Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog

December 22, 2008

Encore Suites at Wynn Las Vegas - First Impressions

Posted by Hunter

This will be somewhat brief - I will write a full review of this first stay probably later in the week - but I wanted to share a few first impressions, brought to you from Encore's 61st floor.

I was lucky enough to be given a guided tour this morning by Roger Thomas, VP of Design for Wynn Design and Development. He is responsible for most of the interiors of the resort, along with previous creations like Wynn Las Vegas, Bellagio and Treasure Island. He refers to himself as an 'author' when talking about the design process. Given how much thought goes into his 'prose', I think that's appropriate.

The tour was great - I took a lot of notes that I will transcribe later.

In a word I would describe Encore as breathtaking. It's much smaller - very intimate. It is a fantastic complement to Wynn Las Vegas. The casino, as many anticipated, is very similar to Wynn Macau with smaller chambered areas. Personally, I think this design is a huge win, though it might not work with a larger space. It's more appropriate for a smaller casino floor as they have here.

There are walk up bars on all sides of the property - Thomas told me this was in direct response to customers wanting more bars on the WLV side. One of the bars on the east end of the casino is a huge glass wall overlooking the pool, flooding the gaming areas with natural light.

For restaurants, we saw Sinatra (retro, 60s Palm Springs kinda vibe, but not in an old sorta way). Later in the afternoon, I watched them install the 1953 Best Supporting Actor Award in its display. It's gorgeous.

Had a quick lunch at Society Cafe Encore and it was really fantastic. Simple dishes but my chicken sandwich was perfectly done.

The Esplanade includes several high end boutiques, including a new home store featuring Roger Thomas' furniture. The Wynn and Company Jewelers on this side are displaying the 'Wynn Diamond', a 231 caret stone that is breathtaking to behold.

While not being much of a nightclub guy personally, we walked through XS and I was impressed. I think it's got a chance at being the top spot in town - the interplay between the pool and the club is amazing and sure to be a huge hit, likely to be copied elsewhere.

The Tower Suites lobby is tucked away from the casino floor, as it is at Wynn Las Vegas, while the main Resort check-in is open to the main walkway on the North side. Tower Suites is less of a preferred option at Encore, though the rooms we did see on that side were huge and amazing. The 2 and 3 bedroom, two level sky villas sounded impressive, though we did not get to tour one (yet).

They're being pretty tough about photos so far. I'm hoping that will ease up at 8pm when the place officially opens.

There's a ton of interesting design detail in this place - as much or more than Wynn Las Vegas.

More to come. Please follow us at and feel free to ask questions to us there via Twitter or if you can't do that, leave a comment.

Also, room photos:


Read archived comments (53 so far)
December 22, 2008 4:33 PM Posted by Jeff in OKC

Great stuff! Keep it coming for the scores of us who cannot be there. Thank you! Thank you!! Thank you!!!

December 22, 2008 6:47 PM Posted by hail2skins

Hunter, thanks much for the write-up and the comments so make it seem as if we're there with you.

I'm sure the pictures you're going to take of the public areas, especially after they relax the rules, will show the beauty of the resort. Just a few questions for you:

1) How mamy separate "chambered areas" are in the main casino? And in the main casino, how much floor space is dedicated to table games versus slots?

2) Do you think the size of the pool is ample for 2,000 rooms? I was wondering if they might institute a policy where Encore guests are welcome at the WLV pool.

Thanks again for the updates! Have a great time out there!

December 22, 2008 10:35 PM Posted by John

My first impressions... I was fairly underwhelmed. I bet I'll change my mind when I see from casino looking out during the daytime hours. We'll see.

December 23, 2008 12:07 AM Posted by Hunter

Sorry, just getting back to you. It's been a long night.

1. How many chambered areas? Not sure (I can count in the morning) but each chamber has about six table games. I'd say more tables than slots than at WLV but there are still a bunch of slots.

2. The pools (there are two) are probably a bit small for 2,000 rooms, honestly. It's too cold and windy for people to be out there so I can't say how busy they will be but if XS/Botero and the whole afternoon pool vibe is as successful as I think it will be, it's gonna be crowded.

Sinatra was incredible for dinner. Steve and Elaine were at the next table.

I'm exhausted now. Gotta pass out. More in the morning.

December 23, 2008 12:20 AM Posted by mike_ch

iPhone, pardon my errors.

Approx 9 regions, though they are not as closed off as you think they are. It's simply a more divided up floor with some columns and drapes to make it seem smaller.

Can't speak for the pool, closed when I got there.

