North America

Encore: Wynn on a Wing

written by | Posted on February 1st, 2009

It’s almost a scene from “Ocean’s Thirteen,” except without Ocean and without his 13. There are the jewels, the man, the gorgeous rooms and glittery casino—even the man from Mobile (as in a handful of stars) with clipboard in tow.

But the plot goes something like this: Steve Wynn, legendary lionizer of Luxury Las Vegas, opens an opus to his eponymous Stripside oeuvre and puts in all the craft and logic he might have missed in all his Las Vegas creations to date. The hotel opens without fanfare, no earthquakes nor fires or fireworks and implosions. Just a beautiful hotel quietly parting its doors to the public and giving them something to ogle. The public loves it; travelers love the suites; Mobile loves the services; foodies love the restaurants; hotties love the Europool; partiers love the hotties and all is well with the world.

Where’s the cliffhanger, you ask? The beat that turns the plot and makes us gasp? Simply, it’s the most luxurious address in town—the Encore—with possibly the best rooms on the Strip and it can be had for the price of a pair of last season’s boots: $179.

“Even though it’s in Las Vegas, a property like this doesn’t exactly open every day,” says Jeffrey Gloeb, v.p. of hotel sales for Encore. “There are views from everywhere and Steve Wynn has really not missed a thing when it comes to the interior decor, the pool designs and all the beauty a hotel can offer.”

Indeed, Wynn was conscious of every detail in this work—all the sight lines had to be perfect and there would be something to admire wherever a soul laid an eye.

For starters, take the Swarovski crystals. They comprise the glints from the firmament of ruby butterflies that make up one of the many motifs of this chocolate glass tower. Hand-blown Murano glass chandeliers, Egyptian Mamluk lanterns, carved limestone walls, Botero paintings and sculptures, groves of indoor and outdoor flowers—a treasury of finds from one corridor to the next. No fountains, though, and no volcanoes or pyrotechnics. Encore’s signature is beauty and intimacy, a Las Vegas hotel of quiet marvels, overstated in its offerings, but understated in its delivery.

Encore connects to Wynn via corridors of retail. But the retail here is unlike stores found anywhere else. You will find a dedicated Hermes store here as well as a Rolex store, and a Chanel Jewelry boutique. And you will also find the country’s first Rock & Republic and a few names you’ve never heard: Shades, In-Step, Ensemble, XS Club Shop; plus, a Wynn Jewelry store worth a visit just for the gawking. Inside a well-protected case vulnerable only in a screenwriter’s mind, lies the “Wynn Diamond.” It does not have the history of the Hope…yet (it has only been in Wynn’s hands for a year or two and so far no notorious stories to ascribe). But this 231-ct white Cartier-cut pear is the largest and clearest gem of its kind in the world—the size of a baby’s fist, backed by a shimmering layer of Paves and hanging from a chain of 425 additional diamonds. There is no price attached. It is not for sale.

Head into Wynn’s highly awaited nightclub, aptly named XS, and pass a haunting sculpted relief of bodies draped in tightly stretched sheets of gold. The club has the requisite Vegas go-go pole podiums, plus something else—the club looks onto a sparkling pool of bodies, live and kicking. This is the hotel’s Eurobathing pool stocked with chaises aplenty as well as 29 amenity-packed cabanas and a pool bar with gaming tables. In fact, the 21+ Europool is not only viewed from XS, but also the regular Encore pool nearby, the windows from the suite tower above and even the terrace off Encore’s meetings room wing.

The eye candy show continues within various restaurants of the hotel. A French-influenced steakhouse called Switch literally “switches” interior surroundings every 20 minutes with a brief sound and light interlude that has walls and ceilings morphing from Asian limestone to Baroque to gardenesque. Another restaurant, Botero, puts a corpulent reclining woman in bronze at its center stage and adds original paintings by the Colombian artist along the walls. A third restaurant, Sinatra, loops “From Here to Eternity” on the plasma screen above the bar. An altar wall dedicated to the Chairman’s awards displays his Emmy, Oscar and Grammy at the entrance. Then there are black and white photos of the Rat Pack all over the restaurant and a “Boardroom” private salon area overlooked by Frankie and Stevie (as in Wynn), in a painted portrait of the duo posing together. Most restaurants offer pool or garden patio dining with outdoor fireplaces.