WYNN LAS VEGAS OPENS TO THRONGS AND BEHIND THE SCENES VIP EVENTS

GAMING IMPRESARIO STEVE WYNN DELIVERS $2.7 BILLION DOLLAR MEGA-RESORT TO LAS VEGAS AS PROMISED

If you've seen the television ad, that really is casino kingpin Steve Wynn atop the 50th floor of Wynn Las Vegas, proclaiming: "I'm Steve Wynn and this is my hotel – the only one I've ever signed my name to."
ABC Nightline Story

Well, gambling impresario Steve Wynn has finally delivered. His $2.7 billion Wynn Las Vegas debuted early Thursday morning, April 28, (Elaine Wynn’s birthday) to hundreds of eager people clamoring to get the first glimpse of this city's newest attraction and the most expensive megaresort ever built here.
    
They fanned out everywhere after the doors opened, swarming the rows of slot machines and gambling tables. They came with cameras and video recorders intent on capturing this slice of Las Vegas history.
    
"People were pushing and shoving," said Kathie Anderson of Las Vegas, who stood in line several hours. "I'm just excited to be inside."  For many, Wynn's latest creation — and the first major hotel-casino on the Las Vegas Strip to go online in the last five years — didn't disappoint.
    
Besides the large crowd, there was an A-List of about 2,000 celebrities, VIPs and Players who were invited to four days of behind the scene special events and performances: Former President George H. Bush, Donald and Melaina Trump, Steven Spielberg with wife Kate Capshaw,  Elizabeth Taylor, Quincy Jones, Brad Pitt, Terri Hatcher, Tony Robbins, Don Johnson, Lee Iacoca, George Hamilton, and on and on.
    
We were treated to VIP treatment which included a formal tour of the property, the premier performance of LeReve, a birthday party for Elaine Wynn, dinner at the restaurants of our choice, a one off performance by Tony Award winner Hugh Jackman (X-Men, Van Helsing, Swordfish), and a black tie affair entitled: "The Party - A Dinner Affair."
    
Celebrities and VIPs stayed in the luxurious Salon Suites and Tower Suites. The Salon Suites are equipped with a conference table for 10 and expanded catering services. A typical room in the Tower Suites has the feel of a residential apartment. Most rooms, including the Executive Suites, offer Internet telephones, fax, high-speed Internet access and flat-screen LCD HDTV. 
    
"There is nobody in the world who creates such entertaining and beautiful casinos," said British billionaire Richard Branson as he strolled across the casino floor. "I would say every other casino must be nervous. He's lifted the bar dramatically."
    
Wynn put his curvy 2,700-room property on 217 acres. A tour reveals an intriguing design that differs in many ways from his previous hotel-casinos such as the Bellagio, The Mirage and Treasure Island.
    
"I think it’s an evolution of what he has done," said Professor David Schwartz, who directs the Gaming Studies Research Center at University of Nevada, Las Vegas. "I think the theme is Wynn, which says luxury, sophistication, style."
   
Wynn lost control of those properties when Mirage Resorts was acquired by billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian in 2000, creating MGM Mirage.
    
Along with Wynn Las Vegas, the gambling tycoon is building Encore, an adjacent $1.4 billion hotel-casino scheduled to open in 2008. Wynn is also erecting a $700 million casino in Macau and is bidding on one in Singapore.
    
Shortly before the casino allowed the public to enter, Wynn told a crowd attending a dress rehearsal of LeReve, a water-themed production, that Wynn Las Vegas was built on design risks. There was a reason why he didn't release many details about the project when he first conceived it five years ago.
    
"We would have been accused of shameless overstatement...so we kept quiet," he said. "Talk small, build big."
    
While the days of dark, smoky casinos have long passed, Wynn has finally taken full advantage of the sun that illuminates this desert valley. Light pours into many of its spaces, providing a sense of openness. Vibrant and distinct colors are everywhere from the powerful red carpets with purple and green to the chocolate-brown ceilings.
    
Wynn Las Vegas, on the northern end of the Las Vegas Strip, also embraces nature. He has built an atrium that connects the property's two main entrances filled with an array of mums and orchids. Waterfalls dot the front part of the property.
    
His restaurant, Okada, boasts an authentic Japanese garden with a pond teeming with vegetation found traditionally in Asia. Other restaurants have patios facing a "Lake of Dreams," a watery area hidden behind a mountain of evergreen trees.
    
Two years ago, Wynn changed the casino's name from LeReve to Wynn Las Vegas, believing the latter was more marketable. But LeReve didn't disappear: It's the title of his impressive art collection that the property will house, including its former namesake by Picasso, LeReve. The art collection wasn't open Thursday morning, but a gallery employee said Wynn's paintings, including a Cezanne, Gauguin, Vermeer and Rembrandt, would soon be on display.
    
Perhaps most striking about Wynn Las Vegas is that the traditional casino layout has been scuttled. The casino is no longer center stage, dominating a visitor's attention and wallet. Many of the high-end restaurants and upscale shops such as Louis Vuitton and a Ferrari-Maserati dealership can be reached without traversing the casino floor.
    
But the real switch for Wynn this time around, more than 15 years after he opened The Mirage, is what he has done with his name. Wynn is omnipresent. His name is on the casino's parapet, the two marquees and slot machines. He has a slew of stores, carrying Wynn clothes, Wynn china and Wynn home furnishings.
    
