As I ran down Las Vegas Blvd (aka The Strip) towards downtown on an early Sunday morning, I ran past at least 8 wedding chapels (one even offered drive-through service and there was actually someone behind the window!), several 24/7 jail bond offices, numerous tattoo parlors, Cuban restaurants, homeless people walking behind carts or sprawled on benches and motel after motel.
Back in the day, these motels were hot properties. Most of them were still open but their signs have not changed: Deluxe A/C rooms. Color TV! Restaurant. As I finally made it to Fremont Street, I ran past the Four Queens, Golden Nugget and many more old hotels advertising $1.00 beers, $8.88 dinner buffets and your chance to win $1000 every hour. If you thought there were strange people at the airports and amusement parks, you haven’t seen anything like this.
That was Vegas before Vegas become Las Vegas. New hotels opened on the Strip as business boomed and the motels and downtown hotels could no longer handle all the tourists. Circus Circus, Frontier, Desert Inn, Riviera, Tropicana, and Barbary Coast offered better rooms, more entertainment, bigger casinos and better restaurants. But it was still Vegas.
Las Vegas happened in 1989 when Steve Wynn opened the first “adventure” hotel on the Strip, The Mirage. Known for its volcano show outside and its luxurious Hawaiian gardens inside, along with white sharks and the first big stage show ever, Siegfried & Roy, tourists came by the tens of thousands to see this spectacle. You could hardly walk the sidewalk when the volcano was blowing fire into the air. Steve Wynn knew people were easily entertained.
Not satisfied with The Mirage, next came Treasure Island and his greatest triumph, The Bellagio. The water show outside is still one of the greatest tourist attractions as are their indoor gardens and art museum.
Alas, Wynn sold to MGM and took some time off. Once his non-compete ended, his next vision became reality, Wynn Las Vegas. Just when you thought there couldn’t be anything better, Wynn proved there would be.
Unlike City Center that recently opened, you won’t find a stitch of concrete, steel beam or 100’ window. What you will find is that every detail has been designed for his guests wonderment. I really can’t explain it fully, but Wynn has figured out a way to take all of one’s senses and ignite them at the same time. All the employees are friendly and helpful. The restrooms are not only clean but stunning.
In a word, Wynn has class. Perhaps you saw him on “60 Minutes” and listened to his story. If not, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that Wynn has figured out a way to offer the best customer experience 24/7. This is no easy feat.
The salon/spa is the only 5 diamond rated one on the Strip. If you own a spa or salon, a visit is very worthwhile.
Steve Wynn keeps learning and has mastered the craft of hospitality. I for one will keep learning from him and thanks to him, I already have some great ideas that you will see come July.
P.S. When I returned from my run, the door man asked me if I wanted a bottle of water. I said “sure.” He then asked me if I wanted it cold or room temperature. Only at Wynn.