It’s the kind of sage, homespun wisdom that’s been handed down through the ages: A glitzy porte cochere is nice, but you can’t swim in it. If Mark Twain never said that, he probably meant to.
Regardless, it’s advice Steve Wynn took to heart, and just about 18 months after Encore opened, the radical redesign of the property’s Strip frontage is ready to be reborn as a dual-purpose playland: the Encore Beach Club and Surrender nightclub.
Wynn’s in-house designer, Roger Thomas, led the way on the $67 million expansion, which stretches alongside Las Vegas Boulevard, from what was briefly the valet entrance to the turnoff for Encore’s self parking (and new valet).
“It’s huge, and at the same time it’s intimate,” says Dave Pappas, Encore Beach Club’s senior director of customer development. “The energy it creates is the brilliance of Mr. Wynn and the design team.”
Twenty-six cabanas and eight 307-square foot bungalows with Strip-facing balconies line the west side of the complex, while a central bar and gaming pavilion sits in between. Three tiered pools sparkle in the center of the space, separated by walkways and surrounded by a dozen daybeds and additional lounge seating.
Access to this adults-only water wonderland is gained through the doors at the south side of the Wynn parking garage (and the appropriate cover fee).
The nightclub dominates the space that previously was Encore’s atrium between Switch restaurant and the high-limit gaming area adjacent to Sinatra. A 4,000-square-foot boutique-style club, it has resort-facing windows on three sides and pays homage to its successful little sister next door.
“It’s the size of Blush, and it’s built like Blush, except the ceilings are 25 feet high,” Pappas says. “There are massive doors that open the whole entire width of Surrender. … It feels like you’re part of this massive vibe that’s going on outside.”
Beyond Surrender’s expansive doors, Encore Beach Club aims to become Las Vegas’ South Beach-style daylife alternative. The party heats up on Thursdays, when the party transitions from daylife to nightlife, and the venue re-opens at 10 p.m.
It’s all part of Las Vegas Nightlife Group’s most ambitious project to date, and they’re bringing in big-name talent to go with it. In addition to Memorial Day weekend performers Ne-Yo and LMFAO, Steve Aoki takes over at Surrender on Fridays as resident DJ and adds another title—music director—to his résumé (which already includes “fashion designer,” among other things). Kaskade comes to the Beach Club later—every Sunday—and goes head-to-head with Rehab at the Hard Rock Hotel and the new Beatport Beach party one block away, at Tao Beach.
So what does Encore Beach Club do differently? “We’re obviously the newest venue to open,” Las Vegas Nightlife Group owner Sean Christie says. “That is a draw on its own and sets us apart.”
Yet Christie acknowledges that, in Las Vegas nightlife’s cannibalistic climate, new venues open every few months, so no one is the new kid on the boulevard for long—and competition is always fierce.
“There is competition in all areas of business, whether its nightclubs, restaurants or pool parties,” he observes. “We try to focus more on what we are doing internally to create the best experience for our guests and not so much about what other venues are doing.”