Gays Win All Summer at Wynn/Encore in Vegas
When the gay traveler wants to take a trip or vacation to a place where their gay experience - be it clubbing, shopping or (gasp) getting married - is not hindered by a less-than-progressive environment, Las Vegas isn’t necessarily the first city that comes to mind.
Sure, the popular Nevada tourism mecca features gay-centric attractions like Cirque De Soleil, concerts by faves such as Celine Dion, Cher, and (yes) Donny & Marie -- and more hotel clubs on the strip are adding gay-nights to their weekly rosters. But there is one hotel that majestically sits above the rest for making the gay experience paramount to your Vegas experience without diminishing any of the other elements that make Vegas, well, Vegas. That place is the Wynn/Encore Hotel, Resort & Casino property.
Like the fast-changing face of Las Vegas as a whole, both the Wynn and Encore properties have changed much since my last trip last year, but they’ve done so by raising the bar on the feeling of luxury, comfort -- and, yes, their unwavering commitment to the gay traveler. After a $200-million renovation to the Wynn Hotel, you’ll now find a fantastic additions to the already-stellar selection of eateries in La Cave and Lakeside, a remodeled Baccarat lounge, a new wine bar, and, as well, every room and suite in the hotel has been given a nip here and a tuck there.
But don’t worry about radical changes because what made the Wynn and Encore properties distinct and special in the first place has not been diminished whatsoever including the importance of having a gay concierge (though it should be pointed out that any Wynn/Encore concierge has been schooled on what’s gay -- not just on their property, but in Vegas).
Let’s take a walk through the fabulous Wynn and Encore properties so to see firsthand why this should be your stop the next time you’re in Las Vegas.
A HOTEL ROOM IS A HOTEL ROOM...NOT AT THE WYNN/ENCORE
While securing a hotel is a prerequisite for traveling everywhere, it’s easy to see the price tag and forget about the actual feeling of comfort and relaxation in the room you’ll call home during your travels.
With excellent room bargains and a wide variety of packages for your stay, the Wynn Las Vegas was always a great choice for a hotel stay but, with updated rooms from top to bottom, any room will feel like a special experience. With the updated crisp, neutral and creamy décor, the Resort Suites somehow strike that perfect balance between hotel luxury and, yes, home.
Designed by Roger Thomas, EVP of Design for Wynn Design and Development, everything is in the right place and some subtle touches are divine (try to use the electronic shades and curtain button and just see if you don’t feel like giggling a little bit) and, trust me, you won’t feel guilty for just kicking back in your room and looking at the panoramic view of the 18-hole Golf Course or the famous Las Vegas Strip.
And if you really want to bump up your indulgence, request a Panoramic View Deluxe Room, which has been newly enhanced to embody that perfect blend of home and resort. It’s no wonder that the Wynn and Encore together have more Forbes Five Star awards than any other casino resort -- not just in Las Vegas but also in the world. Damn...why isn’t every hotel in Vegas using the Wynn and Encore as their models?
’FLAUNT’ IT WITH AMAZING PACKAGES
You can always bring on the gay at the Wynn and Encore properties and nowhere better than under the burning Nevada sun and the equally hot Encore Beach Club.
Since opening last year, the 60,000 square foot Encore Beach Club sticks with the motto of Steve Wynn & Company and effortlessly gives you exactly what you want in a space that feels more European than Las Vegas. Three tiered pools, palm trees, daybeds with private safes, and, of course, the choice to make it even homier and more luxurious with one of the fabulous cabanas.
Or if you’re a bit more low key and long for privacy, one of the eight decadent bungalows is perfect for you. What do you do if you get the unavoidable hankering to gamble a bit but don’t want to leave the Beach Club? Not a problem since blackjack and craps are both available at the Encore Beach Club.
What other Vegas property is hosting gay-centric packages for guests who want to basically come out and have the entire weekend set up in one fantastic package? Last month, Wynn Las Vegas offered its inaugural Flaunt event with an amazing hotel package featuring two nights in a Deluxe room (with complimentary upgrade), $100 beverage credit, VIP admission to the official Flaunt launch party at the Blush Boutique Nightclub, 2 premium tickets to see the Cirque-inspired show Le Rêve (more on that below) as well as VIP admission to Daystar Sundays featuring DJ Calvin Harris.
The first Flaunt event was such a huge success that more are on the way throughout the summer with the next one being May 29th when Las Vegas community member Josh Strickland (Holly Madison’s sexy gay BFF in her E series and in the Vegas show Peepshow) hosts a Flaunt party in being ironed out but don’t be surprised if Strickland ends up performing along with DJ Axis and the sexy members of Le Rêve show up to raise the pulses of everyone in attendance. This is a weekend you won’t want to miss!
TWO NEW EATERIES WILL WOW YOU WITH UNIQUENESS AND FLAVOR
Vegas used to be all about gambling and shows but now it’s a must to include the best cuisine as the city has seen world-renowned chefs flock to open their own restaurants and make unique and fantastic food part of the Vegas experience. You won’t have to leave the Wynn or Encore to find the restaurant perfect for you.