It's a nice place obviously, but the colour red is just too strong. You know how your eyes' cones can be strained by looking at the same colour too long? Yeah, three hours was enough for me.

Switch looks to cost about $60 per entrée, but I still intend to try it for a special event sometime. It's changes are pretty cool and arguably the fountain or volcano style wow for this property. It's limited enough that one visit will probably suffice for anyone, the complexity means it will never see new "modes" or whatever. On the other hand, I can't imagine how they got it past the fire marshalls or or similar powers, so I reccomend you see it before they have to make changes.

December 23, 2008 12:56 AM Posted by TC from Boston

Hunter (with other compliments to Chuckmonster) great job so far with the coverage...but couple questions...
1. is that a Jacuzzi/jetted tub in the room?
2.whats the various menus like any chance we can get a photo or a scan of them?
3. Where abouts are you in the tower (begining middle end..) because that view is pretty amazing

thats all keep up the great work

December 23, 2008 2:55 AM Posted by G

This will be somewhat short as well... More like a first impression of Encore than a final ruling. While waiting more than two hours to enter Encore because of the fire marshall, (that should give you an idea of how small it is) thoughts of an amazing hotel that would raise the bar in Las Vegas standards danced in my head. How sad I was to learn that was not the case.

Now don't get me wrong Encore is a beautiful hotel. A hotel that took its cue from Wynn. 70% of Encore is the Wynn as it should be... Or should it? They way all the rumors and facts came my way I understood it to be its own hotel. In my eyes it is just an extension tower off of Wynn. An EXTREMELY RED version of the Wynn.

There is so much red in Encore that it is sometimes gaudy and tacky in areas, and sometimes bright enough to burn your eyes if you were staring at red cellophane in front of a 500 watt light bulb. To much of something is not a good thing.

The walk through of the shops seemed to be much smaller and cramped than Wynn esplanade. The ceiling however was very cool. Small little mirror tiles in a diamond pattern that reflected the carpet and people walking on it from below. Botero restaurant looks amazing. Definitely different than anything i have seen in awhile. Black and white for the most part with beautiful examples of Botero's work.

Outside around the pool and gardens are extremely gorgeous as well. Bursts of color in the flowers and and soon to be filled with tanning beauties. Or at least one can hope to see good looking people at the pool since you can see them from 1/2 of the indoor public areas. Pasty white and fat people (like me) not allowed.

Wazuzu or as I like to call it Red 8 deux is just another (smaller) asian restaurant located in the same location in the casino at Encore as its Wynn original. with an amazing crystal dragon on the wall. Society looked like an upper scale Terrace Point Cafe. Now I did not see the moving walls of Switch but it screamed Tableau to me. From the colors to the chairs it is strikingly similar. Sinatra was heavily guarded by security because it was past its last seating so I can't comment except it is a major dead end in the casino.

The chambers of the casino floor are a very interesting idea, but are a little claustrophobic. Encore is about intimacy but i would like to see the chambers a little taller and wider. Once again have I mentioned how RED this casino is?

Wow this turned out not to be so short! I left out lots and lots that I will write about in a full review after I see everything with more time and effort. I am looking forward to seeing it during the day.

Overall first impression is that Steve has created another wing to Wynn that will draw a younger, hipper, well to do crowd. The details are amazing, the concept is what it should be. Is it better than the Wynn? Not at all! But it definitely creates another brand to add to the Wynn collection. In my eyes it has some flaws and some too obvious copy cats from Wynn. Nothing really new, just different ideas and concepts from a master planned design next door. Some great, most of them good, some bad. If you truly want to see great design and what should be done thorough out Encore, just walk down the meeting room hallways. They are amazing!!

But what do i know, i just work across the street!


December 23, 2008 4:54 AM Posted by Mike_ch

"G", yor writeup is quite accurate in my view. My opinion went from "well. This is questionable, but appealing, to ow my eyes. As much fun as it was to finally see the Wynns in person and see a who's who of rich Vegasy people, not to mention hobnob with real celebs like Brian and Chuckmonster, it was quite a relief to see WLV and Palazzo again on my way out.

Encore must be a nice hotel but the casino is a 2 hour thing for me, no more.

The other thing I have noticed at our Parasol Up get-together is that anyone who had rooms didn't seem to find them to be some great new revolution on rooms. I haven't heard from anyone what is must see about the rooms. Now, everyone here got standard rooms, Mike E got Tower Suites but it's still a standard room, but I get the feeling that to the average guest Encore isn't that much different. There was a lot of talk here about how this tower was Wynn's way of taking it to some of the other guys on the street, particularly the glassy stuff down by Bellagio and FB too.

