Andrew Sasson

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Andrew Sasson
Andrew Sasson cropped.jpg
Sasson in 2014
Born 1970
Surrey, England
Occupation Nightlife entrepreneur
Real estate developer

Andrew Jacques Sasson (born 1970 in Walton-on-Thames, England)[1][2] is a British-American nightlife entrepreneur, hotelier, and real estate developer. He is the founder of The Light Group, and gained prominence as a trendsetter in the high-end nightclub, lounge, and restaurant industries.[3] He is well known for his highly successful, innovative ventures in New York City and Las Vegas.[4]

Early life and early career[edit]

Sasson was born in 1970 and grew up in Surrey, which borders South London. At the age of 15 he began working at his family’s restaurant in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. He learned about the hospitality industry – from food service to day-to-day operations – and spent his nights exploring Spain's nightclub scene.[5] He studied at Florida International University for a year, and then remained in Miami, immersing himself in Miami nightlife and working as a doorman at the nightclub Velvet, learning the behind-the-scenes business of that industry as well.[5]


The Light Group[edit]

Sasson moved to New York City in 1995, and opened his own nightclub, Jet Lounge, in SoHo. The success of the club spawned Jet East and Conscience Point in the Hamptons, and Jet 19 on the Lower East Side.[5][6][7][8] In 2000 he opened Light, a midtown Manhattan after-work and late-night lounge and restaurant.[9]

Following these successes, and having cemented his brand of high-end clubs, Sasson moved to Las Vegas. With business partner Andy Masi he founded The Light Group, to establish his trademark vision in youthful affluent hospitality and clubbing there, in 2001.[10] The Light Group entered into partnership with MGM Resorts International,[2][5][11] and its first venture was the Light nightclub at the Bellagio.[12] Light was the first legitimately upscale and innovative nightclub to open within a hotel,[5] and was the first nightclub in Las Vegas to offer its clientele high-end bottle service.[13][14] The success of Light was followed by the Caramel lounge at the Bellagio, and Mist lounge at Treasure Island,[15][16] and in 2004 by FIX Restaurant & Bar at the Bellagio.[17]

In 2005, The Light Group opened JET Nightclub and STACK Restaurant & Bar, both of which marked The Mirage as a leading venue;[18] and in 2007 they added BARE, an exclusive European-style sun-bathing pool lounge.[19][20] In 2006 Sasson became director and chief operating officer of India Hospitality Corp., an Indian hospitality and leisure company, and held the position through 2010.[10][21]

At the Monte Carlo, The Light Group opened two distinctive restaurants: Diablo's Cantina in 2007 and BRAND Steakhouse & Lounge in 2008.[22] In 2008 at the Bellagio, The Light Group opened The Bank, a small exclusive nightclub, and Yellowtail Japanese Restaurant & Bar, featuring award-winning chef Akira Back.[23][24] At The Mirage, The Light Group acquired the Beatles Revolution Lounge, created by Cirque du Soleil, in November 2008.[25][26]

Also in 2008, Sasson sold a 50% stake in The Light Group to the Dubai firm Zabeel Investments.[27] The sale netted him nearly $100 million, and the additional income placed him at 784 on the Sunday Times Rich List of Britain's wealthiest people.[28] In 2009 The Light Group opened several nightclubs, restaurants, and lounges at Las Vegas's new CityCenter.[29]

In 2011, Sasson sold off a 90% interest in The Light Group to Morgans Hotel Group.[30][31] He was on the board of directors of Morgans[11][21][32] until his resignation in 2013.[33][34]

The Light Group closed JET Nightclub at The Mirage and re-opened it as 1OAK on New Year's Eve 2011.[35][36][37] In 2012 and 2013, company revolutionized Mandalay Bay with five new venues: KUMI Japanese Restaurant & Bar; the 24-hour restaurant Citizens Kitchen & Bar; dinner, cocktail, and nightlife destination Red Square; LIGHT Nightclub featuring Cirque du Soleil; and DAYLIGHT Beach Club.[38]

In Miami, The Light Group opened two venues at the Delano Hotel in 2012: Bianca, an Italian restaurant with a cuisine based on organic farm-to-table ingredients,[39][40][41] and FDR, a nightclub.[39][42]