(WARNING-immense gushing following) You know you’ve had a good meal when you’re still thinking about it weeks later. La Cave is being billed as a wine and food hideaway, which is fitting because the intimate space (indoors or outdoors) is in the middle of everything yet feels very private. The focus at the cozy and comfortable space is the small plates of the most amazing food prepared by Chef William DeMarco (who is so present in the restaurant he even came out and greeted my table and explained the food in joyous detail; the man loves what he’s doing, for sure!)
While the entire, surprisingly affordable menu is can’t-miss, the two plates I am ready to drive back to Vegas for as I write this (and, seriously, I’m trying not to drool on my keyboard) are the flat bread pizza with ham, egg, cheese, quail eggs and Neuskes bacon (such a simple concept that will WOW you) and the Mushroom Grits, which just showed that even a dish that may sound familiar will show up on your table chock-full of newness after Chef DeMarco puts his spin on it.
You also can’t go wrong with the Beef Filet, Diver Sea Scallops, Angus Mini Burgers and a multitude of great cheese (from cow, sheep or goat) plates. And the staff is well versed in what type of wine or handcrafted beer you should be pairing up with any of the food choices. A+++++
For an equally satisfying meal, venture to Lakeside at the Wynn and, trust me, sit outside on the luscious patio along the Lake of Dreams (where an enchanting show unfolds in the water throughout the night). Chef David Walzog (who also helmed the Wynn signature steakhouse, SW) brings modern twists on modern American cuisine like a variety of pizza and pasta options.
All that said, my recommendation is to start out with the Maryland Crab Cakes, which came prepared with a perfect vegetable-dill tartar that wasn’t too dill-y (one of my pet-peeves is when the taste of dill overpowers a dish). Also, risotto is one of my favorite dishes, but so few places get that right balance. Lakeside’s Maine Lobster Risotto was near perfect. You can also get a traditional bone-in New York Strip, Filet Mignon and sides of Seared Foie Grad and King Crab Legs - Oscar Style. Like La Cave (and all the Wynn/Encore restaurants) the staff can steer you in the right direction in terms of wine and beverages to accompany your meal.
And don’t even think about skipping dessert since the dessert cart (with 3 choices for $18) is a must - the Blueberry Tart, Peanut Butter Cup and Cappuccino Cup definitely capped off an amazing meal!
THE MAN TREE IS ALIVE AND WELL IN LE RÊVE
There aren’t many shows that I’d want to see multiple times but on my third viewing of Le Rêve I was still left breathless...and not just by the stunning male performers in the show (taking nothing away from the beautiful, sexy women if, well, that’s your thing) but by the subtle changes in the show that only enhanced further the visual spectacle and the overall story about a dream (aka Le Rêve). Thankfully, though, the infamous Man Tree is still a staple of the show where perfectly sculpted men climb up the tree and then dive off into the surrounding water.
If you have yet to check out this amazing show, you won’t get a more intimate aqua theater-in-the-round show. Aerial acrobatics, fine tuned choreography and the most amazing and graceful athleticism from all involved. And did I mention the Man Tree...??
One must-do tip: while there isn’t a bad seat in the house, I strongly urge you to get the VIP seats where you’ll watch the show in plush chairs with champagne, truffles, and strawberries dipped in chocolate at your seats. And, as if pouring your own champagne would be too big of a chore while you enjoy the show, you’ll be taken care of by a lovely, courteous hostess throughout the entire show.
Note that there are also numerous Le Rêve packages to accompany your entire stay at the Wynn or Encore or, if you’re wanting a bit of country flair, Garth Brooks is bringing audiences to their feet with his show.
TIME TO UNWIND (AND INDULGE) IN THE SALON AND SPA
After devouring that amazing meal at La Cave, playing blackjack poolside at the Encore Beach Club or dancing the night away at Blush, you’re going to need something to unwind and if that morning-after Mimosa isn’t going to do the trick, head down to the Spa and Salon for a variety of stress-reducing experiences. From mani/pedis to the ultimate spa treatments, you can’t go wrong with anything you choose here.
Since I had the pleasure of bringing my boyfriend on this trip, we opted for the Encore Couples Escape, which I can only describe as 105 minutes in heaven. Two massage tables are set up in a wide-open, private room in the Encore Spa. We each had our own masseur and if I had been lucid enough, I would have noticed that the masseurs worked in perfect tandem so we were having the exact same experience at the exact same time. (My BF somehow managed not to fall asleep - and snore at times like yours truly - so he noticed the tandemness of it all).
Besides the perfect massage to work out the kinks, there’s truly nothing better than being detoxified with herbal infused Thai poultice bags, heated stones and, here’s the kicker, a warm cocooning wrap that hydrates your entire body during the spectacular scalp massage with Indian Shirodhard oils. It’s no wonder the both Spas at the Wynn and Encore have been recognized with Forbes Five Star Award. Truly heavenly!
KEEPS GETTING BETTER!!
Overall, each stay at the Wynn and Encore properties gets better and better. No matter which hotel you stay in, you’ll find they both have their own distinct tone and flavor but there’s no question that together they embody all the best things about Las Vegas that will have you thinking about your next trip before you depart and drive back home.
To plan your next trip to the Wynn/Encore , call 702.770.LGBT or visit www.wynnpride.com/events.cfm. You can also find more about both properties at www.WynnLasVegas.com.
This article is part of our "Summer 2011" series. Want to read more?
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