I say Encore possibly puts the Wynn complex up and over Bellagio as "nicest place in town" for a year until newer competition arrives. When it does, we are likely to start talking Golf Course Development again, because Encore missed that opportunity, because it's "more Wynn" (not a bad thing) more than TI ever was "more Mirage." Not as nondescript as THEhotel though.

I wanted a deli in there, personally. Zoozacrackers is a long walk and to the public tonight, returning to Wynn meant not getting back into Encore. The missing/shared stuff stands out when you're trying not to leave.

All in all, good for Vegas and jeeze what a fun night.

December 23, 2008 5:15 AM Posted by detroit1051

Will someone staying at Encore clarify the standard room layout for me? The floorplan on Encore's site shows the sectional sofa against the end wall, leaving the living area of the room open looking. In Brian's and someone else's photos, the sofa looks like it is in the middle of the room, and to get to the desk, you have to walk around the partition through the sleeping area. It looks chopped up to me, or am I missing something? It may be nice to have the illusion of a separate bedroom, but I'd prefer the openness of a large space, a la Wynn Las Vegas' Executive Suite.

December 23, 2008 6:45 AM Posted by Doug

detroit1051 - I think you're confused because of the mirrors...

I just got through looking at the Encore photos and video at Vegas Rex's web site and the casino looks like 'Barbie built an Asian doll house' - too much pink!!
Rex's comments seemed true as well, "If Reese Witherspoon from 'Legally Blonde' wanted to play roulette she would go to Encore".

December 23, 2008 8:04 AM Posted by Hunter

Detroit - There is no standard room layout. There are at least 2 and perhaps 3 layouts for the non-suite rooms and then even the suites have slightly different color and layout setups.

December 23, 2008 8:12 AM Posted by Hunter

Couple of notes:

Like Wynn Las Vegas, you don't get the full experience of Encore unless you're staying here. You need to see the rooms, the drop dead gorgeous spa, the pools, etc...

Also, I think you need to try it to appreciate some of the design subtleties - the small little details such as how you can easily dim all the lights in the room from a single button when ready to hit the sack.

The casino's colors are very red, yes, just like Macau, which was expected. Personally I liked it but of course to each his own regarding color schemes. To anyone that only came last night - the natural light in the casino is STUNNING. You missed that as the public opening was 8pm.

The service this first day was over the top incredible. Seems like he has all his best people in this hotel.

So far I've tried two restaurants, Society and Sinatra, and they both had amazingly great food. Lunch at Society was really really well done and I think it will be a favorite restaurant for a lot of folks. The only spot open for breakfast, unless you count very light fare at the Lobby Cafe.

I don't know if I said this before but Encore and WLV are complements - they go well as pair. *Together* they offer an array of choices for rooms, gaming, food, etc... Encore on its own would be lacking a few things but since they are right next door it's no big deal to me. We all know how small a plot Encore is - the spa and pool/XS are the signature attractions but personally I prefer the smaller casino to WLV's, so far (winning didn't hurt).

If anyone was expecting something radically different, they will be disappointed but I would also say that person was not really paying attention - Wynn doesn't do 'radically different'. He does the same idea, refined with little twists.

December 23, 2008 8:16 AM Posted by Hunter


1. No jets in the tub - this is an accessible room so it's a bathing 'wand' for a disabled person to use.

2. I will see about getting some shots or even official PR blasts on the menus.

3. 61st floor, near the middle. The Tower Suites rooms are all on the Strip (West) end, we're just beyond them in the Resort section.

Waking up at Encore, with this view, is not too shabby.

I'll be coming back in January for Encore's media week to report on back of house tours, some design panels, etc...

EDIT: Some more photos:

December 23, 2008 8:38 AM Posted by Mark D

Got in at about 8:30. Does Macau have the red chandeliers over the gaming areas? Those are eerie and kind of freaked me out a little. They've really gotten carried away with the lattice work throughout the place. Lattice is a nice design touch, but not when it's on absolutely everything. The Switch menu didn't look that expensive to me, we're gonna try it soon. Last night they wouldn't even let us near the Sinatra entrance, so I couldn't see the menu. With the casino partitions it does seem small and cozy, but I still got disoriented, maybe that was because it was so crowded. We'll go back on a normal day and see how it feels.

December 23, 2008 9:20 AM Posted by Mike_ch

I don't think it's too inappropriate to point these things out. THEhotel misses a lot if basic stuff, too, but it's a very different kind of place. Palazzo suffered from this identity crisis about whether it's a hotel on it's own or another tower with a casino. I would say it's more independently appointed.

