On Location: Steve Wynn’s Encore Opens in High Style

Last month saw the opening of Encore, the twin to Steve Wynn’s flagship Wynn Las Vegas. A quick look from a distance and it's clear the two resorts are related, both brandish trim golden facades. And while guests at one resort are encouraged to sample the delights at the neighboring property, the $2.3 billion Encore strives and achieves a more boutique hotel experience than Wynn Las Vegas.

Steve Wynn is on record as describing Encore as being about intimacy. “The casino is smaller and feels more exclusive and is meant to echo the notion of a casino in Monaco,” he said. “The rooms are suites and they’re warm and cozy and inviting.”

I was invited to visit Encore this week and I found that passing from one resort to the other was virtually seamless, making it easy to shop, dine or attend a show at the Wynn while staying at Encore.

Encore’s 2,034 suites offer views from two-story glass windows, advanced technologies and Wynn Dream Beds. Each Resort Suite spans more than 700 square feet and the Tower Suites measure up to 5,800 square feet.

During my visit, I was encouraged to experience the hotel as a guest might. I stayed in one of the Tower Suites on the 28th floor. I had a great view of Wynn Las Vegas, The Strip and the mountains. Maybe it’s just Vegas, but I enjoy a Vegas hotel room even more after the sun goes down— the well-designed lighting in my suite created an intimate atmosphere.

The room has a huge flat-screen TV that swivels so it can be viewed from either the bed or living room. The décor blends warm earth tones with stark black, and also presents contrasting textures of lacquered ebony and hounds-tooth wall covering. To me, it was a very masculine design concept that was softened by the open and airy interior, by the excellent artwork (three Matisse lithographs in my room) and an L-shaped couch that screams “Leisure” instead of “Let’s get some work done.”

Many are wondering just how well the new resort will do given Sin City’s current slump in visitor arrivals. “We opened during Vegas’ busiest period,” says Rob Oseland, chief operating officer, Encore Wynn Las Vegas. “After the holidays, Vegas goes into a slow period, but we’re currently 95 percent occupied.” Oseland told me that he’s been part of the opening team at five Wynn properties and that Encore’s opening was the smoothest of all of them.

A few hours before meeting Oseland, I’d read a survey predicting further downturns for Vegas. I asked Rob where Encore expected to pull guests. “The international market has shown growth,” he said. “At Encore we’re also seeing a cannibalization of the domestic market— Encore is drawing guests from other casinos, including Wynn.”

The resort has five restaurants, each sporting a different look and cuisine. I had dinner at Wazuzu, which serves Pan-Asian cuisine— everything from sushi to dim sum to Thai-style roti panang. The centerpiece of the restaurant is a glittering crystal dragon stretching across one wall, composed of 90,000 crystals. The restaurant has a variety of tables, from intimate seating for two to a corner booth seating 10. I had an excellent meal of crispy fish with thai herbs, accompanied by a green apple mango yum salad and a cocktail that seemed suitable for the occasio— a Lychee mojito made with Kai Lychee Vodka and freshly muddled mint.

Rounding out Encore’s restaurant offerings are Botero, known for its steaks; Sinatra, where diners are served Italian cuisine, surrounded by Sinatra memorabilia and serenaded by Ol’ Blue Eyes and his contemporaries on the sound system; and Switch, which is taking Vegas by storm because of it’s unique feature— on the half-hour the lighting, walls and ceiling change to create a totally different atmosphere for diners (four sets of changes in all).

I had breakfast at Society, a very elegant and upscale setting— night and day from the typical Vegas buffet experience. Great coffee, ample space between the tables, a menu that has classics like eggs benedict as well as trendy offerings like mango smoothies with a scoop of protein powder. The Wynn signature floral displays and draperies soften the black, white and red décor. Society serves meals throughout the day, but I have a feeling it really shines in the morning.

Other highlights at Encore include 11 retail outlets, seven bars and lounges, XS nightclub, an atrium, and a European-inspired pool area (read topless). Encore also houses 60,000 square feet of event space. During my visit, I was offered both a spa and a salon treatment— an offer hard to pass up. The 61,000-square-foot spa has 37 treatment rooms, including four couples suites. You’ll find a full range of treatments and therapies, from massage to hydrotherapy. The signature treatment is the 80-minute Good Luck Ritual Massage, which is based upon the five elements of feng shui— health, wealth, prosperity, happiness and harmony. The spa is a great resource to alleviate some of the stress your clients might encounter at the gaming tables, or the indulgences at Encore’s restaurants and nightclub. Spa appointments for VIP clients and groups can be made in advance of arrival by contacting Shannon Collins, Encore’s VIP/group coordinator ([email protected], 702-770-4455).

Take a closer look at Wynn's Encore in the slide show below: