Opened in December 2008, the 2,034-room Encore is about pure opulence; not surreal, family-friendly showmanship. Its giant rooms one-up even the Wynn's (Encore's sister next door) and include such snazzy features as bedside curtain control, beautiful design, and an enormous bathroom. The rooms stand toe-to-toe with the Palazzo's and The Delano as the best in Vegas.
A gigantic luxury hotel focused on great food, gambling, elaborate (and enormous) rooms, and a few good parties throughout the week.
Opened in December 2008 by famed Vegas developer Steve Wynn, the 2,034-room Encore takes the whim and luxury of its next-door sister, the Wynn (opened in 2005), and steps it up a notch with even bigger rooms and a more attractive spa and fitness center. Much of the hotel, including its casino and pools, feels like a carbon copy to the Wynn, but that isn't a bad thing. Its two nightclubs, the Encore Beach Club and Surrender, opened in June 2010 to compliment the still-popular Tryst nightclub at the Wynn. In its overall grandeur, both the Wynn and the Encore easily rival the finest hotels on the Strip -- the Venetian, the Palazzo, The Delano, and the more subdued Bellagio among them.
The "theme" at the Encore (and all Vegas hotels must have some kind of theme) is more subtle. Asian symbols for good luck are carefully slipped in throughout the hotel -- like the butterflies tiled into the marble floors and the fact that there is no 40th to 49th floors in the hotel (the number four is considered unlucky in China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam because there the number sounds like the word for "death").
But you don't get the botanical gardens as you do at the Bellagio, the gondola rides and thematic street performances as you do at the Venetian, or any of the fun showmanship of some of the more thematic, less-luxurious hotels, like Ceasars Palace or Treasure Island. Though guests of the Encore still have the Wynn's 18-hole golf course close by, the Encore itself is a fairly straight-forward casino-hotel. In terms of style and atmosphere, the "better" of any of these hotels (at least as it compares to the Bellagio or the Venetian) is largely a matter of personal taste.
You can order drinks or a salad by the pool and room service around the clock, but don't expect overly personalized service.
As is expected of any enormous luxury hotel on the Strip, the Encore staff is capable of providing just about anything for its guests (at a price, of course), but you're not going to get the doting, hold-the-door-at-every-turn attention as you might find in a smaller hotel like the Four Seasons, the M Resort, or the Bellagio (despite its size).
Nightly turndowns upon request
Food and drinks service by the pool (though the poolside fare is on-par with airline food, served in plastic containers)
Quick response to service requests
Concierge services available seven days a week (from 8 a.m. until 9 p.m.)
On the northern side of the Strip, across from the Fashion Show Mall.
The Encore is part of the large Wynn facility, which means there's plenty of designer shopping (this is on the premises of the Wynn/Encore -- no need to cross the street to mingle with the commoners at the mall), a plethora of gourmet restaurants, and even an 18-hole golf course within walking distance.
The Encore is at the northern end of the Strip, but it is by no means out of the way. In fact, it's within walking distance of Treasure Island, the Mirage, the Palazzo, and the Venetian. (Bear in mind, however, that just walking from one end of any of these hotels to the other is hardly a quick jaunt.) The other major hotels, like Ceasars, the Paris, and the Bellagio are only a five-minute, inexpensive cab ride away.
Cabs are easy to find at virtually any time of day or night. A generally less-expensive option is the Deuce, a double-decker bus that runs up and down the strip 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and costs $3. There's also a monorail system, which stops at MGM Grand, Bally's/Paris, Flamingo/Caesars Palace, Harrah's/Imperial Palace, the Las Vegas Convention Center, the Hilton, and the Sahara. A single ride ticket is $5; a one-day pass is $13. If you're traveling along the Strip with at least one other person, a cab is often the least expensive option.
Virtually every hotel on the Las Vegas Strip is a 10- to 15-minute cab ride from McCarran International Airport; the ride typically costs about $15.
Ranging from 700 to 745 square feet, the base-level room, the Resort Suite, is one of the best and largest standard rooms on the Vegas Strip (it's really only rivaled by the standard suite at the Palazzo and at The Delano). To put this in perspective: you can easily host a small party of very close friends in the bathroom alone.