By 2014, The Light Group owned and operated 20 nightlife, daylife, and dining venues at the Bellagio, Mandalay Bay, Aria Resort & Casino, The Mirage, and the Monte Carlo, as well at as Miami’s Delano Hotel.[43] In early 2015 Hakkasan acquired The Light Group, including Sasson's remaining 5% interest in the company.[44]

Additional ventures[edit]

In 2004 Sasson ventured into real estate in Las Vegas, opening Panorama Towers – a luxury condo tower which helped pioneer the Las Vegas high-rise market.[21] The 300 units of its first tower sold out in eight weeks.[5] Panorama Towers expanded to over 900 units,[21][45] and Sasson sold his share in the development at the peak of the Las Vegas real estate market.[46]

As of 2016 Sasson is an investor in, and on the board of directors of, Independent Sports and Entertainment (ISE).[47][48] The company, formerly Relativity Sports, is an integrated sports, media, entertainment and management company that represents more than 300 top athletes in the U.S.[47][48][49]


Regarding his role in transforming the culture of Las Vegas, the Financial Times in 2008 described Sasson as an innovator who "built a small but fast-growing empire that has played a role in changing the city’s image and reputation". FT went on to say that he had been instrumental in changing the city into "a culinary and nightlife hotspot, attracting hordes of young, affluent people eager to eat, drink and party. Gambling remains popular but to many younger Sin City visitors it is now a secondary pursuit, overtaken in revenue terms by food, beverage and entertainment sales."[2]

In 2010, Sasson was listed as one of "Nightlife's Biggest Players", and cited as a highly successful empire-builder.[4] He has consistently been noted for his meticulous attention to detail and service, and for his vision of focusing on a wealthy, youthful, fashionable clientele, including the new generation of Hollywood celebrities.[2][5][50] Sasson also pioneered the pricey amenity of high-end bottle service in Las Vegas – one feature of his typically high-end, luxury ventures.[13][14]


