No Peeking

Anticipation feeds the buzz about Wynn resort

By: Kathy Espin

LAS VEGAS Steve Wynn, longtime Las Vegas dream spinner, is taking an unusual tack toward promoting his newest mega-resort: He’s not.

There are no models, no artist renderings being circulated, no hard-hat tours to give the press a taste of what’s to come at Wynn Las Vegas (formerly Le Reve). Just like everyone else, members of the media have to wait until April 28 to see the wonders of the $2.5 billion resort, the most expensive ever built in Las Vegas.

“The whole basis of our hotel is the anticipation,” said Lance Evans, director of travel industry sales. “People see this massive structure going up out front and they can’t wait to see what’s going on inside.”

Evans said that even the staff has been kept in the dark.

“We don’t get to see the property as much as we’d like. I’ve only seen the property once in almost a year,” he said.

Of course, all this doesn’t mean there aren’t a lot of significant details that have “leaked” to the public. Like the fact that the standard rooms in the 50-story hotel tower will be the biggest in town at 630 square feet, or that other features will include a mountain, a lake and a full-service spa. There has been mention that a special high-tech showroom is being built for a production by Franco Dragone, the former Cirque du Soleil producer who created Celine Dion’s “A New Day” production at Caesars Palace (known around town as “Cirque du Celine”). And recently it was announced that another showroom was added to the plans to house the Tony-award-winning musical satire “Avenue Q.”

Of course, there’s been a lot of talk about the Maserati and Ferrari dealership that will anchor the super-high-end shopping venue. Other outlets will include Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Dior, Cartier and Oscar de la Renta.

And even Wynn couldn’t resist bragging that he has landed Manhattan’s Daniel Boulud as celebrity chef for one of the resort’s upscale dining establishments.

But, other than that, he’s not talking. Well, not much anyway.

The resort is being built on the ruins of the old Desert Inn, and the famous landmark golf course has been redesigned by Wynn and Tom Fazio. It will be the only on-property course on the Strip. For more than a year now, Wynn has been hyping the resort’s inside-out design concept, and Evans happily echoed the party line.

“I think the thing that Mr. Wynn did here that’s different is that all the hotels in Las Vegas are built from the outside in,” he said. “This one is different. This one is built from the guest’s perspective.” Evans compared the design to other properties built by Wynn (and sold to MGM in 2000) like Bellagio, Mirage and Treasure Island, where dancing fountains, exploding volcanoes and dueling pirate ships provide street-front entertainment. He points out that the faux mountain being built in front of the new property prevents a good view of the lake, waterfall, fountains and tropical landscaping from Las Vegas Boulevard.

“It’s provocative. People are going to look and say, ‘What’s going on in there?’” he said. Evans said Wynn Las Vegas has been designed to provide a more intimate experience than can be found in the huge resorts down the street.

“We are always asked, ‘How do you make something so big so intimate?’ And the way Mr. Wynn described it was that you build neighborhoods little pockets of areas where people can have personal experiences by themselves without being interrupted,” Evans said. “Every place you’re in is like its own separate little area.”

He emphasized that much attention has been paid to detail and to the comfort of the guest with shorter walks and more convenient locations.

“We are going after customers that are looking for an intimate experience; a personal experience and the type of service that isn’t found traditionally in Las Vegas,” he said. According to Evans, this is where travel agents come in. The type of customer who will be willing to pay for Wynn Las Vegas’ upscale amenities and service will be looking for the personal service and expert advice travel agents can provide.

In a few months, a travel agent program will be announced that “will make the agents very happy,” said Evans, but, naturally, he couldn’t give any details except that commissions will be the standard 10 percent.

“Of course, travel agents will like us because higher rates mean higher commissions,” he said. “We are going to be the most travel agent-friendly hotel in Las Vegas.” We will have to wait and see.

In the meantime, there is one mock suite available for viewing in the last remaining building leftover from the Desert Inn, which has been remodeled to house Wynn’s art collection and Wynn Las Vegas administrative offices. Group bookings are being accepted now and reservations will be open for travel agents and tour operators in late fall.

When the hotel opens on April 28, it will be complete; no soft opening with apologies for details that haven’t been ironed out yet.

“This will not be your typical opening,” Evans said. “Everything will be finished 100 percent.”