It isn't that other hotels haven't done this in the past, but they don't give expansions their own identity or merchandise.

I suspect a lot of tourists are going to be wondering this stuff, and the answer they want to a question like "is there a buffet/poker/sports bar/deli" is "no, it shares the one at Wynn," not "no, but that's part of the design."

December 23, 2008 10:02 AM Posted by charlie

Great work, a lot of fun for us. Albeit, last night for you guys was comparable to playing in the Super Bowl, Olympics, or something of once in lifetime magnitude (especially b/c it is something you dearly love).

Great pics, Encore is a nice cozy place. It probably took about the same amount of time to shoot them as it did for us to review and analyse them. And Encore is a fitting name, as it amounts to a 4 song set list of his greatest works. Project Curtain Call?

So now that it is 23 December 2008, we must begin to discuss the future and what to do next. My thoughts:
1. Do not tear up the golf course. If you need to, acquire some additional acreage to lengthen the course 4500 yards, to compete with Shadow Creek and keep Tiger and Phil happy.
2. Fine tune Wynn to best complement and to ensure that Wynn/Encore are equal partners. Seems like the a spa upgrade is likely candidate. And keep Tower Suites at Wynn truly relevant, even superior.
3. The Strip parking garage is an eyesore. Its got to go, and they need a more direct and, dare me say, grander connection between the casinos. Not much room, but enough for a World-Class Opera House (with a standing Orchestra and/or Ballet - he was able to get world-class chefs, why not aim for musicians/performers?).
3b. Or, build a boutique to overshadow the Mansion at MGM, with 50+ villas and/or a 100+ suites.

December 23, 2008 10:13 AM Posted by Hunter

Of course it's fine to point out but from my perspective though, some of these just don't matter. Others may disagree.

Part of design is making choices - there's limited space, time and money. Personally, I would have no use for another buffet - I'd rather see a place like Sinatra or Switch with interesting cuisine choices. Same goes for poker, a deli or sports book (though you can place sports bets in the Encore casino). They are important amenities but they are peripheral - the fact WLV has them satisfies the customer's need, IMHO.

Not having a buffet when there's one just down the hall seems wise to me. We surveyed some of our dinner mates and no one there had been to a buffet in quite some time so there's at least a portion of the customer base that won't miss it and for those that do, the Wynn Buffet is a good choice.

I consider Encore and Wynn Las Vegas to be symbiotic. As I said before, I wouldn't split them apart but together they're the best game in town, as far as I can tell. My wife told me she doesn't want to stay anywhere else, so that's one satisfied customer... and she's not a Wynn-o-phile at all. Just likes nice rooms, good food and friendly, helpful service.

December 23, 2008 10:13 AM Posted by charlie

Quick Question -

What were your thoughts on the bedroom/living room divider (aka, "square in the wall") and the rotating LCD?

My impressions were -
1. why not have Samsung build a 2 side LCD, so nobody has to see the back of the TV or move it drastically.
2. why not have a solid wall there with LCDs on each side? while you couldn't see out from the bed (although it seems difficult in the current configuration), it would be really cool to have a live HD feed from various points in the hotel looking out (south, north, penthouse villa), so you could still capture the view, while in bed.

December 23, 2008 10:15 AM Posted by Hunter

You're very welcome. More photos uploading right now including the pool and some other public areas.

I'm off to shoot the meeting rooms now.

December 23, 2008 10:17 AM Posted by Hunter

The rotating TV isn't any great innovation though I don't know how you'd handle having multiple TVs on with the sound, etc...

When I first walked in I thought the wall maybe made the room a little cramped but it's growing on me. It truly does give separation so that cuts both ways - if you like it, you like it.

December 23, 2008 10:36 AM Posted by cgriff

I like red; the brighter, the better. I do not do buffets, delis or sportsbooks when I am in Las Vegas. I like table gambling, fine dining, and relaxation (spas, shopping, shows); so, it almost sounds like Encore was designed with me in mind! I could call Encore standalone, except for the "shows" aspect (Encore does _not_ have its own in-house show, correct? Though there is an Encore theatre... Guess that's coming later?). Anyway, I can't wait to try it out.

December 23, 2008 10:43 AM Posted by Joe

Here's my question- Is Encore by itself better than Bellagio??

December 23, 2008 10:53 AM Posted by Hunter

That's a false choice. Encore wasn't desiged to be experienced by itself.

If you lopped off a third of Bellagio, would it still be as great? No.

Some things you can compare directly like rooms (Encore clear winner).