  1. ^ Andrew Sasson – Profile. Breeze Properties Limited. Retrieved January 29, 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d Garrahan, Matthew. "Man who put a shine on Sin City". Financial Times. July 22, 2008.
  3. ^ "Skrillex & Other Renowned DJs Partner with New Vegas Nightclub LIGHT". February 7, 2013.
  4. ^ a b Philips, Alan. "The First Annual A-List: Nightlife’s Biggest Players by the Numbers". Club Planet. February 4, 2010.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Miller, Matthew. "The Operator". Forbes. May 10, 2004.
  6. ^ Usborne, David. "Lounging replaces clubbing in NYC". The Independent. December 14, 1997.
  7. ^ "Documentary Series ‘Single in The Hamptons’ Kicks Off the Summer Season on WE: Women’s Entertainment". AMC Networks. May 30, 2002.
  8. ^ Fink, Mitchell and Emily Gest. "Rupert May Yet Become the Baron of Prince St.". New York Daily News. May 16, 1999.
  9. ^ Landman, Beth and Ian Spiegelman. "Keith Barish -- Tapas the World". New York (magazine). July 24, 2000.
  10. ^ a b Andrew Sasson – Brief Biography. Reuters. Retrieved February 2, 2014.
  11. ^ a b Morgans Hotel Group Co. Annual Report for Year Ending December 31, 2013. Securities and Exchange Commission. October 2, 2013. p. 6.
  12. ^ "Brand Lounge". Retrieved February 2, 2014.
  13. ^ a b Schoenfield, Brian. "Nightlife: All Night Long". Cigar Aficionado. March/April 2006.
  14. ^ a b "Brit of glitz". Voyager. January 1, 2007. ("With new financial backers, Christopher and Keith Barish, co-founders of the Planet Hollywood restaurant chain, Sasson persuaded Baldwin to let him open Light in the Bellagio, at a cost of £2.5m. It was the first club in the Bellagio and one of the first in Las Vegas to offer bottle service with a minimum spend of £500 per table.")
  15. ^ Ordine, Bill. "The Las Vegas Night Club Scene Draws on Talents of Andrew Sasson and Steve Davidovici". Philadelphia Inquirer. December 30, 2002.
  16. ^ Smith, Hubble. "Vertical in vogue in Las Vegas". Las Vegas Review-Journal. October 12, 2003.
  17. ^ Hammond, Kriss. "Light Up Your Nights". Retrieved January 29, 2014.
  18. ^ Abowitz, Richard. "The right time to join the party". Los Angeles Times. December 25, 2005.
  19. ^ Snow, Michelle. "Bare Pool Opens at The Mirage". Las Vegas Travel Guide. April 2, 2007.
  20. ^ "Mirage’s Bare Adult Pool Opens Tomorrow". March 11, 2009.
  21. ^ a b c d Andrew Sasson – Profile at Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved January 29, 2014.
  22. ^ "Executive Chef Brian Massie: Brian Thomas Massie, Corporate Executive Chef, The Light Group". Las Vegas Wine & Food Festival. Retrieved February 19, 2014.
  23. ^ Padgett, Sonya. "The Bank at Bellagio is smaller, more exclusive than other Light Group clubs". Las Vegas Review-Journal. February 20, 2009.
  24. ^ Radke, Brock. "Yellowtail's Omakase Stacks Up with the Strip's Finest". Las Vegas Weekly. December 13, 2013.
  25. ^ "Revolution to get by with a little help from its friends at Light Group". Las Vegas Sun. November 13, 2008.
  26. ^ The Beatles Revolution Lounge. Retrieved 12 July 2016.
  27. ^ Flanagan, Ben. "Zabeel buys 50% stake in Las Vegas company". Emirates 24/7. February 21, 2008.
  28. ^ Leach, Robin. "Club czar Sasson makes list of 800 richest Brits". Las Vegas Sun. June 3, 2008.
  29. ^ Miller, Matthew. "Can CityCenter Save Las Vegas?" Forbes. December 19, 2009.
  30. ^ "Morgans Hotel Group to Acquire Leading Lifestyle Food and Beverage Company - The Light Group". PR Newswire. November 17, 2011.
  31. ^ Brandt, Nadja. "Morgans Agrees to Buy 90% of Light Group for About $46.5 Million". Bloomberg News. November 17, 2011.
  32. ^ "Morgans sees The Light". November 19, 2011.
  33. ^ "Morgans Hotel Group Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2013 Results". March 13, 2014.
  34. ^ Rodriguez, Natalie. "Morgans Settles Yucaipa, OTK Securities Litigation". Law360. March 3, 2014.
  35. ^ Uruchima, Jesse. "LightGroup Announces 1OAK at The Mirage Hotel & Casino". Travel Agent Central. August 24, 2011.
  36. ^ Evans, Sean. "NYC’s 1OAK Expands to Las Vegas". NIghtclub & Bar. September 15, 2011.
  37. ^ "Mirage's Jet nightclub to close, reopen on New Year's as '1OAK'". Las Vegas Sun / VEGAS INC. August 24, 2011.
  38. ^ "Light Group Gives Coming Japanese Resto at Mandalay Bay A Name, And New Chef". Vegas Chatter. April 2, 2013.
  39. ^ a b Morgans Hotel Group Co. – Form 10-K. United States Securities and Exchange Commission. March 2012.
  40. ^ Diament, Simone Zarmati. "Bianca Italian Eatery opens at The Delano, Miami Beach". 20 January 2012.
  41. ^ "Miami Opening: Bianca at the Delano South Beach". BlackBook. February 13, 2012.
  42. ^ "Miami Opening: FDR Lounge". BlackBook. March 19, 2012.
  43. ^ The Light Group – About.
  44. ^ "Morgans Hotel Group Announces Agreement To Sell The Light Group To Hakkasan Group For $36 Million". PR Newswire. December 16, 2014.
  45. ^ "Siena Technologies Subsidiary Announces Exclusive Smart Home Technology Provider Contract for Panorama Towers, Las Vegas". PR Newswire. February 21, 2007.
  46. ^ Kaplan, Michael. "Bottom-Feeding in a High-Rise Market". Cigar Aficionado. September/October 2008.
  47. ^ a b Soshnick, Scott. "Billionaire Burkle Picks Ex-MSG CEO to Run New Sports Agency". Bloomberg News. June 20, 2016.
  48. ^ a b "Independent Sports and Entertainment Launches with Investment from Ron Burkle, Hank Ratner Named President and CEO". Independent Sports & Entertainment. June 20, 2016.
  49. ^ Independent Sports & Entertainment (ISE) – Official site. Retrieved July 13, 2016.
  50. ^ Bertoni, Steven. "Inside the Vegas Party Machine". Forbes. February 9, 2011.