Surrender to XS

The VegasTripping Review 2010

Posted by MikeE

Surrender to XS nightclub Encore Wynn Las Vegas

I had the opportunity of attending XS's local industry night last week. Like the three other times I've had the pleasure of doing table service at Encore's megaclub, it went down in history as one of the most fun Monday nights of my life. Why? Looking beyond the incredible space, they've got a great, diversified, and respectful crowd that is 100% the result of the watchful, discriminating eye of the front doormen - in plain terms, the Wynn and Encore demographic are packing XS.

Though hesitant on the idea of construction tearing Encore apart for a few months to make way for a new nightclub, the idea of Surrender - a concept identical to XS - had me intrigued and even a little excited. Would it live up to its older sibling's smash success? I attended the local industry night last Wednesday to compare.

We've seen plenty of pictures, but seeing the space in person is truly something else. It's massive, overwhelming, and quite gorgeous - I'd venture to say the most beautiful nightlife space in Vegas today. The lighting surrounding the bungalows and cabanas are in a league of their own. The layers of reds and oranges surrounding the pool give vitality to the space unlike any other I've seen. The pools themselves feature only infinity edges and unique catwalks. It's almost surreal. The main nightclub area suffers from a shoehorn fit and there's hardly a dance floor. Fortunately, this is made up for by the enormous amounts of room to mingle outdoors.

But perhaps it's just too large for its own good and needs to fill the space with people. Or maybe Wednesday night is just too far off from the weekend. Or perhaps Sean Christie's management isn't siphoning off the creme de la creme of clientele the Victor Drai and Waits Brothers threesome hunt at XS. Or maybe it's just too early to be internationally recognized. These were all questions I asked myself because it's just so damn beautiful - I want to love the place.

But unfortunately, a nightclub is only as good as its crowd.

Missing were the Sao Paulo bombshells on one table, the Aussies and Brits at another, and the sparklers that accompany five-figure bottles of Dom Perignon that seem to go off every hour at XS. Cardigans were more prominent than coats and crewnecks more numerous than collars. In fact, the crowd was a little... er... Palmsian. I knew something was amiss when reader John D, another friend, and myself - all males - were walked in almost immediately after a little small talk with the doorman. No discretion as to who you're allowing in? The end result was not pretty. Girls on their hands and knees, heels off on the mosaic tile floors with purple jacket security surrounding them. Other times I almost felt worried about the fragile crystal peacocks that grace the entrances of Switch and high limit baccarat as people stumbled by. And perhaps the security guard outside the Tower Suites lobby left the greatest impression. Whereas before I could flash a red room key and walk in with several others, now we had to each show our room keys close enough for the guard to read "Tower Suites" on them - slightly cumbersome, but nevertheless much appreciated crowd control.

If only Victor Drai had creative control. If only...

Now lest you think this is the end of Encore, let me assure you that this is only the scene on Wednesdays and weekends, and even then only for a few hours before they open and again in the wee hours of the morning as they're closing. The hotel hasn't lost its relaxing charm. What would, however, further alleviate some of these problems is ingress and egress fine-tuning. Daytime Beach Club hours make sure that most the pool-attired never see the casino, entering and exiting from outside. Brilliant.

Evening Surrender hours, however, line everyone up in the casino to enter while making them exit either outdoors or through the casino. 10:30pm is not a pretty site, especially in proximity to baccarat, pai gow, and otherwise "Asian" games where more money is dropped in a hand than these post-tweenies will spend on a week's worth of bottle service. An outdoor entrance, or at least a line through the newly built walkway that lines parallel to Society would be a significantly better option. It creates hype for strip crowds to see while preventing bottlenecks and ruckus indoors. Hopefully this'll be a future consideration.

So what's the final conclusion? Both of Encore's nightclubs are gorgeous, but when considering the current market, XS = St. Tropez while Surrender = South Beach. Take your pick.



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Comments & Discussion


I look forward to dissecting my play date experience with you in detail. In agreement, I find this space to be somewhat less than well, Wynn standard in occupants. Has he gone too far?

bottom line, isnt this also due to economy?

im sure wynn looks forward to making ALL rates like bungalow holiday/event rates.

re south beach - i think setai, casa tua, and perhaps casa casuarina would be displeased with the metaphor :D

Can I take away 9999 HP from Surrender for selling me Heineken in a fucking keg can? Come on!

Yeah, your take was much along the same as mine. I don't like they way people are lined up, down the main aisle of the casino, there has to be a better way to do that. If they go down towards Society, they will be blocking Switch, but that option does seem better than down the main center isle. I like the overall setting of Surrender, but the interior of the club itself, I don't find near as elegant or appealing as I do XS. But the lighting and ribbon banners in the Encore Beach Club, sure are cool, so perhaps each club has its strengths and weaknesses.

XS and Surrender are both gorgeous, but all of Drai's clubs always have that little something extra.

Plus Surrender is always stuffed with underage girls.

A fucking KEG CAN.

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