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September 26, 2018

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New club Jewel to shine where Haze fell dark at Aria

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Hakkasan Group

A rendering of Hakkasan Group’s nightclub Jewel, which is going in the former space of Haze at Aria in the spring of 2016.

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Through the haze, there will be a gleaming object.

And Jewel is what we’ll call it.

That’s the new nightclub set to open in place of Haze at Aria in the spring of 2016, a move to be formally announced today by club operator Hakkasan Group.

Hakkasan took over the nightspot in its purchase of the Light Group in December and is partnering with MGM Resorts and Dubai World to end a more than yearlong absence of a major nightclub in the opulent Strip resort.

Haze closed in November. The space near Aria’s north entrance has since sat dark.

“There was a lot of enthusiasm for us doing this sooner rather than later,” said Hakkasan Group President Nick McCabe, “but I give credit to MGM Resorts in giving us the kind of lead time we need to design and invest to develop the kind of product this market expects from Hakkasan.”

Sitting in on the call with McCabe was Hakkasan CEO Neil Moffitt, who added, “We’re not interested in opening a product that won’t make a difference. We are very focused on making a difference with Jewel.”

Jewel is to be considerably smaller than the two nightlife fortresses opened by Hakkasan the last two years on the Strip (Hakkasan at MGM Grand is 80,000 square feet, and Omnia at Caesars Palace is 75,000 square feet).

But as the operators say, Jewel was chosen as a name because it reminds of a jewel box, full of fanciness.

“It has an intimate nature. A jewel is very precious,” McCabe said. “It’s a perfect descriptor.”

The club’s architect is a familiar entity: Rockwell Group, which also designed Omnia and will offer a high measure of refinement that has become a requirement among Strip nightclubs over the last five years.

The club will be a multilevel venue, as are Omnia and Hakkasan, with a main club and mezzanine level outfitted with tucked-away VIP suites.

The idea is to match the sophisticated decor and vibe of Aria.

“Technology times out very fast, but architecture is timeless,” McCabe said. “What we are very interested in is establishing elegance with a great piece of architecture in a strong property, a fantastic property, and we feel we can match that level.”

But there is some advanced technology planned with a video wall that features dual-sided LED screens and special effects lighting that moves in a full 360 degrees. This element will serve as the “wow” factor, similar to the LED chandelier that greets clubgoers at Omnia.

“We found that we need to keep establishing our own standard,” Moffitt said. “If you look at Caesars, Pure was nonexistent on the radar for a long time, so what replaced Pure had to be more than just a nightclub in a casino.”

The Hakkasan chieftains promise a mix of music programming that embraces variety.

“I think, again, the challenge is how do we differentiate ourselves?” McCabe said, setting up his own answer. “We think of it as a fantastic music station, like what Apple is trying to do with (its new music platform) Beats One, where the underlying resource is to make a great party.

“It’s not wholly electronic. It’s commercial and DJs, a mix of everything that makes a party atmosphere.”

Said Moffitt: “We don’t have any preconceived ideas as far as predicting what’s hot today and cold tomorrow.

“Hakkasan is one of the largest buyers of talent in the world, and what I can say is we have proven in the past that we can bring talent to the market, and we can keep a sustained audience for a long time.”

As the Hakkasan execs describe, Jewel will reflect a set of fine pieces.

“What we need to do,” McCabe said, “is walk the line between wow, luxury and intimacy. If we can do that, we will be fine.”

Follow John Katsilometes on Twitter at Twitter.com/JohnnyKats. Also, follow “Kats With the Dish” at Twitter.com/KatsWiththeDish.

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