December 23, 2008 11:05 AM Posted by Joe

Oh, sorry my mistake. Im talking about design-wise.

December 23, 2008 12:05 PM Posted by detroit1051

Encore's home page is spectacular with the full size photo of the atrium taken in natural light. Beautiful!
Still no restaurant info, so thanks for everyone's comments on Sinatra, Switch and Society Cafe.

December 23, 2008 1:01 PM Posted by Mark D

I walked through again this morning to see the natural light coming in from the pool and atrium. Very nice having that near the casino. The abundant lattice designs are starting to make sense to me, it helps to make the otherwise eclectic design more cohesive overall. The casino was really jumping last night. When I gamble I play craps and there were two $25 tables and the others were $100 or reserved. This morning there were $10 tables. Six crap tables all together at Encore, Wynn has ten.

December 23, 2008 1:20 PM Posted by charlie

Per your pictures, I counted 5 VP bars -
Eastside Lounge (really 2)
Switch Bar
High Limit

Does the Lobby Lounge a have VP Bar as well?

Do you have a pic of the Pai Gow pit?

December 23, 2008 5:53 PM Posted by Brian Fey

At LV airport trying to get home.

The standard rooms are the best Vegas has to offer, period. They might looked chopped up or small in the photo's, but in person, they are simply the best i've seen in LV. The portioned wall is actually pretty cool. My wife spent a lot of time in the living room area reading on the couch, and just loved it. She commented on it, a few different times. The only down fall, is the tub is considerably smaller in size. I am a HUGE fan of dimmer, and think every light should have one. All the ones in my house do. Wynn added this at Encore. Also I love the command center, where you can control all the lights & curtains in the room from your bed. That rocks. I really really, think they should have given up just one of the seven bars, for a casual coffee shop/snack bar, something like the drugstore, or coffee bean at Mirage. I realize they serve a few snacks and drinks to go at the bar at the base of the elevators, but I think in a place that size, they really need that type of place. The Drug Store and Coffee Bean are both lined out the door early in the morning. Encore needs this, and I look for them to ad or change something to ad this in the future. I realize Wynn is just next door, but its still a haul of walk over there, when you are just wanting something in a hurry.

I hate to state the obvious, but just in case... There have been many questions on the standard rooms. The entire back/side wall of the room in the bedroom area and living room area is all mirrored, floor to ceiling. This could be deceiving or throwing some of you off, if you don't understand the room layout.

December 23, 2008 6:38 PM Posted by mike_ch

Not wanting to be left out of the fun, I too dined at Society today for lunch. I talked about it a bit on Twitter but I'll have details later since what was supposed to be a non-Encore StripWalk turned into fairly Encore-heavy StripWalk. I guess it couldn't be avoided.

Overall, my criticisms about the redness of the casino area are drastically reduced in the daytime with all the natural light muting it somewhat. I emphasized it a bit strongly last night, but I feel I did have some eye strain after three hours, since by the time I got to Venetian my vision had relaxed quite a bit.

December 23, 2008 7:47 PM Posted by John

So, Hunter, is there anything about Encore that you don't like?

December 23, 2008 9:22 PM Posted by hail2skins

Hunter, again thanks much for the reporting and the excellent pictures. Between your photos and some random videos I've seen on YouTube, combined with the map you and Steve provided, I think I've figured out the layout of the resort. I'm assuming a lot of the nice greenery is concentrated in the area close to the Strip entrance and then on the respective corridors that branch off toward Sinatra and Switch?

Bellagio was the first Wynn resoirt I took a close interest and while it didn't blow me away the first time I saw it, the place grew on me over the course of the weekend and it probably remainsmy favorite place in Vegas. However, I often wondered what design features may have been incorporated to make Bellagio even better, and I wonder if others have had similar thoughts. I guess just by looking at the photos (which isn't a substitute for being there, which I probably won't be able to until mid-2009), it seems to me that Encore does what I wish Steve would have done with Bellagio and then WLV, and the question is.....could he have done Encore on a larger scale? I've always been one that thought Steve should've sacrificed the DI golf course at the outset much like he did the Dunes course, but we're past that now.

I think its an interesting question for discussion, particularly in light of where Steve goes from here with the golf course redevelopment. I thought I read that the first place Steve would attack would be the Paradise Road frontage. It would also be cool if Steve somehow could acquire more Strip frontage somewhere too......never get tired of the resorts he builds.

