The vows have been spoken, the last glass of champagne has been raised and the last dance has been captured on film. All you want to do now is fall into bed, close the shades, hang the "Do Not Disturb" sign on the door and cuddle with your new spouse. It's finally time to relax and enjoy your long-awaited honeymoon. Needless to say, there are tons of amazing places across the globe where couples can unwind, let loose and go completely undisturbed if they please.
In every issue of Weddings Unveiled, our staple article Do Not Disturb highlights an extraordinary property where couples can get away. To share more of these gorgeous locales with you, we have decided to feature them here on Completely Unveiled. With this, our first Do Not Disturb post, we visit fabulous and glitzy Las Vegas and recently opened Wynn property, Encore.
Article from Summer 2009 Issue of Weddings Unveiled Magazine, written by Brooke Thomas.
Vegas, baby. At the risk of sounding like a total cliché, it’s hard to resist a trip to Sin City. Where else can you wear sunglasses inside, party like a rock star all night on a Tuesday and feel absolutely no guilt about the “Do Not Disturb” sign hanging on your door the entire next day? Oh yes, let’s not forget the charming fact that in Vegas, you can actually get married within minutes to someone you just met at The Hard Rock. I can’t get behind the idea of marriage at 3am at some version of the Chapel of Love with an Elvis impersonator to give you away, but I’m completely on board with Las Vegas for a terrifically luxe, deliciously sexy romp of a honeymoon and the newly opened Encore Las Vegas is all the excuse anyone could need.
Situated right next to the legendary Wynn Las Vegas, Encore is Steve Wynn’s new signature resort. With interior design crafted by Wynn’s in-house designer, Roger Thomas, Encore’s immediate impression is one of modern opulence with a surprisingly light, fanciful twist in the form of butterflies, found throughout the property in a variety of forms. Giant Swarovski crystal butterflies hang from the ceiling, while others are inlaid in vibrant Venetian glass mosaics on the floors. Natural light fills the resort and lush, towering atria create a brilliant, sunlit atmosphere. The expansive pools can be seen from throughout the property and the space feels like a collection of intimate environments, each distinct and inviting. While the luxury is certainly expected, the décor is full of surprises, including countless antique, vintage and custom pieces and layered combinations of textures and historical references. A sculpted interpretation of the goddess Daphne forms the centerpiece of the Lobby Bar & Café and the Host Lounge was modeled after the Temple of Dendur, a Nubian temple built by Petronius, the Roman governor of Egypt around 15BC. The pocket doors in the baccarat lounge are covered in a peacock design embroidered on gold and green silk, a motif borrowed from James Abbot McNeill Whistler, whose Peacock Room can be seen at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC.
Encore boasts two separate check-in areas, each designed to pamper arriving guests, who are met with ice-cold bottled water and warm towels from silver trays to freshen their face and hands. The resort accommodations are made up of 2,034 rooms, ranging in size from up to 700 square feet for the Resort Rooms and up to 5,800 square feet for the Tower Suites. The rooms are a haven in a clean, calmingly neutral palette of ebony and cream and stylish, modern furniture and casegoods. Encore’s suites feature the largest flat screen television used in any standard guestroom in the U.S. and just in case you don’t want to get out of bed, you’ll find a control panel on the beside table for the lighting, the drapes and (of course) the privacy notice on the front door. The bathrooms are well-stocked with spa-quality toiletries, plush towels, a smaller (bathroom-sized) flat screen and his and hers robes. Though fashionably luxe amenities abound, the best part of the room is revealed at twilight, when the floor-to-ceiling windows stretching across the entire expanse of the sitting area give way to an unrivaled view of the glittering Vegas strip.
Five signature restaurants form an eclectic mix of dining at Encore, each with a distinct personality and cuisine. Sinatra, obviously named for Ol’ Blue Eyes, features a modern Italian menu set amidst (what else?) Sinatra tunes. Wazuzu, whose name references a well-known 16th century painting of nine young dragons, serves pan-Asian cuisine beneath a 27-foot, 3-dimensional crystal dragon made of 90,000 Swarovski crystals and 2,400 flickering lights. Don’t miss an opportunity to try the Wazuzu Smash, Wazuzu’s signature cocktail made from kusu sochu, orchid mango liqueur, freshly muddled pineapple, yuzu, calpico and ginger syrup. Possibly my favorite dining option at Encore is Switch, located right by the atrium. The French-inspired seafood and steakhouse fare is fantastic (be sure to try the Bordeaux braised beef short ribs), but the atmosphere is unlike any other. It’s one part restaurant and one part theater, with a healthy dose of Vegas thrown in. What I mean is that Vegas always carries a certain amount of you’ve-never-seen-anything-like-this-before entertainment and at Switch, that’s exactly what you get. While you dine, the atmosphere is literally changing around you. The walls slide, lower and move every 20 minutes to “switch” the entire look of the restaurant, with the lighting and music following suit to match. Society Café serves up an imaginative American menu from breakfast through late night and be sure to try the bold cuisine at Botero for dinner, located adjacent to XS, Encore’s ultra-hip, high-energy nightclub. True to its name, XS is an after-dark poolside hot spot and a line forms pretty much as soon as it opens. The décor is modern, but plush, with white leather banquettes lining the curving walls and a ten-foot rotating chandelier over the dance floor.
