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Steve Wynn’s multi-billion dollar baby, Encore, is revealed

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The hallway to The Spa at the Encore.
Russell MacMasters/Encore

In the theater rotunda that forms the borderlands between Wynn and Encore, red butterflies decorated in 14 colors of hand-applied Swarovski crystals float on the ceiling overhead. They are an amuse-bouche that teases the casino and hotel beyond – the first taste of the recurring themes of butterflies and crimson that populate much of the property that follows.

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Beyond the Weekly
Encore Las Vegas

Steve Wynn’s Encore, his $2.3 billion dollar baby, opens to the public tonight at 8 p.m. after two years of construction. In a dismal economic climate that has some Strip investors wringing their hands and dropping their rates, Wynn’s lavish resort may be just what Las Vegas needs – a shiny new Christmas present, so beautifully presented it might as well come with a bow.

“We think of Encore as the flirty younger sister of Wynn,” says Senior Vice President of Design Jerry Beale.

Say "hello" to Encore

In many ways, that design personality is evident from the first steps inside the Esplanade that joins the twin resorts, perhaps because Encore’s whimsical décor is born almost entirely from the minds of people who’ve built it including Beale and Executive Vice President of Design Roger P. Thomas.

“Very few things are just purchased. Most things are out of our imagination,” Beale says. However, one of the most imaginative spaces in the casino won’t be open to the public until December 31st.

Encore for Wynn

XS, the Encore’s centerpiece and only nightclub, boasts a visually arresting entryway that creates the illusion of naked women trying to push their way out from behind a heavy gold sheet. Erect nipples and sculpted legs, all in life size, are silhouetted against the wall – a welcoming committee of sorts that invites you into the opulent club.

Encore Video Tour

The same attention to detail and interesting design appear all over the 2,034-room resort. In the lobby, low cabinets that use massive crystals for knobs are topped with red Tigers’ Eye. At Wazuzu, a 35 foot-long crystal dragon hangs from the back wall, suspended by a ton of steel. Just inside the front entrance, mature trees grow right out of the casino floor so large that they were planted before the construction was completed and the some of the structure was built around them.

The magic at Encore is in looking past the casino floor and the flashing slots to the accents all around. From the bordello-red chandeliers over looking the casino to the Lobby Bar’s tree-like chandelier inspired by the goddess Daphne to the 61,000 square-foot spa as large as the casino floor, Wynn has created a resort that needs to be inhaled bit by bit. So start slowly tonight with a stroll and perhaps a glass of champagne. There’s no need to rush. Encore isn’t going anywhere.

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Sarah Feldberg is the editor of Las Vegas Weekly magazine. A veteran journalist, Feldberg previously worked as the Weekly's web ...

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