The one concern I would have as an Encore guest would be if the pool area is big enough for the number of rooms. I guess going over to the WLV complex would be an option but then again would anyone want to schlep over there. Also, I wonder if the patio setting (it looks like there's one, anyway) at Botero will allow for an enjoyable atmosphere for a meal with the club setting so close by......that'll be answered in time.

But from the photos, the place looks gorgeous. Thanks again Hunter, and I look forward to more of your thoughts on the place once you've had a chance to come hope and digest everything.

December 23, 2008 9:34 PM Posted by MattK

It was a great night indeed and it was a pleasure to meet some of you at Parasol Up.

I want to report that I had a really strong in-room dining experience, all the more impressive considering it was opening night. I had 6 people and I wanted to sample something from each part of the menu. The phone ordering was very smooth, with the order-taker going into the kind of detail concerning preparation and preferences that I generally would only get downstairs. She gave me a 40 minute time estimate that was right on the money.

The waiter did a great setup, was very personable, scheduled a pick-up time, and refused a tip, pointing out that 18% is included on the tab. The service aspect of the meal was the best I've ever had it.

No one has yet figured out how to serve a hot room service steak that is cooked to order, (the problem is the beef will continue to cook itself on the plate during any transit time) but Encore's was better than most. Quesadillas, Wok Fried Rice, Chicken Fingers and Fries were all up to par. I may have ordered dessert were it not for the fact I was visited three (3) times that evening with complimentary chocolates! I'm not sure if that was deliberate or they ordered too many for the pantry and were trying to get rid of them, but we ertainly enjoyed them!

Overall, Encore should get big kudos for in-room dining. A little later, I'll give you some thoughts on the room, which I also thought was outstanding and had some great touches.

December 23, 2008 9:47 PM Posted by Hunter

Thanks to all - I know there are some unanswered questions and I have more comments but it's been a long day and I'm beat.

More from me tomorrow... and I'm uploading some more photos of Encore's meeting areas now. Should be on Flickr within the next 30 mins.

December 23, 2008 10:01 PM Posted by detroit1051

Do XS and Tryst appeal to the same clientele, or are there different sub-markets in nightclubs?
A few comments were made in the past about noise from Tryst reaching the guest rooms above. I wonder if this will be more of a problem at XS because some of the activity is oriented outdoors around the pool.
Here is LA Times' take on Encore:

December 23, 2008 10:06 PM Posted by Hunter

If the category is 'people with money', then I guess yes. :-)

While I think Tryst is a powerful nightlife contender, in my eyes XS looks like it could set the stage for a whole new set of clubs based around the same idea. If I was choosing, it would be no contest (I'm not a big nightlife guy) - XS with the pool area and Botero tie-in offers a much more interesting experience.

Noise - who knows. It is a problem with Tryst but not one that they seem too concerned about. They're willing to take the hit in exchange for the profits from the club.

December 24, 2008 12:36 AM Posted by mike_ch

I was glad to see XS was so distant from the casino. When I first heard all this Wynnspeak about how the nightclub is the heart of the resort and how much square space it's going to suck up, I imagined it right alongside the casino. I imagined the huge line and the UNTS UNTS UNTS UNTS sound sending me back to Wynn.

I had also thought, prior to seeing the floorplan, that the entrance to Botero was inside XS. Now that I know it plainly isn't, can someone explain again how they're linked up? Is it open and you can cross from one establishment to the other? And does Botero always have DJs and stuff? I read a Sun article about this but it didn't make much sense. It basically stated that the sound of the club carries into the steakhouse but that the steakhouse has it's own resident DJ. That doesn't seem to make much sense. All I know is that it's a lot of noise and you'll probably find me at Switch or SW.

Still, a huge upgrade for LoRusso, since Tableau had the kind of invisibility field that you wouldn't wish upon a good restaurant.

December 24, 2008 3:46 AM Posted by chuckmonster

Just a coupla notes on some of the comments... the Wynn macau casino isn't red. There is only one red chandelier at Wynn Macau, the one in the lobby.

Based on my experiences at Wynn Macau, I think it's hard to judge the casino layout based on opening night... it was a complete madhouse in there, which works against the whole concept of intimacy. Every slot position and almost every table was packed, bars jammed and folks just plain clogged in there. I suggest that folks go back after the hubub has died down at quieter hours to absorb the entirety of the resort they can. It's fair to say that those of us who took tours of the property (Hunter, Friess, Schwartz, McKee & Simpson) have had uncommon knowledge about the truly insane amount of design and detail that went into Encore and it's bound to skew our opinions slightly. When Roger Thomas explains the origins of a sconce (one of four) were a demolished hotel, you can't help but stand there and eyeball it, patching in connections to whatever frames of reference we as individuals have.

