Erik Kabik / Retna / ErikKabik.com
Thursday, May 29, 2014 | 1:07 p.m.
Nightlife impresario Victor Drai wanted a laid-back Memorial Day Weekend opening for his new 65,000-square-foot palace in the sky atop the new Cromwell boutique hotel. Instead, it became a celebration to outblast the Fourth of July and New Year’s Eve at the glamorous Drai’s Beach Club and Nightclub.
Victor wanted it to grow organically and elected not to have the usual red-carpet celebrity cluster, but bold-faced names showed up anyway: legendary Hollywood director and director Mel Brooks; Food Network star Giada De Laurentiis, who is about to open her first restaurant, Giada, at the Cromwell; “American Idol” host Ryan Seacrest; Olympic speed-skating champion Apolo Ohno; Caesars Palace headliner singer Matt Goss; restaurant queen Elizabeth Blau; and Elaine Wynn, ex-wife of Victor’s archrival Steve Wynn.
This is no ordinary Las Vegas nightclub, and we have eight of the world’s 10 best already here. There’s certainly no other club in America like it, and having seen the clubs of Ibiza, St. Tropez and Monte Carlo, I can tell you that Drai’s is one of the most beautiful in the world.
“We have created the next frontier for nightlife, and we did it on a roof that is open to the Entertainment Capital of the World on the most exciting boulevard on the face of the earth,” Victor told me. “That’s what I love about Las Vegas. If you have a dream, you can make the impossible become real.”
Victor has already shaken up his business rivals with his unobstructed 360-degree views of Las Vegas below — and above. One nightclub sent out an urgent email to its entire staff two hours before Drai’s opened banning all of its employees — working or not — from going there to look at it.
Another nightclub owner scrapped plans Victor had in place to ferry high rollers in expensive Maseratis because the Italian company is linked to another dealership he owns. Another nightclub operator has decided to postpone and revise plans for overhauls it had for two other Strip properties now that Victor has unveiled his luxurious $80 million-plus venue.
In an admitted slap against what he perceives as expensive, overpaid DJs, Victor declared: “The star here is the club.” His lineup of DJs for the weekend included Irie, Eric Prydz, Sidney Samson, DV88S, Arty, Quintino and two sessions with female resident Helena (Atherton). All I know from what I heard from everybody is that it is the same style of music at the other nightclubs.
First guests over the weekend marveled at Victor’s architectural and visual wonder with eight luxury pools 11 stories above the Strip marked with 10 35-foot palm trees. The 35,000-square-foot outer space features two lower-level main pools, central wet deck and 40 poolside day beds, nine exclusive VIP bungalows with five shared elevated pools and 15 luxury mezzanine-level cabanas each with private pool, private showers and restroom facilities.
Inside, the nightclub space also is two levels with 1,785 square feet of wraparound LED screens with constant videos, countdown clocks and other special graphic effects. Thanks to Erik Kabik of Retna for his photo gallery of opening night at Drai’s.
It appears that the party never stops at Drai’s. I triple-checked and discovered that when the nightclub shuttered at 4 a.m., revelers went over to Drai’s After Hours in Bally’s across the street and before that closed at noon returned to Drai’s Beach Club at 11 a.m.! It will be a lot easier when Victor reopens his After Hours in the Cromwell basement next month. As I’ve reported previously, the Bally’s location will then become Liaison, the Strip’s first hotel-casino gay club.
I talked with celebrities, models, party people and Victor’s gorgeous cocktail servers during the festive weekend. Everybody agreed that he had pulled off a masterpiece nightlife concept that can’t be duplicated and probably won’t be beaten for at least another decade.
It’s the only club where he can light up the sky day or night high above the Strip with fireworks, and platinum-party people can control their very own detonator switch. Every time a tab hits $20,000 to $100,000, a Fireworks Femme Fatale offers the Fire in the Sky show priced by the running time. I saw it go off twice in one night over the weekend. Copious bottles of comped Dom Perignon were promptly opened to celebrate the $100K event.
But wait. For $737,000, Victor will send a private jet for you and from eight to 50 of your friends and provide you with rooms at the Cromwell, 100 bottles of Ace of Spades champagne in your poolside bungalow and the fireworks show. Don’t quite have that millionaire lifestyle? A 16-bottle set-up of Dom Perignon Luminous is $15,000. Only $85,000 to go before the pyrotechnic shells of skyrockets, flares and star bursts are set off.
Summer has officially started with a bang and a brand new club. Next up on the excitement charts comes the fourth-anniversary party for Encore Beach Club and Surrender at Steve Wynn’s Encore and then the new SLS hotel offerings of Life nightclub and Foxtail pool club and lounge on Labor Day Weekend.
Victor summed up: “My dream came true. It wound up being bigger and better than what I dreamed. It is the superstar itself.”
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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