If seated entertainment is more your speed, Encore is not without its own headlining attraction. Forego the lounge acts and cheesy, high-ticket has-beens and instead, go see Le Rêve at the Wynn Theatre. Le Rêve is the name of a centerpiece Picasso owned by Steve Wynn and means “The Dream” in French. The show itself is a mesmerizing performance of a romantic story of love, loss and redemption. It features a dramatic combination of diving, acrobatics, dance and feats of strength with state-of-the-art special effects, set in a one-million-gallon capacity aquatic theater where no seat is more than 40 feet from the stage. It is incredibly moving and sexy in a Cirque de Soleil-type way, with over half of the performance actually under water. The performers are treated as professional athletes with vigorous training and rehearsal schedules. Each member of the cast must become scuba-certified before performing in the theater and if you can believe it, each performance of Le Rêve requires 1,600 towels.
The 2nd floor of Encore is dedicated to the nearly 70,000 square foot Spa and Salon at Encore, designed by Todd-Avery Lenahan. The lavish setting is dramatic, yet calm and relaxing, thanks mostly to a soft neutral palette dominated by golds, bronzes and creams. The combination of limestone and natural light is accented by soft, overstuffed furniture, sparkling walls of bronze mirror, champagne colored Venetian glass chandeliers and flowing water. Each space is a spectacle in its own right, from the dramatically vaulted, glass-enclosed courtyard entrance to the spectacular treatment room hallway, carpeted in a $250,000 runner, flanked by four-foot lanterns and culminating in a giant Buddha statue at its end. The Spa features 37 treatment rooms, 14 garden suites and four oversized couples’ suites for massage, body treatments and facials. There are also two movement studios with spinning, yoga, pilates, conditioning and meditation classes. Once inside the treatment rooms, you can even choose a lighting color to suit your mood. The Spa’s signature treatment is naturally called the Good Luck Ritual Massage, based on the five elements of Feng Shui. The 80 minute massage combines heated Thai herbs, a lemon verbena and peppermint foot exfoliation, an ultra-moisturizing hand therapy and a wild lime botanical scalp treatment. Also try the Lavender Stone Ritual, which includes a mild body exfoliation with sea salt and Lavender grains and alternating hot and cold stone therapy.
The Salon has 14 styling stations, eight pedicure thrones and six manicure tables, providing a variety of services from haircuts and up-dos to manicures and pedicures, featuring product lines such as Kerastase, Ahava and Shu Uemura. In addition, the Salon at Encore has a private room with styling stations and pedicure thrones and can accommodate groups, wedding parties and private gatherings of up to 40 people.
Have I really managed to get this far without mentioning the casino? Of course there’s a casino, though it’s unobtrusive, as crazy as that may seem. In fact, the games are arranged so that you almost don’t even know they’re there. However, unlike the calming neutral palette of the hotel, the casino is red, red, red. Red like gaming chips, red like lipstick, or just…well… red. Don’t get me wrong, it’s gorgeous. Ok, it’s gorgeous for a casino. Instead of the vast, smoky space that defines most casinos, Encore’s casino is a departure from conventional gaming. Drawn curtains, columned pavilions and canopies surround and separate gaming areas into what seem like a private, intimate chambers and slots are kept to a minimum. The butterfly motif continues with views of the pool or gardens throughout and the feel is actually comfortable, making the casino at Encore a bright, sophisticated version of Vegas’ most famous form of entertainment.
If you do find yourself getting married in Vegas, let’s hope it’s to someone you’ve known for more than half an hour and let’s hope it’s at Encore, where you’ll find 60,000 square feet of easily configurable event space, including an expansive, column-free ballroom. Weddings and parties are often held poolside, surrounded by sculpted gardens and sparkling wading pools made of mosaic tiles. Yes, it’s true that planned weddings do occur in Las Vegas and even artfully planned ones happen at Encore. However, allow me to say now that if you find me poolside at Encore, it’s unlikely I’ll be wearing a wedding gown, especially since I’m already married. Look for me in one of the twenty-nine oh-so-posh cabanas. I’ll be the girl in Ray-Bans, Wazuzu Smash in hand, happily still counting last night’s winnings. BMT
Encore Las Vegas