A swiveling 42- to 46-inch flat-screen TV sits in the center of the wall and can face either the bedroom or the living room).
Deco-style lamps, hound's-tooth walls, blond wood credenzas, and mirrors that span the entire wall (including alongside the bed) evoke a sort of swinging bachelor pad circa 1945.
The beds are nothing short of amazing, and they get even better if you upgrade to the Panoramic Suites (which are on the top 10 floors and offer a bit better view of the Strip), where "European linens" get bumped up to Egyptian cotton and the mattress becomes pillow-topped. However, it's worth noting that any reasonable person -- save the princess irked by a troubling pea -- probably wouldn't notice a meaningful difference in comfort.
All beds include two large pillows -- great for sitting up in bed to watch TV -- and two regular pillows.
Next to the bed, there's a little control board that electronically operates the lights, curtains and privacy sign on the door.
There are plenty of towels and the typical shampoo, soap and conditioner -- all Wynn-brand -- but also cotton swabs, shoe polish and all the extras that only come in legit luxury hotels (you won't find these things as Caesars Palace).
Large casino with all the standards and reasonably low buy-in limits for poker and blackjack
The Encore's casino offers the standard selection of poker (in a 26-table room with limits ranging from $4 to $8 to $100 to $200 and up), slots, craps, roulette, blackjack, as well as race and sports books. Room keys, or "red cards" double as player reward cards.
Big rooms, and the hotel is happy to accommodate families, but kid-specific activities are very limited.
There's nothing at the Encore that would make it particularly appealing to families. Sure there's the pool, but this hotel is set up more for adult entertainment, like fine dining, evening shows, and casino fun. Also, the Encore, like the Wynn hotel, does not allow strollers.
Free cribs; Rollaways cost $50 per night.
The concierge can help arrange baby-sitting services.
Premier restaurants, plus all the dining options of the Wynn within walking distance, but the prices aren't cheap, and the poolside food is prepackaged and poor.
The Encore doesn't quite have the extraordinary, award-winning line-up of chefs as the Wynn -- for these restaurants, you need only walk a few minutes to eat next door -- but there's still plenty of high-quality fine dining on-site.
Sinatra is a classic Italian restaurant with an outdoor patio (only open for dinner, entrees range $22 to $49).
Switch, another upscale dinner-only restaurant, is described as a "French inspired seafood and postmodern steakhouse" (entrees range $34 to $60).
Society Café is a more casual restaurant that raises the bar on traditional café food for all three meals with remarkable lollipop buffalo wings and free pretzel bread (breakfast runs about $6 to $21; lunch $10 to $23; dinner $15 to $40).
Wazuzu is a pan-Asian restaurant right off the casino floor that's open for lunch and dinner (entrees range $16 to $35).
Botero, named after Colombian artist Fernando Botero, is a steak restaurant that gets solid reviews. There's indoor and outdoor seating that looks out over the pool area and multiple works by Fernando Botero -- the man best known for his ballooned human figures -- help to create an especially indulgent atmosphere (entrees range from $18 to $44).
If you're not up for splurging on Botero or the Society Cafe (the Society Cafe being the lesser of two splurges), the only other lunch option is the prepackaged food at the entirely disappointing Island Bar next to the European Pool.
A slightly swankier hotel within an already swank hotel
If the Encore doesn't feel luxurious enough, you might consider upgrading to a room in the Tower Suites section of the hotel and turndown service is offered without guests having to request it. While the standard rooms in both sections are virtually identical to one another (though the Tower Suites are a touch bigger), the Tower Suites portion also offers even larger one- and two-bedroom apartments.
Staying at the Tower Suites can be a bit more convenient. Unlike at the Encore, where the front desk is a long haul from the main entrance, the check-in desk at the Towers is just inside its own private entrance (more akin to what you'd find at a more conventional upscale hotel). More importantly, at the Towers you can get to the elevator and up to your room without first crossing through the casino floor (in this respect, the upgrade might actually save you money in the long run).
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