Travel Tips

Suzy Gershman’s Postcard from Las Vegas, Part 1: Over the Top Experiences, Spas, Hotels and Dining

Locations in this article:  Buenos Aires, Argentina Las Vegas, NV San Francisco, CA Santa Barbara, CA Seoul, South Korea

Suzy on a trainDear Peter,
I’m not sure if this is going to be a long postcard, a letter or a blog (whatever that is) because there’s so much to tell you about.

I’ve arrived in Vegas for the press opening of the Encore, Steve Wynn’s latest property and it has been amazing.

Everyone knows that Vegas has taken a big hit from the economic situation; business from the state of California alone is down 25 percent. A property called Echelon is so frozen it sounds like a sneeze and Caesar’s Palace has postponed the opening of the new Octavius Tower.

But Steve Wynn just keeps ticking. First we opened Wynn, then Wynn in Macau and now his Encore. Eat your heart out CSI Detective Grissom; how could you leave town when Encore has arrived?


As Vegas experiences go, I am a big fan of OTT (over the top) which I guess is what this whole town is about. Although I have known Steve Wynn for about 25 years, I never really understood some of the innovations he brought to Vegas and the “industry” until I began studying up for this opening—who knew that casinos never before had natural light or walls that faced outdoors?

Who knew that an “adult” pool area actually means topless? Or that the ramifications of opening a hotel and casino in Macau, China would influence this strip in the desert to the extent that the branding motif of the Encore is a butterfly and dragonfly combo and red (for good luck) is the predominant color throughout the hotel?


Encore Las Vegas salonThe only part of the hotel that isn’t burning with color is the enormous spa area. You know that I have been to the world’s most glamorous spas, so believe me that when I say I have never seen anything like the spa at Encore, it is quite a statement in space and serenity. The colors are beige and soft, the decorative theme is somewhat Asian and the overall affect is simply wow.

After taking in the lounge and settling into the interior space, I was totally unprepared for the psychological effect of walking to the treatment rooms down a corridor of soft light and imperial lanterns—an almost religious experience.

For the first time in all my years of doing this, I was able to grasp the benefits of hiding away in a Vegas hotel for a few days of just serious pampering. I had the Good Luck treatment to restore all the elements in my body and then headed to the salon for a pink and white manicure.

It seems that not everything that happens in Vegas stays here, as the trend for a “pink and white” began with female dealers and with cocktail hostesses who despite the surrounding glitz want their nails to be simple and somewhat natural looking.

The salon is a full service palace that features many care items I never even knew existed, such as the Shu Uemura hair products. The late Shu Uemura was the first celebrity makeup artist—his makeup is also used in the salon—and there have been skin care items in the line for years, but this is the first I’ve even seen the hair care. Conditioner costs $30 a bottle, so I guess you have to be a high roller even to take care of your tresses.


Pic of the LobbyWhile the hotel has a 250-plus room private hotel for the elite, the main hotel is about 1000 rooms which are enormous junior suites, some overlooking the famed Strip. The most unusual aspect of the check-in was the in-room tour during which our bellman explained emergency exit procedures.

I have never in my life of hotel hopping had that little speech and wish it was routine in all hotels. I have been in hotels that have flashlights at the bedside console, but this hotel does not. Instead there’s an electronic buffet of iPod docking stations and consoles to tame the curtains, the lights, the TV, etc.


Las Vegas has some of the best restaurants in the U.S. and since I was also born to eat, I have been looking forward to testing the new offers here at Encore.

My son, who works for Rhino Records in LA, tipped me off to try Sinatra’s, a joint venture between Steve Wynn, Rhino and the Sinatra estate—it is the only restaurant in the world named for Ole Blue Eyes and naturally serves Italian food. The décor is a sophisticated northern Italian and the food is possibly the best in the hotel.

But then, maybe not—I’m off to try a few more eateries right now. More later.

CSI Kisses,

Check out Part Two of Suzy’s Las Vegas Adventure here!

By Suzy Gershman for For 25 years, Suzy Gershman has written the popular “Born to Shop” series, now published by Frommer’s. Her most recent book, Where to Buy the Best of Everything, is available now. For more information, visit

Tune in tomorrow for part two of Suzy’s adventures in Las Vegas.

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