Las Vegas Lockdown

by admin | November 13, 2015 2:00 pm

Las Vegas is a city of strangers, so I wanted to see how strange it could get if I didn’t actually experience the city at all. Thus began a three-day, self-imposed “lockdown” inside the Wynn Las Vegas and Encore Resort[1], the pride of hotelier Steve Wynn. The man even married his second wife Andrea there in 2011, which means if it’s a good enough place to spend the happiest day of his life, 72 hours should be more than tolerable. But would I miss the sun? The Strip? Here’s what happens when a hotel becomes a (temporary) home.

Hour 1
Four friends and I check into adjoining Encore Resort double queen rooms with a floor-to-ceiling view of our only escape, the Wynn.

Hours 3-6

The Spa at Encore

Usually trips to Las Vegas are about consumption, but this one actually allows for relaxation. On to the five-star Encore Spa, where lanterns from Morocco sit on rugs imported from Turkey. I follow my favorite routine—steam, sauna, shower, plunge pool—with a 50-minute deep tissue massage. Marek sprays lavender under my nose, which knocks me out and makes me dream I’ve actually gone to Casablanca. 

Hours 7-10
Room service that would make Guy Fieri proud: chicken fingers, pasta bolognese with meatballs, club sandwich, fries. “You guys gamble yet?” asks the server. Suddenly 60 more hours seems like a tough deadline.

Hour 19
The boys break lockdown and escape for a breakfast of Bouchon Bakery’s T.K.O.’s[2], which are a worthy prize for leaving the building.

Hour 21
We check out the Penske-Wynn Ferrari Maserati showroom and dealership on the Wynn’s ground floor. No test drives, “otherwise we’d be the biggest thrill ride on the Strip,” says general manager Jerry Byrd. Ferrari fanatics can, however, get their photos taken in a red 2007 F430 Spider convertible—or buy consolation prizes at the shop next door: Movado watches, remote control cars and red, white and green hats. Viva Italia!

Hour 22
Sustenance at Tableau, the Wynn’s American bistro. The hotel’s signature cocktails The Dream, made with Perrier-Jouët champagne, and the whiskey-based Sinatra Smash go down easy.

Hour 25
Winter happens in Nevada? Outside it’s 42 degrees. But my jacket is balled up on the bottom of my suitcase.

Hour 25 1/2
Pay $15 to watch Runner Runner[3] from the comfort of my new pseudo-home. Movies about gambling? The highest form of entertainment! Movies about online gambling? Deadlier than a hard 16 against a dealer’s seven.

Hour 28
Dinner at Mizumi[4], the Wynn’s Japanese restaurant opened in 2012: truffle-salted edamame, yellowtail sashimi and jalapeño gelée, Wagyu beef robatayaki, seared foie gras with Asian pear and tempura dates, duck bibimbap and so on. The rich red-and-gold room has a postcard view of one of the multiple waterfalls on the property. Niagara? Nagano? Where the hell am I?

Hour 31 1/2

The Dream Red Men at Le Rêve

Escapists can do no better than Le Rêve[5], an exquisite show set in the round—and on water—named one of the best to watch in Las Vegas. Combining Olympian-level divers with romance and rose ceremonies that would make The Bachelor proud, it’s meant to be a physical representation of Picasso’s Le Rêve painting. Diving, leaping, splashing, tumbling and a few death-defying drops make me wonder for a moment: Am I going to watch someone die tonight? 

Hour 33

The Wynn Carousel

In the Wynn’s ever-changing lobby a giant carousel twirls with four white ponies made entirely of flowers. How many drunks have tried to ride one and shout, “Hi ho silver?” Before me, that is.

NEXT: Hours 44 through 72[6]

Hour 44
We attempt to breathe fresh air by the pools, but the woman handing out towels laughs at the fact that we’re even outside. The outdoor cabanas are emptied of their tan bodies and one lone dude swims laps in the heated pool. His show of physical stamina makes me violent.

Hour 46

The buffet at Wynn Las Vegas

Fried chicken, shrimp, sushi, sliders, prime rib, slab bacon, kimchi. At the Wynn buffet you can travel from the dirty South to Korea and back again. For an extra $15, your drinks become bottomless, too. Afterwards, I’d pay triple that for someone to just carry me to my room.

Hour 49
I check out my sallow complexion in one of the many splendid mirrors lining the walkways. But is this really a mirror…or a window? Is Steve himself behind the glass? Paranoia is the first step of accepting my fate here.

Hours 52 to ?
Gamble. Win! Then lose. Then win. Repeat this cycle for 40 years and you’ll get an idea of the guy sitting to my left.

Hour 56

Jeff Koons’ Tulips

Steve Wynn paid $33.7 million for the giant Jeff Koons[7] “Tulips” sculpture that he then planted in the middle of the esplanade between the Wynn and the Encore. If you want to drop a little coin of your own, you can walk ten feet and buy a riding cape at Hermés, a $15,000 mirror at the Wynn home store or a swimsuit cover-up at Chanel. 

Hour 58

XS Nightclub

If a person journeys to Las Vegas but doesn’t visit a club, do they ever really travel there at all? Cue the requisite trip to XS. Inside blasts ”Wonderwall” by Oasis. Katy Perry. Then…Bon Jovi?! Where’s all the untz-untz and sticky floors? One man, twice as old as everyone else, gyrates in his Ferrari bomber jacket and sunglasses. He’s the truest example of Las Vegas I’ve seen yet—unbridled enthusiasm colored with a complete lack of shame.

Hour 60
Nightclub number two, Surrender, has succumbed to the holiday spirit with snowflakes dangling above poles encircled by women who look like they should ask Santa for some more clothes for Christmas.

 Hours 62 through 66

Hour 70
Back to Tableau for brunch. The duck hash and Spanish omelette are so good we almost stay for a second round. But that would be…excessive.

Hour 72
Three days are up, and the outside world awaits. By my count I toured Morocco, Turkey, Italy and Japan—not to mention Picasso’s trippy psyche. But the postcard I mail at reception depicts only a familiar skyline and one simple phrase: Las Vegas.

  1. Wynn Las Vegas and Encore Resort:
  2. Bouchon Bakery’s T.K.O.’s:
  3. Runner Runner:
  4. Mizumi:
  5. Le Rêve:
  6. NEXT: Hours 44 through 72:
  7. Jeff Koons:

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