Steve Wynn, who has all the ambition and wealth of a Medici, originally planned to call his new resort Le Réve, or The Dream — the name of a Picasso painting he owns. His ego may have gotten in the way, or he just recognized it would be foolish not to take advantage of a brand like Wynn. So, the curved bronze-colored tower was named, simply, Wynn Las Vegas.
He saved the fancy European moniker for the 76,000-square-foot shopping area, the Esplanade. Unlike elsewhere in Las Vegas, the home of luxury shopping, Wynn's Esplanade has no gimmicks; no themes. It's not like the gilded Forum Shops at Caesar's or the old-worldy Grand Canal Shoppes at the Venetian or the Arabian-themed Desert Passage at the Aladdin.
Make no mistake, Wynn spared no expense in his recreation of a European promenade, as part of his $2.7 billion resort masterstroke. It's still about over-the-top glitz and glamor, with giant parasol-shaped chandeliers and watefall views, but in this case, it's less cutesy and grander than, say, The Paris with its Eiffel Tower or New York New York with its Manhattan Express roller coaster.
The Esplanade is at times edgy. The backs of a pair of giant pumps jut out above one doorway to identify the Shoe In, where Wynn has assembled a selection of top brand footwear.
In addition to the brand-name boutiques — Graff, Chanel Brioni and John Paul Gaultier to name a few — Wynn sells branded merchandise. In the Wynn Home Store, you can find the hotel's mattresses and pillows as well as place settings from resort's restaurants. Wynn & Co. Watches sells timepieces.
It's not all for the super-rich. In the Home Store, I found a lovely red votive candle holder for $6.
I got off easy. It was reported that a $116,000 Maserati Quattroporte sold within minutes of the Penske Wynn Ferrari Maserati dealership's opening off the Wynn lobby. The dealership also is said to have sold three $9,000 kid-size sports cars its first day of business. W.ink, a shop that sells fountain pens and eyewear is a quirky little space that, on its first day open reportedly sold a one-of-a-kind $47,000 fountain pen.
Forget the $1.99 buffet. Las Vegas is all about luxury today, and Wynn just upped the ante.
My mind spinning and my hands shaking from the mere touch of a $1.5 million pair of Graff earrings, I took a break in the cafe and savored a bowl of raspberry, white chocolate gelato — the best I've ever eaten outside Italy, or maybe even in Italy. I enjoyed it on the terrace, facing a giant waterfall. So maybe, some of the rocks looked a tad Disneyesque, but the effect of the sun on my back, the crashing of the waterfall into the pool below and the mist wafting my way, reminded me that gelato in the right setting can trump diamonds.
My tour done, I exited the Esplanade and the Wynn Las Vegas past the Lake of Dreams, a dramatic wall of water that becomes an entertainment zone at night, with just the $6 votive candle holder in my hands. The diamonds remain a fantasy. Like Las Vegas itself.
Location: Wynn Las Vegas Resort
Size: 76,000 square feet
Opened: Late April
Owner: Wynn Resorts
Some stores: Chanel, Brioni, Christian Dior, Graff, W.ink and Wynn & Co. shops. The 10,000-square-foot Penske Wynn Ferrari Maserati dealership is located off the hotel lobby.