Wynn-ing Big, Again

The new Encore Las Vegas dazzles on the Strip

By: By Deanna Ting

The Details

Encore Las Vegas
Current room rates are as low as $159 per night for a Resort Suite. Rates for a Tower Suite room range from $249 to $5,000 per night.
Commission: 10 percent

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There’s been plenty of talk as to whether Steve Wynn can hit the jackpot once more with his newest venture, Encore Las Vegas, especially given lady luck’s absence in the world financial markets — and on the Strip. So, did he pull it off?

You bet.

A lavish Parlor Suite at Encore Las Vegas // (c) Russell MacMasters
A lavish Parlor Suite at Encore Las Vegas

Encore is a lavish and welcome sequel to the successful Wynn Las Vegas, which opened in 2005. Like its sister property, Encore’s bronzed facade — some 50 stories tall — glitters as it curves toward the sky, welcoming well-heeled guests to place their bets and indulge their appetites both culinary and retail.

And, true to Wynn form, all-suite Encore raises the stakes when it comes to innovation in design. Upon entering the hotel, the first thing you’ll see isn’t the casino. Instead, it’s a direct view into the resort’s pools and its lush, manicured gardens. Unlike most hotel casinos, Encore doesn’t enshroud its patrons in a cocoon of thick, heavy smoke under dimly lit, low-slung ceilings painted to resemble blue skies. Guests can even gamble outside by the pool. And adding to the lobby’s glow are dozens of cherry-red chandeliers custom-made in Murano, Italy.

The crimson hue is a predominant shade throughout the hotel, a symbol of good fortune in the Chinese culture — no doubt something Wynn picked up from his Wynn Macau development. (An Encore in Macau is scheduled to open later this year.) Clients might also notice that there are no floors numbered 40 to 49, either; that’s because the number four sounds similar to the word for death in Mandarin and is therefore considered highly unlucky.

But is all this enough to keep Wynn’s $2.3 billion development out of the red, quite literally?

Las Vegas, as a visitor destination, is currently on a losing streak. In October 2008, visitor volume dropped 10.2 percent from the previous year alone, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. The last time the city saw numbers that low was immediately following Sept. 11, 2001.

To commence the official opening of Encore on Dec. 22, 2008, Wynn adopted rather aggressive pricing measures. He managed to book a full house, but only by offering rates as low as $149 per night — an absolute steal for a luxury Vegas hotel stay.

And a steal it was. Encore’s standard Resort Suite accommodations are more boutique than any other Vegas suite I’ve stayed in, even for a 2,034-room property. All 700- to 745-square-foot rooms are outfitted with floor-to-ceiling glass windows and are divided into separate living areas, bedrooms and bathrooms. With the touch of a button,
clients control every lighting fixture within the room, as well as the two sets of drapes provided. Where the casino floor is colorful, the suites adopt a more subdued and refined color palette.

If I could change anything about the room, however, I would have preferred a non-vertical safe to house my laptop and better sound insulation in the walls. If your clients are light sleepers, you might suggest they bring a pair of earplugs, just in case.

Nevertheless, the suite makes for an ideal retreat at the end of a long day (or night) spent in meetings, on the casino floor or in the nightclub. Turndown service is also included, and there’s also high-speed Internet access available for a charge of $13.99 for 24 hours.

And while some of your clients will no doubt stay at Encore for business (the hotel alone has 60,000 square feet of meeting space and a total of 12 meeting rooms), the resort was designed with leisurely luxury in mind.

Take the spa, for example. It’s absolutely stunning. Both the spa, salon and fitness center encompass an entire floor of the property that is almost as large as the casino floor.

At the 61,000-square-foot spa, I was most impressed by the gilded, lantern-lined path that leads to the spa’s treatment rooms, of which there are 51 in total. Signature treatments, labeled Transformation Rituals, include a Good Luck Ritual based on the practices of feng shui.

After taking a breather, clients will also want to indulge at Encore’s signature restaurants, of which there are five, not including the Lobby Bar and Cafe: Sinatra (Italian), Switch (a French-inspired steakhouse), Botero (a classic steakhouse with a twist), Society Cafe Encore (all-day dining) and Wazuzu (Pan-Asian).

And, if lady luck happens to smile upon your clients at the blackjack table, there are multiple retail outlets for them to spend their good fortunes on at the Encore Esplanade, including Chanel, Hermes and Rock & Republic. After a brief jaunt through the Esplanade and past the theaters, clients will find themselves in Wynn Las Vegas.

For entertainment, clients can drop in on entertainer Danny Gans’ show at the Encore Theater on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. And for nightlife, clients can pass through the velvet ropes at XS, the new nightclub at Encore from Friday through Monday. XS even features a $10,000 cocktail, the Ono, which comes with sterling-silver cufflinks embossed with stingray skin and an 18-karat, white-gold necklace with a black pearl pendant.

Although I seriously doubt there are many takers for the Ono right now, I’m not hedging my bets against Wynn’s success with Encore. This might not be the most opportune time to open a multibillion-dollar resort but, having experienced Encore firsthand, I’m confident that it will be a major player in the Vegas resort scene for many years to come. And besides, as they say, the house always wins.