I completely and 1 zillion percent agree with hunter that to truly 'get' it, you've got to stay there and poke around all the nooks and crannies... playing through the casino with a meal and a show tacked on either end is great, but junkies like y'all need to experience the full enchilada.

Lastly, I'm heading back to Vegas tomorrow for three days at Encore w/the wife... feel free to ping questions and all that via twitter, here, vt or via email (charles@vt).

December 24, 2008 8:55 AM Posted by Hunter

Supposedly Botero will have a DJ outside (they have outside dining there as well).

Botero and XS are not connected directly but it appears they will allow people to pass between them in certain circumstances (i.e. reservations) through the exterior/pool walkway.

December 24, 2008 10:51 AM Posted by Hunter

Yes, the atrium/garden areas are on the Las Vegas Blvd side.

What didn't I like - I've been thinking about that. Encore's not perfect after all. I'll probably save that for another write-up I'm thinking about.

Chuck's correct in that I'm coming at this from the perspective of having walked the entire resort with it's designer. He gave us so much detail about where the furnishings either came from or were inspired and my take away is just the stunning amount of thought that went into it. Nothing in there is by accident so if you hate Encore, you can blame them. :-)

I'm curious to try XS, just to see what it is like.

I'll be back in January for another set of tours, including back of house. That will be a lot of fun, no doubt.

December 24, 2008 2:09 PM Posted by Erk

Can someone describe the transition/connection between Wynn and Encore? How do you get between the two, and where at the Wynn does the connection come in? Thanks.

December 24, 2008 8:19 PM Posted by MGK

Overall, I must say that I really liked the layout of Encore's casino; I found it very easy to navigate and its size manageable. On a random note, I noticed that the priciples of Feng Shui were applied more heavily at Encore than any of Steve Wynn's previous projects through design features and details such as those revolving doors, the Chinese lions, the three vases opposite the main north entrance in the pool area, the large amethyst crystals near the Tower Suites entrace, etc. On another random note, I also noticed the restrooms at Encore were completely different than anything done by Wynn in the past. They were modern, but not in that modern generic way that everybody seems to be doing.

December 24, 2008 9:49 PM Posted by John

Wynn also connects to Encore's meeting rooms just off the Country Club restaurant's entrance.

December 25, 2008 1:14 AM Posted by Mike E

Arrived home just a few minutes ago. I'll have a full report covering every restaurant except for Botero, the spa, etc., in a few days.

In short though, if WLV took everything previously done and did it a little better, then Encore took everything previously done and blew it out of the water.

December 25, 2008 9:56 AM Posted by mike_ch

To be more precise for the guy who wants to know how Encore and Wynn link up, the chandeliers and butterflies on the walls/carpets/ceiling extend all the way out to the Wynn box office and the intersection with Stratta (formerly Corsa) and the Cafe/Drugstore. The put a sign that says Wynn/Encore where there was a wall for quite some time on the left side of the theatre lobby.

I think people are trying too hard to place a firm line on it and aren't seeing what's been done to make the transition from Wynn brown/pastels to Encore red and butterflies so smooth. Talk about whether A Taste of Wynn is "in" WLV or Encore or whatever, it's going overboard.

Technically the whole hallway to XS or so was once part of Wynn, as there used to be a hallway to the countroom that was also used as a pickup dock for the monorail bus. I remember once trying to get to the bus but the escalator was closed off due to a pickup or dropoff with the Loomis truck.

December 25, 2008 12:47 PM Posted by Brian Fey

Mike - Technically, that's incorrect. Where XS is, is all Encore. That was blank land. That hallway ended about where the Encore home store is. Once you leave the home store, the Skylights above start and natural light comes in. That is all new construction and is all Encore. The trellis ceiling with the tiny mirrors is the old Wynn hallway, after that, the ceiling chances to real glass, and that is all Encore. XS is well into the Encore building.

Oh yeah, I did forget about Beau Rivage. You guys are correct, I knew about the land in LV, not AC. I didn't mention the land, because 8 years ago, land was somewhat reasonable, no 20-40 million an acre like we've seen in the past few years. Remember that Wynn only paid 85 Million I think it was for all of the Dunes. And only like 1.5 million an acre for Desert Inn. Wynn's always been famous for stealing land in Las Vegas. Both those deals are just unheard of today.

December 25, 2008 7:22 PM Posted by charlie

what is your assessment of the tower suites lobby/check-in? looking at the pictures it seems pretty basic. Would you rate this last for the Wynn/Encore lobbies?

