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May 5, 2013

Casino bosses transform Sin City into Club City

(Continued)

By the time Guetta hit his stride on this night, all of the club's 95 tables were full, including the cheaper seats away from the action and one uber-VIP table on stage. Near the bigger-than-your-apartment, 1,100-square-foot dance floor, four scantily clad girls gyrated in front of three men wearing suits and skinny ties.

One of them, Thomas Park, had filled the table with 2004 vintage Perrier-Jouet champagne and Gray Goose magnums — for $700 and $1,300 a pop.

"We have a lot to spend," said Park, who is in his mid-30s and works as a relator in Canada. "That's why we have all the girls."

Casinos learned long ago that some VIPs don't see the point of being VIPs unless everyone can see them being VIPs, so clubs oblige big spenders with spotlights and velvet ropes cordoning off their mini-empires.

But not everyone at a table is a high roller. Some are splurging, or sharing the cost with their friends. Superstar DJ Kaskade, a Vegas regular, said he hears from fans who saved for months to pay for a table and a weekend of fun in Vegas.

"It's because they see videos of this stuff and they say: 'This is nuts.'"

Today, the club craze is moving beyond the dance floor.

XS opens into an open-air adult playground complete with table games, food and a huge circular pool. Around 3 a.m. on this particular night — still several hours from closing time — women in bachelorette sashes waded toward floating white platforms as crescendos drifted over the water.

Beckoning from the other side of the pool, past clumps of partiers, is the upscale "vibe-dining" restaurant Andrea's, where DJs spin lounge music. Hakkasan is taking the vibe-dining concept further, importing a London-based, Michelin-starred Cantonese restaurant to serve as the foundation for its five-story complex.

Most casinos have also incorporated nightclubs during the day — a way to infuse the dance scene into an otherwise typical summer pool party.

At Andrea's, while taking in a production he helped create, Christie confessed he worries about what might happen to Vegas now that it's banking so heavily on an indulgent club scene — especially if 20- and 30-somethings develop a taste for a new indulgence.

But then he quickly corrected himself, saying he'd be just as happy to lure patrons with country western stars.

"Whatever they want, I just serve up. Hopefully, I serve it up the best," he said. "I'm not one to care about that kind of stuff. I'm just here to make money and throw great parties.

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