As some already know, I spent some time last week at Encore Las Vegas for what Wynn Resorts called 'Media Week'. Over the course of 5 days of events, various forms of media were invited to come stay at the hotel and participate in all sorts of events from back-of-house tours to eating in the restaurants.
After the jump for more, including a link to the audio extra...
Some of it was free-form - we made our own restaurant reservations and ate at our leisure - but they did have a whole set of structured opportunities, many of which were things that the average guest would never see. We participated in a design tour similar to what I saw in December, a back of house tour that was just utterly fascinating and then also stuff like what you're about to hear - a design 'roundtable' featuring the heads of Wynn Design and Development along with the principal consultants used to create Encore Las Vegas.
For those that are wondering, yes, Wynn Resorts did cover the invitees costs for quite a bit of the trip. If you're curious, there was no quid-pro-quo and at no point did anyone suggest that I write or not write on any specific topic. PR was available to answer questions and I was able to lay the groundwork for a few interviews you may see here or on the Vegas Gang in the coming months.
I'll talk more about the food, spa and room in upcoming posts - after a few more days on the property, I have a much better idea of its strengths, a few of its weaknesses and other random dissertations.
The roundtable audio is here (this is also in the Vegas Gang audio feed if you are a subscriber):
Also, if you're interested to see a video of Encore during the day, when the light is streaming in, check this out (once on the page, click on 'Watch in High Quality'):
After dinner on Wednesday, I ran into Steve Wynn. He was walking the Encore Esplanade all by himself, checking out the view. We only had a few minutes but we did talk for a bit about the special glass used all over the casino level. It is a special formulation, designed to reduce glare and making the impressive views possible both day and night, even with a ton of exterior lighting.
Separately, I ended up in a conversation with Wynn D&D architecture head DeRuyter Butler on Friday evening. He was actually looking into a few 'issues' that have popped up post opening to see what can be done to fix them. The conversation included discussion on 'tricks' used to stay within code (I guess there has to be a fire exit within 200 feet of any point inside the casinos, which is hard with a big floor like Bellagio - he used an underground tunnel to satisfy that requirement over there).
I didn't have my notepad but one of the tidbits from the conversation that was particularly interesting was the revelation that the concept for 'Switch' was determined *after* the underground concrete had already been poured. They had to do some concrete cutting to make space for the massive floating walls that make up that restaurants signature attraction. This is in addition to what you hear on the recording as they talk about other changes late in the design and construction process.
Lastly - thanks to Steve Friess for letting me steal his headline idea.