Saturday


If you didn't catch our first review of this most fabulous follow-up by Steve and Elaine Wynn, check it out just below this review. If you do anything at all in Vegas, you MUST experience the Spa for an afternoon of hedonistic treatments, with a follow-up dinner at one of Vegas's finest: Alex

THE SPA AT ENCORE
Let’s put it this way, their motto is, “The Spa was designed around the most important person in the world: “you”; and they mean it. It’s hard to get the Duo tongue tied for superlatives, but the spa experience here did just that. Todd-Avery Lenahan designed the spa (and The Salon) to make a statement, but instead it screams an exclamation. The meditative aesthetic of Buddhism and elemental mentality of Feng Shui was his inspiration.

Upon arrival, you are welcomed to a vaulted, softly lit and glass enclosed courtyard that is as grand as one would imagine the glory days of Rome. There is a lavishly equipped fitness center for those of you crazy enough to want to exercise off the meals, 37 treatment rooms, 14 naturally lit garden rooms and 4 giant couples’ suites (all housed in a 61,000 square foot facility), where you can languish in body treatments, massages, facials and where every treatment is tailored to your body and your personal needs.

Okay, this just sounds “big” but it was so amazing the Duo spent about 4 hours one day just feeling special in this cocooned and luxurious environment. The men’s locker rooms were like a living room, the décor was so tasteful we wanted to copy it for our home, and the service was top notch without being intrusive. The wet area had two giant pool-sized Jacuzzis with cold dips, and water-treatment showers and the most comfortable day beds to do nothing but contemplate your navel. A waterfall of crystals falls from the ceiling. As if this were not enough, the treatment rooms are down a hallway that is majestically peaceful and perfectly set with river rocks, pots of cascading water and Moroccan lamps, your bones and muscles melt before you hit the massage table.

Michael and Scott each experienced different treatments, one body and scalp massage, one wrap, facial and massage, and the technicians were unusually perfect for a hotel. The signature treatment is an 80-minute Good Luck Ritual Massage, representing the five elements of Feng Shui -- health, wealth, prosperity, happiness and harmony. It's a general body massage with heated Thai herbs and exfoliating products applied on the extremities and additional scalp treatment. It was 4 of the best hours spent on this trip; so if you like a spa experience, do not miss this one for any reason under the sun (treatments range anywhere from $85 - $500 for a couples massage).

It was then time to freshen up for dinner and take a little walk via the shops in the Esplanade of course to the Wynn Hotel. The Esplanade at Encore consists of a selection of 11 boutiques. The edgy Rock & Republic, the distinguished Hermès and the eternally classic Chanel anchor an array of clothing, shoe, jewelry, home décor and accessory stores. Have everything delivered to your room, and now it’s time for fine dining.

ALEX

Take a mortgage on your home (if it’s not already back to the bank), sell the kids, pimp out your partner, do what you need to do to get here for a night of luxurious eating. Elaine Wynn oversaw this room and her taste and attention to detail seep into every corner of the place. World class dining is the cornerstone of the Wynn dining experience, and with it comes world-class chef’s who actually cook in the kitchen, not just lend their names. Chef Alessandro Stratta brings the exquisite flavors of Riveria cuisine right to your plate.
You enter the voluptuous room from an elevated landing so that the view is down and into one of the most elegantly appointed and inviting rooms we’ve seen. From the hand-made Moreno glass chandeliers dripping from the ceiling to the diamond-shaped wood paneling and matching cut crystal glass doors, your first impression makes you forget to breathe. Amongst rivers of drapes, you waltz down the grand staircase like Vivian Lee in Gone with the Wind and get to see and be seen by the who’s who of Vegas who clamor for a much needed reservation. The elegance of the environment is only outdone by the meal.

We enjoyed the tasting menu, which was memorably sublime. We are questioned as to how anyone can justify spending $375 per person (exclusive of tax and tip) for food, but we report here and now that it was worth every penny. You don’t have to order the tasting menu, although it would be sad to come here and not experience Chef’s mastery at so many levels. This was our second experience here in a few years, and we report that it is as fresh as the first time we experienced it. We sampled such delectable items as their Veal sweetbread Fricassee that comes with ricotta gnocchi and the requisite black ruffles. Michael is the true truffle lover but Scott has begun to appreciate them. It seems that, of late, there are fine menus offering Braised Short rib, but, Alex’s is made with Waygu beef which takes this dish to the next level, it is flawlessly seasoned with sweet onions and accompanied by Parmigiano potatoes.

The magic of the tasting menu is the extraordinary experience of pairing magnificent and hard to come by wines with each course. The Master Sommelier, Paolo Barbieri, one of less than 80 in this country and 125 worldwide (although of note, 12 are located in Las Vegas), and a personality as bold as his wines, has acquired vinos from around the world that are so small they can pick and choose to whom they will deliver. Normally these wines are out of reach in price, but the chef’s menu allows the possibility of sampling a glass of each, such as a Muscato from Greece, which can only be compared to one of our favorite, orgasmic like wines, Chateau d’yquem. If you ask, Paolo, will show you his private reserve in the heavily guarded wine cellar where we were fortunate enough to hold a $32,000 bottle of wine from the 1800’s.

It should be enough to believe the Dining Duo when we say something is a memory of eating we’ll take with us through life, but if not, how about the fact that Alex has been awarded Mobil 5 Star Award for 2007 and 2008, AAA 5 Diamond Award of Excellence for 2007 and 2008, James Beard Foundation Award for Best American Chef/Southwest and two Stars Michelin for 2008. There’s no doubt all of these awards will be heaped on Alex for 2009.

After all this wine and food, hit the tables, stop and shop in the Esplanade on the way back to Encore, and stumble upstairs to a magnificent room overlooking the strip to get an amazingly good night’s sleep. There just aren’t enough hours in the day to experience all that Encore has to offer, which is why we’ll be coming back soon to review the sizzling club atmosphere of XS, Vegas’s new nightclub pool-and-island bar scene, Switch, the French inspired restaurant that literally changes décor every thirty minutes, Botero, featuring art and steak, and sprawling warm weather pool scene imbibed with all the energy of the French Riviera. The only question is how soon can we get back here?

Soon, because there's still Encore's dining at Botero and Switch to review, as well as nightspots XS, Tryst and Blush.

Posted by The Dining Duo | 10:27 AM | , , , , , , , | 0 comments »

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