Bienvenido a Miami!

The Trop’s new lounge and the forthcoming Nikki Beach complex bring Miami-style daylife, nightlife

You may have heard a bit about the Tropicana’s new Ambhar Lounge, but the greater story is the Miamification of what, when compared with its neighboring behemoths on the Strip, is practically a boutique hotel. With just 1,658 rooms, the Trop is a mere drop in the collective room bucket. But its size is paying off as the property puts the finishing touches on the $180 million first phase of its Miami-style renovations.

Dec. 1 will see the opening of Café Nikki, serving breakfast, lunch, dinner and—appropriately—a “boutique buffet.” The café is a precursor to the Nikki Beach pool complex and the 15,000-square-foot Club Nikki ultralounge, which are expected to arrive in late April.

But as pool season is yet a long way away, Trop owner Alex Yemenidjian has partnered with ultra-premium tequila-maker Billy O’Rourke to create the Ambhar Lounge just outside of the Tiffany Theater and across from the new high-limit gaming area, also opening Dec. 1. The former Celebration Lounge now features a fresh look, and a tequila-friendly atmosphere aimed at taking guests beyond the ubiquitous shot and margarita. “We were looking for an opportunity for a permanent presence,” Ambhar sales manager Jennifer Hanson says. The Ambhar Lounge, says O’Rourke, “will be one of the few ultralounges with great service and hand-crafted cocktails that you can enjoy any time of day.  The reinvention of Tropicana Las Vegas has tied in perfectly with our effort to create an evolution of tequila … It was luck, timing and great brands coming together.”

Hoping to achieve “casual elegance,” Brandie Feuer, the Trop’s director of marketing and innovations, says the property is “not aiming to be the best or better,” but rather is “trying to be different.” Capitalizing on its intimacy, the Trop’s focus is on being “a four-star property with five-star service.”

Phase 2 of the renovation includes the summer introduction of a three-story spa, even more restaurants and the arrival of a major production show, which, by this time next year, might see the Ambhar Lounge shoved over a few feet to accommodate. In the meantime, the Ambhar Lounge is the Trop’s sole nightlife outlet, and it will throw a New Year’s Eve party that includes a satellite party on the corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Tropicana Avenue. Of that, even Miami might be jealous.

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Thur. 11 Leslie Sbrocco is thirsty, and tonight the Sonoma, Calif.-based wine (and lifestyle) specialist comes to the Shoppes at the Palazzo to celebrate libations, laughter and life, and host Thirsty Girl Live at SushiSamba. Her book, Wine for Women: A Guide to Buying, Pairing and Sharing Wine (William Morrow Cookbooks, 2003) won the Georges DuBoeuf award for Best Wine Book of the Year.



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