"This is the launching of a brand," said Ron Kramer, president of Wynn Resorts Ltd., the property's parent company. The centerpiece of the Wynn Las Vegas megaresort is a 150-foot-tall mountain with a five-story waterfall that cascades into a three-acre, man-made lake. Wynn Las Vegas also has an 18-hole championship golf course. 
Wynn Las Vegas, at 3201 Las Vegas Blvd South, boasts one of the best locations in Las Vegas. Standing mid-Strip, Wynn is next door to the popular Venetian hotel resort casino. Wynn Las Vegas is also close to Treasure Island and the Mirage (two other Steve Wynn-built properties), and Caesars Las Vegas.

    
Erected on land where the legendary Desert Inn once stood, the 42-story, curvilinear Wynn Las Vegas is sheathed in a coppery bronze that reflects the bright desert sun. Visitors may notice the absence of buttons for floors 40-49 in Wynn Las Vegas elevators; numbers jump from 39 to 50, a courtesy to Chinese gamblers who consider the number 4 unlucky.
    
On 192 acres, Wynn Las Vegas holds more than 2,700 guest rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows and a 110,000 square foot casino with several gambling areas. Players at table games will be issued RFID (radio frequency identification-equipped) betting chips, making it easier for Wynn Las Vegas to identify counterfeit chips, keep track of markers, rate players for comps, and deter casino cheats. Can't decide what to do with your winnings? See the list below of upscale stores in the Wynn Las Vegas Esplande and chef-inspired restaurants. Need to get out of town fast? Wynn Las Vegas has a full service Fearrari and Maserati car dealership on the premises.
    
Expect to see priceless artworks by Picasso, Renoir, Cezanne, and Van Gogh from Steve Wynn's collection inside Wynn Las Vegas. Wynn Las Vegas was originally to be called LeReve ("the dream"), after a painting of the same name by Picasso. Perhaps the double entendre -- inviting visitors to "Wynn" in Las Vegas -- inspired the change.

    
Like every major Las Vegas casino resort hotel, Wynn Las Vegas will attract visitors with larger-than-life entertainment offerings. It will hold two major theaters, one of which will be a $70-million-dollar, 2,000-seat domed showroom with a circular stage. A production by Cirque du Soleil's Franco Dragone may outdo the "Mystere" and "O" shows he also brought to Las Vegas.
    
Expect the service to be spectacular, too. Steve Wynn has recruited top staffers from his other Las Vegas hotels, including Bellagio, to work at Wynn Las Vegas.
    
Even before Wynn Las Vegas' opened, Wynn Resorts announced an expansion on the original Wynn Las Vegas plan. The new 20-acre development, called Encore at Wynn Las Vegas, will have a 2,000-suite hotel tower, more restaurants and casino areas, swimming pools, a spa, and other facilities adjacent to the original Wynn Las Vegas. Encore at Wynn Las Vegas is projected to open in 2008, and when it comes to pass Wynn Las Vegas will boast close to 5,000 hotel rooms.
   
 According to reports, the average cost for a room at Wynn Las Vegas approaches $299 on a weekday and $499 on weekends. Room sizes at Wynn Las Vegas average more than 600 square feet. High-speed Internet service is available at Wynn Las Vegas for $11.99 daily.

Wynn Las Vegas is expected to initially have two major impacts on the Las Vegas scene. First, other casinos may lose some of their best and most senior staff. According to a February report in the Las Vegas Business Press, Wynn Las Vegas had received 82,000 applications for some 9,000 jobs. So Las Vegas visitors may encounter less experienced workers to serve them in other casinos if Wynn culls the cream of the crop.
    
Secondly, despite Wynn Las Vegas's relatively high-priced rooms, reservations are strong. Some sources predict a trickle-down effect, emboldening other Las Vegas casino hotels to raise their room rates.

     
In addition to the excitement of opening Wynn Las Vegas, Wynn Resorts is planning to break ground on a 600-room Wynn Macau hotel casino in China in 2005.

      Places to eat and places to shop at Wynn Las Vegas boast big names and well-known brands behind them. A fine hotel is known by the restaurants it maintains. At Wynn Las Vegas, guests have a choice of many restaurants and different cuisines. In creating a selection of eateries for Wynn Las Vegas, Steven Wynn called on a number of accomplished chefs to open:  

Thinking of doing some shopping at Wynn Las Vegas? The following high-end, brand-name retailers have opened stores and eponymous boutiques in the Wynn Las Vegas Esplanade:  

     Brioni, Cartier, Chanel, Christian Dior, Ferrari Maserati, Gizmos, Graff, Jo Malone, John Paul Gaultier, Judith Lieber, JLa Flirt, Louis Vuitton, Manolo Blahnik, Oscar de la Renta, W.Ink, and Wynn & Co.  

Pictures Top to Bottom: 1. Don Trump, Elaine Wynn, Melaina Trump and Steve Wynn at Dinner Party following Hugh Jackman Performance. 2. President George H. Bush with Dinner Guests at "The Party" on Saturday Night. 3. Producer Steven Spielberg and Lovely Wife, Actress Kate Capshaw. 4. Two Thousand Special Guests attend the Grand Opening of LeReve in the new multi-million dollar theater. 5. Steve and Elaine Wynn arrive on time to Hugh Jackman's Show "In Time." 6. Elizabeth Taylor and George Hamilton are welcomed to "The Party." 7. Donald Trump and O&O Editor Roy Hahn discuss plans for Trump National Golf Course in Los Angeles. 8. Elaine Wynn on Stage with Tony Winner Hugh Jackman during his one time performance of "In Time" for 2,000 Special VIP Guests. 9. Siegfried greets PattyLabelle and Guest to LeReve's Grand Opening. 10. Steve Wynn bids adieu to Miami Vice and Nash Bridges star Don Johnson 11. Hosts and Hostesses for the Gala Weekend. 12. Poolside Cabanas.