 4,000-room Strip property. He doesn’t want a cookie-cutter hotel; he wants something unique and special.
“To us, we don’t think we’re completing, we’re helping each other,” said Siegel. “We bring something that the other hotels don’t have. We offer all the amenities of a place like the Hard Rock, but in a more intimate setting.
In order to survive, we have to be really cool and special, right down to the cocktail service button on the phone. If someone wants to rent the courtyard area or the whole property, they can do it.”
The Resort on Mount Charleston recently received a makeover, appealing to both locals and visitors alike. “Many tourists don’t even know how beautiful it is on Mount Charleston,” said Siegel. “They don’t even know it exists. Now they experience the beauty in a great, small hotel.”
Just off I-15 and Sahara, the Artisan has only 64 rooms, but is so full of unique amenities from the time you step through the heavily gilded front doors into a grandiose lobby of chandeliers and flickering candles that is covered from floor to ceiling in a Salon de Refues style of faux paintings from the art world’s masters. “It’s definitely a niche product. I don’t know of any other property that can be done like this,” said Siegel. Siegel likes to keep his options open when it comes to opportunities, so hotels are not the end of the line. Within the next year, Siegel will be launching a new juice cafe called Senor Hugh’s. It will offer a selection of juices and soups, all with a Hispanic flair.
All of his success and entrepreneurial drive are not without criticism. “I think that I’m always going against the norm,” said Siegel of his business ventures. “People say I’m crazy for doing that. It’s like I’m paddling upstream. But it works for me. When most people were scared of Vegas, I saw nothing but opportunity here.
“I don’t sit down and thing about things, I just pay attention to what comes to me,” said Siegel. “Occasionally, someone will bring me an idea and if I like it, I do it. I don’t sit down with a plan of what I’m going to do next. When we say we’re going to do something, we do it. We’re always creating jobs. It’s great for the community. We’re very hands on, too. If we’re going to work on a project, we’re there. We don’t send someone else to manage it. We do what it takes to get the job done.”
And Siegel will continue to get the job down in Las Vegas, he’s not planning on going anywhere. “Vegas has extreme ups and downs. When I came to town in 2004, it was on an upward tick and now it has fallen down below where it hasn’t been in over 10 years. I truly believe in Vegas for the long term and think now is the best time to pick up great pieces of property. Everything is on sale. When everyone is scared and frozen, I kick the gears in and do more business. When you stop you die! You must keep always pushing forward.
“Vegas has a lot more room to grow. Plus, it’s easy to build a brand here than in LA. LA is too big. Vegas is easier to do business in. The community helps you here. The mayor is the best.”
Self described as a real, down-to-earth person, Siegel believes in helping the community right back. “I’m on the board for a Hispanic children’s charity, called Padres and I also give lots of different donations to several charities around town. But most of all I like helping people individually. I give several different homeless people and families money and free apartments. I know this goes directly and immediately to help those people in need.”
Siegel is only 39 years old, but he’s been working nearly all his life. “I started so young I feel like I’m 80! I’m always out there working. I never do it for the money. I do it strictly for the fun. It’s a game. I never chase the money. Money is just a tool to do something.
“My passion is I like what I do. I actually enjoy the experience of the project. It’s hard to take me away from my work.”
About The Siegel Group Nevada, Inc.
The Siegel Group, a Commercial Real Estate Investment & Business Development Company founded by Stephen Siegel with offices located in Las Vegas, Nevada and Studio City, California, specializes in the acquisition, disposition and development of under-performing, valued added real estate and businesses with significant turn-around potential. The company´s extensive expertise in the areas of operations, management, finance, marketing, branding, leasing, renovation, design, entitlements, construction, and redevelopment enable The Siegel Group to elicit an operational turnaround on the assets it acquires which include a variety of businesses and a commercial real estate portfolio comprised of residential apartment complexes, extended-stay, boutique resorts, hotel-casinos, retail and office. The Siegel Group is actively seeking new investments and joint-venture opportunities with upside potential. For more information on The Siegel Group and its affiliates, visit the Company´s website at www.siegelcompanies.com
To obtain further information regarding this release, please contact Michael Crandall via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (310) 597-9221.
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