Before he'd even finished building his namesake hotel, Steve Wynn was, true to form, already planning an addition to it. However, Encore has since morphed into rather more than a mere addendum: when it opens in 2009, the $2-billion project will be another full-scale resort, complete with new restaurants, bars and nightclubs. Wynn, after all, can't let himself be outdone by fellow mogul Sheldon Adelson and his neighbouring Palazzo. But in the meantime, Wynn Las Vegas has more than enough diversions to keep visitors busy.
Known as the man who brought Vegas entertainment curbside, Wynn went against his own convention and designed this resort from the inside out. Luxury is everywhere, as you'd expect from a casino that cost somewhere in the region of $2.7 billion. On the far side of the faux mountain, the Lake of Dreams fuses light, water, horticulture and architecture into a multimedia experience. The garden-themed Spa at Wynn houses 45 treatment rooms, a beauty salon and a fitness centre, while the 18-hole golf course (designed by Tom Fazio) is overlooked by 36 fairway villas.
The exclusivity extends to the Wynn Esplanade mall, where you'll find the crème de la crème of high-end fashion designers, including Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Oscar de la Renta and Brioni. If you can't fathom the thought of a hire car, there's also Penske Wynn Ferrari Maserati, Nevada's only factory-authorised Ferrari and Maserati dealership. The gallery, which featured paintings from Steve and Elaine Wynn's personal collection, is no longer open, but there are still several notable works of art hanging in the hotel's common areas.
The large and lavish (naturally) guestrooms offer floor-to-ceiling windows, signature Wynn beds with 320-thread-count European linens, a seating area with a sofa and ottomans, a dining table and chairs, flat-screen LCD TVs, spacious bath areas and bedside drapery controls. The suites set a new Vegas standard: some have their own massage rooms, VIP check-in areas, private pools and dining rooms. Don't even get us started on the villas.
Eating & drinking
Though Wynn has been partly responsible for the onslaught in Vegas of absentee celebrity chefs who slap their names on the marquees but mainly leave the cooking to others, the restaurants here are all run by the chefs whose names they bear. The signature spot is Alex, run by Alessandro Stratta; other options include Daniel Boulud, Eric Klein's SW Steakhouse, Mark LoRusso's Tableau, Stephen Kalt's Corsa Cucina and Paul Bartolotta's Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare. There's more casual food at Asian bistro Red 8, the poolside Terrace Pointe Café and the sumptuous Buffet. Parasol Up and Parasol Down, the hotel's lobby bars, offer everything from tea to cocktails.
Erstwhile Cirque du Soleil producer Franco Dragone was called on to design Le Rêve, named after the Picasso masterpiece that was initially the inspiration for the hotel itself. It was recently revamped, but it still includes the same aerial acrobatics for which Dragone is known. Monty Python's Spamalot is the other show here. The seductive Lure serves as Wynn's version of the ultralounge; Tryst is his answer to the nightclub scene.
As you might expect, the action at Wynn is both sophisticated and decidedly pricey. Blackjack minimums start at $15, with a few single-deck games that pay the reduced 6:5 for naturals; hotel guests can also play 21 poolside at the Cabana Bar. Crap minimums are similar to blackjack. A single-zero roulette wheel is usually open in the high-limit room, though the minimums are dear. The slots run the gamut from pennies to a $5,000 machine. Amazingly, Wynn has tried to attract local video poker players with full-pay machines at higher denominations (very rare), though the schedules change unexpectedly; check the Las Vegas Advisor for their comings and goings. The keno lounge is one of the most comfortable in town.