Hakkasan. The name itself creates a reaction almost as strong as the massively successful hospitality group's Las Vegas venue.
Founded in 2001, Hakkasan Group - owned by Abu Dhabi-based investment companyTasameem Real Estate LLC - established itself as a pioneer in Cantonese fine dining with several of their properties across the globe earning the coveted Michelin Stars. Starting with Hakkasan Hanway Place and Hakkasan Mayfair in London, the group has expanded operations to Miami, Abu Dhabi, Mumbai, Dubai, New York, Doha, San Francisco, Las Vegas (obviously), San Diego, Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, Del Mar, Austin and Shanghai. This global domination isn't limited to a single brand, either: the Japanese fine dining concept Sake no Hana, social dining restaurant Searsucker, seafood restaurant Herringbone and nightclub Stingaree brands are all part of the ever-growing Hakkasan portfolio.
The crown jewel of that portfolio, of course, is Hakkasan Las Vegas, their explosive debut into nightlife located inside MGM Grand.
Call it Nightlife Mecca, call it an entertainment compound, this five-level, 75,000-square-foot, multi-hundred-million-dollar venue is as gargantuan in size and scale as it is in success and reputation. The Hakkasan restaurant occupies the first 2 levels of the gigantic venue, grabbing the attention of guests by exposing them to their DNA: shades of signature blue light, ambient sound and scent. For those planning to dine before experiencing Hakkasan nightlife, the restaurant serves as a guest's introduction to the sensuality for which the brand is known.
Hakkasan is about intimacy, a theme to which they commit fully through ambience in harmony with private dining, lounging and VIP areas. The main dining area is separated by a latticework feature referred to as The Cage which creates intimate dining areas within the restaurant. The second level is home to the Private Dining Room (PDR) and overlooks the main dining room. This level is designed to be an aprés dinner cocktail destination. The third level is where the Ling Ling Lounge and Ling Ling Club are located.
The lounge features 11 VIP booths, a custom DJ booth and a focus on mixology. Ling Ling Lounge is framed by the signature Hakkasan latticework, serving as an intelligent extension of the restaurant's design. The 10,000-square-foot Ling Ling Club features 2 bars, 24 private seating areas, an elevated DJ booth and the brand's famous blue lighting. The main Hakkasan nightclub is on the fourth floor with oversized VIP booths surrounding the dance floor, a custom DJ booth and a suspended performance platform.
Guests looking to party somewhere with an outdoor feel will want to seek out the Pavilion which is adjacent to the main club. The Pavilion is a fully realized and stunning oriental garden theme that can either serve as an extension of the main nightclub or a stand-alone venue, complete with its own DJ booth, amphitheater-style seating and a two-story water feature. The fifth level offers guests a view of the main nightclub and Pavilion along with semi-private rooms outfitted with customizable screens, audio controls, oversized booths, coolers and mixology supplies. Add to the ambition of the Studio 54 renovation the exclusive contracts inked with DJs such as Deadmau5, Calvin Harris and Tiësto and anyone can understand the fear Hakkasan strikes in the hearts of their competitors. Rival operators have been quoted as saying they simply can't compete and are fearful of going out of business.
That isn't to say that every management group in Las Vegas is full of executives cowering in fear in their offices. Hakkasan Group tapped Angel Management Group in 2012 to manage their nightlife debut and acquired AMG in February of 2014. With a management and development portfolio boasting WET REPUBLIC Ultra Pool at the MGM Grand, Social Houserestaurant located at The Shops at Crystals, the former PURE inside Caesars Palace and HQ Beach Club and HQ Nightclub at Revel in Atlantic City, AMG was the best and only choice to develop Hakkasan Las Vegas. And what a development it has become since the April 2013 launch, with Hakasan Group partnering with MGM to form MGM Hakkasan Hospitality, a hotel management company with plans to design, develop and manage luxury nongaming hotels worldwide under the Bellagio, Hakkasan, MGM Grand and Skylofts brands.
Less than 12 months after partnering with MGM, Hakkasan pulled its biggest coup yet: purchasing a 90-percent stake in The Light Group for an estimated $36 million. This bold and aggressive move is significant for a multitude of reasons.
First, The Light Group is often credited with creating bottle service as we now know it. Second, this acquisition of yet another powerhouse in the nightlife industry leaves competitors incredibly exposed. Not only does acquiring The Light Group mean adding more executives with decades of experience to their roster, it means access to Light, Daylight, Citizens Kitchen and Bar, Kumi and Red Square inside Mandalay Bay, 1OAK, Bare and Stack located at The Mirage, The Bank inside Bellagio, GOLD, Alibi Cocktail Lounge and LIQUID at the Aria, Fix and Yellowtail inside Bellagio, Hearthstone at Red Rock Resort and Diablo's Cantina at Monte Carlo.
As of January of 2015, Hakkasan is now the largest nongaming dining and entertainment company in Las Vegas.
Hakkasan has proven that ambition, intelligent aggression and sound strategy are the keys to incredible achievements. A commitment to being the best through recognizing and partnering with the greatest and most brilliant in nightlife and hospitality has been critical to their meteoric rise. Proof of that is quite simple: grossing over $100 million and opening OMNIA Nightclub in the space formerly occupied by PURE and an OMNIA Nightclub in San Diego in the spring of 2015.
Sometimes it really does pay to join them in order to beat them...and everyone else.