That's not my title, that was the name of the session at the Casino Design 2005 conference at Wynn Las Vegas.
While there were a lot of sessions that focused on general design themes and trends, this kick-off panel was looking directly at the recently completed $2.7 billion Wynn Las Vegas complex.
More after the jump...
It was a panel discussion moderated by Wynn LV President Marc Schorr. The panel included Arthur Benedetti (Jerde), Don Brinkerhoff (Lifescapes), DeRuyter Butler (Wynn Design and Development), and Roger Thomas (Wynn Design and Development).
They each answered some questions from Marc Schorr and took us through the site plan, as well as showing off some stunning PR photos of the hotel.
In my mad dash to take notes I ended up with attribution for many of the individual answers. Instead of trying to figure out who said what, I'll just share what was said. Here we go!
First off, a random fact: Wynn Las Vegas has 22,000 outside lights (bulbs).
When designing Wynn Las Vegas (WLV), they looked at the strengths and weaknesses of Bellagio.
In classifying strengths they derived that Bellagio's best areas succeeded because they had a feeling of intimacy, great views, proximity to landscaping or a mix of those three. They mentioned the patio between Picasso and Prime as a great example of a Bellagio space that really works well. Apparently Steve Wynn considers the fact that there is little outside dining on Bellagio's lake as a major missed opportunity.
Hearing them talk about Bellagio's weaknesses was interesting. The biggest complaint about Bellagio regards its scale. It is a 6 million square foot facility and it FEELS that way - it feels big. The guest corridors at Bellagio are very long and Butler noted that if you head down to the Spa and forget your sunglasses, the round trip from your room and back could be up to a half mile of walking. Butler was the head architect on both projects and you can tell that he thinks Bellagio is a strong project but that he has done better this time around.
Marc Schorr, a true operator, interjected here that a place that makes $400 million a year doesn't have too many flaws.
The distances at Bellagio were contrasted with WLV, using the Tower Suites as an example. According to Butler, a guest in the Tower Suites has high limit slots, a pool, check-in, guest elevators, a private restaurant and street access within a 100 foot radius.
Overall corridor lengths at Wynn are much shorter with the distance from the elevators to the furthest suite at 100 feet and the furthest guest room at 200 feet.
One of Wynn's controversial design features, the 'mountain', came up in discussion. We heard two stories about its origin. One has been published before - that Steve and Elaine Wynn had a sort of epiphany one night to create the buffer from the street... The other I hadn't heard before... Apparently Steve and Elaine were dining at Picasso and Steve was aghast that his wife's face kept changing colors along with the large video sign at the Aladdin.
One thing was made clear - blocking the street, especially the Fashion Show Mall's 'Cloud' was a priority. Wynn wanted to be able to control the environment much more than at Bellagio and that meant putting something between the hotel and the Strip.
One of the panelists likened modern casino projects to Versailles in terms of the grandeur of the projects.
In designing the look and feel of the low-rise buildings, Wynn wanted something that hadn't been seen elsewhere. That's part of the reason everything in the resort is custom made, from the wall coverings to the carpets. They want Wynn Las Vegas to be a singular experience in worldwide resort travel. If the hotel has a theme, that theme would be 'A Hotel in a Garden'.
Overall, the session was very interesting. We didn't get into what elements of WLV they would now change given some early feedback but Schorr did mention that Encore will have 'more elevators', a common complaint with Wynn's Tower Suite guests.
Another interesting tidbit - Marnell Corrao construction crews left the site at 3pm 4/27, only two hours before the charity events began. It was almost implied that the resort opened about 30 days too soon and it was a very tight schedule at the end.
Since the opening, the car dealership has sold 56 cars - almost 1 per day and that operation has been more financially successful than Keno.
55,000 people walk through Wynn Las Vegas per day, though they expect slowing to about 30,000 during the Summer months.
When briefly touching on Encore, they mentioned they are shooting for about 1,500 rooms with higher end restaurants. The standard guest room will be about 800 square feet. They are breaking ground in December and design work continues as we speak.
That's the basic breakdown for that session. I'll be on some Wynn behind the scenes tours later today and will report back on those as well.