How would you rank the lobbies/check-in?
#1 - Tower Suites at Wynn
#2 - Resort at Encore
#3 - Resort at Wynn
#4 - Tower at Encore??? what am I missing? did Roger give any special insights?

December 26, 2008 4:21 AM Posted by motoman

I'm glad mike_ch noted that the redness of the casino is less intense during daylight. Based on the pictures -- and I don't mean to rain on anyone's parade who's been providing us with this excellent coverage -- I was to my surprise in agreement with the initial impressions by mike_ch, G, and even VegasRex (whose cynicism makes mike_ch seem like a Wynn fanboi! ;-). Still, with all the discussion here of the importance of lighting and color in WLV, I'm surprised that got by the designers (unless somehow red at night tested out positively, or, inconceivably, they never saw their work after dark). Since Vegas is not Macau, I anticipate this may be among the things that change in the near future. And I'll second Brian's call for a Drugstore-like coffee shop in exchange for one of the bars -- if WLV has too few bars, it seems they've overcompensated with Encore. The lobby bar/"cafe" would seem the logical place.

There may be a bit of envy in these opinions, as I tried every way I could to finagle a trip to the opening -- primarily to finally meet some folks from this blog, most for the first time! -- but the timing just didn't work out. I'll do my level best to console myself next month with the three comped nights that were somehow, inexplicably and undeservedly, thrown my way.... :p

I also shared others' concerns that the TV/partition wall would cause the suites to be claustrophobic, but the pictures make me agree with Mrs. Fey. I'll likely be in a double, but I totally agree w/ Mike E that something is lost when you take away that separation between the "bedroom" and "living room" areas. Hm, maybe we'll opt for a single and a rollaway....

December 26, 2008 5:41 AM Posted by Mike E

Charlie, I'd rate it as follows:

Tie between Tower Suites at Wynn and Encore but for different reasons. While Wynn's lobby is more detailed, Encore's is smaller and even more convenient than the original Tower Suites. Car to elevator distance can't be more than 30 feet. The lobby is also guarded more securely to make sure it remains a tranquil retreat for Tower Suites guests.

Same scenario between Resort lobbies. Wynn's is more detailed and dramatic. Encore's, however, has the glass overlooking the pool and is far, far more convenient with guest elevators only a few feet away.

December 26, 2008 6:46 AM Posted by detroit1051

How are the elevators at Encore.? I know we have talked talked about whether there were enough elevators in Wynn's Tower Suites, and the wind howling through at times. Any difference at Encore?

December 26, 2008 7:48 AM Posted by Hunter

There are about the same number of elevators at Encore.

Keep in mind though that there are 700 fewer rooms in the tower and that the Tower/Resort split is not 1/3rd to 2/3rds as it is at Wynn Las Vegas. There are more Resort rooms, where there are more elevators.

I didn't experience the wind problem at Encore but I was reminded about it the night before at WLV. Sounds like a wind tunnel.

December 26, 2008 12:17 PM Posted by Hunter

On the Strip Podcast, Wynn notes that they used extra expensive windows on the South side of the building to prevent noise problems from XS.

December 26, 2008 4:47 PM Posted by John

I think, in terms of total elevators, there are sixteen--eight for each of the two cores--for the Resort rooms and a grand total of three for all of Tower Suites. However, I should state that, even though it seemed like three elevators was an astonishingly small number of elevators, I never once had to wait very long for an elevator, nor did I ever have to stop on a single floor on my way to the lobby. As an interesting side note, I was interested in the fact that the spa is only accessible from the Resort tower elevators. If a Tower Suites guest wishes to go to the spa, they have to walk to the Resort tower--not a far walk at all--and take those elevators to the spa. Now that isn't a truly "big deal," but it seems like it is sort of an inconvenience.

To go a bit off topic, in regard to the discussion of Tower Suites, I would love, one day, to see Tower Suites placed, like the spa, on a second level. I know, and was informed so by Steve when I proposed it to him upon running into him in Encore's Esplanade, that it would be extremely, logistically, to do so. However, I simply have images of a beautiful grand staircase leading to an absolutely gorgeous open-air lobby overlooking gardens, etc. In my opinion, it would be simply gorgeous. And, coupled with the fact that Encore's Tower Suites seems sort of "squeezed" into its space, it would provide a wonderful, exclusive refuge that could provide a nice retreat from the excitement of the casino below. Again, Mr. Wynn didn't quite agree with this point of view, based on the fact that--on the second level of the tower--the columns would get in the way of creating a large space, but I just think that, in a future resort, this would be simply amazing. One can dream...