What happens in Vegas, you’ll run and tell all your friends; that’s what happens when you stay at the incomparable Encore, the continuing brainchild of Steve and Elaine Wynn...

As you know from our past articles, we had such a good time at the Encore (and barely left) last February we couldn’t stay away. And we promised you that we would check out the places we didn’t have time to experience the last time. We often hear people say, “what do we need a nice room for? how much time do you spend in a room”. This is tantamount to cursing for the Dining Duo, since we believe that a combo travel and dining experience starts and ends with a beautiful suite.

Sweet Suites

There are 2,800 rooms between the two hotels, and yet this place is run like an intimate family business—a family who cares about the family they invite over for the weekend. Ask anyone who works at the Wynn or Encore, and they will tell you unabashedly that they love Elaine and Steve. They treat their employees the way they would want to be treated, and unlike the other folks who hate you from the start (recently voted the worst airline in the U.S., by the way), the folks at the Wynn/Encore can’t wait to spread the love.

That love permeates both hotels in the most favorable results for us, the guests. As if we didn’t feel special enough during the first visit in the beautifully appointed suites that are currently being offered for a very reasonable rate ($159 when we went), we decided this time we wanted to share with you how you can live large without it costing you big bucks, leaving you money to toss on the gaming tables, or in the innumerable fabulous restaurants. In our opinions, in Las Vegas, no one does it better than the Wynns. And with all due respect to our myriad straight (but not narrow) readers, the Wynn’s have crossed yet another fabulous threshold by being one of the first in a major push to welcome the Gay, Lesbian, Bi and Transgender communities (see sidebar “LGBT Welcome Here”).

After arranging for the hotel to pick us up in a stretch Rolls Phantom so that we could immediately start feeling the vibe, we arrived at the Tower Suites private entrance and were greeted by a guest services representative as well as the valet. If you book a suite, gone are the days of three people changing your luggage so that you don’t know who to tip, or whether the luggage will make it to the room. Now, it was one guy (for us it was the friendly and accommodating Steve), and the beautiful Aisha who whisked us to the 20th floor where we entered our two- story suite (there are other smaller suites in the tower as well).

The door opened, and our mouths dropped. We are very seasoned world travelers, almost to the point of being jaded, but there was nothing typical about the lavish 5,800 square foot suite that opened before us. Once through the double doors, a two- story wall of glass encases a great room elegantly appointed in tones of yellow and gold, and anchored by a simple, yet dramatic giant yellow Murano chandelier. Yards of yellow and white curtains flowed from ceiling to floor, and the giant flat screen serenely played flower scapes that immediately set the tranquil tone that foiled the energy of the boulevard outside. On the opposing wall was a dramatic oil of predominantly red that tastefully appointed the massive scale of the room.

With a breathtaking view of Las Vegas out of each and every window, it was a toss up of where to look first. This suite had three gorgeous bedrooms that were large but not cavernous, complete with a phone system that operated the pop-up flat screen, curtains and lights. The beds are beyond comfortable, and the sheets (the larger suites even get linens that are more higher end) so elegant that you glide into them and never want to leave (all of this stuff, including the mattress, is available in their home store in the gallery of high-end shops). The bathrooms are spacious, filled with a unique yellow veined marble, and the walls are cleverly lined with what we remembered from childhood as shell placemats from the Philippines. There is every amenity known to mankind (the large sized Bambu products made expressly for Wynn Resorts are ubiquitous and exude tones of grasses that are crisp, delicate and refined), and the “throw-away” razors and toothbrushes come complete with a silver handle, a unique touch we’ve never seen; who could throw away such a thing of beauty?

Of course, there’s really no time for sleeping and bathing when the suite also comes with a screening room complete with pool table (they must change that felt after each visit as it seemed like a more interesting setting than the comfy beds…); an exercise and massage room; a private elevator between the two floors of the suite; and not one, but two kitchens (one on each level, lest the food get cold from running it up or down stairs). Although the décor is replete with mirrors and shiny brass detailing, it totally works with the warm tones throughout. The art is tasteful and authentic. We were ready to send for our dog, Triple, leave everything else behind, and move in permanently.

Assuming that you don't want to sport for the above, there are plenty of fabulous ways to live large at the Encore. The Parlor Suite is beautiful. The Salon Suite is Sensational. Need a bit more? The King Panorama Suite is, well, fit for a King; or a Queen.

You Can Come Home Again
Hungry from the easy one-hour flight, we dropped all our stuff and ran to Society, one of our favorite casual restaurants at the Encore (see prior article entitled: Encore: Bravo Act II, that we’ve listed sidebar for your convenience). Although we had “Sticky Buns” on our minds (and we’re not talking about those sticky buns by the pool, mind you), we knew that there were so many fabulous choices that would hit the spot. To our surprise, when we entered, the manager Patrick exclaimed, “It’s the Dining Duo! Welcome back”, and we knew we were right at home. This may be a hotel (Wynn & Encore) of massive dimension, but we haven’t been here for 3 months and they remembered us by name. Now that’s genuine hands on service (either that, or there are pictures of us at security with instructions to immediately remove us).

Roger Thomas, the main designer extraordinaire of the Encore’s public areas, told us at dinner one night that, “there are a lot of hotels that look good, but we take pains to make YOU look good in our hotel”. He couldn’t have put it better. Looking good at the Encore is easy, and by the way, there sure are a lot of good-looking guys and gals everywhere. Elaine Wynn could easily take the credit for so much of what makes us look good here, but she graciously insists that it’s all a result of collaborative efforts with everyone who worked on the hotel. Having said that, Elaine agrees that her favorite thing Roger has accomplished is that every design decision he makes is “informed, and connected to some scholarly thing in his history with which he’s identified.” She went on to share with us that, “It’s healthy to pursue excellence” and that’s what she and Steve have done at the Encore.

If you don’t like what you see, for some strange reason, wait a moment and you’ll have something else

Beyond unique, this restaurant changes faces more often than Joan Rivers. There is nowhere else in the world where dinner is theatre. Capturing the awe-inspiring drama of the retractable ceiling of La Serre in Paris, this experience cranks it up Vegas style. As you dine, every 30 minutes everything changes; the walls, the ceiling, even the décor. There are three variations and you won’t believe your eyes as the room around transforms itself. What could be more perfect for Scott, the Gemini.

The seafood and steak match the drama of the space with creations by Chef Rene Lenger (formerly of NY’s Michael Jordan’s Steak House and The Monkey Bar). His inspirations included some notable selections such as Sweet Corn Chowder ($17), one of the freshest tastiest chowders we’ve encountered. Also, don’t miss the Rack of Lamb at $42, which arrived just as Scott ordered, medium rare.

We aren't featuring any pictures for Switch because we want you to be surprised when your world turns upside down and back again. So ditch the kitch and make the Switch!

Part two and three are coming next...hold your breath for fabulous food from spectacular Encore/Wynn restaurants.

Posted by The Dining Duo | 8:10 PM | , , , , | 0 comments »

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