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Steve Wynn Interviewed in Time Mag

By Chuckmonster on Monday, 20th June 2005 9:37am
  » filed under Las Vegas  comments: 0


Maybe it makes perfect sense that Steve Wynn would turn into the Mister Rogers of Las Vegas, Nevada. Sitting in his new hotel in a red V-neck sweater and gray wool pants, Wynn, 63-famous for yelling at employees, taking up steer roping and accidentally shooting off his index finger in his office-is talking about building neighborhoods in his latest land of make-believe. Explaining that his hotel will be a mellow retreat, without the glitz and campy themes that have made him such a sensation in the past, Wynn breaks into a rendition of Bali Ha'i from South Pacific. Then he takes out a pen and starts sketching a picture of his hotel before launching into a touchy-feely description of its varying moods and, leaning forward in his chair, teaching me a little lesson about the importance of loyalty. I am deeply afraid we are going to hug.

If anyone is allowed to morph this dramatically, it should be Steve Wynn. After all, Wynn turned a city that was a pit stop for male vice into an international family destination. Expectations that he was going to top his past extravaganzas were so huge that when he started construction on the lush, waterfall-laden, 43-m man-made mountain in front of his new hotel, the rumor in town was that he was building a ski resort on the Strip. But Wynn Las Vegas, which opened in April, exudes an anti-Vegas, almost Buddhist quietude. There's no theme, no showstopper like the volcano he built outside the Mirage in 1989, the pirate ships he put outside Treasure Island in 1993 or the giant pond he created with fountains choreographed to songs for the front of the Bellagio in 1998. "Theme parks are a collection of wows," says the man who not so long ago turned Vegas into a theme park. "Hotels are places that have a range of emotions. You're supposed to tarry." Yes, Steve Wynn wants you to come to Las Vegas to ... tarry.

"This is the most understated overstated hotel in the world," says Wynn. "It's held back just a touch." Even though it's ridiculous to describe a $2.7 billion, 2,716-room hotel with a man-made lake, massage tables in the suites and Wynn's huge signature on the top of the building as understated, in Vegas terms, he's right. There are low ceilings, short hallways and lots of nooks that make the place feel intimate and isolated. In a radical break from casino logic, there is natural sunlight everywhere, and all the restaurants and bars have outdoor seating. The mountain shields the hotel from the Strip, so you feel as if you're separated from the insanity, even though it's just outside. It's like doing Vegas from a luxury box.



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