26. Best Design
XS The Nightclub at Encore
Our favorite part about XS? Right from the start there are statues of lost souls enshrouded in gold, reaching out of the walls at you. From there, the club never lets up its assault of lavish visuals, posh spaces and a layout that lets you delight in discovery. It takes the basic building blocks of a luxury nightlife experience and then confounds your expectations at every turn.
27. Best Nightclub Designer Portfolio
The New York-based design studio already had The Bank and SushiSamba under its belt, but 2010 saw it add another club, Haze at Aria. By year’s end, STK at Cosmopolitan will be ICRAVE’s fourth Vegas project. What the studio, in consultation with architect HKS, came up with for Haze was a tiered industrial-yet-posh look that puts the focus on performance and borrowed from The Bank’s layered approach. “We wanted to have a nightclub that had the ability to be a real kind of performance box,” ICRAVE designer Lionel Ohayon says. “We wanted to create this kind of Thunderdome kind of experience while it still had a degree of elegance.” STK, meanwhile, will experiment with reflected gold light and horizontal bands that Ohayon said will help foster that same kind of performance feel, but make diners the ones in the spotlight.
28. Best DJ Booth
Haze Nightclub at Aria
When designing its newest DJ booth, Light Group didn’t just install a workstation; it created a DJ destination. As the group’s president of customer development Jodi Myers explained during a sneak peek last December, the design allows the DJ to take center stage, to see, feel and interact with the crowd and bask in the spotlight. In other words, it’s the kind of DJ booth that today’s attention-loving, fame-seeking DJs want to play. And since it’s not tucked up against a wall or in an oversize closet, clubgoers are given 360-degree views of the DJs doing their thing. What’s more, since the controls for the club’s five motorized lighting trusses and other effects are side-by-side with the DJ and proficiently wielded by wildman Neil Kull, the musical talent is free to focus attention on the 1s and 2s—and the crowd.
29. Most Luxurious Bathroom
Marquee Nightclub & Dayclub at the Cosmopolitan
When it comes to high-end facilities, this ladies’ room trumps them all (yes, even the one at Vanity). Need to check your hair or reapply makeup? No problem—there are four mirrored stations for precisely that, in what could be considered the restroom’s spacious vestibule. When it comes to restrooms, the team behind Marquee, which developed Tao and Lavo, was determined to avoid previous missteps. “After the waiting time we have at Tao, we really made sure that’s not going to be an issue,” says partner Jason Strauss, referencing Tao’s legendary lines. Farther inside, beautiful mosaic glass tiles and a colorful Tallulah Bankhead quote scrawled across one of the walls welcome you: “If I had to live my life again, I’d make the same mistakes, only sooner.”
30. Best Dance Floor
Moon Nightclub at the Palms
Sometimes you can’t help but lose yourself out on the dance floor at Moon. Blame it on the Goose, or the music. Whatever the reason, it can be easy to forget that the rug you’re cutting is high atop the Fantasy Tower—until you look up and see stars. During the summer, Moon’s retractable roof allows us to dance under the sky’s canopy, but in the winter, you can still bust a move indoors and gaze at the city lights as they shine 53 stories below. Roof or no roof, the dance floor is a good one, with four entry points, tons of space, and nondisruptive VIP seating that allows for good viewing—and yes, more dancing, thanks to hard-top banquettes and railings. Meanwhile, the bar is close by, which is especially nice if you require liquid courage to get out onto the dance floor.
31. Stripper Pole Appreciation Award
Vanity Nightclub at the Hard Rock Hotel
Other than the obvious breast parade, three things were featured in the My Darkest Days video “Porn Star Dancing”: Ambhar Tequila, Chad Kroeger’s barbaric yawp and Vanity’s awesome stripper poles. Topped with lamps to disguise their main purpose, these are some pretty slick sticks! And the ladies do love them: tall, deeply golden and curvaceous where it counts—yes, we’re still talking about the poles.